“Notice that the apostle doesn’t say that Christ is important to him. He says that “to live is Christ.” Paul is not trying to give Christ a proper place among other things. Instead, he is recognizing the fact that Christ is everything to him. We may nod our heads in agreement, saying, “Yes, Christ is everything to me.” But do we grasp the truth that Christ resides just beneath our humanity? That he is actually fused to our own person? Here Paul captures our attention with some radical statements:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
“Paul claims that he participated in a crucifixion of sorts, and as a result Christ now lives in him. Many people make this claim out to be either symbolic if true or insane and untrue. But to claim anything short of this is to adopt a partial gospel. The very core of the New is that through Christ we receive what we lost through Adam, namely, the literal presence of the divine.
“This is real Christianity. A promise of heaven is not restoration of life. Studying a book written by God himself is still not restoration of life. Attending weekly gatherings in a building is not restoration of life. Even changing one’s behavior in dramatic ways is not restoration of life. Of course, these things may result from restoration of life. But they’re certainly not the means to life, nor are they a confirmation of the experience of life. Restoration of life occurs when God himself, through the person of Christ, resides within us.
“Anything short of this is weak religiosity.”—The Naked Gospel, page 189
Yes! Real-life Christianity today! Not just in the future, but now! Life that is alive and moment-by-moment dependence on Christ via the Holy Spirit. No more partial gospel (Debbie calls it a decapitated gospel), but full restoration in Christ.