“… it is no longer I who live …”
Skjulte Skatter, published in February 1963
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Think of the miracle that must have occurred for someone to be able to make such a statement while he is still here in this world!
How can I continue to sin when it is no longer I who is living? How can I get angry, offended, bitter, discontented, unthankful, bear a grudge against someone, steal, lie, become anxious, be vain and fond of finery; how can I argue, quarrel, be discouraged, feel that my honor has been touched, love the honor of man, be proud or love money, or boast about myself if it is no longer I who live? Can you tell me that?
How can anyone who has completely ceased to live for himself do harm? A person sins as long as he himself is alive! How can I demand anything for myself when I no longer live?
If I do not want to forsake everything and die with Christ, then I am bound to continue to commit sin. “Whoever has been born of God does not sin,” is the same as “he cannot sin” because he died with Christ, because it is no longer he who lives. (1 John 3:9.)
How I can stop loving when Christ lives in me? (Galatians 2:20.) How can I commit unrighteous deeds when Christ lives in me? Christ and conscious sin cannot dwell in me simultaneously. If Christ is within me, then sin is outside my heart. If sin is within my heart, then Christ is on the outside. This is precisely why He can stand outside the door of the heart of converted people and knock, as we read in Revelation 3:20.
Unfortunately, most of them continue to live for themselves, because it is a well-known fact that the vast majority of people can commit all kinds of sins over and over again, even some of the basest sins, such as lying or bearing a grudge against someone!
How can I continue to defend myself and my possessions and justify myself, when I am dead? How can I be selfish when it is no longer I who live? How can I have a living interest in all sorts of things around the house, in clothes and nice colors, when I am dead? And what interest can a dead person have in what other people say about him or think about him??? Can you tell me that?
How much pain can it cause me when someone cheats me in earthly matters if I am dead to them? And how much does a dead person rejoice if payments in his name keep coming in? Can you answer me that?
No one can rightly say that he does not have any self-will left, but by God’s grace it can become like this, that it appears as if he does not have a self-will left. How can I love the things of this world if I am dead to them?
There is a song that contains these words, “My will no more,” i.e., it is no longer I who live. Is this true in your life? It is not so uncommon for people to want quite a few things!!!
A dead person, someone who is no longer alive, has nothing more to lose because he has in fact left everything behind; he has passed away. However, someone who is alive has much to protect. He may suffer many misfortunes and much loss, as well as considerable afflictions from his fellow men. But these afflictions are not the death of him, as people quite often maintain. He still has the opportunity to lay down his life of his own free will.
Then this great wonder, or miracle, will occur, namely, that he will be rid of all his unnecessary grief and pains! This is amazing! Thus everything becomes only gain, every little bit of it.
“That we, having died …” 1 Peter 2:24. “We who died …” Romans 6:2. If we have died with Christ, why then should we consider ourselves “as though living in the world”? (Colossians 2:20.) Have you ever heard such a thing?
Now we must ask this question: What must first happen so we can truly achieve this indescribably glorious state? Two things:
1) We must truly want to die to everything of ourselves and of our own, and
2) We need to have a living, personally appropriated faith that we have died with Christ when He died on the cross of Calvary.
If #1 is our desire, it enables us to believe. When we believe #2, it becomes reality.