But Wait! There’s More!
Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ, dead and yet I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.”
I have always gotten a kick out of infomercials trying to sell their one-of-a-kind, must-have, best-offer-ever, products on television. After demonstrating what a great product they are selling, at such an incredible one-time, low-cost, you-must-act now offer, they always, without fail, wrap up their sales pitch by saying, “But wait! There’s more!” Ironically enough, this got me thinking about God’s grace and how we understand it and present it to others. If God’s grace was being pitched through an infomercial, receiving pardon for sin and escaping God’s judgment would probably be the featured selling points, and then it would be wrapped up with the special one-time, you-must-act now, low-cost offer of free! But at the end of the pitch, I can just hear God saying, “But wait! There’s more!” There is so much more to grace than just pardon from sin and escaping God’s judgment, as wonderful as those things are. God’s grace wasn’t just meant to give us a justified status before God, it was meant to give us much more. It was meant to give us the very Life of the justified Son, and that’s a whole lot more!
What we desire out of God’s grace and what God desires is not necessarily the same. Because of our adamic nature, our desires are always toward ourselves. The moment Adam sinned, he became self-focused and hid from God, desiring to escape God’s judgment. Adam’s focus shifted from honoring God to saving his own hide, so-to-speak. And God did save his hide, but it cost the hide of another – it still does. We tend to focus more upon judgment that needs to be escaped and sins that need to be forgiven, which are toward self, but the focus of God was, and still is, upon the man of sin that needed to be destroyed, and the life of the Son that needed to be established. We simply want the man of sin to escape from judgment, be forgiven, and continue living, while God wants him dead! Adam is not repairable. You cannot “put new wine into old wine skins.” God’s grace is our death in Christ, so that He can fill us with the new wine, the “better wine” of his Son’s life. He has “saved the better wine for last.” The purpose of God’s grace was not merely to pardon us from sin, in order that we may continue living in the natural man, and receive forgiveness when we sin. God didn’t just pardon our sins through Christ’s sacrifice; he did much, much more. He nailed the man of sin to the cross in the body of the Lamb and crucified him there, then he gave the resurrected life of His son to all who, by faith, would receive him. It is finished! In that one sacrifice, Gods judgment of the man of sin was satisfied and is forever complete. Our judgment was born by the Lamb, in order that the risen Lamb could be our life, not just our means of escaping judgment. Jesus brought us into his death, so he could be our life. This is the full purpose of grace. This is what Paul meant when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ, dead and yet I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” Christ’s indwelling life is the “But wait! There’s more!” of God’s grace.
God had only one purpose in mind when he planted the incorruptible seed of his Son’s life in us – the increase of that seed. The purpose of the body we now have, is to serve the body we now are. All those in Christ, are now the body of Christ. 1Corinthians 12:27 tells us, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Paul said, “The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” We are of the mindset that “we” still live and are forgiven, but that mindset is wrong! We are dead, and the life we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us. Romans 6:3 tells us, “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too should walk in newness of life.” The phrase “newness of life” doesn’t mean the new and improved life of the natural man. It means newness of life as opposed to being “dead in trespasses and sin.” It means possessing something that we had never known before – Life! The adamic man was born “dead in trespasses and sin” so there is no life in him to improve upon. Spiritually speaking, death is the the lack of God’s spirit residing in the soul. When Adam transgressed, he most surely did die because God’s spirit no longer resided in his soul. Try as you might, you can’t save Adam, but by God’s grace, you can “reckon yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:1 tells us, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins” – “but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” Jason Henderson (Not I, But Christ), writes, “You are not a sinner because you sin. You sin because you’re a sinner.” We were born sinners. Sin is not something that we do, it is something that we are. If we are to walk in the “newness of Life” that we have been given, we must come to realize that it is Christ in us who is our life. Without Jesus’ life in us, we are still “dead in trespasses and sin.” No Jesus, no life. Know Jesus, know life.
In the world and even in the church, it seems that God’s grace is increasingly coming to mean leniency to sin, in order to indulge the flesh. Someone wisely observed, “Many modern Christians believe in a Christ who died so that we may be freed to sin, rather than freed from sin. A difference of only one word, but the gap between them is as wide and impassable as the gap between heaven and hell.” If we only desire for God’s grace to be a means for us to have security and blessing in the desires of our flesh, then we will miss out on the “more” of God’s grace. The grace of God was never intended to give us the freedom to live our lives unto our flesh; merely using it to pardon our sins and escape the judgment of God. The grace of God is the freedom to lose our life and gain the life of His son. The grace of God is to exchange death for life. God’s word tells us we were “by nature, children of wrath.” By nature, we are the thing that resists Christ’s rule in us. If we continue to live our lives unto the sinful nature, we become slaves to that nature, “for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” As Christians, we must come to understand that Christ lives in us, and he lives in us in order to conform us to his image, not just to pardon our sins and deliver us from judgment. Not knowing the full purpose and intent of God’s grace to us is like ordering the infomercial product before hearing the “But wait! There’s more!” offer. It will cause you to miss out on the best part of the deal. And the best part of the deal is that we are not just people who will one day inherit a resurrected body; we are the body of His resurrection here on earth today and that’s a very, very good deal. As we celebrate Easter we must focus on the desire of God’s heart in His grace, and God’s desire was, “Christ in us, the hope of glory.” God offers us the opportunity to be redeemed from the curse of sin through the sacrifice of his own Holy Lamb, and then gives us the resurrected life of his Son to live in us. We are dead and yet we live, yet not us, but Christ in us. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m sold on that offer. It truly is a one-of-a-kind, must-have, best-offer-ever deal. Don’t miss out on it. Act now!
THE SONG OF THE REDEEMED
O What a glorious thing
The song of the redeemed
How precious the flow washed us whiter than snow
The wonder of which angels sing
Dare we not lightly esteem
The power of that holy stream
That flowed down the face of God’s lamb of grace
That we might be redeemed
For it was the blood of no ordinary man
Forced Satan to open his hand
And upon bended knee relinquish death’s key
It was the blood of God’s own holy Lamb
Spoiling all powers and principalities
Making a show of them all openly
Death’s gates opened wide as Satan swallowed his pride
“neath the blood of Calvary
The song of the redeemed
Blessed be the name
That paid the price in sacrifice
This song that we might sing
(Gal. 3:13 – Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.)