alien righteousness

Conflicted People – Denying Ourselves

“Christians should be some of the most conflicted people in the world. It is far simpler to be dead to God and to live for oneself. But Christians must struggle against their selfish ambition because they are alive to God in Christ Jesus, and the indwelling Spirit turns on the lights to enable them to see their sin. The old Adam in us thinks we’re crazy. Thinking more highly of others than you do yourself is not the way the world thinks. Follow that logic and you’ll be left in the dust, he counsels. Love is fine in the abstract, but how can you love someone without doing some sort of cost-benefit analysis? There is a calculus here: you have to balance community and autonomy. But both of these ideals are motivated by the selfish horizon of this present age.” – Michael Horton in Ordinary 

“See to follow Jesus is to deny ourselves. It’s to be like him and his life. See, if Christianity does anything to our lives it only makes it harder or more difficult. Consider what being united to Christ does not do: Christ grace does not make us richer. Doesn’t make us immune to cancer. Christ doesn’t turn on all the lights green for us when we drive. Doesn’t lower our taxes or doesn’t make everything fun and pleasurable. This is hardly the case. If anything, it is unbelievers who have these in a greater abundance. For to be successful in business you don’t need Scripture, Christ or the Gospel; all you need is the light of nature and wisdom. See the Gospel is not given to us to make us more prosperous or healthy in this life. Indeed, what does being joined to Christ do for us presently? It awakens our conscience. It makes us deeply aware of our sin and misery. Christ moves us to a daily struggle with sin. The Spirit works in us to restrain our sinful desires. To pull back from excess, to seek God’s will over our own. Now, this is not found in unbelievers. They suppress all of this in unrighteousness. Denying themselves to follow Christ is not apart of their lives. But, for us in Christ our life is a picking up of a cross. The struggle within us between the old man and the new man is tiresome, it’s difficult; nothing is more arduous, trying to mortify the old man of sin for there is a piece of us that must go with that old man; that’s not easy to let go of.”  -Zach Keele, 1 Corinthians 15: 12-19

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