Friday, 15 October 2010
Found In Him: Scripture for Chapter 7
Jesus became one with us, so we could become one with him.
For six chapters, Elyse has led us to ponder Jesus’ incarnation in new ways. We normally think about his birth and death seasonally–at Christmas and at Easter. Apart from those special celebrations, our ordinary days are probably not filled with thoughts of Jesus’ ordinary days.
But through our study of Found in Him we have begun to see that his whole earthly life is filled with the details of his life for our meditation and comfort. He really shared our humanity. He really entered our world. True God became true man without compromising either.
In high school I was required to read the 1961 book Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin. It is the story of a white man who decided to dye his skin black in order to find out the true story of racism in the American South. He embarked on his experiment in 1959, when the the racial divide was beginning to erupt in violence. Why did he do it?
“The only way I could see to bridge the gap between us,” he would say, “was to become a Negro.”
As a devout Catholic, Griffin understood that incarnation was the closest identification you could make with another human being. His experience showed him what it felt like to be a black man. He found out first hand that their suffering was real, that their complaints weren’t exaggerated. More than fifty years later the power of his words continues to help us feel their suffering too.
Jesus entered into solidarity with us for the same reason–to bridge the gap between us. However, he did it not just to gain compassion for our suffering, but to redeem our sin. By taking on a body and entering our world he redeemed every part of us, body and soul, minutes and years. There is no part of the human experience that is not atoned for by his life and death. As one book on the incarnation explains, Jesus Christ…
“…entered into complete solidarity with us in our sinful existence in order to save us, without himself becoming a sinner.” Thomas F. Torrence
What would be the result of this solidarity?
One With Him
Griffin’s skin color wore off eventually. Though he was able to do a lot of good by writing about his experience, it was only a temporary solidarity. He didn’t actually become a black man.
By contrast Jesus’ identification with us is permanent. He took on our flesh and united it with himself forever. Today at the right hand of the Father he is still the God-man. He did it for us, so that we could be one with him forever.
Union with Christ. The implications are staggering. Let’s walk through chapter 7 with Elyse. Our oneness with Jesus is the source of every blessing we experience in our Christian lives, both now and forever.
This chapter is dense with verses and theology, but well worth the effort. Consider these questions as a way to focus on a few thoughts.
Day 1. Romans 7:13-25, 8:1. “I’m in him.” In our chapter Elyse highlights six ways Paul thinks about that phrase, “I’m in him”. These verses speak about our freedom from condemnation. How do you identify with Paul’s description of himself in Romans 7? What is something you hate but do anyway? What is something you want to do, but can’t seem to do it? Rejoice today because Jesus is the answer and you are in him!
Day 2. John 17:23-26. “He’s in me.” Write down at least five things from these verses that are true because he is in you and me. Which one is most meaningful to you today? Express your thanks to him. Then go into your day counting on the fact that it’s true!
Day 3. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20. “He’s in us. He’s in me, therefore I’m a temple!” God only dwells in a holy place. How does it change your view of yourself to remember you’re God’s temple? How does it change your view of your church to remember it’s God’s temple? This is an expression of union with Christ. Turn these thoughts into prayer.
Day 4. John 1:12-13. “I’m in the Son, therefore I’m God’s son/daughter!” What rights do you have now that you have become a child of God? Think about your own children or the family you were raised in. List a few of the privileges that were yours because of that. Because you are in Jesus, you have every privilege he has. Act on that today!
Day 5. 1 Corinthians 3:22-23. “I’m in the Son, therefore everything he has is mine!” What do you need today? Faith? Hope? Love? Patience? Food or some other blessing? Help in some form or another? He is yours today and all that he has is yours. Ask him for the blessing you need so you can be a blessing to those around you.
You are in him. He is in you. Let that thought take root in your life this week.