Category: The New You

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 425

1 completed work of Christ

August 12

As followers of Jesus, we must comprehend and incorporate what God has done for us – and, in our understanding, we must act. We are called to live by faith in the completed work of Christ. We must apply everything that He has done for us to the situations and circumstances of our own lives – each and every day.

We must choose to live free from the bonds and guilt of sin – because that is exactly the forgiveness and freedom Jesus has provided.

We must live unencumbered by our weaknesses and addictions – because absolute deliverance is exactly what Jesus has provided.

freedom

We must live in unconditional love – because we have received God’s Own divine nature, and love is exactly what God does by His nature.

We must live our lives just as Jesus did – committed to God, submitted to God… because God has graciously given us everything we need to live that way.

This is the true Christian message. It is the true gospel of the Kingdom.

True Christians are here on this earth to be the living testimony of the depth and breadth of God’s handiwork. God’s desire is to display Himself, on this physical planet, through His Own people. To do this, we must be emptied of self, and selfish ways, and full of God Himself. We must be immersed in Him, and live out our lives in the fullness of all that He has provided.

The message of the New Covenant is that God has done all that needs to be done for this to be accomplished. This very thought is echoed in one of the apostle’s own prayers for God’s people:

Eph 3 16-19

Amen!

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 424

1 completed work of Christ

August 7

“It is finished…” (cont.)

The work of The Christ enables all those who believe, to emerge from the darkness and selfishness of this world, and to step out into the glorious light of Our Savior. We, who believe, are living testimonies of the new reality:

children of light

The kingdom of darkness no longer has any rightful hold over our lives, in any area of our lives. Jesus’ radiant light has utterly dispelled and disarmed every shade and nuance of that darkness. We are the children of the King and the children of His Light.

Light BG

What Jesus won, when He went to that cross and died for us, was an eternal and infinite victory. The forces of evil and darkness were utterly and completely defeated on that day. “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:15)

That glorious victory is meant to be displayed in, and through, every redeemed soul in every generation of The Church. It is the entire basis of what it truly means to be Christian. We are the living display of God’s infinite grace and Masterful handiwork.

eph 3 10-11

We are now God’s handiwork, on display for all the “rulers and authorities” to see – and to shudder, and marvel. That God could take fallen and self-consumed lumps of dirt and make them useful vessels for His noble purposes is amazing. That He could take these vessels and make them living, breathing representations of His Own character and nature is even more amazing still.

All this is exactly what God has done – it is the purpose behind everything He has accomplished for us through the work of His Son. His every desire is to display His perfection and His goodness in, to, and through those He has redeemed and restored by His Own handiwork. The remarkable truth is that we are not becoming new creations – we are new creations. His perfect power, and will, could do no less.

2-corinthians-5-17

When Jesus declared “It is finished,” He was declaring: “It is completed.” Everything that God needed to do, was done. Through the work of Jesus: We are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that (we) may declare the praises of Him who called (us) out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 423

1 completed work of Christ

August 6

“It is finished…”

Through the centuries, so much time has been squandered, seeking for God to “change us” into godly people – or to “fix us” in our state of brokenness. We have expended our energies and efforts trying to get God to do something that His Scriptures declare He has already done for us. We have so often neglected to see all that God has done on our behalf. We have adhered to brief glimpses of His immeasurable grace and comforted ourselves with thoughts of God’s limitless forgiveness… and with thoughts of leaving our struggles behind us whenever it is our time to pass from this life.

All along we have believed, and proclaimed, a gospel that has been far too small and weak – a gospel that fails to represent the fullness and majesty of a God of complete supply and perfect handiwork. We have so often struggled to see what has been right in front of us all along: Our Savior and Redeemer has already done everything necessary to completely liberate us from the snares and chains of this fallen world.

breakfree

The apostle John recorded that when Jesus died on the cross, His last declaration pierced the darkness with an eternal proclamation. Our Lord announced: “It is finished.” (John 19:30) We have so often taken this to mean that “the price is now paid, and forgiveness is now available.”

