Thursday, April 23, 2015
Three Stages of Deliverance
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us... II Corinthians 1:9-10
Have you faced your sentence of death yet? I mean it not in a bad way, but a good way. When I realize that I don't have to listen to my "old man"with his incessant demands, I am liberated. Christ has already taken care of that for me, I only need believe it.
I was struck the other day as I read in II Corinthians 1, there were 3 stages of deliverance for the believer in Christ. He delivered us (past tense) and does deliver (present tense) and will yet deliver us (future tense). That leaves me with nothing but to believe it, I do not have to deliver myself!
That is some of the best news I can think of, for it means that Jesus did it all when He died upon the cross for me. And all believers were also with Him as He died for us. For Paul tells us clearly:
"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" Romans 6:3 (emphasis mine)
Not only were we baptized into His death, we also were buried with Him when He was buried.
Colossians 2:12 "...buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."
And not only buried with Him, but also raised to a new life, a brand new way of walking, through His gracious plan for us.
John 11:25 "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.' "
Romans 6:5-6 "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." (emphasis mine)
Not only are these facts true, but He lives daily to deliver us in all our afflictions. Sometimes, it may not mean that He takes the afflictions away, but He gives us what we need to get through them, even so that we can comfort others through the very comfort we ourselves have received.
II Corinthians 1: 1-6
3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation." (emphasis mine)
We also are encouraged to know that we are not alone in our sufferings, but to realize that our brothers and sisters around the world are going through these very same trials.
I Peter 4: 12-14a
12 "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you..."
So even if we are going through a long-standing trial, we may be assured that God has a purpose in it, even if it is so that one day we may be able to comfort or encourage someone else who is going through a similar testing. And when we hear our old self crying out for attention, we can reckon on the fact that he in fact is dead, no matter how loudly he demands our attention.
These are just a few things I have been thinking about lately. I pray that God will encourage your heart today, as He has mine, by my starting (in the smallest way) to learn these truths.