by Ernest O’Neill
We know that the “old self” was crucified with Christ and we therefore“reckon ourselves dead indeed to sin”. We change our whole way of thinking and “bring very thought into captivity of Jesus Christ” – not by dint of our naked will-power but by an act of faith that we are no longer on our own – apart from Christ, but a bit” of Him. So we are not“conformed to the image of this world but are transformed by the renewal of our minds” as we “have that mind in us that we have in hrist Jesus” and think no more deep-down into ourselves, but allow ourselves to be lifted by Him to “rejoice in the Lord”, his Father as he does. This catapults us ut of the depression of self and into the upper reaches where we “have been raised with Christ and made to sit with him in the heavenly places”. We are catapulted’ by the Holy Spirit – not by our own effort-filled positive thinking, but by the sheer facts of our real existence – that we ourselves no longer exist in our wn skins, but we are part of God’s Son and therefore our situation is his. So our thinking is automatically influenced and governed by the situation in which we ave een placed by “being raised with Christ and set at the right hand of God.
This ends the thinking and calculations of death which governed our minds when we lived in the midst of self and independence of God. There– we had to alculate hat would happen to us if we were left alone when all our friends and relatives died. Indeed they have already died as our friends and relatives for we are first and oremost the brothers and sisters of Christ and the sons and daughters of God – and He will never die or leave us alone. So we “put off the old nature” and its hinking about death, the future, and loneliness. As Christ asked those around him who asked him about his human family – “who are my brothers and sisters but hose who do the will of my Father in heaven”, so we see our attachment to even our relatives as part of the old self that was crucified with Christ – something that o longer belongs to us. A vital part of the new life we have been given in Christ is this new way of thinking – free from the old thinking and calculations of death here we could find our minds invaded by depression and sadness. Just as Adam took the first step away from reality as he allowed his thoughts to wander around he possibility that God had kept something good from him when he commanded him to eat the fruit of every tree but that of the knowledge of good and evil, so weput away like the plague any of the thinking that sprang from our old separation from our Maker.
When we get up in the morning and a little thought of anxiety or sadness about the day pops into our thinking, we “put it far from us” simply because it is not relevant to our situation as children of the loving Father who created and operates the universe. Similarly, we reject any heaviness about our relationships to those we knew as our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, because we know our family is that of Christ and our responsibility to them all is the same. Thus we are saved by Christ’s Spirit from the selfish introspection and false security that we used to get from our dependence on human blood relationships instead of our real and eternal ones. So in Christ we are delivered from all the wrong thinking that used to imprison us – we see it for what it was – part of the “old self” and of that “body of sin and death” that clung so closely. Now, we know it is no mere wandering thought, but the very odor of “death to death” that wants to grapple us
to itself. We look up and “set our minds on things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” and are lifted into those bright, sunlit uplands.