The Crimson line in the sand by Deon Crafford
2 Cor 5:16-21 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I recently stumbled onto a sermon by Billy Graham entitled “The high cost of following Christ”. It was at a time, post our celebration of Easter, where I had been contemplating a sermon I shared on the Holy line in the sand, represented by the deserted grave that once held the body of Christ. While I may not so much have referred to the cost of following Christ, I most certainly felt convicted by the fact that when Jesus conquered the grave to clothe us in righteousness before God, He also delivered us the imperative of divine transformation. After the cross and the empty grave, things would never be the same again – things could never be the same again. If I then chose to follow the risen Christ, I also chose the route of transformation. Without the latter, there was no former; and without the former, there would be no latter. To return to Billy Graham then, following after Christ would come at a significant cost – it would cost me my entire past. Just as the redeeming blood of Christ would erase my past, so too it would require of me to relinquish my past in order to live a new life in Christ. It is however much easier said than done, as we remain shackled in the flesh, confronted by the daily realities and challenges of our world and vulnerable to our perpetual human weakness. Salvation we have received, sanctification would be the Holy Spirit’s work in progress with me.
How much of my past have I given up in order to follow Christ? How much has been the cost for me to follow after Christ? To what extent have I in the pursuit of purity and commitment to Christ, ended up having to give up on something else? We all know people who at some point in their lives decided that they would part with career ambitions and visions of comfort-giving income or wealth, to serve God in faith. These people serve as champions of the faith to us, and long may it be so. But even they would know that despite the “cost” they chose to endure to follow after Christ, their sanctification is a journey of highs and lows and they too, often depend on the sanitising intervention of the Holy Spirit. To completely shed one’s past, that which lies locked up in experiences, personality, strongly held perceptions and convictions, is no easy feat. It will only become possible through the power of the Holy Spirit, ignited by my presenting myself to be changed and transformed. The decision to align with the life and person of Christ is mine; the subsequent achievement thereof is in Divine Hands.
What then does this entail for each one of us? When I lay eyes on the Crimson line in the sand and decide to step over it into a new life with Christ, I also take a decision to subject myself to the constant transforming power of the Holy Spirit. I present myself or my life to God’s workbench, seeking to be changed and refined for serving and honouring Him in the highest possible way. This decision to subject myself to His transforming power, must never be taken easily – as I have found out so clearly myself. It is not a decision for blended living – a fruit salad of the old, unholy and the new, more holy me. It is a decision driven by a desire for sanctification – to constantly be rising higher in my alignment with the life of Christ. Not though as an attempt to have a better chance at eternal life, but to experience the incredible privilege of being a vessel through whom Christ reveals Himself to the world. It is a decision to truly be alive to Christ and it is a decision we get to take because of Christ.
Love to all