Thursday, April 2, 2009

Were You There?

On a hill far away and long ago stood an old rugged cross. On that cross, hung the Savior of the world. Scorned by foes, forsaken by friends, the pure and spotless Lamb of God--the only acceptable sacrifice for all sin for all time--hung from that cruel instrument of torture, bearing the sin of the world. Who can ever describe the utter agony and torment that Christ endured? "He was wounded [tormented] for our transgressions, He was bruised [crushed] for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." (Perhaps the best way to catch but a glimpse of this intense suffering is through reading the article found at this link:

After hours of unceasing torment, the Savior gasped a final breath, and cried, "It is Finished," then again, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," "and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost."

Following our Lord's death, He was laid in a tomb for three days and three nights. Followers of Christ lost hope. They thought their Messiah had come, but He had died! Where was their Savior now? They had so soon forgotten the words Christ said unto them, "...The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill Him, and the third day He shall be raised again...."

Oh glorious victory! On the third day, just as foretold and promised, the blessed Savior was raised from the dead! He conquered "him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;" death and the grave could not hold Him--He forever lives again so that we need never fear death (Hebrews 2:14-15)! How shall my tongue describe it? Where shall my praise begin? Oh that each believer could have been there--could have experienced this miracle personally.

But wait a minute...I
was there.

On October 2, 1992, a little five-year-old girl knelt at her mother's bedside. "Dear Jesus," she prayed, "I believe that you are the Son of God, and that you died for my sins, and that you rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. Would you please forgive me of my sins, and come into my heart and be the Lord of my life?" At that moment, Christ entered into her heart--into
my heart, and I was baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ.

God is not bound by time. In the same moment His Son hung on that cross, God looked down and saw me asking Christ to be my Savior. Thus, when the Holy Spirit baptized me into Christ, I also hung on that cross. Thus, I was crucified with Christ, I was buried with Him--I was resurrected with Him. My spiritual eyes have seen the sights my physical eyes so long to see. All my life, if asked where I would go if I could go anywhere in the world, I have answered, "Israel." I have longed to see the sights that Christ saw--to walk the ground He walked. What a thrilling journey that would be!

Yet, I was there! I have walked that ground--I have seen those sights. Let me describe it in another way... Hebrews chapter 7 tells us that Levi was in the loins of his father Abraham when he paid tithes to Melchisedec. Is it not possible also, that when I accepted Christ as my Savior and was "born again," thus becoming a child of God, that God in His foreknowledge saw me as being in the loins of Christ? That seems a little confusing to my brain, I'll admit...however, as God is our Father (and Jesus said that He and the Father are one), and I am a child of God, I believe it is a perfectly logical conclusion to say that I was in the "loins" of Christ--thus was in Christ--when He suffered, died, and rose again.

A sightly mind boggling thought, I'll admit... However, instead of only giving you my thoughts on the issue, I think I shall now turn to the Word of God.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were
baptized [by the Holy Spirit] into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:3-11).

in Him [Christ] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with Him in baptism [by the Holy Spirit], wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:9-15).

"Therefore if any man be
in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new...For He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:17 & 21).

These are just a few passages of many describing the marvelous fact (not fiction) that we are IN Christ!

Now that I see this awesome truth, what does it mean to me? I shall let Scripture speak for itself. :-) (No words of mine could better describe it.)

"If ye then be risen
with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:1-3).

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loves us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us
together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus...For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

"For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make
in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:4-7, 10-22).

Wow! I am risen with Christ! My life is hid with Christ in God! I sit in heavenly places in Christ! I am built for the habitation of God in Christ through the Spirit! What precious promises and truths I see now as I read Scripture with the understanding that at the moment of my salvation, the Holy Spirit baptized me
into Christ--thus I died, was buried, raised again, and now live and sit in heavenly places in and through Christ Jesus! Wow! That's awesome!

The words of a well known hymn come to my mind:

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Were you there when He rose up from the grave?

Were you there when He rose up from the grave?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to shout glory, glory, glory!
Were you there when He rose up from the grave?

I was. Were you?

Wishing you a blessed week and Resurrection Sunday as you revel in the knowledge that we are in Christ!

p.s., all italics were mine and were done for emphasis...just a quick disclaimer, there. ;-p