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All Things are Out From God
By David A. DePra
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God. (II Cor. 5:17-18)
In this passage we find a description of Christianity – of what constitutes a Christian. A Christian is someone who is IN CHRIST – or, as Paul says in Colossians 1:27, Christianity is, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Christ in us, or us in Christ – this is Christianity and a Christian – and if we are in Christ, we are a new creation.
How is Christ in us? How are we in Christ? Paul writes, “He that is joined to the Lord is ONE SPIRIT (with Him.)” (I Cor. 6:17) Salvation takes place when the Lord joins us to Himself – He makes us ONE SPIRIT with HIMSELF. Paul elsewhere describes this joining as being, “baptized into Christ.” (see Romans 6:3-5) He says we are PLANTED into His death, and thus, His resurrection. Christ is in us through the joined of our human spirit to Himself through His Spirit.
An essential to see about this joining is that we are not generally given THINGS from the Lord aside from, or added to, Christ – for example, we are not given a THING called, “salvation” because of Christ. No. We are given all things IN CHRIST. We are joined to Jesus Christ Himself, IN WHOM there is all life. Much difficulty in the Christian life arises from trying to get things from God instead of receiving and living out from the Christ in whom are all things.
God has wrapped up ALL THINGS in His Son, and He has freely given all things IN HIM. (Rom. 8:32) Thus, there is nothing that God has for us except it be found in His Son – we cannot receive the THINGS of God except we receive the Christ in whom are all things. The fact that God is sometimes merciful to bless people aside from what is in Christ does not diminish this overall Truth.
Now what this ought to tell us is that if we are joined to the Lord, we have in Christ all that God has, indeed, all that God is. The goal, at that point, is not to receive MORE from God, or other THINGS. It is not to obtain another experience. No. The purpose of God once we are saved is that Christ be formed in us (Gal. 4:19), and that we be formed together with Him. (Rom. 8:29) If that is happening, then all that is IN Christ will likewise come into our experience. Christian growth, or sanctification is never the result of getting more of Christ. Rather, it is a matter of the Christ we have already received being made manifest in and through us:
That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord. (l Cor. 1:29-31)
This brings us back to our passage from II Cor. 5. You will note that it is our joining to the Lord that makes us a new creation. You will also note that everything that is of the new creation is, well -- NEW. And just as importantly, all of this newness that constitutes the new creation comes FROM God – the Greek actually reads, “and all things (that constitute the new creation) are OUT FROM GOD.
So what we have is this: When we are joined to the Lord and become one with Him in spirit, what is birthed is a new creation in Christ Jesus. We become one with Christ in both His death and His resurrection – old things are passed away through His death, and all things have become new. Note that we do not bring anything new into this relationship. Christ brings all, and IS ALL, to us in this spiritual joining. That is why Paul says, “ALL THINGS ARE FROM OUT OF GOD.” In contrast, nothing new is from OUT OF US.
A Christian is one who has been joined to the Lord, made one with Him, and thus, has received all that Christ IS, and all that Christ has done. Despite the fact that it will take a lifetime and more for this Christ to be unfolded and experienced, it does not negate the fact that we have already received all things freely in Christ. Our joining to the Lord not only births a new creature, but immediately negates the old. All that we are in Adam – the natural and the flesh, the old Adam life – is now under the Cross. It has no place in the new creature. It is passing away.
Notice that a Christian is not one who is made to LOOK LIKE JESUS or merely ACT like Jesus by following certain principles. No. That is not sanctification. Rather, a Christian is one who is joined to the Lord and THROUGH WHOM Jesus Himself wants to live. When Paul said, “Christ, who is our life,” (Col. 3:4) he was pointing to the fact – not that Christ has given us a life to live for Him – but that HE IS OUR LIFE and wants to live in and through us.
God is not making Christians into little Xerox copies of Jesus. Rather, He wants each of us to manifest through us the Christ who dwells in us, and to be living evidence of the fact that we are joined to Him.
As noted, when we are joined to the Lord, and become one spirit with Him, there is a BIRTH – a new creation in Christ Jesus is born. This is another way of saying that we have been born from above. We have received Christ from the outside of us into us -- new life is not born into us naturally – we have received Him from above. In short, God does act upon us and change us into new creations. Rather, He joins us to Christ and because we are then IN CHRIST we are new creations. HE is the source of all that makes this possible.
