Christlikeness By Inhabitation, Not Imitation

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)

Sacred Scripture tells us that we have been crucified with Christ legally, because God regards us as if we had died with our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3-4). Today, however, I want to encourage you to focus on living, not dying. Because we have been crucified with Christ, we have also been raised from the dead with Him (Romans 6:5). The supernatural power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same power that lives in us and is at work within us (Ephesians 1:19-20), making us more and more like Christ.

The more we allow our Lord Jesus Christ to live in us and through us, the more we become like Him. The more we surrender to God’s will and submit to God’s Word, the more we are “being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This process is known as sanctification, and it takes place over the course of the entire life of the Christian. It does not happen in a day, but daily — moment by moment — as we cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us.

When the apostle Paul wrote that “Christ lives in me,” he was reminding us that we become more like Jesus through inhabitation, not imitation. Through the choices we make in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we begin to do, think, and say what God wants us to do, think, and say. In the strength of the Almighty, we have the power to say “Yes” to the things we must say “Yes” to and “No” to the things we must say “No” to.

Philippians 2:12-13 commands Christians to “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” This is not a warning that we can lose our salvation; once we are saved by grace through faith, we are always saved (John 10:27-30). We are not to live in uncertainty and anxiety. Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is telling us to pursue practically, through obedience in the power of the Holy Spirit, what we already are positionally.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. (Romans 6:11-13)

Just as God considers us to be crucified with Christ, we are to consider ourselves dead to sin. And as God has given us His Spirit to resurrect us from spiritual death to a new life in Christ, we are to consider ourselves as newly alive to God in Christ Jesus, walking in the power of His Spirit, ready to be used by Him as “instruments of righteousness” for the good of others and His eternal glory.

This is the Gospel.  This is grace for your race.  NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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