2.28 We Must Respond to the Cross by Living Like Jesus

2.28 Because of the suffering entailed in the putting to death of our sins by the Lord's cross, we should respond in likewise mortifying them and living like Jesus.


To put it mildly, our experience of His death for us should lead us to be generous spirited in all ways. In appealing for financial generosity to poorer brethren, Paul sought to inspire the Corinthians with the picture of Christ crucified: " For ye know the grace [gift / giving] of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor [Gk. a pauper], that ye through his poverty might be rich" (2 Cor. 8:9). In the light of this, we should not just be generous from the abundance of what we have; we should become as paupers in our giving. By this I don't mean we should get to the position where there are no rich people amongst us- this is clearly not the ecclesial scene imagined in passages like 1 Tim. 6. But the image of the pauper is the one that is impressed upon us. The Lord's giving wasn't financial; it was emotional and spiritual. And so, Paul says, both materially and in these ways, we should likewise respond to our brethren, poorer materially or spiritually than we are. " The very spring of our actions is the love of Christ" (2 Cor. 5:14 Philips; it " urges us on" , NRSV).

Living Like Jesus

By God's grace, the Lord tasted death for (Gk. huper) every man, as our representative: " in tasting death he should stand for all" (NEB). In His death He experienced the essence of the life-struggle and death of every man. The fact the Lord did this for us means that we respond for Him. " To you it is given in the behalf of(Gk. huper) Christ, not only to believe on Him [in theory], but to suffer for his sake (Gk. huper)" (Phil. 1:29). He suffered for us as our representative, and we suffer for Him in response. This was and is the two-way imperative of the fact the Lord was our representative. He died for all that we should die to self and live for Him (2 Cor. 5:14,15). " His own self bare our sins [as our representative] in his own body [note the link " our sins" and " his own body" ] that we being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness" (1 Pet. 2:24,25). We died with Him, there on His cross; and so His resurrection life is now ours. He is totally active for us now; His life now is for us, and as we live His life, we should be 100% for Him in our living. He gave His life for us, and we must lay down our lives for Him (1 Jn. 3:16). There are about 130 reference to being " in Christ" in the NT. But if any man is truly in Christ, he is a new creature, and the old things pass away; it must equally be true that " Christ [is] in you" . If we are in Him, He must be in us, in that we live lives around the principle of " what would Jesus do?" . His spirit becomes ours. Because of the nature and extent of His sufferings and experiences, the Lord is able to meaningfully enter into the human experience of us all. Yet we feel so often helpless as we watch the sufferings of others- as we watch their facial features contort, as we listen to their complaints. We are deeply aware of the huge gulf between us and them. We cannot penetrate their suffering- or so we think. Yet the Lord Jesus, on the basis of the extent of His love and the depth of His experience, can make this penetration. And it is not impossible that we ourselves can do far better than we think in achieving deep solidarity with others in their sufferings.


2 Cor. 5:14-21 urges us to preach the salvation in Christ to all men, because He died for us, as our representative. He died for [the sake of] all (5:14,15), He was made sin for our sake (5:21); and therefore we are ambassadors for [s.w.] His sake (5:20). Because He was our representative, so we must be His representatives in witnessing Him to the world. This is why the preaching of Acts was consistently motivated by the Lord's death and resurrection for the preachers.Phil. 2 draws out the parallel between the Name of Jesus, in which all the names of those in Him find a part, and the need to confess this in preaching. By baptism into the name of Jesus, men confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. There was and is no other name given under Heaven by which men can be saved; " every name" under the whole Heaven must take on the name of Jesus in baptism. This is why Acts associates His exaltation (Acts 2:33; 5:31) and His new name (Acts 2:21,38; 3:6,16; 4:10,12,18,30; 5:40) with an appeal for men and women to be baptized into that Name. Realizing the meaning of the Name of Jesus and the height of His exaltation meant that they realized how " all men" could have their part in a sacrifice which represented " all men" . And thus they were motivated to preach to " all men" . And thus Paul's whole preaching ministry was a bearing of the Name of Jesus before the Gentiles (Acts 9:15).

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