Now, please note that this does NOT mean that the old man in Adam – our natural man; our flesh – ceases to exist. That is not what Paul means when he says, “old things have passed away.” What he does mean is that our life is now Christ, and not the old. He means that all things that constitute true life are from out of God in Christ. The rest is under death. Eventually – at the resurrection of the body – the old will cease to exist. But for now, only the power of the old creation is broken. It remains present, and thus, possible to us to yield to it. Thus, we have in each believer, two natures.
The Bible speaks much about these two natures as the separation of soul from spirit in the believer. If you have received Christ there is this division between soul and spirit. The presence of Christ in you immediately creates this division. There is, on the one hand, Christ in us and all that is in Him. But there remains, on the other hand, all that is of the natural. And not only is there this division and great distinction, but there is a great conflict. The natural and the spiritual are against each other.
Let’s lay this out: If you could take a pencil and draw a circle around the new creature in Christ – a circle around our resurrection union with Christ – all that is INSIDE this circle would be NEW. All that is INSIDE of this circle would be FROM OUT OF GOD in Christ. Inside of that circle would be LIFE, light, Truth – it would be Christ in us and all that constitutes the new birth. But outside of that circle would remain all that is OLD – the natural man and the flesh – outside of the circle would be that which is from out of the old man in Adam.
Hook this up with the statement of Jesus from John 3:6:
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
The conclusion is that flesh cannot birth anything that is of God. Flesh can birth only flesh – and even if what the flesh births is highly religious or looks holy, it is still flesh. Only God can birth that which is of God. In short, only that which is from out of God is of God; is of the spirit. All that is from out of the natural can never be anything but natural.
Once we begin to understand this Truth and realize that each believer has TWO natures – one within that circle in Christ, and one outside that circle of Adam – we should realize that only that which finds it’s source from Christ is of God. Anything that finds its source in the natural man is not of God. Only God can birth what is spiritual and of Christ. The rest must pass away.
In Whom We Abide
If Christ is in us -- then all that is in Him is from out of God as the source. Thus, this tells us who ought to be the source of all things for the believer: Christ. This is why Jesus said, “abide in Me,” and, “without Me you can do nothing.” Now, obviously, people can do plenty without Christ. It’s just that they can do nothing that is God’s will, or that is eternal. Indeed, the problem is that even Christian people do plenty that is not OUT FROM CHRIST – but rather, from out of themselves as the source, power, and intent. And where that is the case, what they are doing is part of that which is going to pass away.
Again – we have Christ in us, and we have our natural man. God wants us to abide in Christ – to draw from Christ for all that we are, and all that we need. Christ IS our life – that covers everything. Thus, instead of drawing upon our natural resources, and using our natural man, we are to draw from Christ.
Now, we are not going to do this unless God teaches us. And the way that God teaches us is not merely through information or directions. Those things help and we must find what God is doing in scripture. But God teaches us Christ, and guides us into all Truth, usually through experience. God will often allow us to try to live our lives on the basis of natural man – we tend to do this without realizing it. He will often allow this to prove to us the completely futility of it. He may even allow us to crash and burn. Why? So that we may see, through experience, yes, the emptiness of natural man, but more than that, so that we may have proven in us that in Christ alone are all things that are from God.
When Paul said, “old things are passed away, behold, all things have become new – all things that are from out of God,” he was stating a finished fact. But then God will prove it to us if we are open to the Truth. We must still be brought into this finished Truth and will need to discover that all that we need is Christ, and what it means to abide in Him for all that is from out of God.
What does it mean to ABIDE in Christ? It means, “to live from out of,” Christ as our source. It means that if we are already joined to the Lord and are one spirit with Him, that we must – by faith – live in Him and draw from Him all that we need. We are already joined to Him – now believe it, see it, and live like it. Christ is to BE our life. To function as if He is our life speaks to what it really means to abide in Him. He is the Vine. We are a branch.
To abide in Christ as a branch abides in the vine is exactly what it means to enter His rest by faith. It means that I know IT IS FINISHED – and now I’m going to turn and live like it is finished – I am going to abide in the Christ who is my life, and in whom are all things from God. Of course, there is nothing here that I can do, or need to do, to make something happen. It is not a matter of getting God to do something. It is a matter of seeing who Christ is and of surrendering myself to Him as Lord. A branch does not need to try to convince the Vine to help him. A branch need not to struggle to drag life from the Vine. A branch needs to abide in, and rest in, the Vine. If we do that, by faith, we will find that we are indeed already one with Him.
