January 18, 2012

The First Fruit of the Gospel
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

This week in chapter two of Francis Schaeffer's True Spirituality, we build upon the foundation regarding our need to daily encounter Christ the Living Redeemer in His gospel.

It is important to be clear in our understanding about the substitutionary nature of His death for sinners. 2 Corinthians 2:21, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Nothing—not good works, religious rituals, not anything can add merit to His perfect work of atonement.

That is not to say, however, that virtue does not flow from His work in our lives. Schaeffer discusses at length at least one necessary result of the gospel in our lives; that being the practice of dying daily. He insightfully takes us to Luke 9:22 where Christ tells His disciples the certain order of events that would soon occur to Him… that He would be rejected, slain, then raised. And then points out that Christ immediately relates this order—rejected, slain, raised—to the Christian life. Luke 9:23-24 "And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 "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."

"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 stepsrejected, slainare 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?

Pray for family, friends and loved ones who are infiltrated by the world with its attitudes that God would make them willing to walk, by His grace through the steps of being rejected and slain, and that they would know the blessing of a resurrected life.

Further Reading:
the expulsive power of a new affection