Complete in Christ
A believer’s acceptance by God starts and ends at rebirth and we are complete in Him. However, the believer’s life does not start and end at rebirth – that is only the beginning. We all need to know the foundational truths of how to draw close to God; how to live in the spirit; how to walk in the spirit; how to pray in the spirit – how to grow in the spirit.
We try many paths to draw closer to Him, but end up disappointed in our progress. We all find ourselves in life’s cul-de-sacs, having to retrace our spiritual steps. We often live in the flesh; walk in the flesh; pray in the flesh and ‘grow’ in the flesh! It is only through a process of constantly failing to draw close to God by self-effort, that we eventually discover that it is not something that we can do ourselves.
God never leaves us floundering, but He does wait until we come to an end of ‘self’. He waits until we realise there is nothing we can do to help to make us spiritually mature. It is only a heart that is prepared by the Spirit of God that will move into true maturity. Many believers are encouraged to consecrate and re-consecrate their self-life. Many are motivated to do all they can do for Him because of what He did for them.
As our substitute, Jesus went to the cross alone. As our substitute, Jesus paid the price for our sins alone. As our substitute, Jesus suffered the penalty for our sins alone. As our substitute, we are accepted by God in the Beloved – alone. As our substitute, we are forgiven because He alone died in our stead. As our substitute, we are forgiven from the penalty of sin through Him – alone. As our substitute, we are reconciled to God and justified by Him – alone.
The Wrong Path
Many are motivated to do all they can for Him because of what He did for them. This ‘love motive’ is a good motive, but it is not the correct path to spiritual maturity, for this path of devotion can lead the old-self trying to live for God, by being good, and the consequences of this path is often in living the self-life instead of the Christ-life.
Self-denial can be sought UN-successfully through our flesh… OR denying self can be achieved successfully through the Cross. The ‘love motive’ sees Christ as our wonderful Redeemer – as our substitute. It is grateful for the forgiveness of sins with the penalty of sins paid in full. However this love motive can often cause believers to remain in spiritual babyhood. To move into maturity the believer must also see Christ as our Representative.
As our representative we went to the cross with Him – together. As our representative our old-man was crucified together with Jesus. As our representative our old, Adamic self and sin-nature died together with Him. As our representative He took us to the cross and we are in Him Who is the last Adam. As our representative, Christ has delivered us from the power or sin. As our representative Christ’s life – our new-life must remain in Him alone.
New Life in Christ
Christ’s Life has no place in the old life. That must remain crucified. We all need to know how to draw close to God:- to live in the spirit, to walk in the spirit, to pray in the spirit, to grow in the spirit. It is the new-life about which Paul says “It is not I that live but Christ lives in me”. It is the new-life in Christ and not the old-life in Adam that the Spirit will sanctify.
Sanctification can only take place in the new-life in Christ. Sanctification can never take place in the old-life in Adam. But how do we live and move and grow and pray in spirit and truth, you ask. The answers are all in the Word of God.
We are to accept without reservation that we are unconditionally accepted by God. We are to recognise that there is no self-effort that can draw us closer to Him. We must “K-R Y” to Him – to Know..to Reckon.. and to Yield to His guidance.
Dead to Self
A careful study of all the Epistles of Paul will show that they are written on the basis of the cross, set forth in Romans 6. God consigns the old fallen Adam-life to the cross forever, and God will have nothing to do with the old life in Adam. God deals with all believers on the grounds that in Christ YOU died. But the Church of Christ, as a whole, ignores this fact. It treats the fallen creation (the self-life) as capable of improvement. In doing so, the meaning of the cross is nullified, for the old Adamic life is beyond repair,
Alive to Christ
We have to get to an end or our own efforts and throw ourselves on Christ alone. We have to be one that seeks and seeks and seeks to know Him. We have to invite the Spirit of God into our hearts to examine us. We have to ask Him to examine our rebellious and carnal nature – to know the difference between 1) Christ as substitute and Christ as representative. 2) between sanctification truths and identification truths. 3) between the new-life in Christ and the old-life in Adam. 4) between the spiritual believer and a carnal Christian. We have to want to move on into maturity and grow in grace. We must not get our whole life stuck in perpetual Christian infancy.
The Seeking Heart
The seeking heart permits God to examine His rebellious, carnal heart. The seeking heart allows God into the holy of holies, to teach him these truths. Lord give me a teachable spirit. Death no longer has dominion over Christ, for the death that Christ died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God – likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:9, 10
6 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 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.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
4 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.
2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.
23 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.
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