2 Corinthians 5:15-16. he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
How do you see life? Yourself? Others? Jesus?
Based on everything Paul has been saying about eternity, and glory, and new bodies, and living by faith and not by sight, the question for us today is how do we see everything?
Paul used to see the Christ, the Messiah, according to the flesh. The Messiah was supposed to be a political boss, a warrior to overthrow Rome and restore a Jewish empire. But that was not how Paul saw Jesus. Jesus was cursed. He was shamed. He was a dangerous enemy of God. But now Paul regards him thus no longer. He sees Christ as God. He sees him as Lord and Savior.
Union with Christ reorients how you see everything, because it changes how you see Jesus.
If you see Jesus only as a good example to follow, a wise teacher, a guru, a prophet, then you will see yourself and others only in the “flesh.” You will compare, and judge, make excuses, and shame others.
If Jesus is just your example, and not your savior, then you will have to be your own savior. You will have to be other’s savior. If Jesus is just your example, and not your judge, then you will have to be your own judge. You will have to be other people’s judge. To behold such a Jesus will never bring glory, only condemnation. And a lot of stress.
This is actually how many of us Christians are living. We function as Savior and Judge of our own lives and the lives of others. We live for our own good, our own comfort, our own peace, and our own happiness. We feel shame and guilt whenever we fail. We reject grace for ourselves and fail to extend it to others. We judge. Hard. We condemn. We self-justify. Make excuses. Basically we view everything by law not grace.
But, as Paul Barnett says, “in Christ our egocentricity gives way to Christocentricity.”
“To live is Christ” reorients my view of Christ. He is life. He is not simply my example; he is my savior. He doesn’t just display righteousness; he is my righteousness. He is my everything. I depend fully on him for his grace each and every moment of each and every day. And he gives it freely.
“To live is Christ” reorients how you see yourself – that those who live might no longer live for themselves. I have been freed by Christ’s grace – he died for all. That includes me. I have been freed to submit my life in the service of others. This is Christ in me. This is the hope of glory. Glory through love. Love as self-sacrifice.
“To live is Christ” reorients how we see each other – we regard no one according to the flesh. We worship performance. Status. Wealth. Celebrity. Achievement. It’s how we do school. Work. Play. Everything. You are valuable if you can perform. Your worth is in your ability to overcome. To achieve your dreams.
This week the internet exploded when Nike released this new ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick.
Pause: This is not about Colin Kaepernick (I actually saddens my heart that we can’t enter into the pain of our brother). This is not about kneeling or flags or the NFL. This is not about boycotting Nike.
Here’s the problem with the Nike ad: It’s LAW.
“Don’t just be the fastest in your school, be the fastest ever.” “Picture LBJ wearing your jersey.” “You don’t have to be like anybody, to be somebody.”
This is regarding according to the flesh. And Christ takes us beyond this. Nike is leaving no room for grace. For failure. For messiness. Only the religion of performance. Good old fashioned, pull yourself up from your boot straps, justdoitism.
But this is no longer how we are to see each other. Christ allows us to see the value of every person, even when they don’t seem valuable. The slowest on the team. The failed dieter. The dropped pass. The out of tune. The ordinary. The repeated failure. The sinner. You know people like you and me. In Christ we all have the same past, and future. We have the same worth. And we all have the same weakness that needs to be embraced it we are ever going to learn to embrace grace.
You actually DO have to be like somebody to be somebody. His name is Jesus. Thank God there’s “to live is Christ.”
How do you see Jesus? Yourself? Others? Where do you find yourself regarding others according to the flesh? How can union with Christ reorient how you see all of life today?