If we die - we will live. If we don't give up - we will rule. If we deny - we will be denied. If we struggle being faithful - his faithfulness is everlasting. This is a lot to take in, but it is worth us considering today - for deep within this message are truths by which we can anchor our lives! The first is that of death bringing life. At first, this seems a little counter-intuitive. It is! There are not a lot of things within God's kingdom which are actually "intuitive" - many of the concepts he teaches are a little harder for us to grasp, but they are truth nonetheless. I struggled with some of those math equations in advanced algebra, but it didn't make them any less true. If I solved for "x" as the "rules" of mathematics guided me, I'd be sure to get the right answer. If I went my own way to solve for "x", it was a hit and miss that I'd arrive at the correct answer - most of the time I did not! What and who we choose to put our faith in determines the outcome of all of "life's equations". Death brings life (equation number one) - there is no other solution to our sinful state than to bring it to death! We can try to "solve" our sinful nature a whole lot of other ways, but the only solution which actually is reliable time and time again is to die to sin! We die to sin by placing our lives in Christ's control - allowing his life to be born within us until it transforms us into a new creation.
Here is a true message: “If we died with Christ, we will live with him. If we don’t give up, we will rule with him. If we deny that we know him, he will deny that he knows us. If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful. Christ cannot deny who he is.” (2 Timothy 2:11-13 CEV)
So, if we want to truly live, we must die. If we persevere in this walk with Jesus, we will rule with him. This is equation number two: Perseverance + Christ's life within = ruling and reigning with Christ Jesus. It is very easy to give up - it takes much determination and commitment to stick with something even when you don't see the results you had hoped for. Not everything in God's economy is instantaneous. In fact, the only thing I know to be instant in God's economy is our salvation - the moment we confess Jesus as Lord and request him to take over the control of our lives, our sins are forgiven, once and for all time. Instantly! It doesn't mean we won't come back to God on occasion with issues - because we still have this self-will to contend with. God doesn't take away our will at the point of our salvation - so salvation is also a long-term experience (Perseverance + Christ within). We take steps toward fully living the experience of Christ's righteousness within by taking steps to deny our self-directed will control of our decisions! When Christ is in control of our steps, they are ordered by a power unlike any other - the authority to overcome sin's pull and temptation's lure.
Equation number three: Our denial of him ≠ his watchfulness and care over us. Even when we deny truth, it doesn't make truth less true. God is watchful over his children, even when they have a tendency to deny his care by doing their own thing. It goes without saying - we can be obstinate at times. We can turn our backs on what we know to be true, all in the name of convenience, compromise, or apathy. Our denial doesn't make truth null and void in our lives - truth resides in us because Christ resides in us. Yet, we can reject grace repeatedly, leaving us at the mercy of our own self-will. This is a dangerous place to be in life, my friends. Nothing is more dangerous than to live outside of God's grace - nothing!
This leads us to equation number four: Our faithfulness < God's faithfulness. The truth is, we cannot be all that faithful in our own efforts and we will slip up from time to time. It is a "given" in this life - because we have this "will" thing to contend with. We will choose to do things absolutely outside of the plan God has for our lives, but even in our lack of faithfulness, God cannot be proven unfaithful. You see, it is impossible for God to be anything he is not. God is faithful, even when we fail. He is there with grace - time and time again. He is faithful to forgive us our sins and to restore us to a place of right-standing in his presence. God's capacity to extend grace exceeds our capability of failure! Get that one through your head, friends. God's grace is inexhaustible. Our right action may wane from time to time, but his graciousness toward us never wanes.
We may not see the full value in the grace we have received, but if we appreciate even a tenth of it, we are on the road to understanding the truth of God's love. We may not fully commit and stick with our commitments, wavering from time to time because obedience is not as "convenient" as compromise, but God's commitment toward us remains. His love reaches beyond our sin - this is the final "solution" to the equation of life. Our sin might seem to outweigh his grace at times, but think again - for God's Son resides within and where his Spirit is, there is life! Just sayin!