• Wimpie J.v. Rensburg

Love Crowns & Crucifies

Love crowns us. The bible says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17), can you be partly old creation and partly new creation? No. "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord" (Ephesians 5:8), can you be partly darkness and partly light? No. "He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves" (Colossians 1:13), can you be in both kingdoms? No. As we can see it is clear that the moment we become a Christian everything changes, we are a completely new creation, in a completely new position, under a completely new kingdom, and there is nothing in between. We have a new identity in Christ.

As Christians God crowns us with an unshakable identity in Christ. He says that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation, He calls us His own (1 Peter 2:9). We are justified and have peace with God (Romans 5:1). We are redeemed and forgiven of all our sins (Colossians 4:1). We stand in a position of righteousness and have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:8). We are free from condemnation (Romans 8:1). We are established, anointed, and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21). We are citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3:20), we don't have a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). We are God's workmanship, created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). We are God's temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). We are ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-20), we are the salt and the light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14). We are accepted, secure, and significant in Christ. God also crowns us with His grace that empowers us to live the life He has called us to live. He has given us everything we need for a life of godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3).

Love crucifies us. Following Jesus is a free gift but it is not cheap. We need to count the cost. You have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). Your salvation cost Jesus His life, and it will cost you yours. No one can come to Christ unless he is willing to see his old life crucified with Christ. For Jesus said in no uncertain terms, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it" (Luke 9:23-24). So through Jesus, we have received salvation, and are justified. So we have been given a new identity, a 'new self'. But part of being born again is also dying to the 'old self', this dying to self is a continual process also part of our sanctification.

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

- Galatians 2:20

Sin did not die. Sin is alive and well, but having been crucified with Christ we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11). We need to put to death the sinful desires and lifestyle of our old lives, for those who belong to Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24). This is essential in our walk with God, we cannot continue to live the way we use to live, Jesus said, "whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27). Jesus describes lukewarm Christians, who try to live partly in the old life, and partly in the new, as those that He will spit out (Revelation 3:15-16). Being lukewarm is a symptom of an unwillingness to die to self and live for Christ. We can only be who God has made us to be, through His grace. He takes what is dark within us and brings it to light (John 12:46), he takes what was dead and brings it to life (John 5:24). The cross is our victory, the more we put to death our old self, the more we live according to who we are in Christ.

"For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death, he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus."

- Romans 6:5-11

When we find ourselves in a time of lukewarmness, we need to remind ourselves that love crucifies. We cannot live partly in our old life, or according to the comforts of the culture around us. We need to invite God to mold us, to shape us, to take away all that is not from Him, to come and make us who we already are in Him. When we find ourselves in times where we struggle, we need to remind ourselves that love crowns. We are crowned by God with an identity in Christ. The life we now live in the flesh, we live by faith, faith in what? Faith in Jesus and His word. Faith is believing that which is already true. Jesus is the truth! So by grace through faith, we need to read the word of God and hear who He says we are, and regardless of how we feel, we need to choose to believe what He says and live our lives accordingly.

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

- Galatians 2:20

"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come"

- 2 Corinthians 5:17

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