Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Complete Work of Christ

It has been more than a week since I returned from Wild at Heart Boot Camp, but there have been a couple of thoughts that have been growing in my mind since my return. The one thought I would like to mention today is the emphasis John and the Ransomed Heart team put on the complete work of Christ. I confess that I have understood this reality intellectually it hasn’t really penetrated my heart. My focus has been on Jesus death, but I have ignored the other important aspects of what Christ Jesus has done.

There is also the resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15 is Paul’s defense of the resurrection of Jesus and how important it is for our lives. The Apostle wrote; “And if Christ has not been raise, then your faith is useless, and you are still under condemnation for your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17; NLT). Part of the importance of the resurrection is that it is evidence that Christ’s death accomplished the forgiveness of our sins. It is also evidence that Jesus had defeated our two greatest enemies: sin and death.

The other aspect of the complete work of Christ that John Eldredge and his team emphasize is the ascension. I think this is an aspect that we totally overlook, and yet it tells us something very important about Jesus. Paul writing in Ephesians wrote; “I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him. This the the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 1:19-20; NLT). The ascension is evidence that Jesus has all authority and that He has been returned to His rightful place in heaven. Jesus is in His place of authority, He is in control of what happens.

As I have thought about the complete work of Christ this work another aspect of His work came to mind that was not emphasized at Boot Camp, and that is the life and teaching of Jesus. One of my favorite verses in 1 John 2:6. This is what the apostle John wrote; “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did” (NLT). How is it possible to know how to live our lives? We know how to live by knowing how Jesus lived and what He taught about life. He is our example for living.

What does this impact our lives? I think one critical way is that when we pray we ask God to bring the complete work of Christ into our lives: His life, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension. That is what John Eldredge does in the daily prayer he gave us to pray (one of the reason this has stuck with me this week). We talk about the transforming power of Christ, but too few of us experience that transforming power. Part of the reason is that we haven’t relied on Christ to transform us, but instead we have sought to transform ourselves through spiritual disciplines. Don’t get me wrong, spiritual disciplines serve a purpose in our lives, but they are not the main way God uses to transform us. That happens when we surrender our lives to Christ Jesus, and I am being made more and more aware that this is a daily choice that we make.

Erwin McManus wrote this is in Stand Against the Wind:
“Transformation is both the miracle of God and the stewardship of man. Godliness is a result of both divine activity and human action. God promises to do what we cannot do for ourselves, and He commands us to do that which He will not do for us. There is both miracle and responsibility.” (p. 46)


What I am suggesting is that surrender our lives to Christ and allow Him to perform the miracle of transformation so that we are better able to complete our responsibility in the transformation process. After all it is getting a little tiring trying to do it all myself.

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