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Resisting the Cross

Resisting the Cross

In my last post I talked about the ongoing work of the cross in our lives. It affects our past, present and future.

We all want to experience the resurrection power of Christ in our lives. We just don’t like the road that it takes to get there. Paul understood what needed to happen to walk in the power.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Romans 6:5-7

The original text of this verse says that our old, antique, worn out man is crucified with Him. What does that mean to you? How do you see this taking place on a daily basis? More importantly, what’s your reaction to it? These are the important questions we all need to deal with.

Actually, we can gain some insight into it by looking at the scene of the Lord’s death on Calvary. There were a couple of people who really were crucified with Christ. What was their reaction?

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
Luke 23:39

Here’s the first response. “You’re the Christ.” It sounds like there’s some level of belief. But the plea is, “Save yourself AND ME!”

The unfortunate thing about this is that many believers do the same thing. They’ll try everything possible other than crucifying the old nature.

“Lord, surely there must be some way to keep the things I enjoyed about the old man.”

What we need to realize is that it’s because of our sin nature that Christ went to the cross. That’s exactly where our flesh needs to hang. It needs to be done away with, never to be heard from again.

It was the second criminal that got it right.

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Luke 23:40-43

He understood that the cross was where he belonged. But that wasn’t the end of the story. He was also looking forward to the resurrection power of Christ.

There are two responses to being crucified with Christ. Which do you choose? Keeping the old man as long as you can, trying to make him be good. Or will you nail him to the cross with Christ and open yourself up to the power of the risen Lord.

I want to experience the manifestation of the kingdom of God during this life. To do that I need to make sure that my sin nature is right where it belongs – nailed to the cross with Jesus.

Question: What does it take to crucify the old sin nature?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2021 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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The Ongoing Work of the Cross

The Ongoing Work of the Cross

In my last post, I talked about the spiritual work that’s started in us at baptism. I said that it was continued throughout our lives. The Apostle Paul continues that thought.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.

Romans 6:5

This verse shows the link between our past and our future in Christ. The word that’s translated, united, is actually a term that deals with agriculture. It means the growing process of plants.

So what this verse is saying is…if we’ve grown together with Him in His death, it will be the same with His resurrection. There are not two words for “united” in this verse. The growth starts at death and continues on through resurrection.

That brings us to the central issue.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin…

Romans 6:6

The fact is that there can be no resurrection without the cross.

That’s why Jesus tried to explain to His disciples over and over that He needed to go to the cross. It was imperative that He suffers, dies, and then three days later, rises up from the grave. He did this so that all of the unneeded baggage could be removed from our lives.

This verse explains exactly what He removes. The Lord wants to get rid of your entire past. The “old you” is removed and nailed to the cross with Christ. It’s never to be heard from again. But it doesn’t end there.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Christ doesn’t only deal with our past. The work He did on the cross affects our present and future as well. This is because the cross means nothing without the resurrection. The two must go hand in hand.

It’s great that Jesus got rid of my past sins and the guilt and shame that came with it. But I’m living in the present. I’m concerned about the future. How does what He’s done speak to this?

The power that was released when Christ rose from the dead is available to me today. I now have the power of God present in me. I have a source of strength that will get me through today victoriously. It will carry me through until I reach my destiny in Christ Jesus. That’s the power of the resurrection.

It’s just like when we’re editing something on our computers. You can create a lot of great stuff. But until you click on the save button, everything can be lost. Christ did a powerful work on the cross. But it was when He rose up from the dead that He hit the save button.

The Lord’s death and resurrection opened up the saving work of God for all time and to all people. This is what the church should be proclaiming.

Question: How does Christ’s work continue to change your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2021 in Power of God, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Changes

GravesMost of us don’t like changes in our lives. Unfortunately, without change, there can be no growth. Jacob had to learn this lesson as he traveled through the wilderness.

Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have another son.” As she breathed her last – for she was dying – she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.
Genesis 35:16-18

Change is never easy. I wish it were. Sometimes it’s like we’re dying to ourselves. Psychologists say that when change takes place there’s a grieving process that we must go through.

We can’t stop change from happening. The only thing we have control over is our attitude. It’s how we deal with change that makes all the difference.

Jacob was “on the road” when his wife Rachel died in childbirth. If anyone could have had a reason for bitterness, he did. But he didn’t wallow in self-pity.

She named the child Ben-Oni, which means, the son of my trouble. The hurt of that day would have followed the child for his entire life.

Instead, Jacob immediately changed the boy’s name to Benjamin, the son of my right hand. He released the pain into God’s hands.

I don’t know what you’re going through right now. But if there’s a great change you’re grieving over – give it to God.

Only the Lord can bring you through. Spend time before Him. Let Him turn your Ben-Oni into a Benjamin.

So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.
Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder.
Genesis 35:19-21

There’s many times that change is not easy to cope with. It’s our attitude that must be worked on during those times.

When God speaks to us as we spend time in His presence, He may require us to make a great change in our lives. So great is that change sometimes, that it may seem like our old way of life has died and we have been reborn to a new way of living.

It’s essential that we learn to bury the “old man” and then move on. Unless we leave the past behind, we can never enter His future.

Change is a constant in life. Either you’re going through it right now or you will in the near future. Make the choice now to rely on God’s grace in times of change. Be willing and ready to accept His leading, whatever form it may take. Only then will change do its work and make you a better, stronger person.

Question: How are you letting God work through the changes you’re facing right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2016 in Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Which Criminal are You?

CrossesWe all want to experience the resurrection power of Christ in our lives. We just don’t like the road that it takes to get there. Paul understood what needed to happen to walk in the power.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Romans 6:5-7

This is a huge verse. For Paul, it was the foundation for all that he did. He writes that we should know this. But knowing and applying are sometimes two very different things.

The Greek words of this verse say that our old, antique, worn out man is crucified with Him. What does that mean to you? How do you see this taking place on a daily basis? What’s your reaction to it? These are the important questions we all need to deal with.

Actually, we can gain some insight into it by looking at the scene of the Lord’s death on Calvary. There were a couple of people who really were crucified with Christ. What was their reaction?

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
Luke 23:39

Here’s the first response. You’re the Christ. It sounds like there’s some level of belief. But the plea is, “Save yourself AND ME!”

The unfortunate thing about this is that many believers do the same thing. They’ll try everything possible other than crucifying the old nature.

“Lord, surely there must be some way to keep the things I enjoyed about the old man.”

What we need to realize is that it’s because of our sin nature that Christ went to the cross. That’s exactly where our flesh needs to hang. It needs to be done away with, never to be heard from again.

It was the second criminal that got it right.

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Luke 23:40-43

He understood that the cross was where he belonged. But that wasn’t the end of the story. He was also looking forward to the resurrection power of Christ.

There are two responses to being crucified with Christ. Which do you choose? Keeping the old man as long as you can, trying to make him be good. Or will you nail him to the cross with Christ and open yourself up to the power of the risen Lord.

I want to experience the manifestation of the kingdom of God during this life. To do that I need to make sure that my sin nature is right where it belongs – nailed to the cross with Jesus.

Question: What does it take to crucify the old sin nature?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2014 in Power of God, Revival

 

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