To Be Like Jesus
Mark 8:31-32 ESV
“And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly.”
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and he is God. He was with God in the beginning, and he is our creator God. Yet, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but he lowered himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (see Php 2:5-11; Jn 1:1-36).
And why did he die on that cross? He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he shed his blood on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would now honor God with our bodies (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20).
By faith in Jesus Christ, we are baptized into Christ, into his death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too may walk in newness of life. Our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, but so we would become slaves of God and of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).
By sending Jesus Christ in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, God the Father condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For if we set our minds on the flesh, it results in death, but to set our minds on the Spirit is life and peace (Rom 8:1-11).
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom 8:12-14).
Therefore, we are to no longer live like we did before we believed in Jesus, IF in fact we believed in him with genuine God-given faith. We are not to give ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. The truth in Jesus is that we are to put off our old self, be renewed in our minds, and put on the new self, created to be like Jesus (Eph 4:17-24).
What are Our Minds Set On?
Mark 8:32-33 ESV
“And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’”
Just prior to this, Peter had boldly and with great confidence declared Jesus to be the Christ, the Messiah, who was to come to be their Savior. But as soon as Jesus began to talk about what that means, and how that was to be realized, that he would be rejected and killed, but that he would rise again, Peter rebuked Jesus, for he wasn’t willing to accept that truth.
But then Jesus rebuked Peter, because Peter wasn’t thinking on the things of God, but on the things of man. His mind was set on earthly things and not on the things of God. Even though he had declared Jesus to be the Christ, as soon as the reality of what that meant was presented to him, he balked at the idea. For, Peter wanted things to continue as they were.
And you know what? Peter wasn’t the only one to do that. For, if we read Romans 8, we learn that those who are living (in practice) according to the flesh have set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are living according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit. The mind set on the flesh is death but a mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.
“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:7-8).
And this is where many people are today who have also professed Jesus to be the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. They like the idea of having their sins forgiven and of spending eternity in heaven, but they balk at the idea of having to die with Christ to their sins and having to walk in obedience to his commands. They want things as they were, too.
As long as the gospel makes no requirements of them, they are good with it. But as soon as anyone talks about forsaking sins (repenting), obeying the Lord, and submitting to the Lordship of Christ then, all of a sudden, they come out with accusations of “works-based salvation,” or “legalism,” or “hyper-religious,” or “self-righteousness.”
For, they don’t want to accept that the gospel isn’t just what Jesus did on that cross, i.e., it isn’t just about him taking on the sins of the world, but it is about why he did it. It is about what is supposed to result from that. And it isn’t just to forgive us our sins so we can escape hell and so we can go to heaven when we die. The Scriptures make that abundantly clear!
Dying with Christ to Sin
Mark 8:34-37 ESV
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?’”
Jesus Christ died on that cross so that we who would come after him would deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and to self), and follow (obey) him. If we don’t, and we choose to hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our old lives for his sake, we will be saved, and we will have eternal life (cf. Lu 9:23-26).
The Great Redeemer
Lyrics by Francis Foster, 1915
Music by Samuel W. Beazley, 1915
How I love the great Redeemer
Who is doing so much for me;
With what joy I tell the story
Of the love that makes men free.
Till my earthly life is ended,
I will send songs above,
Then beside the crystal sea
More and more my soul shall be
Praising Jesus and His love.
He has purchased my redemption,
Rolled my burden of sin away,
And is walking on beside me,
Growing dearer day by day.
That is why I sing His praises,
That is why joy is mine,
That is why forevermore
On the everlasting shore
I shall sing of love divine.
Glory be to Him forever!
Endless praises to Christ the Lamb!
He has filled my life with sunshine,
He has made me what I am.
Oh, that everyone would know Him,
Oh, that all would adore!
Oh, that all would trust the love
Of the mighty Friend above
And be His forevermore.
He is everything to me, to me,
He is everything to me,
And everything shall always be;
I will never cease to raise
A song of gladness in His praise;
Here, and in the world above,
My soul shall sing of saving love;
Life and light and joy is He,
The precious Friend who died for me.
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