I hope your Christmas was a joyful celebration of Jesus’s birth. To think of God Himself coming to earth knowing He would die for our sins is amazing–and something I can easily take for granted. I must remind myself again and again of the wonder of it. And to concentrate on what He made possible: salvation and freedom from the bondage of sin.
Remember how? By “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14–what we’ve been chatting about for several posts). As I’ve read several commentators, I was directed to some insights about Romans 7:24 which gives us the opposite of what it means to “put on” Jesus: Paul has been talking about the burden of sin and says, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
Some commentators believe that Paul is thinking of an ancient custom whereby some tyrants, like Mezentius (as mentioned in Virgil’s account), bound a dead body to a living man as punishment for murder or other crimes. Eventually, the putrefying body spreads it’s germs onto the living man, killing him. So the living man carried a “body of death” on his back.
Not pretty, is it? And at times, talking about our sinful condition seems extreme and unpleasant–about as pleasant as thinking of a putrefying body. But our sin really is killing us–except that Jesus came! And made possible that you and I can “put on” His glorious being rather than continuing to carry around sin’s putrefying “body of death”.
Why would we not want to surrender all to Jesus? Let’s see. Hmmm. A putrefying body or life-giving Jesus? hmmmm. Why does it even seem like a huge question? Choose life!
Ann Graham Lotz encourages us to do that very thing when she writes in The Magnificent Obsession:
“As I surrender all, God wraps His arms of love around me, fills me with Himself, draws me near to His heart, and holds me close until I can hear His own heartbeat. The warmth of His love and the sweetness of His presence make everythig else fade away. All I care about is Him. And provision is made.
“What is the one thing hindering you from receiving all that God wants to give you? You will have no idea how God will provide for you, or what God will do for you, or the blessings He will pour out upon you, until you lay it down! So…lay it down!”
Amen and Amen! God Himself has come to earth! Thank you, Lord!