The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Have you ever spent time thinking about how this verse applies to every confessing believer? Have you ever thought about how this verse applies to you?
When Jesus calls someone to salvation, He calls them to die to themselves, to die to the world, to die to all things that would interfere with their relationship and service to Him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor, theologian and author of the 1930's and 40's wrote in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, "When Christ calls a man He bids him come and die." Dietrich understood this all to well. He struggled with the decision of leaving Germany during the rise of the Nazi party or stay and risk loosing his life for his conviction to the word of God and Christ his Lord.
Bonhoeffer fled to America, but only after 26 days he returned to Germany to fulfill the calling of Christ upon his life. He knew that his return to Germany meant almost certain death, but knowing that he had already died in Christ, and now lives for Christ, gave him an unwavering conviction to go wherever his Lord sent him. Dietrich would eventually be taken into custody and dragged off to the concentration camps where he would eventually be hung until dead. Yet, in spite of all Dietrich's struggles, Christ would use him in a powerful way.
While in the concentration camps, Dietrich would share the gospel of Jesus with his fellow prisoners and encourage them through the Scriptures as they faced their difficult captivity. Dietrich could have had it easy, he was offered an opportunity to be a professor of Theology in the United States and if he had taken it, would have escaped certain persecution and death. He could have lived to a ripe old age. But he chose the path less taken. He chose the path marred with pain and suffering. He chose the way of the cross!
Dietrich Bonhoeffer died on April 9th 1945 at 39 years of age. Some say this was a tragic ending to an other wise promising life. Others would say that Dietrich was cut down before he could do anything substantial with his life. But the truth is that Dietrich fulfilled his call in this life and was then take home to be with the object of his adoration and motivation, the Lord Jesus Christ. Dietrich stayed faithful to his calling. He did the hard things that most people would run from. Dietrich did all of this because he knew that when he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior, it was no longer he who lived, but Christ who lived in him.
This 19th century pastor, theologian and author died in 1945 but for the past 73 years has been more alive than anyone walking the earth today, because he has been in the eternally blessed presence the the Lord Jesus Christ. So I ask you, who are you living for? Are you living for the here and now? Or, are you living for Christ, for eternity? If Christ has called you He has called to to die to the world and live for Him. He may not ask to you give up your life as a martyr, but He most certainly calls you to carry your cross and follow Him.
Being crucified with Christ is not easy and you may find yourself scorned by the world, but know this; there is an eternal rewards that is laid up for every faith follower of Jesus Christ. So, fight the good fight, finish the race well. And when Jesus calls you home, you will receive the crown of righteousness and you will hear the words, "well done, my good and faithful servant."