Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 28, 2018

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” – “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 16:21-28.

“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.  Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord!  This shall never happen to You.”  But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it;  but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.

“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”  Matthew 16:21-28.

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How quickly we forget!  We read today’s Scripture and forget Reformed Doctrine and run to another doctrine that teaches that we can come to Christ through our own denial of self, discipline, and deeds.

Other doctrine teaches us to turn our focus from God to ourselves, to turn our focus from the Spirit to the flesh, turn our focus from God’s will to our will, and to turn our focus from Christ’s cross to our cross.

Let us first remember what we did learn from Reformed Doctrine.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;  and I will raise him up on the last day.”  John 6:44.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”  John 6:37-40.

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing;  the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.  But there are some of you who do not believe.”  For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.  And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”  John 6:63-65.

Then, on that Reformed Doctrine basis, let us proceed and meditate on some things that we can glean from today’s Scripture.

Christ only went to the cross once.  The disciples only followed Christ to the cross once.

Figuratively, we also have only followed Christ to the cross and been crucified in Christ once.

“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all;  but the life that He lives, He lives to God.  Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 6:10-11.

Some of the disciples who also saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom when they saw Christ ascension after His resurrection.  In a partial fulfillment of Christ coming to His kingdom, a taste of what was to come, some disciples also saw the transfiguration of Christ which was reported in the very next chapter.

Through faith by God’s grace, we have come to Christ and seen both the Christ’s transfiguration and Christ’s ascension.  We have seen Christ come in His kingdom, and we are entitled to all the benefits thereof, many of which we currently possess and the rest are reserved in Heaven for us.

Consider what the Heidelberg Catechism states.

Q.  49.  Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension into heaven?
A. First, that He is our advocate in the presence of His Father in heaven;  secondly, that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that He, as the Head, will also take up to Himself, us, His members;  thirdly, that He sends us His Spirit as an earnest, by whose power we seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and not things on earth.

So, here we are.  We live by faith in Christ in what He accomplished on the cross for us and what Christ continues to do for us seated in Heaven.  We do not live by faith in our fleshly ability to deny our self, carry a cross, and follow Christ.

“I have been crucified with Christ;  and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  Galatians 2:20.

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:24.

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”  Colossians 3:2-4.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”  Philippians 3:20-21.

“… Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.  Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Just as it is written,

“FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
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But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:34-38.

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