Vanquished By Christ’s Love
Upon close examination there is only one way to explain the dramatic changes and resultant attitudes and motivations of the Jewish rabbi, Saul of Tarsus. He set out to bring to trial all who opposed the Sanhedrin’s view of Judaism. He ended up defeated on a dusty road in the middle of a desert.
He was a vanquished man. He was in his own words, “a servant of Christ Jesus . . . and set apart for the gospel of God.” The most powerful, transforming force in his life was an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
He was in love with the risen Lord Jesus Christ whom he had met on the road to Damascus. That changed him – utterly. No longer was he striving to please God and earn salvation by striving to do good works. He was now resting in the finished saving work of God in Christ on the cross.
Paul wrote, “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).
Martin Luther had no peace with God even though he desperately wanted to please God. The harder Martin worked at earning peace with God, the more elusive that sense of acceptance became for him. He actually came to the place where he hated God because of the impossible standards he thought God imposed on sinful depraved man. This was caused by the poisoned doctrine of the Catholic Seminary where he began his religious studies.
One day while Martin Luther was studying Romans 1:16-17, God spoke to him with the deep convicting truth of His Word. “The righteous person will live by faith.” God opened his eyes to see, the righteousness he so longed to have cannot be earned, merited, or gained by man’s virtue, but is a righteousness of God, freely given to all who will by faith receive it.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17).
We do not have any righteousness of our own to bring to God because we are bankrupt sinners. We receive God’s righteousness, not through any works of our own, but by faith alone in the finished work of Christ.
When we put our faith in Christ, we take God at His word and believe what He says about us and His saving grace in Christ.
Luther said, “I had no love for that holy and just God who punished sinners. I was filled with secret anger against Him. I hated Him. . . . But when I learned how the justification of the sinner proceeds from the free mercy of our Lord through faith, then I felt born again like a new man.”
Luther, like Paul, discovered that Christianity is Jesus Christ.
Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ? Does He occupy your thoughts? Is He the center of your attention? Do you speak often of Him?
Do you love Jesus? Do you love Him with all your heart? Do you love Him with all your being? There is nothing like being conquered by His love. It lifts you out of the “shallow and selfish, constantly shifting ebbs and flows of cultural sands” in our day. May our very person, like the “man in Christ,” be filled with more and more of Him “who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20) because “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:20).
Paul was in love with Christ, and that is the only way you can explain him. He had been conquered and captivated by the living Lord Jesus Christ. I believe with all my heart that when He has conquered our hearts, we will love Him the same way and then and only then will our contemporaries say of us, There is a man, or there is one in Christ.
Published using notes from www.abideinchrist.com 4.15.2018