Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I am Christ

I know, I know. It's been months since I've posted anything, and the first thing I post sounds extremely boastful at first take. Please don't assume I'm having delusions of grandeur. Before you call the psych ward, I assure you, the opposite is true. It is only with utmost humility that I can make any such claim, as "I am Christ", because inherit in the claim is the acknowledgement that I am dead. It's only through Christ that I can claim Him and that He is remaking me to the point that only He is left. I am by no means saying that I am perfected yet. He is definitely still working on me. But after this morning, which is really the culmination of Christ's work in my life up to this point, I can see how more and more of me has died every day, and how more and more of me continues to die, and I couldn't be happier about it.
This morning I began reading a new (to me) book, Victorious Faith, by Rev. Richard Wurmbrand. He originally wrote the book in 1974, but thanks to the Kindle revolution, I was able to obtain an updated copy for $1.00 from Amazon, and so far the book has been well worth the investment. Rev. Wurmbrand was a pastor in Romania when the Communist Revolution made its way into that nation. He refused to swear loyalty to the communist regime and instead declared that he would give glory to Christ alone on Romanian national television. A couple of years later he was arrested and imprisoned. He suffered a total of 14 years in the communist prison. It’s amazing that he survived those torturous years, but God had another purpose for His suffering other than martyrdom. In 1964 Rev. Wurmbrand was granted amnesty and ransomed out of Romania for $10,000. He eventually came to the United States. He testified before Congress about the horrors he witnessed and the tortures he received, even removing his shirt to bear witness with the scars he bore on his abused body. He went on to establish Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) which endeavors to connect Western Christians with their fellow brothers and sisters who are living under persecution. VOM educates Westerners and ministers to the persecuted and their families. You can learn more about Rev. Wurmbrand and how to help our persecuted family at www.persecution.com. You can even order a free copy of Tortured for Christ. Rev. Wurmbrand passed away at the age of 91 in 2001 after a remarkable life as a good and faithful servant. He walked in love and forgiveness, even for those that had tortured him. He definitely was someone who could write a book called Victorious Faith with complete integrity.[i]
I didn’t get very far into Victorious Faith this morning. I was a couple of pages in and I started to get confused. This is what I read:
A great confusion of spheres has taken place. The sphere of grammar and the sphere of religion are different from each other. Every pupil in school, who, when asked to conjugate a verb, replies that God is love and that whosoever believes in Him is born of God, will get a bad mark, even if the teacher is religious. Religion has no place in an examination on grammar.
But neither has grammar any say in religion. In the sphere of practical life we have to conjugate verbs, and for this we need personal pronouns. We have to distinguish between properties: between my house, my book, my wife, and that belonging to another. And so we have to use “I,” “you,” and “he.” But please leave pronouns in the realm of grammar, to which they belong; do not introduce them into religion![ii]

I was thinking, “Why is he talking about grammar?” He went on to say:
When Jesus Christ met Saul of Tarsus, a great persecutor of the Christians, on the road to Damascus, He asked him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4). Saul could have answered truthfully, “I never persecuted You. I persecuted Your disciples.” But those who belong to Jesus form the very body of Christ. Jesus feels Himself persecuted as often as His disciple is hurt; He weeps with every disciple who weeps, He rejoices with every disciple who rejoices.[iii]

Those last two sentences caught my attention. I even highlighted them, but I hadn’t really experienced any revelation yet.
Jesus says that at the last judgment the wicked will hear the reproach, “I have been hungry, sick, or in prison and you did not visit Me.” And He then explains that as often as one of His little brethren suffered hardships, it was He Himself who passed through suffering.
The Lord Jesus is our leader in religion. But He might not pass an examination in grammar because He uses interchangeably the personal pronouns “he” and “I.”[iv]

“Huh?” I thought. “Back to grammar again?” Clearly I wasn’t getting it. Then in the next section he said:
Two thousand years ago Jesus said, “I am the truth.” And for 2,000 years this assertion of His has been falsified and quoted as meaning that Jesus said, “He is the truth.” But He never said that He is the truth. He said, “I am the truth.” If you make Him a “he,” even with a capital H, you have lost the truth.[v]

Here was another interesting thought, but the revelation didn’t strike until I got to the last few paragraphs of that section. He said:
Jesus never wished to be “he.” As a condition for His being the truth, He must always remain an “I.” I am the truth, not He is the truth. If I wish to have the truth and to be the truth, Jesus must be for me an “I.”
 It is not true that He must become an I. He is an I. Luther says, “The Christian is Christ.” This is a fact, though you may not realize it yet. When my eyes are opened, I say with the apostle Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Then I become sure of my own thoughts.
Men of God have always thought like this.
Luther wrote, “I have to distinguish between myself and my calling. I consider myself as the smallest. But my calling is untouchable …Nobody should have a high opinion of his own person, but everyone should mightily praise his calling to the glory of God.”[vi]

