Should We Imitate Paul as he Imitates Christ?
Is it that we live by the life of Christ or do we live by a life that Christ has transformed or is transforming?
Or, is it that as we live by the life of Christ within us our mind and bodies our transfigured/transformed into temples of God ~ Earthen vessels equipped, filled and baptized into Christ to express the righteousness and will of God on earth.
Either Christ is our Righteousness or we will attempt to achieve, through the supposed help of Christ, a righteousness that I contribute to.
Spiritual Complacency ~ a self or fleshly-satisfaction/righteousness that is accompanied by unawareness (i.e. spiritual blindness and deafness) of actual dangers or deficiencies found in our own righteousness and not that of Christ alone.
Imitating Christ is not necessarily the expression of the life of Christ!
When Paul writes the saints in Corinth and says: 1 Cor.11:1Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
He is writing to a Church struggling with which life to live by. One is a life of laws, eat this, don’t eat that. Touch this, don’t touch that. Paul writes to these saints pleading with them and says:
1Cor.10:15-17; I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.
Instead of a dualistic view of the world of good and evil Paul asks them to look at the One life in Christ we celebrate. In other words Paul is saying: we no longer partake from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil we partake of the One tree of life. The tree of life is not a new law but a new life and in his attempt to communicate this reality Paul says to these saints:
1Cor.10:23-24; 31-33 – All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor…..Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.
Paul’s desire is to see and live by the One life that is. Not taking offense by taking a side as the life of good and evil does. Paul calls for these saints to stand with Him in that One life as Jesus did when he was in the flesh on earth. Jesus said to his disciples:
John 14:7-10 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
When Paul says: “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” He is not asking these saints to copy certain actions or even thoughts such as what is good and evil. Paul is asking the people to imitate him by living by the indwelling life of Christ like Paul does and like Jesus lived by the indwelling life of his Father.
Paul goes onto to talk about a mystery:
1 Corinthians 15:50-53 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Paul here is first declaring the fact that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom and not a kingdom of the flesh (that which is corruptible) the way Israel was. Paul then goes on to refer to two specific events the first one and only one I would like to look at here is “corruptible must put on incorruption” Paul refers to this particular action in a least two of his others letters where he says:
Gal.3:24-28 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
In Paul’s first letter ever written he wrote to the Galatians much like the Corinthians and says “you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Like Corinth he talks about not living under the law but in Christ – which he calls clothing yourself with Christ. It is this Christ who Peter describes in the same words saying calling him the incoruptible seed 1 Peter 1:23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, Paul again talks about this incorruptible seed or life within us in his letter to the Romans –
Rom.14:11-14 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
Paul here refers to this salvation or incorruptible life as “put on the armor of light” and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”. When Paul says awake from sleep that our salvation is here he is through the spirit retelling the parable Jesus spoke about the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins (Matt.25:1-13). In this parable told by Jesus the “putting on of Christ” is illustrated by those having enough oil. In the story Salvation came not to all the virgins with oil but those with enough oil.
Our flesh can never have enough oil to live the Life of God only the Life of God can live the Life of God the law has proven this.
The question for us today is can we lay down our own individual lives our own individual pride and be imitators of Paul and live by the life of Christ within us
not of a righteousness of our own but one that is found only through Christ who has made himself one with me living through me.
The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is like the understanding that all immortals know in the story of the Highlander ~ There can be only One!
This entry was posted on September 9, 2010 by Eclectic Mind. It was filed under Bible, Bible Contradictions, Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings .