I’ve been reflecting on yesterday’s post about 1 John 1:9, and I wanted to round out some of the ideas.
Paul makes a great deal about how we have been baptized into Christ’s death, and are raised with Him to newness of life (Romans 6:3-4).
I recently (thereforenow.com/2012/03/his-cross-is-my-death/) made the point that it is Christ’s death, and our total release from all obligation and law through His propitiation, which achieves our death. Since we are no longer under the coercion of the law, we die to the effort to earn our own salvation and felicity. Our forgiveness, our cleansing, and our empowerment and new life all happen at the propitiation, it is a unity. Some day someone will think that is a brilliant point, but right now it seems that a lot of people may not really be catching what I’m saying.
Here’s another angle on the same idea from 1 John 1:9. If we come, only confessing, laying our precious and vocal stone of guilt on the line, giving it over to the silent and invisible God, this is a death. We claim no power to reform, to resolve our problems. We only present the truth, and our only gift is our evil and shame. Jesus went to the cross, and died, leaving Himself open completely to trust in the Father, that against all hope the Father would do the impossible and raise Him up. In confessing our sin and going no further in our reform than that, and in trusting God to forgive us and cleanse us, we walk in the same pattern as Christ. We die, and He raises us.
In the same way, we confess our open shame, our very sin, our faults, offering no solution and no promise of reform. We die. We hope only for the forgiveness and cleansing of God, the action of God. We hope to appear as if the very finger of God Himself had etched new life into the bedrock of our souls. We confess, seeking none of our own glory, our own glory is too small and fleeting and weak and fake. Against all evidence heretofore, we trust in this confession of ours that He is going to prove Himself real. We offer ourselves to death, and hope in resurrection, not to reform ourselves but to be brought back supernaturally to life.
We are not raised to obligation, to a world of deserving and earning favor, of manipulating blessing by willing ourselves to a veneer of good behavior, but to a world of giftedness and gratitude and heirhood and adoption and pure unadulterated grace.
As an aside, I don’t really know quite what to do with all of this. It seems to me to be an amazing revelation. Probably most real Christians have lived in this place for many years, and I am very late to the table. It seems a fire inside and a great treasure to me, I walk to secret places weeping around in prayer and asking God for fruit and souls and open doors. I could probably get way more hits on the web site if I put something funny or whatever. The poop post got a lot of good reaction. I realize you can’ go on just being heavy and deep all the time. This seems a world of profound to me, and I don’t mean to keep flooding readers with so much stuff. I don’t know who would be keeping up with it all besides my awesome wife. However, God knows better than I do what He is doing and what is going on, and I feel very compelled to keep fleshing out these thoughts and sharing them with everyone. I don’t think I am some ultimate authority, and I am sure in some of this I have made egregious theological blunders. I am also certain that if I get feedback I will get great mountains of correction. However, these last two posts have been particularly real, and particularly born of the Holy Spirit, for me. I hope I am clear that I don’t consider myself some final authority on these grand issues. I am well aware that I am a middle-aged overweight undereducated Dad, and a sinner at that. My family knows what I am really like, and I make no secret of it. So, I hope that the truth that is here is coming forward with the humility I feel in sharing it. Much love to all of my readers and to all who may read this at some point.