“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
~ Galatians 2.19-20, NRSV
We call ourselves baptized believers, born again Christians. We are dead to the old self, new creatures in Christ, we say. But, do we believe what we are saying? I am not asking if you are aware of the Scriptures, if you can recite chapter and verse, if you have heard them in a sermon or discussed them in your small group Bible study. I am asking if we have considered the depth of such a declaration and then, jumped down into. Do we live this truth? Unfortunately, we do not.
If we did, then there would be more funerals. There would be more tombstones marking who we were, more eulogies of what was and never will be again. Where are the cemeteries for our hatred, unforgiveness and jealousy that has died, for fear that is no longer with us? Why are we still visited by prejudice and stereotypes, why are we still being called socially colored black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige people– if the old life is dead to us? How is this possible? Perhaps, it is because we are performing our own private, rebellious resurrections, bringing back what God wants buried.
When we confessed Christ, when His name entered our mouths, the old names should have left. The arrival of his name on the doorstep on our lips was their eviction notice. Guess who’s coming to live in me not with me? Jesus is not our supernatural guest but comes to stay and to give us a new life. Guess who’s life I now live?
The old woman/ man and her/ his nature should have died right there, mouths gaping open because she and he never saw it coming but could do nothing to stop it. And while the mortification of our flesh and its desires is ongoing, we should not take pleasure in reliving our sinful past. We should not seek opportunities to strike up old conversations, to use old words and thoughts from the old mindset. Instead, we should “cast down every thought and argument that seeks to exalt itself against the knowledge of Christ (Second Corinthians 10.5).” We should not allow them to be resurrected by old conflicts, contests or comparisons.
Christ moved in with all of his words. He should have taken all of the rooms inside of us. No vacancies. We should have given him all the space within us to include the attic and the basement.
The truth is this: Jesus does not come into our lives to do a paint job or to rearrange furniture. He is not an interior decorator, hanging crosses on our walls and placing Bibles neatly on coffee tables (as a dust collector not a conversation starter). And Jesus doesn’t just do house cleaning but Christ is in the demolition business. He is a giant wrecking ball.
So, when we say his name, every time we say his name, something inside of us and something outside of us should no longer exist. When I said his name, I became new and am becoming new every day. I am always God’s new creation. When I said his name, prejudice no longer fits in my mouth. When I said his name, I could not return to race, the socially coloring of skin. I could not go back to a life lived externally. When I said his name, I saw his name everywhere, applied liberally and generously to everyone and I could never see people the same again. I could never be the same again.