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The Two Men
By David A. DePra
This article is a transcription of the audio message, "The Two Men," with some minor edits. Here is the link to the audio message:
This and other audio messages can be found at www.goodnewsaudio.com
Today is part three in a series entitled, "The Foundations of the Christian Faith." To begin today I want to turn to I Corinthians 15:22. The title for today is going to be, "The Two Men." I'm going to read I Corinthians 15:22, and that will tell us who these two men are. It says:
Therefore in Adam all die. Even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
So there are the two men: We have Adam -- and all who are IN Adam -- in other words, members of the Adam race. But then we have Christ -- and all who are IN Christ -- who are of the new creation in Christ Jesus.
From this we can see that there really have only ever been TWO, "kinds," of people on the face of this earth -- that have ever lived, or will ever live. There are those who are in Adam, and there are those who are born again out of Adam -- into the person of Jesus Christ. Those are the two kinds of human beings.
Now, when I use that term, "kind," it's not an inappropriate term, because what we are talking about is two different kinds of human beings; two different kinds of life. How many understand that when you and I are born from above in Jesus Christ, God doesn't bring our Adam life BACK to life, does he? No. Rather, he gives us a NEW life, and it IS a different kind of life -- it's a life with which you and I were not born into this world. It is not of humanity. Human beings can't produce the kind of life that God Almighty gives us in His Son. We weren't born with it, and we don't have any way of getting it on our own. God gives us the life of Christ. In fact the Bible says, "Christ IS our life" (Col. 3:4). And so we need to understand this: We are talking about two entirely DIFFERENT kinds of life; two entirely DIFFERENT creations; two DIFFERENT kinds of human beings. And we need to keep this in mind because it's going to govern everything else that we're going to say today.
Now, there are other terms in the Bible that are associated with each of these, "two men." For example, associated with the idea of being IN ADAM Adam are also the terms, "the old man," or, "the outer man," or, "the man of sin," or, "the body of sin," or, "the sin nature." Other associated terms are, "of the flesh," "the natural man," and, "the soul man." All of these speak -- in one way or another -- and are associated with -- the old Adamic creation of which the person ADAM is the head.
Just as that is the case regarding Adam, so there are many times in the New Testament that are terms associated with, and in some cases synonymous, with the person of Jesus Christ -- in whom we must be born again. There is, "the NEW man;" there is, "the inner man," etc. There are a number of other terms -- there is, "the new creation in Christ Jesus." And I could go on. But the point here is the tremendous distinction between the old man in Adam -- and the new man in Jesus Christ.
Now all of this is valuable, but it isn't just information. It isn't just a matter of understanding this intellectually. We need to understand this distinction, because the fact of the matter is, each believer has BOTH the old Adamic nature AND Jesus Christ dwelling in us -- and if we don't understand that, and if we don't understand how God works with that -- how that affects our own reactions and conduct -- if we don't understand how the Bible approaches each of these, we're going to be confused. Blindness to this, and confusion about this, accounts for a lot of errors and a lot of confusion in the Christian church today.
And so this is absolutely vital to understand. It's a foundational truth. It's not a truth, "that's out there somewhere," that is, "kind of interesting," and which once in awhile we need to bring in. No. We LIVE with this every day. We live with it -- because again -- we have BOTH the natures in us. And if, in fact, "in Adam all die but in Christ all are made alive" -- if in fact there is that distinction, and that opposite in us -- well, then we can see the absolute essential of being able to understand this. We can see why we need to understand, for example, what is of Adam, and what is of Christ -- because both are going on side by side in us.
The Living Word of God
Now what I just described as the two natures in each individual is actually what the Bible refers to as the division, or separation, in each believer, between soul and spirit -- Adam, of course, representing the soul man, or the soul nature, and Jesus, of course, representing the spirit -- because he dwells in us via His Spirit.
