We find ourselves in conflict. This would not be so if we had not been patterned after the nature of God. The destructive element was introduced outside of God, but inside his purpose for us. Because we stepped outside of the nature of God, we found ourselves in conflict with, yes, ourselves. The knowledge of the good versus the knowledge of (our) evil, split us into two parts, our conscious (defeated) self and our autonomous sinful self.
Knowing we were on the wrong side of the good/bad struggle, left us defeated and isolated from the goodness of God, not that He was far away, but we were far away from Him. This defeated self comes into full awareness of its helplessness as law spells out the realities to us. The awareness of our sin condition plunges us into even deeper despair, not even now being able to hide effectively from guilt, because it has been exposed, we have been exposed for what we are. We seek to even further distance ourselves from the torment of it all, and our interpersonal relationships start to resemble our poor relationship with God. We finally recognise that we are driven by a force of nature outside our control, outside of our willpower.
Wretched man that I am. How can love be reattained, how can that which was lost, be restored?
The love that conflicts us suddenly “takes sides”, and it takes OUR side. It was impossible for us to forgive ourselves, to restore ourselves, But the creator who made us like we are has come to our rescue and demonstrated the full force of love’s power over its creation, by revealing the nature of love to not only be “legally” righteous, but also MERCIFUL, a far greater righteousness. That He is not going to leave his children in a suffering that is any greater, or for any longer, than it takes for them to recognise His love and run into His arms.
We were not in a position to judge ourselves as anything other than the obvious; that we were worthy of death, we had no means of “value adding”, of changing ourselves from the inside, only He could do that by presenting His overwhelming love to us in the form of His own son, in OUR form, crucified to heal our unrighteousness, in order to draw us into himself, that we might then obtain ALL of His qualities, including His righteousness of mercy and forgiveness.
We could not and cannot crucify ourselves, other than the fact we have probably already done this to some degree by experiencing the pain of non love as it struggles with love. We have to recognise that we cannot “crucify ourselves”, but that He has done it for us, that when He was crucified “for the flesh”, He was crucifying us also, that he HAS done it for us, that we might attain the status of His crucifixion WITH HIM. “We were made to die through the body of Christ”. “One died for all, therefore all died”. Our struggle is over as we change it to HIS struggle, but that which He has already conquered and finished, and we must appropriate it in this form, to be conquerors by being HIS conquest and living in HIS victory. It is only as we accept the gift of His love that we can in turn be conquerors also.