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I No Longer Live But Christ Lives in Me (Galatians 2:20, part 2)

I continue my reflections on Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20 today by looking at the second phrase: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

If through Christ’s death we participated in death, then through Christ’s risen life we participate in life. We die with Jesus and rise to life in Jesus. Elsewhere Paul writes, “if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him” (Romans 6:8). In John’s Gospel, Jesus consistently teaches about a real, indwelling relationship that we can have with Him. Praying before His arrest, Jesus asks the Father that future followers would experience the unity with one another like they – the Father and the Son – experience with one another: “that they may be one as we are one – I in them and You in Me” (John 17:22-23).

Jesus lives within us as a community of followers of Him, but also lives within us individually. Augustine said this unifying bond of love between the Father and the Son was the Holy Spirit. So, the unity we experience of Jesus (“I in them”) comes by the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. Because of this, Paul can describe us corporately as “the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:16), but also individually saying “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Both the corporate and individual aspects are true. How could it be otherwise?

Here in Galatians, though, Paul is referring to himself as individually being completely overtaken with the life of Christ. He is, as he states in another letter, “a new creation” in which “the old has gone” and “the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Boiling it down to the basic level in another place, he says: “for to me, to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).

Lord, I never though it would be good to stop living, but thank You that You live in me.
Thank You for the gift of life that I experience with and in You.
May it be true for me that to live is Christ.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2015 in Scripture reflections

 

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I Have Been Crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20, part 1)

Since my message, “The Real Gospel,” I have been thinking about Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

These words are so familiar to me, yet they have a depth of meaning I often overlook. Over the next few days on my blog, I will reflect on these words for our lives. Today, I’m considering the first part of that verse: “I have been crucified with Christ.”

Paul writes elsewhere: “we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:6-7). As Jesus Christ was physically crucified on the Cross, our own sinful nature was crucified.

Jesus’ death on the Cross was a historical event that is not disputed by historians. Still, there is something personally effective for each person that occurred at the Cross in Jesus. “We are convinced that One died for all, and therefore all died” (2 Corinthians 5:14b). “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Taking upon Himself not only our sin but also our very selves, Jesus was crucified.

In His crucifixion, we – our old selves, that is – were killed. We suffered death with Him, though in God’s mercy to us only Jesus Himself experienced the literal weight of sin’s bloody death. When we come by faith to Jesus Christ, we choose to spiritually associate with His death and we, too, die. We die to our capacity to make ourselves right by acts of righteousness under the law, and we also die to our tendency to live in rebellion to God through selfish sin. It is a new beginning that begins with a final end to ourselves. “I have been crucified with Christ.”

Jesus, how can it be that one so innocent as You took all the pain and judgment?
How is it that you would suffer so much for me?
Thank You…thank You…beyond all words, thank You!

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2015 in Scripture reflections

 

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Eastbrook Leadership Forum – May 5, 2014

Last night we gathered for our quarterly Leadership Forum at Eastbrook Church. The Leadership Forum gives us the chance to share new ideas, learn together, and pray for the ministry of our church.

We talked through ministry wins around our vision and six priorities, then offered updates on our generosity survey and upcoming church plant. Finally, I shared a teaching on leadership development. I’ve included the brief presentation that we utilized last night for those who were not able to join us. It will at least give you some idea of what we discussed.

I would love to interact further with the thoughts contained here.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Eastbrook, Ministry Reflections

 

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Eastbrook Leadership Forum presentation – October 28, 2013

Last night at Eastbrook Church, we gathered for our quarterly Leadership Forum. The Leadership Forum gives us the chance to share new ideas, learn together, and pray for the ministry of our church.

We looked at one of our six priorities last night that focuses on multiplying at every level: disciples, ministry leaders, and churches. I’m including the brief slide presentation that we utilized last night for those who were not able to join us. It will at least give you some idea of what we discussed.

I would love to interact further with the thoughts contained here.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Eastbrook, Ministry Reflections

 

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Eastbrook Leadership Forum – May 20, 2013

Last night we had our quarterly Leadership Forum at Eastbrook Church. The Leadership Forum gives us the chance to share new ideas, learn together, and pray for the ministries of Eastbrook Church. Last night, we talked about some new ideas related to the upcoming ministry year, beginning August 1, 2013. I’m including the brief slide presentation that we utilized last night below. If you have any feedback on the discussion questions near the end of the presentation, feel free to post your thoughts here on the blog.

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/merickson/leadership-forum-slides-5-20-2013&#8243; title=”Leadership forum slides 5 20 2013″ target=”_blank”>Leadership forum slides 5 20 2013</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/merickson&#8221; target=”_blank”>Matt Erickson</a></strong> </div>

 
 

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Comprehensive Praise: some notes from Psalm 150

Psalm 150 is a fitting, yet fascinating, conclusion to the book of psalms. The psalms are prayer-songs that were often used within the corporate, and private, worship of the people of Israel. Psalm 150 concludes the entire psalter with a comprehensive picture of worship. Here are some thoughts that leap out to me about worship from this psalm.

Worship is God-Centered
The beginning word of the psalm is simple: ‘Hallelujah’, which means, ‘Praise the Lord.’ The theme and tone of this psalm, something which sums up the entire book of psalms, is God-directed praise. This word, ‘hallelujah’, sets our compass to true north. Here at the beginning of this psalm, yet at the end of the entire psalter, we remember that God is the center-point and anchor for our lives and worship. As the often-used phrase says, we remember that worship is not about me but about God.

The Intersection of the Mundane and the Holy
Next, we are told to center our worship of God in God’s sanctuary or tabernacle and the heavens or the firmament of the sky. The psalmist reminds us that worship is simultaneously about us drawing near in a Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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Remembering Dallas Willard: 1935-2013

Photography by Dieter Zander

Photography by Dieter Zander

I heard the news yesterday that Dallas Willard, a great writer on life with God and spiritual formation, passed away after battling pancreatic cancer. Willard was a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California while also writing and speaking as a Christian on issues of cultivating life with God. He is perhaps best known for his work, The Divine Conspiracy, and his influence on many well-known evangelical Christians, such as John Ortberg (who sometimes refers to himself as “Dallas for Dummies”). You can read John Ortberg’s fine reflections on Dallas Willard’s life and legacy, “Dallas Willard, a man from another ‘Time Zone'”, here.

I first encountered Dallas Willard’s work through a professor of mine, Jim Wilhoit, who introduced me to Willard’s seminal work, The Spirit of the Disciplines. In that work, Willard opens up the concept of discipleship in a way that is much larger than many normally think. Discipleship is not just about imitating Jesus at certain moments (like WWJD) but is rather approaching all of life in the way that Jesus approached life. This is what Willard calls “the secret of the easy yoke,” referencing Matthew 11:29-30. He writes: “the secret of the easy yoke…involves living as Jesus lived in the entirety of his life – adopting his overall life-style” (5). That book is a profound – and dense! – exploration of spiritual practices that enable us to live like Jesus in “his overall lifestyle.” Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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