Turn to Hebrews 4:12. I'm going to read this because it gives a description of this: Of the separation between soul and spirit. It says there, "For the Word of God....." -- Now, when we hear that term, "word of God," we think of the Bible -- and I'm not excluding the Bible. Of course, it is the written, inspired, inerrant word of God. But when the Bible talks about, "the word of God," it really is referring to the living revelation of Jesus Christ in the individual. Isn't Christ The Living Word of God? The Bible directly calls Him that in several places -- for example, John 1. There's a place in Revelation where it says that Jesus is the word of God. And so don't think of the, "word of God," as simply the Bible. The Bible is included because it absolutely agrees with the person of Jesus Christ in every way. But when the Bible -- and certainly here in Hebrews 4:12 -- says, "For the word of God...," it's talking about God's revelation of Christ in the individual -- this is the Living Word. God, "speaks," to us, reveals in us -- Jesus Christ.
This is what the Bible is getting at here in Hebrews, and other places as well:
For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Now, what I really want to point out in reading this verse -- I could spend a whole sermon on it obviously -- but I want to point out that it (the living Word of God) is the revelation of Jesus to us. And of course I'm talking about the revelation of Jesus Christ IN US -- as Paul said: "It pleased God to reveal Christ IN me." It is that revelation of the Living Word of God -- Jesus Christ IN US -- that CREATES the division between soul and spirit. Without Him in us we are just SOUL. We're just NATURAL man. Unbelievers have only the Adam nature -- have only the soul nature, or the natural natural. It is only when Christ comes to dwell in us by the means of the spirit of God that now you have TWO NATURES, and thus, the separation between soul and spirit.
So what this tells us is that, yes, you need to be born from above for there to even BE a separation in you between soul and spirit. But it also tells you and I that it is only as we begin to know Jesus Christ -- the One who has come to dwell in US -- that we can discern what is of Christ, and what is of that old soul, Adam nature. It is HIS presence in us that brings light to that. He IS the light. He IS the truth.
If we don't know Him, we CANNOT sort this out. People try to develop these how-to-dos, and these systems, whereby they try to categorize everything, and say, "THIS is how you know what is of God and what is of yourself." No. That doesn't normally work -- because you can try to do even that with a lack of understanding. If you are in error, or in darkness -- if you are blind to Christ -- how in the world are you going to figure out what is of Christ and what is not? You can't. It is only to the degree that we know Jesus Christ in truth that we are going to be able to recognize what is of Him, and then, consequently, what is not of Him.
And so again it is the new birth -- the presence and revelation of Jesus Christ in us -- that creates this separation between soul and spirit in the believer -- because once Christ is introduced in us we will have the two natures. But once Christ is in us, (the purpose of God) is our growing knowledge of Jesus. As Paul says in Galatians 4:19, God wants to FORM Christ in us -- this is a matter of God bringing us, as the Greek infers, into an inward realization of the living Christ who dwells in us. THAT creates the separation. And (as Christ is formed in us) -- this brings us on to be able to discern Jesus Christ, and then consequently, discern what is not of him, i.e., what is of us.
And so that's a fundamental truth. You have to KNOW HIM. And if you do, you will begin to understand and discern the separation of soul and spirit -- even in yourself. But without knowing Christ, you will not be able to do that. You are going to be in confusion.
Joined to the Lord
Now I want to talk a little bit about how this all begins -- how this separation begins -- and some of the truth about it. But to do that, we need to go back to the point of our new birth -- to the point of our salvation.
When you and I are saved, the Bible tells us that we are saved because, "we are joined to the Lord and made one spirit with Him." (I Cor. 6:17) The Bible uses some other language, in other places, to describe this, "joining" -- or what we could call, "a spiritual, resurrection union." For example, in Romans 6 -- I'm not going to read the whole passage; I want to point out some terms here -- Romans 6 verse 3, Paul says, "Don't you know that as many of us as were baptized INTO Jesus Christ....." This is talking about that same spiritual joining. It is not talking about water baptism. No. Paul says, "Don't you know that as many of us as were joined to the Lord in spirit -- in other words baptized INTO Christ -- don't you know that we were baptized INTO his death?" So you see, we know a lot about the fact that Jesus died FOR us. But Paul is trying to get across to us the Truth, that YES, Jesus Christ did die FOR us -- without that we have nothing. But he is saying that when you are saved, you are baptized INTO Jesus Christ, and consequently INTO His death. That's another way of describing what it means to be, "joined to the Lord and to become one spirit with Him." We become one with Him IN his death. And we also become one with Him in His resurrection -- as Paul says in verse 4: "Therefore we are buried WITH him by His baptism into death -- that is what the Greek says -- 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." And so we are baptized INTO Christ -- we are joined to the Lord and made one spirit with him -- but what that means is that we are made one WITH Him in His death, and we were likewise made one WITH Him in His resurrection.
