The Next Enemy


    "When Jesus had therefore received the vinegar He said, 'It is finished." John 19:30  Much quoted, but little experienced.  We may know that He spoke it on the cross, but how many of us have ever understood or walked in the power of those words?  "It is finished."  Commenting on this scripture, Watchman Nee said, "The Christian faith begins not with a big DO but with a big DONE."  Somehow, we struggle to grasp this.  We always think that there must be something yet to do, something we have to do to make this complete.  To make it true.  Until we "do it," somehow, the the power of His death on the cross and resurrection to life seems to have little effect.  It's not finished, not for us.  So we go on, always feeling we have to try harder, work more, find out what's missing in our "puzzle" and then if we add enough missing pieces, then finally, it will be finished in us.  We live by the "DO," not by the "DONE!"
     Yet, it is not only in our captivity to performance that we fall short in our understanding, but we also fail to grasp the endless limits of His finished work upon the cross.  We read and hear much about His abundant life and that it is available to all, yet so few of us seem to live that life. Oftentimes it seems that death is more at work in us than His life.  We exist more often than live, and at the seeming mercy of all the "enemies" we fear.  Anxiety and worry.  Stress.  The Unknown future, the oppressive past, and the overwhelming circumstances of the present.  When the Lord pronounced upon the cross that it was finished, He meant that through His death and sure resurrection, the power of all of these, and any other "enemy" that might arise was finally, completely, and irrevocably broken.  Forever.  In Christ, their power over us is finished.  Do our day to day experiences in Him reflect that truth, or, do we still strive to find a way to make it so in our lives.  Do we keep trying to "get" to the finished work of Christ, or do we simply "receive" it?
     Another beautiful scripture is found in Paul's words in I Corinthians 15:25-26, "For Christ must reign until He has humbled all His enemies beneath His feet.  And the last enemy to be destroyed is death."  Christ does reign.  He has humbled all His enemies.  Death has been conquered and destroyed.  These are truths in Him.  Are they truths in us?  The greatest enemy of our souls is death, not just physical, but spiritual.  The cross and resurrection conquered it for all time.  All the lesser enemies of life spring from the great enemy that is death.  Yet, His Word and His Work promise us that they have been conquered.  Destroyed.  Are we living as though they have been?
    I believe that if we can really lay hold of this truth as it also lays hold of us, we'll then enter into the fullness of His finished work.  Paul's letter to the Ephesians lays this out in great detail.  He wrote that "He has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in Christ."  Finished.  Done.  Is it so for you and I?  Or, are we still living in the "Do?"
    I go back to I Corinthians 15.  The greatest enemy, death has been conquered.  Therefore, so has every lesser enemy of our souls and lives.  As we journey through this temporary realm, we'll not lack for enemies, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They'll come at us in seemingly unending forms.  Each one has already been conquered in Him.  It only remains for us to receive the victory.  As they appear, we receive the fullness of His resurrection life and overcome them, one after the other.  In this life, there will always be a "next enemy" on the horizon, but through the cross and His resurrection, they are already a defeated enemy.  Can we receive that?  Can we live that?  Will we move through life as "more than conquerors," or as "survivalists," just hoping to somehow make it through?  The next enemy has already been destroyed.  Can we receive that?  Can we live in that today?

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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