That’s when the light bulb finally illuminated in my reluctant mind. After I read that (a few times) I got stuck. I couldn’t go any further this morning. I was driven to the Word and driven to write. The following is what God said through my fingers this morning. It may seem startling at first. I have to admit I was startled by it, but the more God brought scripture after scripture to mind and further enlightened me the more I began to see the necessity of it and the truth of it since there is nothing good we can do apart from God. At first it may seem theologically incorrect, but please bear with me and read to the end:

I am Christ. He is me. We are one. I am literally a part of His body. I am the physical embodiment of Christ on the earth. Just as my finger is me—is part of me. It has no identity, no purpose apart from me. But neither can it be said to belong to someone else, even should it be could off, it is still mine. I will never be cut off because Christ will present to Himself a Bride that is whole and spotless. I abide in Christ and He abides in me. I was crucified with Him and now I am dead and He was resurrected in me. It is no longer I who live, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME! The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son, walking in the Spirit. I am dead to sin. I can no longer fulfill the desires of the flesh. I adhere to Christ, rely on Him, and completely trust His life in me. It is He who strengthens me, quickening my body to perform with His mighty power. I have the mind of Christ. His mind possesses mine. My thoughts are taken captive and made obedient to Christ. He dwells deep within my heart, indwelling my innermost being, my very personality. He has overtaken me. I am rooted deep in love and founded on it securely. He empowers me to understand His love, to experience its height and width and length and depth by letting Him love me, by loving Him, and by loving others. As I love others I come to know and practically experience His love. I love because He loves me. HE LOVES ME! There are no longer any barriers to His love in my life—not suffering, affliction or tribulation, nor calamity or distress, nor persecution, hunger, destitution, peril, or conflict, nor death or life, angels or principalities, nor things impending or threatening or things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation—not even myself. I am completely surrendered to Him—every organ, every membrane, every tissue, every cell, every particle of every cell. My whole being is filled with the fullness of God, every electron charged with the power of His Spirit. I have the richest measure of His divine presence. I am a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself! I am no longer my own. I have been bought with a price, sold to the Highest Bidder. He possesses every part of me. I am His to do with as He pleases. He does with me as He sees fit. I am not separate from Him, but I am one with Him. Where I go, He goes with me, whether to the highest of highs or the lowest of lows, to the uttermost parts of the sea, or the furthest corners of the earth, whether in dark or light He is with me because I am Him and He is me.
In the past I misunderstood. I mistreated God's precious gift, seeing it as something less than it is. I saw Christ as separate from me, and held back parts of myself. I did not let His Lordship rule every area of my life. I did not live fully surrendered to Him, did not fully comprehend the implications of my salvation, the all-encompassing nature of it. Through my own destructive hands I have been guilty of treating His most precious, gracious gift as something of minor importance, defeating its purpose in my life. I will no longer set aside and invalidate and frustrate the grace of God in my life. I am a new creation, engrafted in Him. Those sinful, self-serving things which were once a part of me are no more. They have dried up and died, pruned off and carried away to be burned, destroyed forever. I have been purified by His blood, and now His life has become superimposed on mine. Each day I am transformed anew, His image becoming sharper and clearer in me, through me. When people look at me, they see through me straight to Christ. I become less and less as He becomes more and more. I must diminish so that there is nothing of me to color and obscure the view of Christ. I have become welded to Him—each cell has melded with His until my beginning and my ending are in Him. There is no me without Christ. I am completely and utterly lost in Him, lost to the World. I am His and His alone. When He moves, I move. When He hurts, I hurt. When He rejoices, I rejoice. When He gives, I give. When He loves, I love. I am helpless to stop it because I am more than just His representative—I am Him. To the people around me, I am Christ in the world. This is the reason I am here. This is my purpose. I live for one thing, and for that alone—to join in unity with my fellow members of Christ’s beautiful body to bring glory to Christ and His Kingdom. Let it be so!

(The following are the scriptures referenced, all from the Amplified Version:  Eph. 5:25-33, Rom. 12:5, 1 Cor. 12:12-27, Jn. 15:4-12, Gal 2:20, Gal 5:16, Rom 6:11, Rom. 8:11, Eph. 3:16-19, Phil. 3:14, I Cor. 2:16, II Cor. 10:5, I Jn. 4:19, Rom. 8:35, 38-39, I Cor 6:19-20, I Cor 7:23, Ps. 139:7-13, Gal 2:21, II Cor. 5:15, 17, Heb 12:1-2, Phil. 3:7-14, Rom. 12:1, Rev. 7:14, Gen. 1:26-27, Jn. 3:30, Rom. 12:15, Ps 133.)

[ii] Wurmbrand, Richard (2011-04-11). Victorious Faith (Kindle Locations 42-48). Living Sacrifice Book Company. Kindle Edition.
[iii] Ibid. Kindle Locations 48-51.
[iv] Ibid. Kindle Locations 51-55.
[v] Ibid. Kindle Locations 57-60.
[vi] Ibid. Kindle Locations 64-70.