And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired of him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. (John 12:20-21 KJ2000)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2 KJV)
Looking unto Jesus… Why should we be looking to Him? Didn’t He despise the shame of the cross? Why not be looking at our own sin and failings or lack of faith? Jesus did not continue to look at His own death, but went on to sit down at the right hand of the Father. Looking at our own sin and short comings only draws our attention away from the One who is doing the real work in us. Then why not be looking at all our “good deeds” we have done? No, that will only feed our pride. Jesus made it clear that no one is good except our Father who is in heaven and anything good comes from Him alone.
What Jesus has started in us by His Spirit, Who came into us when we first believed into Him, He will finish! It is not up to us. Paul wrote:
May the God of peace himself make you holy in every way. And may your whole being–spirit, soul, and body–be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ISV)
Notice first that the God of peace makes us holy in every way, not the god of anxiety and striving, who is the devil. We are to be anxious for nothing and in everything give thanks to our Father, knowing that He works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure. Our task is to rest in Him alone and He does all the work. Holiness in us is the work of God. We can not make ourselves holy by changing our outward appearance or by gritting our teeth and doing the “right things” by the power of our wills. We rest in Him and He does the transformation in us by giving us a new heart and writing His desires on that heart (read Hebrews chapter eight). With His will in us, we will do what is right in the eyes of God. Everything in the economy of God is by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ! Our Father sanctifies us body, soul and spirit. He was faithful to call us and give us the faith of Jesus Christ, and He is faithful to finish this perfecting work in us. Praise His name! He will do it!
Putting on Christ
For ye are all sons [and daughters] of God through faith in Christ Jesus; for as many of you as were immersed into Christ, did put on Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27 WAS)
For in him we live, and move, and have our being…(Acts 17:28 KJ2000)
Through faith in Christ we are immersed into Christ and His Spirit, not just the waters of baptism. This immersion is the one baptism that Paul was writing about. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6 KJ2000). Being immersed into Jesus brings about our total unity with the Father and the Son and with each other (See John 17:21-24).
As many of us who have been immersed into Christ have put on Christ. Just as we “put on” the water when we were baptized, we also have put on Christ as we have been immersed into Him. We are literally in Christ and we now dwell in heavenly places in Him! Do you believe it? Seeing this truth in our hearts is what makes all the difference in our Christian walks. We spend far too much time looking at ourselves, and it pulls us down from living in our heavenly position that Jesus gained for us when He rose from the dead. He took our captivity to the flesh captive and gave us the greatest gift of all, making us sons and daughters who live before our loving Father in heaven.
For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they who live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again. Therefore from now on know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from now on know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 KJ2000)
In Christ’s death, we all died! But it does not end there, because the lives we now live are lived by His life in us. This is the Good News–no more law (see 1 Cor. 15:56-57), no more sin consciousness, and no more striving to be holy. We now have our lives in Him and His power, not in ourselves and our weakness. In Him we live and move and have our being. The problem with many of us is in the reckoning (see Romans 6:11). Do we continue to know ourselves after the flesh? Christ is no longer in the grave. He is risen and so are we! Paul was tutored by the risen Christ for three years in the Damascus wilderness, and he had a much clearer vision of heavenly things than most of the disciples who only knew Him after the flesh. Paul knew Jesus Christ after the Spirit!
Focusing on ourselves as if we are in ourselves instead of in Christ, knowing ourselves after the flesh with all its failings, and not forgiving ourselves is a real problem that holds many people back. We need to get our eyes off ourselves (good or bad) and behold Him Who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. But if any man is in Christ he is a new creation and the old things are passed away. All things are become new. Thank God that our lives are all about us living in Christ and He in us. They are not about us.
“Father, please let the depth of these truths go deep into our hearts that we might see with new eyes and see ourselves as you see us. Amen.”