Christ's Glory, Not Mine

by science fiction author Andrea J. Graham

The Whipping Boy

 

n olden times, the servants who cared for aristocrat’s children wouldn’t dare spank their charges, but couldn’t let it go, so a servant child would be whipped instead. No doubt many an aristocratic child grew up spoiled, knowing they would never be punished. If they had deigned to be friends with such a common child, the young aristocrat might have thought twice and mourned that their friend would take their punishment.Yet the King looked upon this and grieved. For He had come down from His throne and lowered Himself to take the punishment His subjects deserved, setting an example for us all in granting our liberty.

And how many of us today scorn Him as a mere whipping boy? So many today have been deceived into thinking Jesus took the punishment we deserved and freed us from the law of sin, only so we could continue to serve our own sinful desires and somehow stand before a holy God, as if we could be made righteous before God while we yet practice unrighteousness.

Yes, Jesus died for our sins. Yes, it is only by His grace that we can stand before a holy God. But we cannot stand before Him in our current state; we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds, as the scripture says. (Romans 12:2)

We cannot make this transformation happen on our own, any more than scrubbing and mopping my mother’s house will build her a brand new one. The bible does say God imputes righteousness to us, but some of us think this means God, in His love and mercy, will ignore our condition and call us cured. Try that with cancer. Declare a cancer patient cured when the illness abides in them and, without treatment, they will still die.

Sin is like cancer. When we bow to sin and serve our flesh instead of the Spirit, we work death within ourselves. (Romans 6)

Jesus is not a mere whipping boy, as Paul warns in Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Romans 6:7,8)

The Word here is clear. You cannot receive Christ’s gift of salvation and continue to serve yourself. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul put it like this: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (Romans 6:19,20)

If we are in Christ, we must submit to His Lordship and allow Him to birth in us a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), a holy, righteous child of God. Yes, as long as we live in this body of flesh, we will stumble, but we must continue the race, as Paul did: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Indeed, we have not yet apprehended, but we must daily make the choice to die to sin and live in Christ, who enables us to walk in righteousness. And beware, brethren, of the false teachers who shorten Romans 8:1 to “No condemnation” The verse reads in full: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (emphasis mine)

The full scripture then says again, that God is not our whipping boy. If we do not submit to Christ as our Lord, but continue to serve our sinful flesh, we will not grow in Holiness, without which, the Scripture says, no one shall see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

*Scriptures taken from the NKJV