September 16 - Not I but Christ
The highest level of our Christian life is to have Christ at the center, not only that we live for Christ but Christ lives in us. As Paul declared that he had died to the law, he also declared that he then might live to God. Only to God and in Christ could he begin to live his new life. The condition for such a life comes in two parts: the death of the old self and then Christ living in us. The Christian life is not a mere improvement on the old life, it is a total replacement: Christ’s life replaces my own life.
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” means that my identity has been changed through my faith in Christ who is to take complete control of me. From then on, whenever I think of myself, I think of Christ for He is everything to me. His death on the cross has become my greatest motivation in life and His love now controls me. His grace not only has changed my life, but now I live by His grace each day of my life. I do not deserve anything and there is no good in me. My life is an example of His grace and I cannot exist apart from His grace. This is the essence of justification by faith.
Like Abraham, we are justified by faith as we respond to the gospel of Christ. After being justified by God, we receive the Holy Spirit by faith as well. Like receiving our salvation, we also have heard of the fullness of the Spirit and made a decision to receive Him as we begin our Christian walk. God who has justified us and supplied us with the Spirit, working miracles in our lives is doing so because of our faith. As we have begun by the Spirit, we also rely on the same Spirit for our Christian growth. All the growth we have experienced are from God and not from our own efforts. We just have to be willing and God does the rest. We can boast nothing.
Our Christian life is 100% Christ’s doing, enabling us to be saved and move to the path of perfection. Once you think that you have achieved something, you are in the self again and Christ is not 100%. The “not I” must go before the “but Christ”. Our total identification with Christ has to begin with the death of the self. When you realize that you can do nothing to gain salvation and growth, you have arrived at the sphere of grace and not works. It is by faith and faith alone. True faith is trusting God to do what we cannot. If you think you can, you have driven the Christ life away.
It is not how good you are, although you may think that your maturity has to do with something that you have done. Many of us try to qualify ourselves through doing good works or getting into a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. Those are the results of God’s work in our lives, not an achievement to gain God’s favor. This explains the reason for Christian activism in our churches. Sit back and relax, God is doing His work in you and all you need to do is to trust and obey. What an easy life!
Ps 104:31-35 Isa 22:1-24:23 Gal 2:17-3:9 Prov 23:15-16