But it is so much more. The Greek for “finished” also means “accomplished, fulfilled, completed.” Jesus’ proclamation declares the accomplishment, fulfillment, and completion of God’s great plan. Jesus surrendered Himself to this great plan while He was alive and, with His last breath, He surrendered His Spirit for the Father to complete it (as was accomplished when the Father powerfully raised Him from the dead! [Romans 4:24; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 2:12; etc.] ).

it is finished

Jesus was the One Who took our place, but not just to carry our sins. He took our place as the doorway to the Father (John 10:7, 9; 14:6). That in declaring our faith in Him, we might share in everything He went through, in orchestrating and performing God’s great plan. We share in His surrender to the will of God. We share in His sufferings. We share in His crucifixion. We share in His death. We share in His burial. And when the Father raised Him from the dead, we shared in the power of His resurrection.

We who have been baptized for our declaration of faith in Jesus, have been literally immersed into Jesus Himself. What He did for us, is shared by each and every one of us. This is what it means to be “in Christ.” We have become common sharers in His Person… and in all His work.

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 422

1 completed work of Christ

August 5

Credit, where it is due

The correct and proper emphasis of the Christian life is always upon God and His gracious provision to our lives. We can take no credit for living a life of godliness. It is only because our Savior went to the cross (on our behalf) shedding His blood so that we could all be forgiven once and for all. At the cross He died, the innocent for the guilty, and through His death, He enabled all who would place their trust in Him, to die as He died.

Scripture declares that not only did we share in His death, but they took Him down from that cross and buried Him in a tomb – and we share in His burial. But then, the greatest of all possible news: Jesus was raised from the dead, by the power of God to live a new kind of life – never to die again.

In the power of this resurrection, Scripture declares, we also share. Having died to our old lives, we emerge from death as entirely new creations, outfitted with the ability to be the righteousness of God.

2Cor 5 21

We are given a new nature, God’s Own nature, to lead our liberated spirits into the fullness of the abundance of life. We are enabled, through the work of Jesus’ suffering, death, burial, and resurrection, to truly live as God’s people, restored back to His original design and purpose. Jesus, and His complete redemptive work, are the culmination of God’s great desire for humanity – a people in love with their Creator, and living life daily honoring and glorifying Him.

But all this work can only be applied by faith. We must embrace Jesus, and what He has done for us – and we must act upon what He has revealed to us about His completed work. We must take account of what we have received – we must count ourselves dead to sin, and now alive to God. We must personally connect with Jesus’ death and resurrection – and live by faith in all He has provided to us.

Receive it

We must also put off the old self (dominated and ruled by the self-serving sin nature) and put on the new self which has been created to be like God in righteousness and holiness. All these things have been done, so that God may fulfill in us what His work has accomplished – to make us all saints (holy ones) and to make us people through Whom He might will and act “according to His good purpose.” (from Philippians 2:13)

Everything that needed to be done, has been done, through our Savior. Nothing is left to be done, except for our hearts to embrace the grace of God, so abundantly provided to us.

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 421

1 completed work of Christ

August 2

Three) Put off, put on (cont.)

Throughout our lives, in our relationship with God, He is committed to revealing more and more of who we are in Him, and Who He is to us, and continually renewing us in that knowledge… and in His image. He continues to teach us what it means to live by the new nature – a nature that is fully reflective of His Own nature.

If we are understanding this correctly, an amazing truth unfolds. We begin to see that all Christ-followers are capable of living as God would have us live, from the very beginning of our relationship with Him. He has graciously provided a means to lay aside the old self (which is the source of our struggle, weakness, failure, and sin). He has also provided a new self to “put on” that is actually “created to be like God” which enables us to live in true righteousness and holiness – just as God does. Wearing the “new self” allows us to do what the “new nature” naturally does – all in accord with God’s character and nature.

old way vs new

This is an absolutely astounding revelation! The essence of Christian living is taken out of the arena of human effort, human will, and human nature – and is placed firmly in the arena of God’s efforts and God’s nature, now given to “clothe us,” and to allow Him to reside and work within us.

The godly life is no longer about expending our energies trying to do good things or good works. It is about embracing, and wearing, the new self which naturally allows us to do God-things, and God-works. The key, according to the inspired apostle, is discovered in taking off the old self, putting it away, and putting on the new self that God has so graciously given us.

off with old on with new

Only by God’s nature can we live out a godly life – and God has given us the “garment” of His Own nature to enable us to live out the godly life He would have us live. True Christians live their lives clothed with the “garment” of God’s divine nature providing everything we need for life and godliness.”

