Thursday, January 3, 2013

Who's in Control?

If you have done any living, you can guess that this past week was rife with failure after the post, "How Sin Makes Me Fat."  I should have known better--but the goal is for all of us, not just myself.  Once again, I am human.  I fail.  Life goes on.
The greatest encouragement and challenge of the week came through The Complete Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford.  Perhaps one of you is a pastor-person or Bible scholar who would leave a comment and fill in the blanks, because this is a new thought I haven't entirely studied out.  If you haven't read the book, you will appreciate the insight.  If you have read it, perhaps this will be a timely reminder.
Well into Part 4 of the 5-part book, Stanford expounds on Galatians 2:20:  I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (NASB).
In personal and group studies and teaching, I admit to getting caught up in the idea of "mortifying" the flesh (particularly in Jim Berg's book, Changed Into His Image). 
Here, Stanford explains that the old self, the sinful self, the unregenerate self, has been crucified; i.e. it is still hanging on that dreadful cross.  It is not dead.  I cannot bring about its death.  But it has been crucified.  It remains there, as I myself am "united with [Christ] in the likeness of His death"  (Romans 6:5).  My sinful self is rendered immovable, fixed, bound.
But, as he says at the end of the chapter, I am often ordered about by it, obeying its voice, desires and demands. 
"There is the allegory of the sea captain who, in mid-ocean, is charged with a capital offense, put in chains, and replaced by another.  As the ship sails on, the chained one seeks to assert his old authority over the crew.  Some of them might be foolish enough to respond, but there is no need to for he has been judicially deposed.  It is now simply a matter of acknowledging the new captain and refusing the threats and orders of the condemned one.  The death sentence is not yet carried out beyond his being held in the place of death, his power broken, but he will be executed when the ship reaches port.  In the meantime, he causes a lot of trouble.
"Is this not a picture of the Adamic source, held in the place of death, replaced by the new Source at the helm of the ship?  Our attitude toward the old man has to be this: 'I reckon on the crucifixion of the cross as your undoing, and therefore refuse your reign over me.  I count the Lord Jesus Christ as the Captain of my life.' When we reach the heavenly port, the conflict will be over; in the meantime, we rest in Him" (The Complete Green Letters, p. 222-223). is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."  Galatians 2:20
It is not a matter of giving up as much as it is a matter of control.  This week, I've asked God to replace the old Sydney-self-control and with the new Christ-self-control.  God works it out by His grace, through faith, and it's a much better solution than me, myself, mortifying--myself.

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