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Day 27:Living Daily in Reality: Flashback or Eternal Present?

by Ernest O'Neill

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Why does it seem easier to do wrong than right?   Why does our self-esteem depend more on the approval of other mortal human beings like ourselves rather than on the one really significant other who made us?   Why do our eyes seek the eyes of others to see if they approve of us?   Why are we stimulated to draw attention to ourselves when we see the adulation given to celebrities?   Why do we find it impossible to free ourselves from the lie that changed circumstances will make us happy?   Why do we find it impossible to stop worrying when our bank balance goes down or our house burns down?    Why do we strike out at others if they express dislike of us?  And why do we find it impossible to change these attitudes?

Because we find our natures have become corrupted by this choice we have made – this desire to be independent of our maker by depending on his creation for our needs. Years ago the scholars explained that we were totally depraved – what they meant was that our whole beings and personalities have become corrupted by our life-style.  There is only death – lack of life – outside the one who made us.   When we choose that autonomy or independence – what is called sin – with an “I” right in the middle – we experience all the destruction of death throughout our being. It touches everything and spoils every part of our personalities and life.    Faced with this situation we do what every drowning person does: we struggle to save ourselves from the engulfing egotism. And we struggle with the only thing we have – our own minds and emotions and wills; but the problem is that they are now corrupted and depraved and twisted out of shape by their very activity. So even our minds are impaired just as our emotions are unbalanced and our wills weakened: this is what the Bible means when it states that “the mind of the flesh is enmity against God, it is not subject to his law, neither indeed can it be”.

But we continue to struggle – incorrigibly independent! So we write our “how to” books, we indulge in our own power of positive thinking. We will even use our maker’s son as a stirring example by asking “what would Jesus do”. But in this situation “the struggle nought availeth” – we sink deeper into our egocentricity because our whole being is under the sentence of death that God’s own life exerts against all that opposes what he himself is. It is not his nature that we need – it is him himself; it is not principles that we need but a person – it is not Christian ideas that we need, but Christ himself. God can only replace us with his own son if he first bears all the consequences that follow his giving us free will. He has to face his own rejection by us if he is to give us a real chance to destroy him. This is what happened in the timeless, space-less world of eternity – where it is said that Christ was crucified from before the foundation of the world. In eternity – before time began – our infinite Maker foresaw what we would all do with our free wills -  He foresaw that we would choose to rid ourselves of the only source of our own existence – and He resolved to experience that actual agony himself inside each of us as we had been created inside his only Son.   This is why it is said that “our old self was crucified with him so that we might be no longer enslaved to sin” and our own egocentricity.  Because the perverted egotist that you would become was crucified in that cosmic death that God bore for us so that we would have a choice – the reality of depending on him or the unreality of depending on things and people and circumstances!

So our choice is to continue the death-life of this present world – which is really a flash-back to what life without God is like – although our maker himself has borne its whole life in his own son whom he has put in each one of us.   And because he has borne all of its sin personally he is able to actualize in time what was done in eternity – destroy our corrupted personalities and replace them with his own son’s. Only that exchange between us and his son will deliver us from our perverted lives –  only our maker can remake us – what we need is a total refit – a complete remake.   We will never bring it about by the clever use of our own minds – they are enmity against God – not subject to his law, nor can they be.   Our only hope is that we “have that mind in us that we have in Christ Jesus, who did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men and being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”.  Our release from the entanglements of ourselves can only be wrought by God himself if we accept that all that we are has been destroyed in his son just as we were originally made in him.   Only then are we able to “have that mind in us that we have in Christ Jesus".    And only when we abandon ourselves and accept him as the real owner of this life – only then can this corrupted nature be replaced by the divine one.

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