Dying Daily and Our Life in Christ
Spiritual growth is making real in our daily experience what is already true for us in Christ.
Our progressive sanctification is an ever putting off all that belongs to the old man, and putting on all that belongs to the new man in Christ.
The old nature of man in Adam has not evolved better over the last two thousand years. Has the carnal mind with its urges become so good to the Holy Spirit that we no longer need to subject it to the Holy Spirit? Undisciplined self-gratification has never been compatible with strong, vibrant, mature spiritual growth. You cannot be a mature believer and live anyway you choose. You cannot give nature all that it desires without defrauding the grace of God.
Romans chapter seven pictures every Christian’s spiritual battle in progress. Our old nature, though judged and condemned and deposed in the death of Christ is forever revolting against the sentence of death. It struggles daily to regain its lost supremacy.
The believer who is in Christ not only has died with Christ, but is bound to “die daily” with Him so long as he is in the flesh.
The two natures, at present are dwelling together, even though they are at perpetual war with one another. When one is weak the other is strong. When one loses the other conquers.
The crucifixion we have undergone as believers in Christ is personalized in our own person. The believer is “always bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus.” Our spiritual battle is a spiritual intimacy with Christ against the forces of Satan. Christ began a spiritual warfare that has not ended for us (Col. 3:9, 10).
We are new creatures in Christ whose inward man is “renewed day by day.” The new man from above battles daily with the forces of evil.
The cross and the resurrection of Christ extend their influence and power over the Christian’s life until the day we are presented perfect to our Father in heaven. The development of the Christian toward perfection is always going in two opposite directions. There is the mortifying, suppressing, subjecting the natural man, and the nurturing, renewing and developing the spiritual man who lives within.
In the crucifixion of the old man we make the death of Christ our own. The carnal mind must always be delivered up to death for Christ’s sake. This is our life-long experience.
If we are to become like Christ in our daily practice we must subdue our sinful desires, behaviors and bring them under the influence of the cross.
Our sanctification is prolonged and perpetuated in our daily experiences.
We are to have the same mind of Christ. We have been judged in the person of Christ knowing that He bore our sins in His death, follow on in the path of the cross judging and mortifying all that we find in our lives contrary to Christ. Anything that is opposed to Christ in our lives must die. We must deny and die to the expression of the old life as we knew it before we become Christians. We must refuse the indulgence of the old man.
The Holy Spirit is always bringing us to the surrender of self in all its forms to the will of God.
Our Savior’s suffering is never more beautiful than when reproduced in our daily lives as we die to self, fleshly desires and unholy ambition.
However, no amount of self-denial of the old nature will make us holier, unless we are brought at the same time into a deeper intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. As we abide in Christ we walk as Christ walked.
Self-denial creates voids in our soul that must be replaced with Christ and divine affection. It is our desire to appropriate the eternal life Jesus has given us. This new life in Christ creates within the believer a hunger and thirst for more of Him. Meditation on the Word of God and contemplation of the character of Christ promotes that end. In the process He conforms us to the likeness of Christ until, we have attained the fullness of the stature of Christ, His life constantly imparted and His character reflected in our lives (2 Cor. 3:18).
Daily communion with Jesus is a certain way of overcoming sin in our lives. Our growth in grace and knowledge of Christ can never fail to promote the subjection of nature. Our natural man cannot endure the burning heat of the unclouded presence of Christ.
May our steady gaze upon Christ blind our hearts to the desires of the unregenerate life-style.
Oh, blessed day when the battle is over and we cease from our putting off and putting on and we are presented spotless in Christ “when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortal.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.
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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
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Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.
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