Thursday, February 20, 2014

Little Christs, Crucifixion, and Resurrection

The entire object of Christian faith is not to be made comfortable, but to made over in the image of Christ.
Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always has existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God. We shall love the Father as He does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has—by what I call ‘good infection’. Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.
From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
Martin Luther also speaks of Christians being "little Christs," which necessarily entails crucifixions, as well as resurrections.

First of all, of course, our old sinful selves must be crucified. This happens in several ways.

One is in repentance, the process by which God incites and empowers us to recognize and turn away from sins--favorite or otherwise, seek God's forgiveness offered only in Christ, and receive the power of the Holy Spirit to live in that forgiveness and seek to live as one reconciled to God. This is what Jesus has in mind when He tells those who would follow Him to take up their crosses. Honesty about our sins and our sinfulness so that they and our sinful natures can be crucified is the most critical element in becoming Christ-like.

Ultimately, of course, we will all be crucified at the moments of our deaths. The wages of sin is death.

But Christians believe that because, in His innocence and perfection, Jesus died, He has the power to give the life that He took back from death and hell, not just for Himself but for all who believe in Him, on the first Easter.

As Jesus puts it: "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die." (John 11:25-26)

Being little Christ also means that, through our faith, we have invited to live within us. We no longer live in our own feeble power, a limited power condemned to death from the moment we're conceived. Instead, we live in the power of Jesus Christ. Daily, we invite Christ into the centers of our lives so that, no matter how obstructed by our sinfulness or inborn human hypocrisy, increasingly Christ's thoughts become our thoughts, Christ's priorities are our priorities, Christ's worldview is ours.

Until the crucifixion and resurrection that happens at our deaths, Christians battle the temptation to go the easy way, the way of going along with the world, the way of death. But Christ gives a different way of life...that never ends.

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