How NOW shall we live?
Every morning a new headline to break our heart, sear our conscience, convulse our emotions, and threaten our sense of safety and sanity. It feels increasingly as if the world upended – and there are those declaring with certainty that the End is near. How now shall we live this moment, this day?
- This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it – on this day and every day.
- This is the day the Lord has deigned for us to live and He has prepared in advance good works for us to do. We will lead a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called on this day and every day.
- This is the not how the story ends. God has not only set eternity in our hearts, He has redeemed us. We are justified – and because we are justified, as Paul says in Romans 5, we have a living hope now and the hope of glory to come.
It is literally all about perspective. You can see the cancer or the coronavirus or the crisis or the court date or the chaos in cities or the collapse of systems or the national decadence…and you can despair, curse God and die (1000 deaths every day – the death of your joy, the death of your hope, the death of your love, the death of your peace – death by a 1000 ways the Enemy steals and destroys all before you finally die) or you can live as Christ.
To live as Christ is to live in the world but not of it. Do you have God’s perspective on life and your life? History and this day in it? The things of the earth and the people who dwell therein? The Gospel arc and the Redemptive narrative spanning all times, places and people? God’s sovereignty and His grace?
To live as Christ is to have a heart and mind set on things above, all the while walking and serving and loving precious broken people. Things were bad in the days of Noah, things were bad in the days of the Judges, things were bad in Egypt under the Pharoahs, things were bad for people enslaved then, those enslaved 400 years ago and those enslaved today. People have been conceiving of evil and new ways of committing it since the moment the world fell into sin in the very first generation. We have been at this a long time. There is nothing new under the sun, except that its new for us because are the days in which we live. Man has been making war – in his spirit, in his mind, in his relationships, with his brother – for eons. And Creation has been paying the price. To live as Christ to see all that for what it is and to see God’s redemptive plan at work in spite of it. God is redeeming for Himself a people in Christ. And you’re either in or you’re out. Halfway, halfhearted, double minded psuedo Christianity is futility and frustration – but many walk in it.
To live as Christ is to know who you are (identity in Christ, adopted into the very heart of God, co-heir with Christ of all that Jesus has coming to Him), whose you are (a saint, belonging to God), and what in the world you’re in the world to do (purpose in Christ, a living demonstration of the Kingdom, Agent of grace, minister of reconciliation, Ambassador of the King and the Kingdom).
If you haven’t spent time in Romans 5 lately, let me invite to get into this chapter of the Word of God before you take one more step into the world that God so loves.
Romans 5:1-11 reads (linger on each phrase and then re-read and ponder the passage in its entirety. And if you don’t know what it means to be justified by faith, go back and re-read the first four chapters of Romans or send me an email claberge@reconnectwithCarmen.com and I’d be delighted to share with you):
since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith
into this grace in which we stand,
and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not put us to shame, because
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
How NOW shall we live? As Paul did, in Christ, for Christ, with a perspective radically and thoroughly changed by the reality of justification through Christ. The world lives at emnity with God. We do not. We live at peace with God. We live as those reconciled to God. We live as those who know the hope set before us. We live as Spirit filled Ambassadors LOVED by God. We live as those who are LOVED!
We see everything differently in light of the reality of Christ. And we have the opportunity on this particular dark day to be the people of His light.