Thursday, August 7, 2008

Living in and for Christ

[16] For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. [17] And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. [18] Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. [19] If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Cor. 15:16-19 (ESV)

I said earlier that if Christ has been raised it changes everything about our lives, how we live and view the world. In fact Christ being raised from the dead overshadows us, it takes the focus off of us, and places it on Christ. At best we are in the background of the picture. It allows us to be free of selfconsciousness, and know nothing but Christ. But if He has not been raised from the dead, then we are of all people most to be pitied.
Christians live in and for Christ, not for themselves. We lose our life in Christ, and He saves it for us. Other people live for themselves. Non-Christians live for themselves. Everything they do is for themselves, either trying by the law, written on the hearts of all men, to secure an afterlife for themselves. Or they try to make the most of the life we have in this world because it is all there is. The hope of securing an afterlife for ourselves by the law is hopeless. All fall short of the glory of God. We can’t hope to get into heaven for being better people in this world than Hitler. We would have to live a life better than Christ’s life, fictional or not. The other option would be to make the most out of this life. If I thought this life was all I had, and Christ had not risen from the dead. I would live very differently than I do. I don’t think I could be one of those moral atheists, I have a hard enough time being a moral Christian. I’m a sinner, a justified sinner in Christ, but a sinner nonetheless. But because of the love of Christ who has given me life, a life better than I could hope for in this world, I refrain from acting on my sinful desires, as much as possible, out of love for others, the others Christ loves. Christ died for the world, not just for me. He loves everyone, and wants all to know that love, be saved, and come to the knowledge of truth. Knowing this, tempting as it may be, I can’t be a womanizer. I can’t use the women Christ’s loves, for nothing more than my personal gratification. Even if they were willing participants, it would not be showing them Christ’s love. I want them to know they are worth more than a one night stand, or even a summer fling. Because Christ loves my neighbor, I can’t steal from them. Because Christ loves my enemies, even when I hate, I try to forgive. I don’t do it for myself, I do it for Christ. I don’t do it to gain righteousness. Christ has gained that for me, and I could not hope to ever add to it. I don’t do it out of fear of hell. I have sinned quite enough to deserve hell already. I can’t save myself from that fate, but Christ has saved me from it. So I do it for the love of Christ, that I want others to know. My salvation is their salvation, for Christ loves them as He loves me. And though I have had plenty of good times, blessings from Christ, I have denied myself much I would not have if Christ has not been raised from the dead. So if Christ has not been raised, I think I would be most to be pitied in this world.

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