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Dead already [repost]

"You need to repent"
- sure

"You must put that practice to death"
- true

"You must die"
- more like it

"You have been crucified with Christ, the world is crucified to you and you to the world."
- now you're cooking with Holy Ghost power.


Meditating on Galatians 6:14 this morning I reckon we need to be much more radical in our language about 'sanctification'. Even talking about 'mortification' can get us off the hook if we imagine ourselves as some tutting fashionista putting off the old man like a bad suit. It is a bad suit. But it's also me. Taking it off is like flesh peeling from bones. It's me that has to die not simply some habit or attitude.

But then I'm reminded - I'm already dead. I'm already crucified with Jesus. From baptism onwards I've been united with Him in His death. I'm carrying my cross daily - it's Christ's gift to me, releasing me from every worldly claim. I owe this world exactly what a corpse owes it - jack squat.

Realising this again is repentance (change of mind). I am realigned with reality - living is dying; dying is living. But when united with Jesus it's always a fruitful death - pruned branches bearing fruit for God.

You're dead already.  That's the very essence of your life.


18 thoughts on “Dead already [repost]

  1. theoldadam

    God bless you, Glen!

    Most Christians have a lot of trouble with this theology. They will always bring a 'yeah but'.

    You have put it out there boldly. it's not about what you do...or don't's about what Christ has done for you. And in our Baptisms, He has put us to death (Romans 6).


  2. John B

    Lord have mercy on "most" of us Christians, who are truly clueless.
    Thanks be to God for those few enlightened ones in our midst, who, with the illumination of your Spirit, "boldly" go where "most" men haven't gone before. AMEN!

  3. Ephrem Hagos

    The uniqueness of CHRIST'S DEATH ON THE CROSS, "opening a new way, a living way into the Most Holy Place" (Heb. 10: 19-25), is the means by which the world and the believer are dead to each other.

  4. theoldadam

    If not this theology, then one ends up with an theology of internalizing.

    This theology places the external Word at the center.

    That's what we need. When our Lord commanded the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, He knew full well where internalizing all of this would lead us....right back into the problem...ourselves.

  5. John B

    Hi theoldadam,

    Since there is no internalizing to be allowed, I wonder, in this theology that you mention, what is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian?

    In the Farewell Discourse, Jesus promised his disciples that the Spirit of truth "shall be in you". And in Romans 8, three times Paul expresses the thought that the Spirit "dwells in" Christians.

    Christians by definition recognize the centrality of Jesus, the Word of God. Does your theology include the work of the Holy Spirit within the heart, so that the Word and the Spirit work together?

    For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. (1 Thessalonians 1:5a)

  6. theoldadam

    John B.,

    "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion..."

    The Holy Spirit call us, gathers us, enlightens us, and sanctifies us in true faith.

    What else is left?

    The Word is the Spirit and the Spirit is the Word.

  7. Ephrem Hagos

    Hi theoldadam,

    The "external Word" (in ink) and the physical sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion exist only in the vernacular of the clergy but neither in the terms and seal of the "new covenant" nor, of course, in our Lord's commandments.

  8. Ephrem Hagos

    Hi theoldadam,

    The missing link is the SOURCE OF THE SPIRIT, a.k.a., Christ's death on the cross. This is our only means for knowledge of Jesus Christ's divinity (at the expense of his humanity) and for testing all spirits. (1 John 4: 1-6)

  9. John B

    Hi theoldadam,

    You asked: What else is left?
    Behold, He makes all things new.

    So in this theology, would you say that the Spirit is a mode of the Word? Is unity the same as identity? Can the presence of the Word/Spirit be internal, or is it external only? If internal presence is allowed, is this only possible through sacraments?

  10. theoldadam


    Christ commanded both Baptism, and The Lord's Supper.

    He never commanded us to do anything where He would not be present in it...for us.

  11. theoldadam

    John B.,

    I do believe that the Sacraments are God's gift to us (the external Word) so that we would not have to internalize and spiritualize everything. There's bno assurance in all of that.

    And I do believe in the Trinity. How it all works together (other than it does), I'm not so adept (now, anyway) at explaining.

    Thanks, friend.

  12. John B

    Hi theoldadam,

    We're in luck! This is Trinity Month at the Theology Network!

    I'd say that the sacraments are not so much the gifts themselves, but are rather more like the gift wrapping. In baptism the Holy Spirit is received, through faith, providing access to the risen and ascended Christ. In the Lord's Supper Christ sends His Spirit, who descends upon the bread and wine in the gathered community of the baptized, and by these means sanctifies and brings them into mystical union with Jesus, who is seated at the Father's right hand.

    "Lift up your hearts."
    "We lift them up unto the Lord."

  13. Steve Martin

    John B.,

    I think we are getting closer!

    For us Lutherans, when Christ says "this IS my body...this IS my blood...given for you" is more than the wrapper...but is the gift itself...not an abstract...but reality...the cross...right there for you. It brings the actual event to the another actual event where Christ gives you.

    Thanks, John.

  14. Steve Martin

    By the way, John, for some reason when I make my comments they come up as theoldadam...and sometimes they come up as Steve. I'm not trying to deceive...I'm just not too good with computers.

  15. John B

    Hi Steve,

    Speaking as a former Lutheran myself, I don't think that your view on the sacraments is widely held within Lutheranism. Yes, they have a very distinctive sacramentology. But ELCA has eucharistic fellowship with several non-Lutheran church bodies. And even the Missouri Synod doesn't require such a restrictive view as you've stated here. When Melancthon spoke about "bread-worship", I think that it's this kind of thing that he must of had in mind. I can't see a clear distinction between what you've described and the Tridentine mass.

    Obviously, I'm not disputing your experience within Lutheranism. Just comparing notes, as I think that there can be wide variations from place to place.

    Do you find the Lutheran doctrine of the ubiquity of Christ's humanity clearly stated in scripture? Do you think that Jesus ever spoke metaphorically or parabolically? When Paul writes so often in his epistles about the church being the body of Christ, would you say that he's speaking abstractly?

  16. Steve Martin

    John B.,

    We have an open communion practice in our congregation. All Baptized Christians who believe Christ to be present in the meal, are welcome.

    Of course Jesus spoke metaphorically, but in this case He was holding the bread and wine and said , "This IS my body...this IS my blood..."

    He also said that if you do not eat his body and drink his blood, "then you have no life in you."

    Jesus commanded these acts. I personally do not believe that Jesus was into empty religious ritualism.

    Here's a fairly short, albeit excellent class on the external Word (and the Sacraments) which will probably explain things a bit better than I have done:

    Thank you, John B..

  17. John B

    Hi Steve,

    I'll definitely check out the class to which you linked.

    I'm so glad that your congregation practices open communion.

    The closing off of communion to the baptized was my biggest stumbling block.

    Shalom, brother.

    "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him."

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