As a continuation of our previous thoughts on Coming to the Knowledge of Jesus Christ, we would consider the last part of the Knowledge of our Loving Savior that Paul, his ambassador, highlights in the scripture below:
As we discussed the first two parts in the previous rotulus, (The Power of His Resurrection and The Fellowship of His Sufferings)—a background worth having before reading this rotulus, we will now see what the “Knowledge of the Conformity to His Death” brings.
Recall that ALL the knowledge of Him we have is brought to us by “experiencing“. How then do we experience conformity to His death?
Consider the striking statement Paul made in this verse of the scripture:
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:—2 Corinthians 1:9
To know the Lord Jesus in Conformity to His death requires an act that seemingly is the most difficult for the human flesh to accomplish but the Spirit. And this is the placement of a sentence of death upon not just ourselves as Paul mentions above, but even on everything that we hold in high regard and dear to our heart.
Truthfully, until you place this sentence of death on yourself, your work, your wealth, your children, your enjoyment, family and anything else you hold so dear, you may never walk unencumbered in a devoted life with the Lord who placed a death sentence on everything he could have enjoyed (the kingship of Israel and the fame He was promised) in order to earn you Life.
Recall how The Master said Himself here:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.—Luke 14:26 (NIV)
Devoted My Life To Christ?
It is not uncommon to hear Christians say that they have devoted their lives to Christ. We all at some point have said so. The question, however, is do we truly take to heart the very meaning of this sentence and commitment?
I once listened to a man who was diagnosed with a rare disease to which science had no cure at the time of diagnosis. He got an ultimatum of his survival from the medical professional capped at 1 year from the point of diagnosis. He then went out and says he wanted to devote his life to discovering the cure to his ailment. While awake, asleep, walking and everything in-between daily activities, all he did was centered around discovering the cure to his illness. While at work, his mind is trailed mostly on this new devotion of life he has. He traveled far and wide gathering insights and research works. Why? Because he had devoted the rest of his 1-year life to the discovery of the cure to his illness. That is what devotion is. Now, reason carefully and with understanding, then ask yourself the question over again: Is your Life devoted to Christ?
It is such a weighty thing to reason that conformity to his death requires that we first pass a sentence of death upon ourselves, then everything else we hold so dear, that we may now Live (trust) upon God, who raises from the dead. But as we’ll see further down this rotulus, only one group of people are willing to make such height of denial—The Strivers.
The Strivers & The Seekers
I notice Jesus Christ—our Master, recognizes that there are two groups of people who come to make an attempt at Eternal Life—The seekers and The strivers. Watch how He puts it here:
Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.—Luke 13:24
Let’s define these two keywords here using a dictionary:
Strivers: “To exert much effort or energy; endeavor. To contend“
Seekers: “Attempt or desire to obtain or achieve something”
Why do you go to church every Sunday? You are a Seeker.
Why are you religious? You are a Seeker.
Watch how everyone who engages in any religious activity have the “desire to obtain”. Like the old adage says: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. No man takes his Bible and heads off to church but is truly seeking to enter into Life Eternal. They all are! The question to worry about is: “How many of them are Strivers?” That constitutes the “few” who are willing to place a sentence of death on themselves including all that’s dear to their heart and live upon Christ alone (2 Corinthians 1:9). Those are the ones who have known him in Conformity to His death.
In the church today, seekers constitute the crowd while only a few are strivers—the ones who are willing to pay the price required to squeeze into that strait and hard way. They are willing to place a sentence of death on everything that shares their heart with Jesus Christ—the one who didn’t share His heart with anything else but rather gave an unreserved Love to us.
Coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ in Conformity to His death requires that we also experience what it feels like to love someone with no holdback. What it feels like to put to death everything else that shares our heart and Love him alone, for that was the kind of death he subjected all the pleasures He deserved to, so He could Love us unreservedly.