Monday, January 14, 2013
AS HE IS...
This is a TRUE story about a seminary student and how the Lord transformed his life during the summer before he graduated. I found it very thought provoking and something to ponder. He tells the story as follows.
"When the summer vacation rolled around, I took a job at a builder's yard assisting customers. I spent my lunch breaks in the park listening to Christian radio. I didn't believe that I was a know-it-all, but I was head of my class in theology and believed that I had a good grasp of the Gospel. I knew the various theories of the Atonement and did not think any one could teach me something that I didn't know in that area."
"That day in the park, I heard that the DEATH AND RESURRECTION of Jesus, His ASCENSION and His sending the HOLY SPIRIT , were the making of a COVENANT on my behalf. I was forced to confront what Jesus did on the cross in terms of what He was DOING for me. In my head I knew how to describe what He did to pass an exam, but this was utterly different.--MY HEART WAS GETTING INVOLVED. If asked, I would have told you that Jesus died and rose again to save me from eternal death. I had made Him Lord of my life and was doing my best to obey and serve Him. "
"As the days passed, I was confronted with a totally new concept: that Jesus was my REPRESENTATIVE making a covenant with the Father, as if He were me. His obedience to the Father in His going to death, His rising out from death, and His return to the Father was AS ME: I was included in His action. I had thought that I was to produce the perfect obedience and to somehow die to my selfishness. Now I was confronted with the Gospel that said He had obeyed as if he were me. He had died AS ME, and in His resurrection I had risen from the dead. It was no longer my trying to keep a regimen of spiritual exercises, but my BELIEVING that He had CARRIED ME to the Father in His ascension and that I lived in the heavenly realms in the Father's presence. "
"I realized that I thought of the fullness of my Christian life as being experienced in some act of obedience that I would do some day or some experience of God that I would achieve by hitting on the right set of spiritual exercises. I believed and worked toward that 'something' that would happen to me so that I would feel and act dead. It was always in the future, and I was always striving to do whatever it would take to make me dead with Him."
"Now I saw that I had been working backwards--trying to achieve what had ALREADY been done instead of moving from it as the starting point of life. I had been looking for the experience that would catapult me into an experience of God instead of realizing His resurrection and ascension had carried me into a COVENANT of friendship with God."
"My baptism came alive to me. Prior to this, it had meant very little in my life. Now I understood that it was the physical expression of my faith in His action, as the Spirit JOINED me to Him."
"It was now so plain to me that I had died and risen again in my representative. It was accomplished in history never to be reversed. I was DEAD! I had risen from the dead. I was a man who had returned from his own funeral alive in the power of an endless life. And it had all happened in my REPRESENTATIVE. I was now a resurrected person in Christ Jesus. "
"I had always thought of my relationship with God as being between God and me, which made it very shaky and conditional, upon my being dependent upon my current spiritual state. I can't tell you what it meant to know that my relationship to God was based on and dependent upon Jesus, who was acting as me. My relationship to God, then, was as strong as that of Jesus' to the Father"
"Now my whole existence depended upon Jesus. Apart from Him, I had nothing and could do nothing. Apart from Him, I had no history with God and no hope of living the Christian life in the here and now. Looking back, I realized that my Christian life was a struggle to try to fit the image of what I thought a Christian should be. Jesus was the ONE I tried to imitate. Now, for the first time, I understood what Paul meant when he wrote, "For me to live is Christ."
Personally, I could relate to this testimony and I knew that I had to share it with you. It is all about a heart relationship with the risen Lord . Every time we take communion, we testify to the blood covenant that Jesus made on our behalf. We are in THAT COVENANT and it is an everlasting Covenant that will NEVER fail.
"As He is, so also are we in this world". 1John 4:17,b)
This testimony was taken from "The Power of the Blood Covenant"
by Malcolm Smith; page 224