The Obedience of Christ

In my last post I suggested that a greater understanding of Jesus on the cross is possible when we see Jesus, like us, fully man.  When we see His weaknesses were like ours, when we see His vulnerability to temptation was like ours, when we see His human nature had to be like ours for the Bible to be true, we then see how incredibly impossible it would be for a “mere man” to go to the cross for all of mankind.  So what made it possible for Jesus to live the sinless life, to do it all for us, to love us unconditionally in the process?  A surrendered man, filled with the Holy Spirit and completely in the will of His Father.  Of course Jesus was still sinless and divine.  I do not deny His divinity and that He was fully God, too.  Still He emptied Himself to show us how mankind was intended to live this life fully dependent on God our provision (Phil 2:5-9).  He was born without sin and is God incarnate so He is the only one who has ever walked the Earth who could live that kind of surrendered life, no doubt.  Here is the best part.  We are living His life as born again children of God.  Jesus died to give us eternal life, His life!  All that He accomplished prepared Him and qualified Him to stand in for us.  We get to live from His experience, triumphs and victories in confidence.  When we are challenged by temptation, when pride rises up in us, when we have offense for our neighbor, when we just blow up in a moment we can turn to Jesus.  We turn to Him, we surrender our selves, we declare our death, and receive His life.  In that moment we are living His life.  He steps in and makes us successful where we were doomed to fail without His supernatural intervention.  Isn’t that awesome?

OK, with that backdrop let me show you something that is amazing.  Again I have to credit Joseph Prince for the insight.  Check out this verse in the ESV and NIV.

2 Cor 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (ESV)

2 Cor 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (NIV)

I have had some issues with that verse before.  I couldn’t reconcile thoughts and obedience.  Think about it.  How do you control your thoughts?  If I say “don’t you dare think about a purple elephant” I guarantee you are stuck with a purple elephant in your brain.  Try to get rid of it.  Good luck.  Likewise the law is the same idea.  The reason the law doesn’t change us is it is a “ruler” not a potter.  The law shows you your sin but has no power to correct behavior.  The only way to correct behavior is to think rightly since right believing leads to right behavior.  What I mean is only God can change us.  For us to try to change ourselves is just law in a different package.  God did change you when you were born again.  You are now the righteousness of God and you live from that righteousness instead of toward or trying to attain that righteousness.  But all of that is for another post.  Back to this verse.  Check it out in the KJV and the AMP.

2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (KJV)

2 Corinthians 10:5   [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), (AMP)

Can you see how different that is.  I can’t explain why one translation would be one way or another.  I did check it out in the Greek and the KJV is accurate.  Want to know what the obedience of Christ is(was)?  Check this out.

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (KJV)

So I believe that 2 Cor 10:5 is all about bringing any thought we have captive by applying a truth from a proper perspective.  That is the renewing of the mind which is to exchange lies for truth.  That is thinking with the mind of Christ.  When we have a thought which could be from the enemy, from the principality, from our history, from our family, or from our friends, where ever it came from, we should first search out the truth relative to the finished work of Jesus Christ.  For example the enemy says “you need to work harder since you are still such a miserable sinner.”  Your response would be “that is absolutely absurd since Jesus paid it all on the cross, my sins have been removed, I am a saint and not a sinner.”  Another example would be the enemy says “God gave you a sickness to teach you a lesson.”  Again you respond with “Nice try but I know that Jesus accomplished everything on the cross, God can’t be mad at me because He has forgotten my sin and oh by the way ‘by His stripes I am healed’ so take a hike.”  Can you see it?  That is amazing.  We GET TO take captive every thought relative to the finished work of Jesus Christ.

OK just in case you think I am cherry picking here are two other verses I’ll leave you with.  The study of suffering in the context of Grace and Jesus’ finished work is a really good topic which I will go after another time.  But for now check out these verses.

Hebrews 2:9 But we are able to see Jesus, Who was ranked lower than the angels for a little while, crowned with glory and honor because of His having suffered death, in order that by the grace (unmerited favor) of God [to us sinners] He might experience death for every individual person.  10 For it was an act worthy [of God] and fitting [to the divine nature] that He, for Whose sake and by Whom all things have their existence, in bringing many sons into glory, should make the Pioneer of their salvation perfect [should bring to maturity the human experience necessary to be perfectly equipped for His office as High Priest] through suffering. (AMP)

Philippians 3:10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] (AMP)

The “sufferings” that Paul is talking about are His (Jesus’) sufferings which were His denial of self in the face of persecution.  I believe Paul is saying that when he is persecuted or is under attack he grows in surrender to the finished work of Jesus.  Think of a time when someone said something about you or did something to offend you.  Now when you feel that anger rise up inside you and your thoughts are all about “how to get them back” remember Jesus.  Remember what He did.  Remember how He loved them all even when they hated Him.  Remember how He forgave them all while they were killing Him.  Now surrender your anger to HIM!  Jesus has already lived your experience and then some.  You are living His life.  Call on Him to save you again from yourself.  He successfully dealt with what you are feeling.  Let His supernatural power of proven forgiveness come into your situation and heal the hurts.  Let Him speak wisdom about how to forgive.  Let Him guide you in how to deal with your feelings.  That is taking a thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

The Grace of God, Jesus Christ is the center of all things.  We must remember that truth.  If we find ourselves caught in a spiral of self we need to go back to our roots.  Even when you are reading or studying your Bible, remember the same truth applies forward and backwards.  Jesus was crucified before the foundations of the Earth.  That has always been the plan.  Christ in you the hope of Glory was God’s idea before He said “let there be light!”  Take all those thoughts captive to the truth of the finished work of Jesus…the obedience of Christ.

Yay Jesus!


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