Now verse 5 here in Romans 6 amplifies all of this and gives another picture (of this joining) that means the same Truth. Paul says, "For if we have been planted TOGETHER in the likeness of his death we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." Those words in that phrase, "planted together," in the New Testament Greek, actually mean, "to cause to grow together." They speak of an ENGRAFTING. And so here again it is talking about that very same truth -- that we are joined to the Lord and made one spirit with Him -- and because we are, we are one with Him in His death, we are one with Him in His resurrection. Indeed, we are one with Him in everything He has done for us -- as well as with one with Him with everything HE IS.
This is why the Bible says, "Christ is our life." (Col. 3:4) How many understand that if Jesus was able to say about Himself, "I am THE LIFE" -- how many understand if you're joined to the One who said, "I am THE LIFE," then you alive if you're joined him in spirit? You are alive with HIS life.
All Given Freely IN Christ
Now it's right here that we have to understand another Truth that has to do with this joining of ourselves spiritually to the Lord: What it means is that God has not simply given us a bunch of THINGS BECAUSE OF JESUS. No. We might as well talk about eternal life along that line -- God has not simply given us eternal life as a THING, or as a legal classification -- because Christ died. No. God has given us CHRIST HIMSELF -- in this joining -- IN WHOM there IS ALL LIFE.
To go back to what I said a few minutes ago: God has not given us eternal life as a THING -- that we possess as our own. No. We don't have any such thing as eternal life as OUR OWN. Rather, we are in Christ -- and HE is THE LIFE; HE IS OUR LIFE. And once we begin to understand what it means for Christ BE our life, we are going to understand that it means that Christ is our ALL -- because everything that God has is in His life. Indeed, everything that God has for man has been given to us freely IN His Son Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:32) So never think of what God has given to man, or the things that happen to man because we have been given Christ -- never separate those from the PERSON of Christ. Never make those THINGS that God gives or does -- as being apart from His Son. No. God has freely given us all things IN HIS SON -- and it is as Christ is unfolded to us that what is IN Christ is likewise unfolded, and comes into our experience.
Separation of Soul and Spirit
All of this begins when we are saved -- when we are joined to the Lord and become one spirit with him. Again -- I Cor. 6:17. It is at that point that we are saved. It is at that point that we are PLANTED INTO Christ. That's our joining to the Lord, and that our becoming of one spirit with him. Now note: This joining is purely spiritual. The human spirit is united with Jesus Christ by the spirit of God.
Now, at that point -- as I noted -- we are born again. But note WHAT is born: What is born through this resurrection union is what I mentioned earlier: The new man in Jesus. "If any man is in Christ Jesus he is a new creation. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things have become new." (I Cor. 5:17) But the next phrase ought to be included in the same verse. It says, "and all things are OUT FROM from God." (II Cor. 5:18) And so our joining with the Lord is what births what the Bible calls, "the new creation in Christ;" "the new man in Christ Jesus." We are now joined to Him; one with Him IN SPIRIT.
But having established that, how many see that if we are joined to the Lord and are one SPIRIT with him -- that everything that is OUTSIDE of this SPIRITUAL joining remains NATURAL? We're not joined to the Lord with our physical body. Our, "soul man," or, "natural man," is not joined to the Lord -- we have not become one, "natural man," with Him. No. This is a spiritual joining. It is where salvation begins; it is the seat of salvation. It is HOW Christ dwells in us. The Bible says in Colossians 1:27, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Well, how does Christ dwell in us? Not in our body. Not in our soul. Christ is in us through this joining with Him in spirit. But everything outside of that spiritual joining -- the body and the soul man --remains natural.
Now, right there -- can we see that this is that division between spirit and soul? Our union with Christ -- our spiritual oneness with him -- is the spirit. But then there's a division between that spiritual joining -- and all that is outside of that spiritual union -- meaning the soul man or the physical body. The two (natures) are apart.
