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Christ our Life

By Andrew Murray.

 

“Christ who is our life” (Col. 3 v4).

 

          Absolute surrender does not come at once, and if this surrender is to be lived out, it must be by having Christ coming into our life in new power. It is only in Christ that we can draw near to God, and it is only in Christ that God can draw near to us. We need to have Christ as our life. We must let God reveal Christ and take entire possession of us, and then Christ will be able to work through us above all that we ask or think.

          I want to illustrate the great truth, “Christ our life”, with four thoughts. If we want to understand those words, let us consider first, Christ our example, secondly, Christ our propitiation, thirdly, Christ our Saviour from sin, and lastly, Christ our strength and our life.

          If Christ is to be our life we must look in the first place at Christ our example. When I speak of Christ as my life, it must not be a vague indefinite thing. Life always works itself out in conduct and action, and I need to realize that if Christ comes into me as my life it must not only be something hidden in my heart, but something that proves itself in every action and in every moment of my existence. If I want to know how it will show itself, what my thoughts and words and actions and habits will be if I have Christ’s life, I must go to the life of the Lord Jesus upon earth and study that. As I study the life and walk of God’s own beloved Son, I must remember that before God took Him up to heaven God let Him live here upon earth that in His life I might have a picture, a revelation, of what God wants me to be, and is willing to make me. That is the light in which we must study the life of Christ in the Gospels.

          What do I find as I look at Christ? Absolute surrender to God was the very root of Christ’s life. He came as a man, whom God had sent into the world, and as a man who had nothing to do but to fulfill the will of God. He came as a man who had nothing in Himself, but who every day depended upon God and waited for God to teach Him, and to speak words through Him, and to show Him the work He had to do. “The Son can do nothing of Himself.” He lived a life of absolute surrender to God. God’s will, God’s honour, God’s kingdom - He lived and He died for them. He did it, not under strain at certain times, then throwing it off at other times to seek relaxation in something of the world and forgetting to hold communion with God, as many Christians do. Religion to them is a strain, a burden and a duty, and it is so delightful just to relax a little and throw off the strain. But God was Christ’s joy and the fountain of living waters to Him, and it was His delight and strength to live in God and for God. The will of God was His meat, refreshment and strength.

          How am I to live that life? The Father points to the beloved Son and says, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him, follow Him and live like Him, let Christ be the law of your life.” Let us yield our hearts to God, for Him to search us and show us whether the life of Christ has actually been the law that we have taken for the guide of our life. I want to live for God in the way Christ lived. It almost sounds presumptuous. But what does Christ mean when He says, ‘As I, even so you’, ‘as I have loved, even so love one another’, ‘as I kept the commandments of My Father, so, if you keep them you shall abide in My love’? What does the Holy Spirit mean when He says, ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who made Himself of no reputation, but humbled Himself and became obedient unto death’? The mind of Christ must be my mind, my disposition and my life.

          There are many who want eternal life from Christ but who do not want the life here on earth which Christ lived. And there are many believers who have no thought of imitating and following Christ with any measure of exactness. They do not aim to come near to Christ.

          Secondly, if we want to know what “Christ our life” means we must not only look at Christ and His work before us as our example, but Christ as our propitiation. In His life Christ prepared the path in which we are to walk. He left us an example that we should follow in His footsteps. He marked out the road in which we are to move on the way to eternal life. But that was not enough, for we were shut out from that path and that life, by sin and its curse, death. So Christ, after having prepared and marked out the blessed path, went Himself down into suffering and the death of Calvary, giving up His will to God, to death. There He bore our sins and our curse, and the chastisement of our peace was laid upon Him that by His stripes we might be healed. He gave His precious blood, “the blood of the everlasting covenant”, that by it He might gain an entrance for us into the very presence of God. And now Christ is there as our High Priest to apply within our hearts, as a living Saviour, the divine power of that propitiation.

          Whenever we think of drawing near to God, of serving God and of offering ourselves to God, the thought comes, and it is right that we should think in this way, ‘Can I in my sinfulness, with my transgressions and backsliding since I was converted and received Christ, can I with the sinfulness of my nature actually have fellowship with God every day?’ Then the answer comes, ‘We have been brought near by the blood of Jesus’, so ‘having . . . boldness by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near’.  Our worthiness is not in ourselves, nor in the intensity or uprightness of our consecration. Our worthiness is in Christ Jesus. We read in God’s Word that it is the altar that sanctifies the gift, and we know that Christ is not only the Priest and the Victim, “the Lamb that was slain”, but that the living Christ is Himself the Altar. In the Old Testament the altar was to be sanctified by a sevenfold blood sprinkling and after that God said that the altar shall be ‘most holy’ and whatever touches the altar shall be holy. In the New Testament we are taught that the altar sanctifies the gift. Christ is our Altar and if anyone is afraid and is asking, ‘Can God accept me in my feebleness?’, come and be not afraid. Lay yourself upon Christ, the living altar, the everlasting propitiation, who can make you acceptable to God every moment and rest there. Rest upon Him in faith. All unworthy and all feeble though we are, the altar sanctifies the gift and in Jesus, resting on Him, God accepts our feebleness and we are well-pleasing in His sight.

