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Week 1 March 2024, Devotion Part 1

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer.  2 Corinthians 5:16

“From now on…” This signals a point of no return, but not necessarily a fixed point in time. As Paul asserted earlier, change comes by degrees. The feet-on-the ground aspect of conversion is a rigorous lifelong process, not a magic leap from repentance to full-blown regeneration. Paradoxically, it may take a New Testament saint years to fully grasp his very personal status as a sinner. Only then does Christ’s atoning blood take on potent life in the believer. Now all lesser loyalties must bleed out. After Paul had crossed this line, the sunshine of public approval gave way to ominous storm clouds. He faced “fears within and fights without.” Prison and death by sword ended his career.

By natural inclination nobody warms up to a God so sternly identified with a crucified Savior-Son. People want to bask in the sunshine of a universally acceptable Force for Good. The cautious might rub on religion to prevent sunburn. The Christ follower considers himself a brand plucked from the fire of God’s consuming holiness. No man is foolish enough to cozy up to the natural sun, although it has no moral agenda. Neither can mortal man blunder into the blazing glory of God, unless Calvary has imputed to him the fundamental nature of His only begotten Son. Such singular “reconciliation” invites rebellion and ridicule. (Part 1 of 2)

Comment:  What does it mean to “regard Christ from a human point of view”?   When we had a swimming pool installed in 1972, I was intrigued by the fact that the water had to be “shocked” periodically.  The weekly chlorination killed harmful bacteria at first, but then lost its grip on its stealth spread.  A hefty dose of Clorox shocked the water back into purity.  How about running into a shocking Gallup pollster?  He is tasked to ask people if they believe in God.  Predictably, a large number answer in the affirmative and most sleep the better for it.  But what if the Christian pollster tosses at night, haunted by the mocking SO WHAT of James 2:19, “You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that – and shudder.”  No, he can’t go around asking people, “Do you believe in the same God that demons believe in?”  But what if some were shocked enough to shudder at their “faithless familiarity” with His Son’s ultimate sacrifice?

When I was afflicted with the torment of ankle ulcers between 2020 and 2022, I regularly described the nerve pain as “excruciating” to the home-health nurses who fully understood.  I shuddered when I learned  that this particular word didn’t exist until the Romans had invented crucifixion. That torturous death was so horrifying that they had to create a new word for it – excruciare in Latin –  meaning “as painful as a crucifixion or from/out of the cross.”   It follows that these lines from “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” are uppermost in my mind today,  “What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend, for this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?  O make me Thine forever, and, should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for Thee.”


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