Our death and life in Christ as a historical fact: Part 1

First off, I’m really sorry for the delayed post to any of you who were checking back. Things got super busy and I was unable to get this up until today. I very much appreciate everyone’s interest though and really look forward to continuing this conversation with all of you.

Last week I shared a little bit about my experience from reading The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. I also mentioned that last Thursday’s post would set the stage for today’s. What I want to share today is what I believe to be one of the most important things that I learned from reading The Normal Christian Life, in fact probably one of the most important truths I’ve learned in the whole 22 years I’ve been here. This is a revelation that I believe is a foundational truth when it comes to our life in Christ. This lesson has to do with our death in Christ and that death being a historical fact, an event that has already happened.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. – Romans 6:3-11

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

Today I just want to leave you with these bits of scripture, they are very big contributions to this conversation on our death and life in Christ and how that is a historical fact, an event that has already happened. I’m going to continue Wednesday and go into what I have learned with other brothers and sisters concerning these verses and this very subject. In the meantime, please consider these excerpts from Paul’s letters and go read them in the full context that they were written in. Also feel free to share your thoughts on this subject and what you’ve learned on your journey.

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My experience reading The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee

So this is the first blog I’ve posted since last week, and it’s a
short one. However, this post will be leading right into the blog that I will be writing tomorrow.

This is not a full book review. It is simply a brief synopsis of my experience with this book.

A couple years ago a friend told me about this little book called The Normal Christian Life by a man named Watchman Nee. I found things that my friend was saying to be very interesting, much deeper than things I’ve read and teachings I had heard in the past. After a short time I went to a local bookstore to find this book that seemed to have so much truth in it. Sure enough the bookstore had it, and it was even really cheap. So I started reading The Normal Christian Life for the very first time. I was amazed at how difficult it was for me to understand what Watchman Nee was talking about. I’ve never had to read a book so slow, read such small pieces at a time or re-read so many pages and chapters, every page was like a new revelation. I carried this book with me everywhere I went for about a year. If I had my Bible with me, sure enough that little book was with me as well. So after about a year of reading, thinking, meditating and talking about the teachings contained in this book I finished reading it, and have since then read various sections of it over and over. When I step back and look at the truths contained in The Normal Christian Life I realize that they are basic Christian truths, at least they should be. Points such as our death in Christ, our new life in Him and the fact that we can’t please God so we should stop trying should all be very elementary in the Church, but yet I had a hard time understanding them at first, even after growing up around Christianity nearly my entire life. The Normal Christian Life is a book that I recommend to every Christ follower, no matter their background, doctrines, church practice, age or even their denomination.

I’m telling you all of this because I be posting another blog tomorrow about one of the truths I learned from reading this book that completely changed my life and view on a lot of things. It was a truth that set me on a long journey which I am still on. What I’m going to share tomorrow is something that I believe should be one of the foundational pieces of truth for beginning this lifelong journey toward Christ and in Christ. I suspect that tomorrow’s post will be pretty long, longer than usual, so please feel free print it out and continue reading or simply keep coming back to pick up where you left off. I won’t be posting any other blogs after tomorrow’s until next week.

Discerning God’s Will

I was thinking over lunch and somehow starting thinking about figuring out God’s will, whether it be big or everyday decisions in life. Looking back, I can remember times where I prayed something along the lines of “God, open the doors you want open and close the doors you want closed..”, and after praying this prayer I decided that any door or opportunity that opened up must be from God and therefore His will for me, after all I prayed for Him to close the doors that He wanted closed. But looking back, it seems that this prayer doesn’t quite line up with scripture…

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. -Romans 12:2

According to Paul in his letter to the Romans, we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and because of that we will be able to discern what God’s will is. We’re not going to have to discern between an open and a closed door…because the only thing available is the open door. Just because an opportunity arises doesn’t mean it’s God’s will. We have to allow Christ in us to direct us to the right decision that is pleasing to Him, we’re not just puppets that are blindly walking a path, we’re part of Christ’s family, we’re the temple of the living and active God, the Spirit reveals the things of God to us and reveals His will to us and then guides through it. He shows us where we need to go and what we need to do. God still allows us to have free will, but we then have to decide to and remember to abide in Christ.

God gives us choices and shows us the right one.

I would love to hear your experiences you had in discerning God’s will in your life.