When Adam and Eve rebelled against God, a spiritual amnesia set in; they no longer recognized who they were and who they were created to be. Eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil bound humankind’s ability to reason with our rebellious nature. In the process, mankind’s #1 enemy was unleashed. The carnal mind has been at enmity with God and His children ever since.

Our carnal mind, with help from Satan and the world, labors tirelessly to keep us trapped in the amnestic condition into which we are naturally born. Regrettably, Christians have not fared well of late in this regard. Many do not realize the attack continues even after we are spiritually reborn. One particularly critical battle front involves the way we think about the new life we have been promised in Jesus Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live… Galatians 2:20a

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

For whoever wants to save their life
will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Mark 8:35

As Jesus took our place in death, He must also take our place in life. Even after we become a new creature in Christ, we must lose our life to fully exist in His. Death and resurrection are not the same; they do not accomplish the same outcome. The transactions, so to speak, are different.

Even on this side of rebirth, God’s promises are conditional. We don’t get to keep our life and Jesus’, too. There is a connection that remains between the old and the new that cannot be fully severed until the new has been surrendered AND sacrificed.

Indeed, this is what it means to become holy!

…but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1Peter 1:15-16

The calling to be holy as God is holy is impossible for mere mortals. Many (perhaps most) reject or deny this clear and basic command because they do not know how to respond to it. Thankfully, God has not left us to our own sufficiency.

We are comforted and encouraged knowing that the only way a perfectly just and superior being can require something of his subjects is with the knowledge that they are able to respond appropriately; and if they are incapable, to provide the means necessary to do what is required of them.

At this point, it is important to understand and believe that God has not chosen to train and equip us with tools and powers and then send us off to use them. That would have created too great a danger: feeding our root of pride and enabling further rebellion.

Instead, God determined to give us the very life – the only life – that could meet His requirements of righteousness, holiness, etc. Furthermore, He accomplishes this in a way that does not remove our free choice, nor our individual and corporate uniqueness as His greatest creation.

In a way we cannot fully understand, God has commingled His life with ours. He has even left us with good works to walk in, participating with Him in the advancement of His kingdom, both within us and through us (notice, the work is not complete).

In other words, God does not hand us a golf club, demonstrate how to use it, and send us out onto the driving range. He accompanies us and holds the club with us as we learn to swing it. He then offers to do so with every swing, for the rest of our lives. Perhaps a better analogy would involve a warrior wading into the battle, or a father allowing his small child to sit in his lap while “they” drive the spaceship.

The point is this: We have every grace necessary and the entire Godhead working to transform us by the renewing of our minds and the washing of regeneration (Romans 12:2, Titus 3:5). We must lay hold of what has been offered by letting go of everything else (Philippians 3:12, Luke 14:33).

We must walk away from the life we once had (and from which most of us continue to live) into Jesus’ other-than life. The sins and weights must be shed if we are to effectually run the race set before us (Hebrew 12:1). The good and greater-than works are waiting (Ephesians 2:10, John 14:12), as creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:19).

God bless you with grace and courage for the greater-than life.

Humbly yours and forever His,