I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The message of the gospel can’t be understood with our minds alone, there has to be spiritual revelation. The Bible is closed, incomprehensible to the natural mind. At the same time, the Word of God is so simple that a child can grasp it; that is with the help of the grace of God. For example, righteousness is not what we do but ultimately it results in what we do. That sounds like foolishness but is actually the wisdom of God. We are righteous by faith in Christ alone. Good works and a holy life are the fruit of the righteousness that comes by faith. This message was at the heart of the protestant reformation. Martin Luther had a relentless grasp on this message of righteousness that comes by faith. Here is something Luther taught about this precious truth.
“The righteousness Paul is speaking about here is external and comes from Christ living in us. It’s not internal, and it doesn’t come from ourselves. So if we are concerned about Christian righteousness, we must completely set aside the self. If I focus on myself, then I become concerned about works and become subject to the law—whether I intend to or not. Instead, Christ and my conscience must become one so that I see nothing else except the crucified and risen Christ. If I ignore Christ and look only at myself, then I am ruined. Soon I begin thinking, “Christ is in heaven; I am on earth. How can I come to him? I will try to live a holy life and do what the law requires so that I will find eternal life.” If I consider myself—my condition and what I should be doing—then I will always lose sight of Christ. He alone is my righteousness and my life. If I lose him, no one else will be able to help me. Despair and condemnation will certainly follow. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. When facing temptation or death, it’s natural for us to ignore Christ and look at our own lives. So during these struggles of conscience, we must learn to let go of ourselves. We must forget about the law and works. They only drive us to look at ourselves. Instead, we must turn our eyes directly towards Christ, the one nailed to the cross.”
Fixing our eyes upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Looking upon the work of Christ on the cross brings us into this new powerful life. Instead of trying to please God by our works or our knowledge, we accept His gift of righteousness as a gift. Once the righteousness of Christ begins to have its way in us, we begin to actually display the works of God in our lives. Its really quite simple, apart from Him we are nothing and can do nothing. With Him we are accepted in the Beloved and begin to see the works of Christ in and through our lives.