April 4th, 2024

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

We have just come off the spiritual highs of celebrating the cross at Good Friday and the triumph of Resurrection Sunday. Now that it's over, I believe we ought to be pondering the question, "what now?". What is it that follows Easter weekend? Should my life be any different? Our passage today enlightens us toward what is next for the Christian.

Immediately, our minds are fixated upon that initial phrase of verse 14. The love of Christ is compelling us. It is not simply in singing about Christ's love nor sitting under a sermon that we find any real transformation to our lives. It is the magnificent love of the Lord, Jesus Christ that ought to compel us toward this kind of change. Perhaps you may envision this reality from the perspective of your own lives. Whenever we love someone, we are surely compelled to act upon that love. In fact, the term "compel" used in this verse means to be completely gripped, incarcerated, held in custody or constrained by some outside force. The love that Christ has displayed for us has now in a sense physically and spiritually seized us, and is now dominating our lives.

It is interesting to consider this reality. For many of us, we are tempted to be dominated by a world of outside forces that essentially control our drives and behaviours. We may be wanting to please a certain person and so we do whatever it takes to gain their attention and approval. We may be driven by a sense of perfectionism and so we are constantly working over-time to show ourselves perfect in every scenario. We could be anxious about not living up to the standards of our work environment or family members and so we put forth extreme amounts of effort to conform ourselves to the preferred desires of others. Or, we may simply be compelled by our own identity crisis by trying to become something we in fact, are not. In whichever case you find yourself in today, the Bible is offering a freeing reminder to this type of chaotic slavery.

Paul is specifically reminding you today that you have died to these ways of this world and to the inner working of your own flesh (Ephesians 2:1-2). You once were compelled by these forces that made you spiritually dead but because of Christ, you were made alive (Romans 6:11). In this sense, you no longer are living a life of a slow decay until death. You are born again and now live a resurrected life in the person of Jesus Christ. There is no more enslavement to the world and its requirements. There is no more bondage to your sinful desires that captured and dominated you. The chains have been released and you now walk with a completely new sense of freedom and power. If this is our position in Christ, why should we be burdened again by the yoke of slavery? (Galatians 5:1).

Paul makes it abundantly clear that we are to never again live for ourselves or any other person for that matter. The life we now live, we live by faith in the son of God who loved us and gave Himself for our sake (Galatians 2:20). I pray we do not return to our homes, our work places or our daily routines with this sense slavery; as if God has imposed a labour-some weight upon our shoulders. To do this is to completely disconnect yourself from the resurrection of Jesus. If we are raised to life with Him, then each day is the opportunity to rejoice in that reality. Each new day is given that we live full of joy because our names are written in the book of life (Luke 10:20). Every moment is to be filled with a surge of gratitude that every sin is cast into the sea of forgetfulness never again to condemn us to shame and death. Christ has won all of that for you.

I pray that today you do not walk away from the resurrection of Christ with hopelessness and discouragement. If Christ has risen, so are you. And if Christ is risen, then every new tomorrow shines infinitely more brighter than our yesterday. I am reminded of that old hymn that every so often compels us to live the resurrected life. May you rejoice in these words today:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,

Because He lives, all fear is gone;

Because I know, He holds the future,

And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

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