Our life in Christ requires a completely different way of thinking and living, otherwise we will inevitably end up following religious systems that cannot deliver on their promises. We’ll ever be advancing in self-effort instead faith, trying to break out of prison doors that are already open, praying prayers that have already been answered, and striving for victory instead of living from victory.
This new and living way is completely counter-intuitive for one fundamental reason. He’s already given us everything we will ever need. Therefore, all growth, all victory, all freedom from sin, is already accomplished for us. It’s already ours to walk in, right now.
10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority (Col.2:10 NASB*)
This means there’s absolutely nothing that God is going to do for you now or in the future that He hasn’t already done for you, and there’s nothing you’ll ever need that’s not already residing in you.
Listen to how Paul describes what Christ has already done for us:
14 He canceled out every legal violation we had on our record and the old arrest warrant that stood to indict us. He erased it all—our sins, our stained soul—he deleted it all and they cannot be retrieved! Everything we once were in Adam has been placed onto his cross and nailed permanently there as a public display of cancellation. (Col.2:14 TPT)
One thing is very clear. The cross changed everything. Whatever we were as a race of beings before the cross is no longer true after the cross. God seems to think all of our sins and corruption of our soul is already erased, cancelled, and healed forever! Our new perspective must start here. This is the lens through which we must now see our lives.
The crucifixion of Christ was a public display of the death of the old Adam and His resurrection was the beginning of the new Adam. Gone are the days of trying to appease God and reaching up for heaven, for God has reached down to us!
Again, if we don’t get this, we’ll live very frustrated lives, trying to accomplish something by religious means that’s already been done for us and is available to us right now.
Of course, the natural question is, if our sins were completely erased and our soul healed 2,000 years ago, why do we still sin and why do we still seem to have wounded souls? In other words, where’s the disconnect between this wonderful news and our experience?
The disconnect has to do with our perspective and how that perspective informs our life, for everything available to us in Christ requires a completely different mindset and new way of living. It involves you and me learning how to receive the overcoming life we’ve already been given by faith.
In other words, we must first believe that the prison door is open and then walk out into the freedom that’s already ours. It’s not about attaining to something, it’s about obtaining something already given to us.
Notice how Paul puts it in Romans:
11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Rom.6:11 NASB*)
Let’s think about this consideration and how it’s the very opposite of human self-effort. We’re not to identify with the idea that sin is something we defeat at all. We’re to consider it already defeated! Our part is to believe what the cross has already done, so we can walk in the power of His overcoming life, which brings that reality into our actual experience.
We receive all the promises of God, not by trying harder, but by participating in the overcoming life of Christ by faith.
4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Pet.1:4 NIV*)
Two things to notice here. First, this verse is mostly in the past tense. You’ve already been given His promises and have escaped the corruption that’s caused by evil desires. Second, the only thing that’s ongoing is our participation.
We live the overcoming life the same way we got saved, by exercising faith in God’s empowering grace and finished work on the cross. There’s absolutely no difference between how you got saved and how you’re to continue living the overcoming life.
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him (Col.2:6 NIV*)
What’s funny about this is how much we believe we’re saved by grace through faith, but then believe that the overcoming life is found some other way. Of course, we can continue thinking this way if we want and get caught up in a continual cycle of trying harder next time and failing, but that’s a bit like running on the proverbial hamster wheel. It’s an exercise in futility.
Beloved, the truth is, whatever prison you think you’re in right now, the cell door is already open! You’ve already been given everything you need to walk through that door into total freedom. While it does take time to change, what needs to change is what you and I believe about what we think is holding us back.
We must allow our minds to be renewed and reshaped to this new perspective. We can only go in one of two directions here, and both directions involve faith. The first one is exercising faith in what God says about us in spite of our current experience, the other is exercising faith in our experience in spite of what God says about us. The quality of our life will be determined by which path we choose to travel on.