This assurance now allows us to face our own moral and intellectual limitations. We no longer have to be consumed with our personal justifications. We can fight to win hearts not arguments. Because we have the life and peace of Christ, our mind can now rest. It can stop running desperately toward self-righteousness. It can actually be quite humble and open minded. Our minds can be renewed in love. The love of “to live is Christ.”
Because of “to live is Christ,” the force of condemnation – excusing and accusing – is no longer at work in our conscience. Now our conscience is guided by the love of Christ. And the more we allow the gospel to overwhelm our hearts, the more we can listen to our conscience, and follow it into the battle for the hearts of others.
“To live is Christ” allows us to take a deeply honest look at our own wretchedness as law keepers and then place our hope in the one who will deliver us from the body of death.
“To live is Christ” puts us in a position to let the law do its work; the work of driving us to the cross. Now we can learn to rely on the indwelling life of Christ and the fulfilled law in us. And who knows, we might even have a few moments where, by grace through faith, we actually do what we love – delight in God and love others.
The law can reveal my holy God and my unholy self, but only the cross can crucify the flesh and only the resurrection can quicken the life of Christ in me (and it already has). This is the gospel. This is the new way of the Spirit. This is “to live is Christ.”
“To live is Christ” is to be so enthralled with Christ that all obedience flows from this new affection. Not law. Just love. Love that comes from knowing that we are loved first and forever.