The Necessity of the Cross
The Cross is not merely a THING in which to believe. Neither is the death of Jesus merely an historical event upon which to rest my faith. Of course, without the historical event nothing else would be possible. But our faith is NOT to be in the Cross. It is to be in the One who died on it. Our faith is to be in Christ – the living Christ with whom we are one in spirit. And if it is, then we are planted into His death and into His resurrection. We will be crucified with Christ because we are one with the One who was crucified for us. We will be raised with Christ because we are one with He who was raised for us. We will be seated in heavenly places with Christ because He is seated in heavenly places, and we are joined to Him. Thus, the object of our faith is the Person of Jesus Christ – right now, the very Christ who dwells in us. For if we are planted into Christ by faith, abiding in Him, then we will likewise be planted into all He has done and all that is in Him.
Note the distinction between having received all in Christ, and having experienced Christ. Despite the finished reality found in Christ, and having received all that is in Him, it is nevertheless a fact that when Christ joins us to Himself, we have just begun. This is why, even though in Christ we are complete – that is, have all that God has to give – this is why the purpose of God must be to now unfold the Christ to us, and bring into our experience all that is in Him. It is one thing to have all things in Christ. It is another to actually come to learn, know, see, and experience all those things that are in Christ. Israel was given all of the land before they ever set foot in it. But they still needed to enter in and take possession of all that God had already given to them.
Here is where the conflict begins. When we encounter problems in life – problems that demand solutions, resources, and wisdom – how do we respond? God says to abide in Christ. He is, and carries, all that we will need. But unfortunately, we do not easily abide in Christ. Rather, we draw upon ourselves or upon something of this world. And most of us don’t even realize what we are doing. We barely know the difference.
The only way in which a person in whom Christ dwells is ever going to learn the Truth of abiding in Christ is if the work of the Cross has God’s way with them. And in order for God to have His way with us, we must PICK UP our cross and lose our lives – as Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-25. The admonition to pick up our Cross shows that we have to choose to yield to God. But his yielding is not so much a matter of figuring out what to do. It is a matter of saying to God, “Lord, do in my life whatever it takes to bring me into the fullness of Christ. Do whatever it takes through the Cross I will pick up to bring me to where I will realize Christ and abide in Him.” God has to do this – and the first step is death to the old. But we have to pick up the Cross – we have to embrace Him.
The work of the Cross will bring us to the place where we are absolutely and joyfully convinced that there is NOTHING in us – nothing outside of that circle in our natural makeup – carries LIFE. We will see by experience that no resource found in natural man can enable us to walk with God. Do we know this to the point where we voluntarily desire to see the death of all that we are in Adam, so that we might come into the fullness of Christ? Can we honestly say that we do not want to draw upon ourselves for life, and that we will aren’t even going to try? Well, we probably won’t come to this place without some hard but necessary lessons – but we must come to this place in order to be free in Christ.
Most people in Christ spend years trying to live the Christian life by drawing from their natural man. We still think that God wants to salvage something from us and bring it into the new creation. We still think that Jesus Christ died to bring out our latent greatness, or to enhance the good things about us, or to fix up our old man and make him fit for God’s use. No. Jesus Christ came to die so that the Adam life could die in Him. If any one is in Christ Jesus, he is NOT, “an old fixed up creation.” No. He is a new creation, and all of that newness is FROM OUT OF GOD in Christ.
It is essential that we see that Christ is ALL for the believer – but we will never see that He is all until we at least begin to see that we are NOTHING. This is the TRUTH we must see. And any other basis for living is deception.
Birthed From Above
We read earlier that only God can birth from above. A person has to be birthed from above by being joined to the Lord. Without Christ in us there is NO birth and NO LIFE. But if Christ is in us then we have ALL – all that is from out of God in Him.
Only that which is born of God is of God. Nothing that is birthed by man is of God. For example, how many of us understand that God must give BIRTH to a church, just as He gives birth to the people in it? People cannot simply decide to start a church, and then hand it to God, expecting that He will bless it. The mere fact that anything WE birth is birthed by flesh – it is birthed of flesh if we initiated it – ought to tell us that it is not birthed of God. But for some reason, we think that if we do things for God that He will bless it. Or if we start things in the name of Christ that Christ will inhabit it. We have this notion that if something is in our heart to do that it is in there because God put it in there. No. It may be a created and initiated by our natural man – not so much in rebellion against God or to the disregard of Him – but it may be a product of our natural, religious man, thinking that it is our job to think up ways to keep God moving.