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 420

1 completed work of Christ

July 31

Three) Put off, put on (cont.)

The most important thing to note from the apostle’s admonition is the immediacy by which we can “wear” the new self. We are not required to undergo an arduous and tedious personal fitting. We do not have to take a laborious series of informative classes. We are not required to take years of special “garment” training before we can receive what God is offering to us. We do not have to endure a grueling set of challenges to earn this new “garment.” We simply receive it as a gift, by faith – and apply it by faith, immediately.

put off put on

All that is needed is to merely to take off our old self, and put on the new. As we do so, the new self captures us, and forms and shapes us, in accord with its own characteristics – the very nature of the true righteousness and holiness of the One True God.

All this is so that we might accurately and vividly display His True image.

This fact is confirmed by the apostle’s declaration of the means of our renewal. In Ephesians 4:23 we are told to “be made new in the attitude of our minds.” The word translated “attitude” here is literally the word “spirit.” This term, “spirit” is often used to refer to the core of our being. It is seen as the source of attitude, inclination, or influence which leads, fills, and governs the soul.

The Greek tenses used for “be made new” literally means to “be renewed and to continue being renewed.” The renewal, of which the apostle speaks, has already come to those who have embraced Jesus and His work. This renewal comes with full effect to our spirits and minds – but also continues to effect our spirits and minds as we grow in our understanding, and application, of this renewing work.

BE-RENEWED

This same exact view is advocated in Colossians 3:10 where we read that the new self is “being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator!” This translation gives us the sense that this renewal is an on-going work to be completed at some point in the future – something that gradually occurs as we grow in our relationship with God.

But the tenses of the original language actually tell us a different story… These tenses inform us that this phrase should be translated “is renewed and continues being renewed” – just as the apostle emphasized in Ephesians 4.

In both instances, the emphasis is upon a completed work that enables us to be renewed renewed_in_christimmediately, but continues to work within us to renew us as we grow in our understanding of what this renewal means.

Throughout our lives, in our relationship with God, He is committed to revealing more and more of who we are in Him, and Who He is to us, and continually renewing us in knowledge, and in His image. He continues to teach us what it means to live by the new nature – a nature that is fully reflective of His Own nature.

Ten – The Completed Work of Christ – p. 419

1 completed work of Christ

July 30

Scripture speaks of three specific ways in which Christ’s completed work is applied to our lives…

Three) Put off, put on.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness… Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10)

new nature
In our third way (in which Jesus’ completed work is applied to our lives), the apostle Paul is led to utilize a picture drawn from the simplicity of everyday life. In both of these passages, he refers to the “old self” and the “new self” as similar to garments that may be put on and taken off – just as we might do with our clothing.

The apostle first exhorts his readers to take off the old garment of the selfish sin nature. As we have been discussing, this is only possible because the work of Jesus has made it possible. The apostle points out that it is our responsibility to apply, by faith, what God has made possible. The tenses used here (in the original language) express the idea that this is something we are to have already done in our pledge of devotion to Jesus (i.e. when we embrace Jesus’ work and become Christians).

The intent of this “putting off” is that we would take off the old self and put it away – never to be worn again. It is set aside, and put away, so that we might adorn ourselves with a much superior and infinitely more worthy and beneficial “garment.” It is only after we have put aside the old “garment” that we may now put on the new garment, or the new self. (This word literally infers “sinking into” a garment. Or in other words, it is something so “right” to our souls as to now become a part of us.)

robed in righteousness

This new “garment” of the new self carries some amazing characteristics. It has been created (it is a finished work), and is still creating us (finishing us!) to “be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” This is an astounding and powerful provision. This confirms, once again, that God has graciously provided everything we need for life and godliness.

His gift is like a precious “garment” that reflects His Own heart and nature – and incorporates that nature into our very being. God graciously invites us to shed our old “filthy rags” (see Isaiah 64:6) and adorn ourselves with this new self – which He has provided to fully equip us to accomplish His will and purposes for our lives.

new you