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IN TOUCH WITH GOD   by Edward Heppenstall

Fellowship With God FEBRUARY 26


I am crucified with Christ. Gal. 2:20.

This is one of the most revolutionary aspects of the Christian life. The apostle Paul speaks quite often of our dying with Christ. Unfortunately this Christian teaching and procedure of being crucified with Christ has been wrongly interpreted, to mean man's rejection and despising of himself, the downgrading of that which pertains to man's innate value and worth. Such a belief is anti-Christian. It has often led to lack of self-respect and failed to do justice to the individual.

In the Philippines, once a year a small group of people known its flagellants cut their backs with sharp glass, mutilate themselves, flail themselves with rods and whips while making their pilgrimage along the streets to the church before crowds of people. Some carry large wooden crosses. This is all for the purpose of mortifying themselves and doing penance for past sins. But this is not what Paul had in mind. One does not solve the sin problem by punishing or degrading oneself.

Christ commanded us, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matt. 22:39). We are to love ourselves as God loves us. We are to value ourselves as God does. The Christian faith places supreme value upon us as persons. It emphasizes our worth to God and to our fellow men. Therefore, there must be no exploitation of man. Christians are to reject all that produces a sense of worthlessness as contrary to God's loving concern for us.

Paul admonishes each of us "not to think of himself more highly than he ought." Therefore to love oneself in the proper way is not the same as selfishness. In other words, God wants us to see our condition and our potentials as He sees them. The Christian faith affirms our integrity and value as persons. What then is meant by our being crucified with Christ? For one thing, death is the sentence God passes upon sin that destroys us as individuals. Sin is the most deadly poison ever to invade our world and our lives. Therefore God seeks to bring about the end of sin. We are to die to sin itself. Sin in all its forms is not something to be trifled with.

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