The death of Christ on the cross reveals two important attributes about GOD. It shows GOD’s responsibility for man and Christ’s obedience to the Father, for man.
A Responsible GOD
GOD is responsible. With man’s fall into sin, God did not abandon man. GOD provided man the alternative of being redeemed—but only if man selected that alternative. The alternative was fully secured by GOD. GOD himself paid the price. He sent His son Jesus Christ as the ransom price to save many (Mark 10:45).Christ died as sin in order to deliver us from sin and its power (2 Cor 5:21).
GOD’s Responsibility before the Foundation of the World
GOD in exercising His responsibility did not do a patchwork redemption, trying to cover up holes here and there. He had, before the foundation of the world chosen us to be in Christ (Eph 1:4).GOD was responsible towards us. GOD remains responsible towards us. The Spirit of GOD dwells in us, and makes us GOD’s temple (1 Cor 3:16). Here again, GOD does not abandon us to our own devices, to grope in the dark for our salvation. The Spirit of GOD guides us in our sanctification.
Christ’s obedience was to meet GOD’s redemption plan as the sacrifice for sin. Christ had repeatedly made references to His following the will of the Father and not His own will (Luke 22:42; John 4:34; 6:38-40). Even the timing of Christ’s second coming is solely for the Father to decide (Mark 13:32).
The Mind of Christ
If we expect eternal redemption, we should submit totally to the will of GOD, just as Christ did. We commit our will as Christ did to the plan of GOD. St. Paul says that we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). He did not say that we could have the mind of Christ: we HAVE the mind of Christ—every one of us. The Holy Spirit living in us points to Christ’s perspective.
The Will of GOD
The will of GOD should be our compass. The will of GOD is for all men to come to Christ (1 Tim 2:3-4; 2 Pet 3:9). Everything we say, do or think about, should have GOD’s will as our objective.
Therefore we have, as Paul says, to die daily (1 Cor 15:31). As Christ said, we have to carry our cross (Matthew 16:24).This death and crucifixion is of ourselves to the world. We are in the world–but not of the world (John 17:16).
Christ said that we are instead the light of the world, the salt of the earth and a city on a hill, to be clearly visible. We are the gospel carriers in our daily roles (Matt 5:13-16). We are not alone in this. Christ is the source of all authority and is with us always to the end of time, to see this through (Matt 28:18 & 20).
Plans and desires are in order ONLY if Christ is foremost in them. Good things end up bad choices if we leave GOD out of them altogether.
How do we ensure that we are true to the will of GOD?
Three main areas apply in assessing how we meet the will of GOD.
Charles Spurgeon (1834-92), the Baptist preacher, maintained that the Lord Himself is the first source of our sustenance (see Spurgeon’s Faith Checkbook, July 4th).Christ comes before bread, Spurgeon says. We relate to GOD through prayer. Prayer is our first and foremost duty. It is not a spare-time activity for a quick fix. Instead, it is a consistent priority. Prayer to GOD is our focus always (1 Thess 5:17), everywhere (1 Tim 2:8), for everything (Phil 4:6).
A person with little dependence on prayer is like a ship with no rudder: it drifts aimlessly. We need to seriously pray over our concerns to GOD and to listen to GOD: we do not force issues to GOD for endorsement. Are we listening to the guidance from the in-dwelling the Holy Spirit?
The Word of GOD
The word of GOD is our spiritual map (Matt 4:4; Eph 6:17; 2 Tim 3:16 &17).We should evaluate what we think, plan to say, or do, in the light of GOD’s word. We should identify if we are breaking any of GOD’s commandments. We should ask if GOD would back us up in what we are exercising. Would Christ be pleased with what we do? Would Christ Himself do this? Did Christ ask us to do this? Is doing it going to give Christ a bad name? How would our actions help the advance of the gospel?
Free from worldly lusts
We do not follow the values of the world. The Bible warns us about lusting for the things in the world and conforming to them. This is because we are not of the world and the things of the world are in contrast to the things of GOD. They do not gel with GOD’s priorities. We should divest our attachments to the world (Jn 17:14; Rom 12:2; James 4:4; 1 Jn 2:15-17; 1 Jn 3:13).
We should examine the motives for all that we exercise in life. Are we engaged in pursuits just to please others? Do we blindly do things because others engage in them? Are we pursuing something in order to “save our face”? Are we ethical and honest in all that we are involved in? Do we justify misleading or cheating others in order to “bless” the Kingdom of GOD? Are we drawn unduly to something which seems to be terribly irresistible and too good to refuse? Are we doing all things for the glory of GOD (1 Cor 10:31)?
The cross of Christ shows us that GOD has never abandoned us. He is within us. We have the mind of Christ to do the will of GOD. We should therefore audit our motives. Our purposes must be blessed by GOD, our motives conformed to His word as well as to Christ’s standards, and our pursuits are not to be rooted in the world.
NOTE: Tony Dibble worships at Endeavour Christian Gathering, in Perth, Western Australia. Prior to this, he was attending the Church of Our Holy Saviour (COHS), in Labuan, East Malaysia. When in Kuala Lumpur, he worships and preaches at Faith Oasis Fellowship (FOF) Subang Jaya, Selangor.
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