“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised”(2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV).
I think that all of us who are Christians have a pretty good understanding of the fact that “one has died for all.” The scarlet thread of redemption can be seen through scripture from Genesis to Revelation; apart from this truth we cannot obtain the free gift of salvation which is through faith in Christ. For if He did not die for all, then He could hardly have died for you and me two thousand years after the fact.
We believe, and are baptized, buried beneath the waters and raised to new life! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV). We have grasped this, too, at least at a rudimentary level. That we are “new creations” was made clear to us when we first believed and the burden of our sin nature was lifted from off our shoulders.
We tend to lay hold of the easiest concepts in scripture and skim past the difficult or more demanding ones; when we first became Christians this was an acceptable behavior. As an infant receives milk from its mother, we quickly absorbed that which we could receive and digest. “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3a ESV).
We all have busy lives. We have so many things on our minds, and we don’t want our faith to be one more thing with which we must wrestle. Let’s look at the lead verse again.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised”(2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV emphasis mine).
Read it again without the italicized words; they are Milk. By removing them you can more clearly identify the primary message, the Meat. “For the love of Christ controls us…that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” It’s time for me and you to “… leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1 ESV).
I have two grown children. While I wish that I could find my way back in time to love them better and engage with them more fully, I am watching them mature, leaving behind childish things. When they were born, there wasn’t much variety in their diets; they had breast milk or formula. Their bodies weren’t equipped to deal with other foods. They would have choked had we given them solid food. Then slowly but surely we introduced new foods into their diets, beginning with soft, mushy food, until, eventually, their bodies could handle any foods.
It’s the same for us when we receive Jesus as our Savior. We aren’t ready to handle the “solid food” of faith. We need to build a strong foundation on the “elementary doctrine of Christ.” Finding Jesus is tremendously liberating. We are set free from our sin nature; no lounger bound in slavery to the power of sin. But that is just the beginning.
Tomorrow we’ll begin construction on that solid foundation.
**Image from https://alpha.org/