“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
From The Second Half of the Cross
The symbolism of water baptism is perfect for understanding Christian conversion, the second half of the cross, and a biblical journey of faith. The symbolism of water baptism illustrates the fundamental change that occurred when Abraham, the father-of-faith example in the Old Testament, stepped into his calling from God. A person during baptism cannot be lying horizontally under water, and at the same time be standing vertically upright out of the water. A person cannot have their old self-will in control of their lives, and at the same time be walking with God in their new life in Christ. The two opposing things—our old self-in-charge nature that we rejected upon believing and accepting the gospel, and God’s plan and will for our lives, cannot occur at the same time.
In the Old Testament, after Abraham received his calling from God and left Haran to go to the land of Canaan, from that point onward Abraham was no longer completely in control of his life. This is a biblically illustrated example of Abraham stepping down off the throne of self-sovereignty. Abraham cannot stay in Haran and at the same time go to Canaan. Abraham cannot have a “conventional” life in Haran according to all of the local customs, practices, and social expectations there, and also pursue the promise that God would make Abraham the father of a great nation in the land of Canaan. Abraham cannot physically and spiritually be in both places at the same time. Abraham chooses God’s plan and goes to Canaan, and in the process of doing so he also chooses the second half of the cross—the falling away of his old self-will and self-made plans.
Abraham is the first fully illustrated example of the uniquely biblical approach of a person’s free-will purposely choosing the risk inherent in subordinating his self-in-charge nature to the plans of God, based solely upon faith and trust in God’s character. This is the recipe for a successful human life as defined by God through the stories of faith portrayed in the Bible.
Likewise in the Old Testament, after Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt he was no longer in complete control of his life. Joseph cannot be in Potiphar’s house in Egypt being uniquely schooled in business management and leadership according to God’s plan, and at the same time work as a simple shepherd back at home in Canaan in his father Jacob’s house. Moses cannot meet God at the burning bush, and be sent to Egypt to deliver the Israelites, and at the same time continue to live a quiet life as a shepherd in Midian. From the time of the burning bush onward, Moses is no longer in complete control of his life.
When God sends the prophet Samuel to Bethlehem, the city where Jesse lives, to find and anoint a new king for Israel from among the sons of Jesse, David’s father Jesse thinks so little of David the youngest son as a potential candidate for Samuel’s review, that he is left outside to tend the sheep while his older brothers are brought before Samuel. David cannot stay in his father’s house as the youngest, and according to the culture of his day the least valued son, and at the same time grow into the future king of Israel according to God’s unique plan. After David is finally brought before Samuel, and is selected and anointed to become the next king of Israel, from that time onward David was no longer in complete control of his life.
In the examples of the lives of these people of faith, their own normal life-plans and schemes were entirely displaced by the brilliantly imaginative life-plans God had for them. These individual callings of God could not actualize without the second half of the cross, without these people stepping down off the thrones of their lives to make room for God to work. Why is this important? This is important because we need the one true living God to proactively set-up the precise conditions of our lives to lead and guide us into all truth (John 16:13) and thus a true revelation about Himself. This divinely crafted recipe for a godly life translates into our modern world today just as well as it did in biblical times, no matter our current social, economic, geographical, ethnic, or cultural location.
A journey of faith following God converts precepts and concepts into practice in a way that is beyond our human capacity to actualize. A biblical quality journey of faith following Jesus Christ today translates theory into practice through the divine means of God-composed, individualized life-scripts to match each of our unique in-born abilities and our singular purpose in life.
The truth that will make us free (John 8:32-36) is part of God’s gift of eternal salvation that includes a personal relationship and an understanding of Him. This is the living faith that God wants to enact in each of our lives, divinely crafted and fine-tuned according to our God-given, in-built capacities and talents to match the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible.