Death to Self (II Corinthians 5:14-15)
II Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
From the time of his conversion, Paul no longer lived unto himself but unto Him who died for him and rose again. In essence, Paul is saying that Christ’s dying for Christians obligates them to live for Him and for His people. This is the consistent teaching of the Scriptures (Romans 6:11, 13, 18; 14:9; Titus 2:14; I Peter 2:24; 3:18; 4:1-3). Those who live their life unto themselves are not displaying Christlikeness; but those who live their life unto Christ are manifesting Christlikeness. Living our life unto Christ is the only proof that we are a Christian. When Paul contemplated Christ’s great love for him, love expressed in His dying in his stead, he felt morally constrained to make the will of Christ the rule of his life and the glory of Christ the goal of his life.
Paul expressed his motive for dedicated ministry. Christ’s love for Paul was reflected in his love for Christ. It compelled him to continue. Paul identified his driving motive and core value in his life and ministry, both deeply rooted in Christ and the Bible. Because Jesus Christ died for us, we ought not therefore live unto ourselves, but unto Him which died for us. The doctrine of the substitutionary death of Christ must stir total dedication to Him in day-to-day living. Love for Christ ought to constrain us to serve Him. Christ’s love constrains us that we should no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died for us. The believer’s new life is characterized as a life purposefully devoted to the One who died and rose on our behalf. May we follow in His steps.
Peter Cameron Scott was a gifted young singer whose dream was to be a famous. He was on the steps of an audition when he faced the crucial decision of his life. Would he seek a life of self-glory and applause under the spotlight of the entertainment world, or would he dedicate his life to God’s service? The decision was final. He chose to serve God. He recruited others to join him in the cause of reaching Africa with the gospel. With seven others, including his brother and sister, Peter went to Africa in October, 1895. Peter’s brother died from the harsh conditions. Peter built his brother’s coffin and dug the grave himself. In his first year’s report, four stations had opened, educational and medical programs had been set up, and linguistic training was successful. Just 14 months after this optimistic report, Scott, age 29, fell ill and died in December, 1896. Soon after, workers died and many others had to give up for health reasons. The area became known as “the white man’s graveyard.” By the summer of 1899, only one missionary remained on the field. More missionaries died than people became Christians during those first years. But other missionaries came, packing their belongings in coffins. The Africans were amazed by their determination. They said, “Surely only a message of great importance would inspire such actions!” In 1971, the Africa Inland Mission became the Africa Inland Church, numbering about one and a half million.
Dedicated service touches every area of our lives. Whether it be full-time service, secular work, or volunteer service, all should be done to the glory of God, with efficiency and fervency. Paul was gripped by a great God. God's grip moves us to live our lives for the Lord and not ourselves. Paul said the love of God constrained him. The love of Jesus Christ motivated and controlled Paul's life to share with others the Gospel. The overpowering love of Christ was demonstrated when He died on the cross for us.
Stephen F. Olford, “You can never be devoted without being dynamic. You will never be dynamic without being determined.” Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” When a man asked George Müller the secret of his service, Müller responded, “There was a day when I died, utterly died; died to George Muller, his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends; and since then I have studied to show myself approved only to God.”
Points to Ponder:
Questions to Consider:
PRAYER: Lord, my love for You is not as strong as I would like it to be, but my desire is to present my body to be a a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You. May every area of my life bring pleasure to You. Help me to surrender my will to Yours. Help me to step out in faith moment by moment as I surrender my life to You. Father, take my life I pray, and use it as You will. I choose today to surrender my all to You. In Jesus Name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.