Now, how many see that because this is the case -- that our body and our soul man will never be saved in this age -- we can only be saved in the NEXT age in our body in our soul man. BUT, in this age, the body and the soul man are to be brought under the government of Jesus as Lord -- not saved -- but sanctified in the sense of obedience -- in the sense of the body and the soul being governed by the truth and our union with Christ
God originally created man to be in union with him spiritually -- and that was to govern a man's soul and body. But of course originally that soul and body were not in a corrupt situation -- they are NOW -- but not THEN. But God created man to be joined to him in spirit, and for Adam's relationship with God to govern his soul and body. But Adam gave away his relationship with God. He chose himself before God. And what ended up happening was that mankind began to be upside down. Now his soul and body began to govern a dead and corrupt spirit. Thus, God begins Redemption by restoring that spiritual union -- that salvation and the new birth -- and it's a spiritual thing. It's an inward thing. The soul and body must die and be raised in order to be saved -- that will only happen in the resurrection. Until then, (in this age), the soul and body -- because we know Jesus and our faith is in Him -- and God gives us freedom -- and wants to manifest Christ in us -- (the soul and body) needs to be brought under the government of Jesus as Lord in this age
I'm going to get into this a little bit later, but a lot of the problems that Christian people have are because we look at our soul or our body, and we expect to find evidence THERE of Christ. We expect to find evidence in our conduct, or in how we react, that we are born again. But that's not where (in our soul and body) the evidence IS. The evidence is Christ himself in us. And yes there's going to be an impact in our soul man. There is going to be obedience and a manifestation of Christ. But what a sorry state we would be in if we were left to looking at ourselves, and our natural man, for evidence that we are born again. Every day we sin. What would THAT be evidence of? I think I made my point. And so we have this division in each believer between the two natures that reside in everyone of us.
The Treasure in An Earthen Vessel
Now want to turn to II Corinthians, chapter 4, because it will again speak of these two natures, and will give us a little bit more of an idea as to the relationship that they have with one another in each believer. Paul says there in II Corinthians 4, starting in verse 7, "But we have this Treasure..." -- he is talking about Jesus Christ -- "IN earthen vessels." How many see TWO things right there? How many see a distinction between the old and the new? We have Christ -- who is the Treasure -- and we have the earthen vessel. It (the earthen vessel) IS earthly; it is natural -- and if left to itself sold completely under sin. And each believer has these -- we have this treasure -- Christ in us the hope of glory -- IN an earthen vessel.
Now note something here, because we do have to get something established: We've got the treasure IN the earthen vessel. Note that the Treasure will never BE the earthen vessel. Neither will the earthen vessel ever BE the Treasure. No. The Treasure and the earthen vessel are distinct. They maintain identity. The Treasure is IN the earthen vessel.
Now, there's something else that this truth does NOT mean: Can we see that God doesn't, "muster up," the treasure from out of the earthen vessel?" There no treasure in there to, "muster up." We're dead in sin. We are spiritually dead. No. We receive the Treasure INTO the earthen vessel from the outside of us INTO US FROM THE OUTSIDE. We have nothing except it has been received into us from above.
This is important to get established, because again if we don't understand the distinction between, "Christ in us" -- the Treasure -- and what remains natural -- the earthen vessel -- we are going to think that the purpose of God is to take earthen vessel and make it into a Xerox copy of the Treasure. No. That is not the purpose. We are never going to, "Look like Jesus." NO. We are going to, "bear about in the earthen vessel the dying of the Lord Jesus, in order that the life of the Treasure, who is the Lord Jesus, will be made manifest through us." (see II Cor. 4:10-11) It is not us (the earthen vessel), "looking like Jesus. Rather, it is JESUS looking like Jesus -- howbeit through a broken -- through the work of the Cross -- earthen vessel. And we're going to see more of this as we read along in the passage.
Now Paul says, "(We have this Treasure in an earthen vessel) that the excellency of the power might be of God, and not of us." Now note what it's saying here: It's not just, "nice poetry." It is TRUTH. We're being told that we have a Treasure IN an earthen vessel -- but that all of the value -- that's what the word, "excellency," means: "infinite value" -- ALL of the infinite value is in that Treasure. And it's NOT in the earthen vessel.
