God’s Instructive Concepts
From the beginning of God’s dealings with man there have been intrusions into His instructions for mankind, enter Satan in the garden presenting concepts of what God really requires from man. In the present world as in time past there are concepts presented through all types of sources to inform as well as confuse men’s minds as men seek to know the reason for life in general or the specific will of God along a personal line. I have chosen to view these instructive concepts that are outside of God’s authorization as being parallels to the truth, not to be confused with being truth.
There seems no end to streams of partial truth that flood the air about us, and no wonder since Ephesians 2:2 makes it clear that Satan, the prince of the power of the air, governs the thoughts of myriads of mankind! Consider for a moment the age we live in as you read those words “the prince of the power of the air.” Amazing how the word air jumps off the page when you consider all the messages carried about on airways. We only need to recognize the god of this world to be in awe of just how much of the thoughts traveling through the air are misinformation about how to relate to our surroundings, but more importantly, how to relate to God.
In viewing James 3:11 “does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter” or as in verse 12 “no fountain can send forth at the same place both salt water and fresh” we see pollution spoils the whole of the water which comes forth. But the emphasis I want to address is the believers’ responsibility to rightly divide the word of truth concerning salvation and the walk in the spirit that is required by God if we are to please Him. Emphasis is needed here to realize we are not told in scripture to put our minds in neutral and just open our minds to what is being said whether the speaker has a Bible under the arm or not. According to 1st John we have an unction from God in order that we can understand spiritual things. It is apparent from that same section in 1st John that we don’t need to be taught by men. Paul’s three years in the desert reveal a classic example of what Jesus meant when He said He would send the Spirit to guide us through all truth.
Trust God to Reveal Scripture
So the obvious question, why am I attempting to teach this? It is because men and women as a whole don’t know what is available to them if they were to pick up their Bibles and trust God to reveal to them what He wants them to know at any given time. Churchanity has taught and convinced people that they need “professional” Christians to tell them what to think. Try trusting God to reveal scripture without the aid of a commentary or asking a Sunday school teacher or pastor to interpret it to you. By faith you will find the Spirit to be a wonderful guide through all truth, remembering He is not a cosmic butler with instant response to your queries. That is why scripture tells us to study. According to scripture if we seek pure and unpolluted knowledge we will find it, but the responsibility is ours and does not fall to someone else in order to absolve us of the guiltiness of being ignorant of God’s word to each of us individually.
Anyone who is truly born again knows that the prerequisite to being saved is to first discover that they are lost, but even this has been altered by those claiming that God is only a God of love! True believers in Christ and His finished work have embraced His great salvation and having done so are no longer in the flesh. That is to say that their history in the first Adam has ended, that history has culminated in their crucifixion with the Christ of God when they heard and then believed the true gospel of God’s Christ. That first birth person was destined for death with no possibility of any other outcome. This of course is a work of God, but more on that later. While we as believers are no longer in the flesh and are new creatures in Christ, we nonetheless have sin (I make the distinction of sin as a noun) in our bodies seeking to gain control of the members of our body, eyes, ears, tongue, and our fleshy body parts, etc.
As believers we must learn to walk in the Spirit and not after the sin that is in us as it seeks to control our soul and body. It is imperative that as a believer we learn that we do not know how to walk in the Spirit, that is only taught through failed attempts of trying to be godly in our own efforts. When we are saved we only know natural things – the sense of touch, taste, pleasure and pain – and it is all about me. When dead to God (as all unsaved humans) we experience only through our natural senses of perception, but as believers we see there is a continuous thread of warning concerning the use of feelings or natural senses to guide our actions, and this instruction is throughout the Scripture. As those saved by God’s grace we find ourselves thrust into the arena of moment by moment submission either to the Holy Spirit abiding in us or submission to the sin nature that is always resident in each one of us and will be until the redemption of this mortal body.
