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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

AGTV video
Connections: James T. Bradford

Resurrected Life

James T. Bradford serves as the general secretary of the Assemblies of God. He recently shared some thoughts with Evangel Editor Ken Horn.

evangel: What is the crucified and resurrected life?
This biblical terminology implies a radically changed way of life. Every Christian has the great opportunity of enjoying resurrection life and becoming a participant in its daily reality. Though our goal is resurrection life, it’s a simple fact that death must precede resurrection. If you don’t have death, you don’t have resurrection. You just have renovation — a redecorating of something that still lives on. Jesus died and then He rose again. We too, by faith, follow that journey to the Cross, and something in us dies so that we live not a redecorated life but a resurrected life.

evangel: What does this mean in a practical sense?
It means our new life takes time to develop. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20, NIV). That’s why we call it the crucified life.

A number of years ago, Miles Stanford wrote a book on discipleship about great heroes of the faith. He observed that, on average, it took them 15 years from what he called working for Christ in fulfillment of Christ’s call on their lives to the place where Christ was now working through them. That is the great challenge of the resurrected life, and it does come because something dies — because of our identification with Christ at the cross.

evangel: You’ve shared some symbolism that can be drawn from the three nails that Jesus was crucified with.
I do see some symbolism there. There would have been one nail through His right hand, one through His left hand and one probably through both of His feet as He was on the cross. I like to think of the three nails of the crucified life as, in a way, the doorway to resurrection life for followers of Jesus.

The first nail is the nail through the hand of my sin. There is a dying to sensuality and the power of sin. It is put to death at the Cross. We live by faith in the Son of God. By faith, the things I can’t defeat — my sensuality, my rebellion, my sin — are put to death there.

Through another hand, a nail goes through my status — because part of the cross was its shame. It was shameful to be hung on a cross. That’s why a Roman citizen was rarely crucified. And we take up the shame of the cross when we follow Christ. We sometimes lose our status in people’s eyes. We lose their respect, or we’re mocked, even persecuted. Jesus predicted all of these things. Somehow my need to be superior to others, my arrogance, my preoccupation with my image and my status, all these need the nail of crucifixion to go through them if I’m to live a resurrection life.

And finally, a nail goes through the two feet of self-sufficiency and self-dependence. Self-sufficiency and self-dependence keep me a slave to what I am doing on my own and insulate me from the resources of resurrection life.

evangel: Any final thoughts?
I’d like to invite all readers, by faith, to embrace the resurrection life so that they can take that journey from working for God to letting Jesus work through them. Paul completed Galatians 2:20 with, “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Let’s live in that.


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