Now, we're going to see as we go along in this passage the same Truth, that, "Christ in us," carries all the value. That God has given us all things freely in Christ -- Who we receive from above -- from the outside of us as a starting point -- into us from the outside, when we joined to Him. The bottom line is that there is no value, there is no truth, there is no life, in the earthen vessel. There's no life in it to begin with, and there's never any life in it even as Christian people. ALL of the life is in THE LIFE, the Person Jesus Christ.
Now we're going to see how this all works out here as we read the passage: "But we have this Treasure in earthen vessels -- that the infinite value may be of God, and not of us." Then Paul talks about great trouble and great trial in verses 8 and 9. But then, in verse 10, he describes what all of this is UNTO -- what the purpose of God is in all of it. He says, "We are always bearing about in the body..." -- he is talking about the soul man. He is talking about the natural man that is OUTSIDE of that spiritual union with Jesus Christ. He says, "We are always bearing about in THAT MAN the dying of the Lord Jesus, in order that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." Now what is he saying here? He is saying you have been born from above by being joined to the Lord and be made one spirit with Him. At that point that Treasure is in you; in your earthen vessel. But as we all know, that doesn't mean that 5 minutes later we know whole lot about Jesus necessarily. It certainly doesn't mean that 5 minutes after were born again that we are able to walk in victory, or understand a whole lot about what the new birth is. No. Now, we do, with the new birth, have ALL of Jesus that were ever going to have in us -- and He is all that God has. He IS the Treasure, and at salvation we get ALL of Him. But how many understand that then we must go on to know him? Now we must go on, as we talked about earlier from Galatians 4:19, to come into an inward realization of the Christ with Whom we have been joined spiritually. That takes time. That takes experiences. It takes -- and Paul mentions that here -- often great trial. And Paul is saying as we face these things in life, if we yield to God there will be a work of the cross that takes place upon that natural man that's in us -- so that that natural man can bear about the dying of the Lord Jesus -- in other words, so that that natural men will no longer, "run the show."
Even after we are saved, isn't it true that your natural man -- your SOUL MAN -- in so many ways continues to be in charge? Not because you want him to be. I think some people do (want him to be in charge). (This is proven) when it's tested. But we don't know Jesus right after we are saved very much, and so we're just going to continue on with the same habits, the same thought patterns, and same religious patterns. We may continue trying to establish our own righteousness. We do that, and God knows we do it, and so what God has to do is to bring a work of the cross into our lives whereby the natural man -- the power of the natural man to govern us -- becomes broken by experience.
We can recite all day, "The old man is dead! Hallelujah!," but how many understand that through experience it has to be worked out? He IS dead -- but now that fact has to be brought home through experience by experiencing the victory of Jesus Christ.
Losing Our Life to Find His Life
Now one other thing that Paul really is explaining here in these verses that we're reading is exactly what Jesus stated in Matthew 16: "Whoever would come after Me must deny themselves pick up their cross daily and follow Me. For whosoever will lose his life for My sake, will find Me as his life. Whosoever would seek to save his life will lose it." It is really the same principle. It's just that II Corinthians 4, Paul was talking a little bit more about the dynamics of how that is to be worked out -- what it looks like, in other words, when we begin to experience it.
We have to lose that old Adam life. Now, when we talk about losing that old Adam life, we are not talking about coming to the place where the Adam nature in us doesn't exist. Neither are we talking about, "giving up candy for Lent," or something like that. We are NOT talking about going on a campaign of self-denial, thinking that that is going to make us spiritual -- i.e., those kinds of asceticism that people used to practice. No. We are really talking about losing our SELF OWNERSHIP.
We exhibit self ownership in many ways, even as born-again believers. We want our way. We want to satisfy that old man in Adam. One of the greatest manifestations of self ownership for someone who is claiming to be a Christian is the manifestation of SELF-righteousness. SELF-righteousness IS self ownership. We are self-righteous because we haven't lost our life to Jesus Christ. We have to lose everything about ourselves that we might have used to establish our own righteousness. We have to lose that self-ownership. That's what Jesus is saying: "If any man would come after me let him deny his self-ownership."