The songwriter Bob Dylan’s life resonates with the truthful lyrics “you gotta serve somebody, you’re gonna serve the devil or you’re gonna to serve the Lord, but you’re gonna serve somebody.” In John 8:44 our sin nature is clearly revealed to be Satan’s desire working in all men and women. As believers the only deliverance from sin controlling our action is the moment by moment dependence on the fact that I have (past tense) been crucified with Christ and the desires of sin working in me no longer have power to force me to act according to it’s desires. Think for a moment, what power can the sin nature exert on a corpse? Clearly it is only that which we allow through the lapse of believing the truth of Colossians 2:12-14, sin then is not powerless because it is dead, but because I am dead to sin through my crucifixion with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Power of Christ’s Sufficieny
As believers continue to claim the power of the cross in our walk we experience the reality of being free from the power of sin. In contrast if we cling to the life that we were born to in our first birth we then find ourselves under the power of sin working through our members which are yielded to it as revealed in Romans 6:13. It cannot be overemphasized that when we were saved sin did not die – we did! Ask yourself this, how did Jesus get rid of the claim of my sin on His body? He died and left my sin buried forever, He was then raised by the power of the Father unto eternal life, and we who have trusted in the finished work of Christ according to the Scripture are shown to have clearly been raised with Him and are now seated in the heavenlies in Christ. This is not an action that is up for debate since it is an action done by God on our behalf. The Scripture makes this very plain and clear to all who are willing to receive the truth.
Romans 6:3 – “know ye not that so many of us as were spiritually baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed (rendered useless) that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin (mandatory control by the sin within each of us). Keep in mind sin didn’t die when we were saved, but each one saved did, by God’s judicial decree. The above text is not forecasting a future event but is rather that which has already happened for everyone who has placed their trust in the finished work of the Christ of God.
Now the question, will there ever be the wrath of God then upon a believer for the actions of submission to internal sin that will result in God’s rejection of that believer? Emphatically no, for God who is now my Father no longer sees me as a sinner under the judgment that demands death. I am to my Father the sweet savor of Christ’s sufficiency in response to my sinfulness that He no longer chooses to see because of the cessation of my history in the first Adam. To my Father I am the righteousness of Christ in His eyes, I am without sin for where there is no law there is no transgression, for through the law I am dead to the law as stated in Galatians 2:19. As 1 John 3:4 states it is only possible to sin by transgression of the law of God and clearly corpses cannot break the law.
To further emphasize the point of our standing with God we believe we are crucified into and with Christ and have already answered for our sins and our history in the first Adam. As a believer if I hold the power of sin controlling my members to be greater than the grace of God and by that belief the power of the shed blood of Christ, I make myself a transgressor in my own eyes and Christ profits me nothing as seen in Galatians 5:4. While Sin is still healthy and active in us it does not possess the power to make us guilty of breaking the law as far as God’s view of us is concerned.
Being redundant, I point again to the scripture, it is only by transgression of the law of God that a person can be judged a guilty person. We as believers are DEAD TO THE LAW. If you are saved you have already died as punishment for your Guiltiness as related to the first Adam and your breaking of the commands of God. Further breaking of the commandments of God’s law envoking His wrath which would result in damnation of your soul is impossible based on His inability to lie. This is impossible because you are already and continue to be dead to the Law. 1 Corinthians 15:56 – the strength of sin is the Law!
The incorrect option of making yourself alive to the law (in your own mind) is available to all believers as seen in Galatians 2:18-19 “for if I build again the things which I destroyed I make myself a transgressor for I through the law am dead to the law.” This erroneous way of thinking is completely refuted as correct thinking by surrounding scripture as well as other numerous scriptures. If anyone considers the matter of their identity a small or insignificant matter the words of Jesus in John 12:25 sum up the choosing of which birthdate we should focus on. For in Matthew 16:24-25 we hear these words ” If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. We’re to present our bodies a living sacrifice (our life) and be transformed by the work of His Spirit for it is God who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
In the next section we’ll look at the identity of believers, and what it means to identify oneself as one made righteous having a new identity in Christ.