Old Life now Dead

EFFECTS OF THE CROSS 4 of 7

Gal 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Yesterday as we were considering ‘life’, we said that before we came to Christ we were ‘dead’. Remember that these are just word descriptions trying to describe reality. Now we consider a description that exactly reverses the language: we were alive but now we are dead. What this refers to, of course, is our old life, the life that we lived before we came to Christ. This verse speaks about our old “sinful nature”, while older versions used to refer to “the flesh”, both meaning the old godless, self-centred, unrighteous life-style we used to live before we came to God.

Paul further describes that lifestyle in Eph 2:1-4 that is characterised by transgressions (careless wrongs) and sins (wilful wrongs), following Satan into disobedience, and being motivated by sensual desires and self-centred thoughts. That sounds pretty awful doesn’t it? But that’s the truth of the old lives we lived.

But then we heard the truth that Jesus had died to take our punishment for all that and we repented and turned to God. So, says Paul, using the language of Calvary, it’s like we have crucified or put to death that old life and so it is completely gone. The verses before and after this one are all about life being led by the Holy Spirit. So what is Paul saying to us? Our lives should be characterised now by the fruit or characteristics of the Holy Spirit (v.22,23) and we should be led by the Holy Spirit, instead of being led by our self-centred desires that used to drive us. This is the life that the work of Jesus on the Cross has opened up for us.

Instead of being pushed around by selfishness and desire, we can now be gently led by the quiet prompting of God through His Spirit, which is a far less stressful way of life. In that old life we used to get stressed and upset with people and circumstances, when they didn’t conform to our self-centred desires. We used to find ourselves getting angry with people because they clashed with our wants. We became impatient with people who weren’t moving fast enough for us. It was a life that was pressed in all directions by our own inner unmet needs and the conflicting needs of other people. It was a life of continual struggle and battle. It was tiring, wearing and exhausting. But we were in control! What a mess.

But we’ve put that all to death. Have we? Or has Satan been trying to resurrect that old life in you? Are you still doing those ‘old’ things? If you are it means that somewhere along the line you have taken back that surrender you made when you first came to Christ, when you totally surrendered all the past, your failures, your struggles and so on. At that point you died to your old life. Have you allowed Satan to resurrect some of those things in you again? If so, it’s time to come back to Him in total surrender. There’s a Life to be lived, but you can’t live it if the past is still rearing its ugly head!

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