The First Fruit of the Gospel
by Alex Crain, Editor, Christianity.com
"For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and My words, of him shall the Son of Man
be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory…"
Luke 9:26 NASB
Nothing—not good works, religious rituals, not anything can add merit to Christ's perfect work of atonement.
Still, virtue does flow from the work of Christ in our lives.
One virtue that is the necessary result of the gospel in our lives is the habit of dying daily. Francis Schaeffer, in his book True Spirituality, insightfully takes us to Luke 9:22 about this where Christ is telling His disciples the certain order of events that would soon occur to Him… that He would be rejected, slain, then raised.
Jesus immediately relates this order—rejected, slain, raised—to the christian life as well.
In Luke 9:23-24, Jesus says, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it."
Schaeffer points out that,
"Jesus is talking here about our death by choice in the present life. He applies it to a specific situation to make it more concrete. "For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and My words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory…" (Luke 9:26)
"The Bible is not speaking of some romantic feeling, some idealization, some abstraction. Jesus carries this concept of facing the rejection, being slain, down to a very practical situation: facing an alien world. It is the saying "no" to self when our natural selves would desire acceptance by the alien world—a world in revolt against its Creator and our Lord.
"…this command of Christ is not limited to one situation; it is that which is to be the whole mentality and outlook of the Christian's life.
"As Christ's rejection and death are the first steps in the order of redemption, so our rejection and death are the first steps in the order of true and growing spirituality.
"As there could be no next step in the order of Christ's redemption until the step was taken, so in the Christian there can be no further step until these first two steps—rejected, slain—are faced; not in theory only, but at least in some partial practice."
Intersecting Faith & Life: Is the gospel bearing fruit in your life in this way? Put another way, do you increasingly treasure Christ so that things and self receive less and less of your time, attention and resources?
Ask God for grace to live before the watching world in a way that others would see the blessings of a resurrected life in you.