So you may be thinking at this point in our discussion, “Yes Jay, you have quoted a lot of Scripture over these last few posts. You have clearly laid out the we are now beloved children of the Father, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, containers of the divine nature, and co-resurrected with Christ. You explained in great detail from Galatians 2:20 how our salvation included the death of the old and original version of ourselves and has been replaced by Christ living His life through us. But there is still a crucial step to go. How do we put all this beautiful spiritual reality into practice?”
Ah, this is a legitimate and tremendously important question. After all, this is really the Christian life in a nutshell. It is taking all that spiritual reality that the New Testament describes as having already taken place when we trusted Christ and marrying it with the physical reality we walk in; how we actually live.
We can comprehend the above concepts such as Christ in you, but until we feel it, live it, and experience it in our daily lives, have we really connected with that reality; does it really change our here and now? If you feel like you are understanding the theology of our change inside, but don’t know where to start in fully stepping into it, you and I are on the same path. And let’s take the next few steps together.
Remember, we live and move in a world of two realities; the spiritual reality and the physical reality. In our spiritual reality, all kinds of new things have already happened to us in our relationship with God – a new identity, a new nature, a new power over sin, and much much more. And it is our faith that brings all this spiritual reality into our physical experience.
This is why we say the Christian life is lived by faith. And could this be why Christ beckons us in the gospels over and over again to believe, to have faith, to trust His words and life as true?
By faith, I believe the spiritual realities – the promises of God – can literally change my physical world. By faith, I believe that my spiritual realities can become my daily experience. This faith connection between the two worlds is a point that the New Testament writers consistently emphasize. They are always showing us the link between the facts of our spiritual reality and the faith required to live into it.
Let me give you one example to illustrate. In Romans chapter 8, Paul writes (and I paraphrase slightly to zero in on the main idea), “So then brothers, we are not under obligation to the flesh, to live according to the flesh, but rather to the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit because we are children of God. We have not received a spirit of slavery and fear, but a spirit of adoption as children who cry out ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:12-16).
Paul makes a direct link between our new identity as children of God (children in such an intimate relationship that we cry out, “Abba! Father!”) and our obedient behavior. Our walking in the Spirit – behaving in a way that fits our spiritual identity, behaving in a way the Spirit would act, obeying God in this physical reality – is directly related to the spiritual reality of our identity as God’s children.
Do you see this connection? The New Testament is saturated with this message. This is who you are in Christ (spiritual reality); so you now have the freedom, the power, and the obligation to live in a certain way (physical reality) that fits your new identity.
We will continue to explore this beautiful and life-giving connection next time.