Friday, 2 April 2010

The day death died

The heart of Christian teaching and experience is both simple and profound: We who believe are united with Christ. We were united with him in his death and resurrection. His death at Calvary was our death; and now we live a new life together with him.

This is both in our justification and our sanctification.

Legally, the damnation that Jesus endured at Calvary is considered as his peoples'; their sin has been condemned fully and finally in him. God considers the slate wiped completely clean, considers us legally holy, and so can come to dwell in us by his Spirit. He will raise us from the dead at the last day to eternal life because we cannot be condemned and death can no more continue to hold us than it did Jesus.

Experientially, when we begin to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, our old way of life passes away, we become a new creation (and a part of The New Creation) and receive a new empowerment by the Spirit to live a new life. We can live a new way, because we have a new Master. We are not under the law's condemnation, or under the law as the covenant that regulates our approach to God. We relate to God by the Spirit of Christ who is in us.

Of course, the old creation is still with us, and the remains of the sinful nature are still at work in us. The work of the "New Creation" still has many future aspects, in particular its consummation when Christ returns and glorifies us and the world. But the Christian reality is that we live in a new way, even whilst still surrounded by the old which is considered obsolete, passing away, soon to be abolished. We have been born again and all things are made new.

This is the gospel, and we should think about it every day; not just what has come to be called "Easter Friday" ! But we can be reminded today to especially focus on the fact: all these benefits come to us by Christ's death and resurrection, and no other way. Only the painful stroke of divine wrath of that day of days brings us any of these benefits. Only the bitter cup of infinite judgment and condemnation which he drank brings us the refreshing nectar of life. Death did not die in any old way; it died on that day, in that glorious act. It was he who did it, at an infinite price to himself. Praise his name!

No comments: