Becoming Christians, we are crucified with Christ, so to speak. As Paul describes it, the thing that is put to death is our “old self.” The “body of sin” is killed, resulting in the situation that we are no longer “enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6).
In the widest sense, the words “people of God” apply to every person created by God. But in the Scriptures, the phrase often refers to a subset of the human race: a group with a special relationship due to having been redeemed by God (Hebrews 4:8,9).
The Christian truly has “been brought from death to life” (Romans 6:13). And there is a wonderful irony in this. It was, after all, by dying that Jesus “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).
As long as we believe that we’re doing all right — and that any remaining problems are within the power of science and psychology to solve — we will cut ourselves off from the highest of all joys: reconciliation with the God who created us.
I know of no part of the plan of salvation that is any harder than this. It is gut-wrenching. But look at the doors that are opened. Humbled, we are ready to come to the foot of Jesus’ cross and say, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).
However unlikely, implausible, or even impossible it may seem, the gospel story must be judged on the basis of the evidence. So if our sense of likelihood tells us that “nothing good can come out of Nazareth,” the gospel simply says, “Come and see.”
“All we want in Christ, we shall find in Christ. If we want little, we shall find little. If we want much, we shall find much; but if, in utter helplessness, we cast our all on Christ, he will be to us the whole treasury of God” (Henry Whipple).
It takes a person of uncommon honesty to say simply, “What is the truth? That’s what I want, period.” But that is the very essence of faith and humility, the willingness to trust God and lean upon His wisdom when what He wants is not what we prefer.
Given our tendency to drift away from Christ, our only hope is in our willingness to be warned. Christ loves us too much not to call us back to the right way, but His call will not help us if we don’t see that it applies to us very personally.
It is from the bondage of untruth that Jesus wants to liberate us (John 8:32), and if we don’t let Him set us free from the untruth in our own hearts, it won’t matter whether our political situation in this world is one of freedom or slavery.