Life after slavery.
Life after slavery could never have been easy for any freed slave regardless of when and where your enslavement took place.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:1-11)
What does it mean to be saved by the life of Christ?
The life of Christ was never an easy one. From a very young age, he was rejected by those who once showed great admiration of him, the religious establishment. His own brothers despised him on some occasions. Though, that’s nothing new if you’ve ever had siblings.
If there ever was anything that drew people to Christ, it wasn’t that he was a handsome man. The Spirit made sure to remind us of that fact in Isaiah chapter 53, verse 2. It wasn’t that he was well-known in the academic world. John covered that fact in his gospel, chapter 7, verse 15.
Christ was not a wealthy man where many could come to him for loans.
Until we hit the point of the resurrection, there was nothing yet beautiful about the life of Christ. He made many miracles to draw glory to God. It may seem great when the blind is granted sight, the lame walks, the dead rises, the leprous made clean. But at the end of the day, everyone goes home to return to their earthly family and leave you by yourself. That, in itself, may seem very depressing.
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” (John 16:32)
Why is the Christian life so hard? People are mean to you. People are jealous of you. People don’t want to associate with you. Well, from the start, the life of Christ was never easy. The same reason that it was with Christ is the same reason that it is with you. People struggle to control you. They couldn’t control Christ. Likewise, they find it quite a challenge to control you.
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – Jesus said to Nicodemus (John 3:8)
The life of Christ was never easy, even following the resurrection. How do you advocate for someone whom you cannot yet see eye to eye, face to face?
The peace that we have in Christ is not the assurance that we won’t get in a car accidence when we get on the road. The peace that we have in Christ is not the assurance that we won’t lose our job. The peace that we have in Christ is not the assurance that nobody will mistake you for someone that you’re not.
The peace that we have in Christ is not the assurance that we won’t bang our knee against the table while trying to climb it. The peace that we have in Christ is not the assurance that we won’t hit our toe against the leg of the bed while trying to make it. The peace that we have in Christ is not the assurance that we will not suffer in the process of trying to do good. That’s not the peace that we have in Christ.
The peace that we have in Christ is not the assurance that our loved ones won’t pass away anytime soon.
The peace that we have in Christ is the assurance of knowing that, whatever the situation, God is using it to help us grow spiritually.
Maybe we believed that a college education would secure us a job. Maybe we believed that marriage would bring us so much happiness. Maybe we believed that having children would settle our hearts. Maybe we believed that changing job would bring us much needed peace.
Yet, as we struggle to make our dreams come true, we find Christ being right in every aspect and every way.
Saved by the life of Christ. That’s a great statement and reality. Saved by the life of Christ. This means that when you see this world through Christ’s eyes, you are very much saved from all the false expectations and assumptions.
Yet, we wake up every day hoping the world to be different, hoping for the world to have changed. We check and listen to the news. It’s always more scandals after scandals. Any notion of happiness is always short-lived.
The life of Christ remains.
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17)
Which is better? To know the truth and rest? Or to ignore the truth and thus suffer disappointments day after day?
When we stop hoping on the world and start hoping in Christ for the things that are ours because of his death, his burial, and his resurrection, that’s when we start living the life of Christ. Because even as Christ received his last blow of suffering in this world, his eyes were on seeing himself sitting on the right side of his Father again.
When I look at each of my struggles, my first reaction is, “I’ve got to be able to do something about this.” Fast-forwarding, I’m reminded that definitely, it is not I but God who can and will do something about it.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
What kind of things does God give? God doesn’t answer our prayers by feeding into our expectations. Instead, God turns our problems into no problems at all. In doing so, we’re released from anxiety to again rejoice in his peace, his working of every situation, every challenge, every difficult moment to our benefit.
God wants us to live, to rejoice, to love. And as we’re weak, He always intercedes to make our problems no problems at all. Because of the resurrection, death is not a problem at all.
As Jesus said to John in Revelations, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:18). God surely makes our problems no problems at all.