In the end, if flesh births anything, it is of the flesh – and at some point, it will produce the results that flesh produces. It will serve self. It will serve the flesh because flesh gave it life. Look around in the church today. Everywhere you find the gospel of ME, myself, and I. A gospel that says that Jesus came to make you happy, successful, and prosperous. A gospel that says that Jesus came to bring out the best in you, and help you find your truest self. This is flesh. Jesus did not come to bless your natural life – He tells you to LOSE IT. He tells you that there is nothing in the natural life that is compatible with God. Rather, if you lose your life, you will find true life in Christ. And in Christ is all that we need both materially and spiritually.
Along side of this gospel of ME is almost a complete blindness to Jesus Christ. Christianity is Christ in us, the hope of glory. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature – and in Christ are all things that are from God. Yet today, the reality of Christ in us, and the desire of God to form Christ in us, is almost never discussed. People don’t know it, and don’t know TO know it. Here we have the essence of Christianity, and the very purpose of God, and it is off the table for discussion. This is what happens when Satan blinds people. And once Satan blinds people to the reality of Christ in them, he can more easily get them to operate from out of the natural life -- and convince them they are living from out of God. This is deception.
Again: The reality of Christ, and the meaning of Christ in us, and God’s purpose of forming Christ in us this is the reason Christ came. It IS Christianity. Yet if you would preach this in most local churches, or on Christian TV, you would either get a blank stare, or meet great opposition. This is how far things have fallen from the Truth. Even in those places where there is some little Truth on these matters, it would seem that even that is buried beneath an avalanche of money, members, and the soul power of people.
To abide in Christ by faith requires a total surrender to Him as Lord – not because I feel I must, but because I want to surrender. It requires that I not only take my hands off of my life and leave it alone to God, but it requires that I WANT to do so – I gladly do so. It means that I will birth nothing of myself and that I will not resort to the flesh to solve what ails me. Does that sound hard? It might seem scary – most of us, despite all of our great confessions of faith in the Lord are quite terrified that if we do nothing about ourselves, or our ministry, that God might also do nothing. And we will go down the drain. Well, our attitude ought to be that if God will do nothing we will gladly do nothing – and if everything crashes so be it. Indeed, the sooner the better. The work of the Cross will bring us to such an abandonment. It spells freedom.
God is quite willing and capable of not only birthing that which satisfies Him, but of looking after it. If we really believed this, we would not be using the ways and methods of the world to try to prop up our churches. There would need to be NO money raising campaigns. No drives for members. No blessings promised, or threats of punishment from the Lord, if we give or don’t give. We would not use craftiness or wisdom of words or emotional drama to try to move people. We would not need signs and wonders. Rather, we would simply abide in Christ, preach the Truth in Christ, and let the chips fall. Have we ever considered what God might do if He were actually given His place and sovereignty?
Do you want to know why the early church was so powerful in the Lord? They had NO money. They had no TV, written materials, or audio tapes. They didn’t even have a Bible to carry around. They had only Christ in them. But they changed the world – because they let God have His way, first with them personally, and then to do what He wanted. They were not perfect, but kept their hands off of God’s property. God could therefore do what He wanted. God could be sovereign. Today, we expect God to come down and fit Himself into what we have birthed. He won’t.
For the last two-thousand years, professing believers have created one form of religion after another – and pasted the name of Christ on it. Roman Catholicism is a big example, but the Protestants have done the same. We have created laws and principles. Religious rituals. Belief systems. We have created an entire priesthood or ministry around it. We have built our temples. Yet God will NOT inhabit any house made with hands. He inhabits only people through Jesus Christ.
What is the solution to all of this? Not to find a better way, “to do church.” No. Not to read the book of Acts and try to create from it a template to follow. No. The solution is to get back to the foundation – the person of Jesus Christ. But not just to a theological Christ. We have to get back to the essence of Christianity, which is, “Christ in us, the hope of glory.” We have to get back to the fact that if we are in Christ that we are birthed new creatures – that all of the old is passed away – and that all things are brand new and from above in Christ. And that all things pertaining to the new creature of OUT FROM GOD as the source. And we have to learn Christ, allowing God to form Christ in us. We must renounce and forsake the old as the source for anything. This is the will of God. It is what He has birthed and it is all that He is going to do.
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