          Seek to maintain this truth, not only as a doctrine for the comfort and salvation of the unconverted, to tell them there is full and immediate pardon, but seek to maintain it as the power of continual access to God. “If we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”. It is in Christ that the door to the heart of the Father is open every moment, it is in the blood of the blessed Lamb of God that every moment the inflowing of the divine life can come into our hearts.

          Thirdly, we do not only have Christ before us as example and propitiation, but we have Christ with us as our Saviour from sin, our friend, leader and guide. Yes, that was the precious promise of our gracious Lord as He left His disciples, “Surely, I am with you always”, and earlier than that He had said, “Where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them”.

          What we need to realize is that Jesus Christ is nearer to us than our nearest earthly friend. If we would but take time to turn our eyes and hearts away from this world and from all the loving faces and friends that surround us, all the joys that attract us, all the love that greets us, and fix them steadfastly, humbly and trustingly on the face and the love and the joy of Jesus, then He is able so to manifest Himself to us that our hearts shall be filled with the fact that Jesus is with us. Can it be that Christ can make His presence as near, as clear and as dear to us as the fellowship of the dearest ones upon earth? Christ can do it, He longs to do it and He is worthy that we should let Him do it.

          Jesus Christ wants to live with us, walk with us, do His blessed work in and for us. He wants to be with us as companion, so that we shall never be alone. There is no trial, no difficulty, no fire, no water through which we have to pass, but in which the promise of Jehovah, “I will be with you”, will not be fulfilled to us in Jesus. No battle that we have to fight with sin or temptation, no feebleness that makes us tremble in the consciousness of what we ourselves are, but it is possible to have Christ at our side every moment. Jesus Christ as leader to show us the way in which to walk. Jesus Christ as companion to comfort us with His presence and make our hearts glad. Jesus Christ as Saviour from sin, in His mighty power watching over us and working in us all God’s good pleasure. Oh that God might show us that the life of absolute surrender is a life that can be lived in Christ Jesus, a life that can be lived because Christ Himself will care for us and watch over us.

          Then comes the last thought, Christ in us as our life and strength. That is the crown of all. Many believers have lived in the experience of Christ with them as guide and helper but have never come to realize what it means to have Christ in us, our very life and strength. This is what Paul tells us is the great gospel mystery, the mystery that was hid from ages and generations but has now been revealed, “the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you”. The riches and glory of our God in heaven are manifest to us in this, God wants us to have Christ, His Son, living in us. Oh, may we come to this, to have our whole life opened up to the indwelling, to the control, to the sanctifying power of Jesus Christ.

          John the Baptist preached that Christ would baptize “with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” This tells me that Jesus Christ is the One from whom the Holy Spirit must flow into us in ever new and larger measure, and if we want the power of God’s Spirit to be revealed it must be from a closer attachment to Christ. A closer union with Him, a larger revelation of Christ dwelling in us. Blessing then must come. Jesus said, “He who believes on Me, out of him shall flow rivers of living water”. This is by faith, by believing that Christ comes and dwells in our heart, and becomes Himself the fountain out of which the Holy Spirit flows. What do we read in the last chapter of the Revelation of St. John? “The angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Yes, the Lamb went and sat down upon the throne of glory and the river of the water of life flowed out. It is the Lamb who must lead us to the fountains of living water which will well up within our hearts so that we shall have power to work. Not the power of reason or the power of human love and zeal, earnestness and diligence, but the power that comes from God.

          Are we ready for that power? Are we ready to surrender ourselves absolutely to God. Can we truly say, ‘Lord, I am utterly given up to You. It is done feebly and tremblingly but, Lord God, it is done. I have received but little of what I know You can give, but as an empty vessel, cleansed and lowly, I place myself at Your feet, day by day and moment by moment, and I wait upon You’? And, child of God, what eye hath not seen nor ear heard, and what men have never been able to conceive, God will do for you as you wait for Him.

          Christ Jesus can do it for us. Christ is our life and He will live in us in the same life that He lived upon earth. Shall we not expect Him to do it in the fulness of His promise? Shall we not come with every sin and every hindrance and every shortcoming and everything that causes self-condemnation and cast it all at His feet, and believe that the blood cleanses and that Jesus gives deliverance? Believe and accept that God Himself will reveal Christ within us in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

From ‘Absolute Surrender’.