Now, I often say it this way: If we want to know how to do that as an overall commitment, what we can do is we can say to the Lord, "Lord I present my body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You," (see Rom. 12:1-2) "Lord, I make the commitment to fully lose myself into Your hands for WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring me into this Truth." And so we are essentially praying to the Lord, and we're saying to Him, "Lord, do whatever it takes to cause me to be able to lose my life -- the way Jesus meant it. Lord, do whatever it takes to bring about this experience of, 'always being about in my body the dying of the Lord Jesus.' Do whatever it takes to bring that about because I certainly don't know where I could start."
We must make that commitment. We must get on that symbolic altar of Romans 12:1, and we have to give ourselves into the hands of the Lord for the work of the Cross. That's an overall commitment. And then when God does, "do whatever it takes" -- and that will vary for each one of us unto the SAME end of losing our lives -- THEN we pick up the cross; we surrender to Him we go right along with Him. And so that's the overall commitment -- "Lord I lose myself to You. I lose my life in your hands for whatever it takes." And then, as God does do whatever it takes, we surrender and work out that commitment. And it results in, "always bearing about in our bodies -- in our soul man -- the dying of the Lord Jesus." But look at what the result is: "That the LIFE also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body."
Now notice what is happening here: DEATH is being brought upon that which is already dead -- the Adam life. We're coming into an experience here of the old man in Adam and his death -- and we're bearing that death -- in other words, we are experiencing it. And as we do, the power of that old man in Adam is proven to be exactly what Jesus said it is: Dead. That, "bearing about in our body -- in the soul man -- the dying of the Lord Jesus," IS the breaking of the false knowledge; is the breaking of the self ownership -- so that we can be guided into the truth that we are dead in Adam; that we are one with Christ in his cross.
How many see all of this is already finished? It's already done? And all of these things are simply a matter of God bringing us into the truth of them? -- "I will guide you into all the truth." And so, "Always bearing about in our soul man the dying of the Lord Jesus," -- the breaking of that (the soul man) is necessary so that the Jesus Christ who is ALREADY in us might find a greater release and freedom to be revealed in us, and to live through us.
I mentioned earlier that when we are saved we get ALL of Jesus -- ALL that He IS, all that he's done. So this isn't a matter of God adding to us more of Jesus. This is a matter of us bearing about in the soul Man the dying of the Lord Jesus so that the Jesus who dwells in us -- the ALL of Jesus -- may begin to be released, and realized, and formed in us. And so this is how God does that.
Now one other thing here that is essential to understand: You will note that the outcome of this work of the cross is, "that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in and through us." In fact, in verse 11 it repeats that -- it says, "For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."
Now, just as an aside here before I get to the point I want to make: Jesus Christ is manifest in our mortal flesh, really in two ways. First of all, He's manifest to US -- and what I mean is that He is manifest to us personally. The Christ who is IN YOU is manifest TO YOU, personally, by virtue of the fact that He is in you, and being revealed in you. We begin to experience Him.
That BEGINS, as I talked about earlier, IN SPIRIT. But we begin to understand -- our mind becomes renewed according to the truth -- and that has an impact in our soul man. The source isn't in our soul man. The source isn't in our mind. But if I can put it this way -- it's a little mechanical -- the life of Jesus, "flows," from our union with Him in spirit INTO our mind, and into our mortal body, in the sense that we realize him there, and we begin to experience Him there.
So that's one way in which Jesus is manifested in our mortal body -- to us personally. The other way is through us to others. Now, here is where we have to understand something that is often NOT understood -- but it's the point I was trying to get here: This is NOT a matter of God making you and I, to, "look like Jesus." You hear that phrase all the time. It's preached; its taught. But it isn't the truth. We are never going to look like Jesus. That's not God's purpose. And the way people describe this sometimes -- you would swear that what they are talking about is that BECAUSE of Jesus, God is going to make us into Xerox copies of Him. And we'll just be looking like Jesus; and be Xerox copies of Jesus walking around. That's not the truth. What God will do is crucify US, so that JESUS can look like Jesus -- in and through us. This is a release and a manifest of CHRIST -- in and through us -- and yes, even through our mortal bodies and soul man, as a manifestation -- but not as the source.
And so we're never going to look like Jesus. We're going to manifest Jesus. And if we really had time to look at this, we would find that in those two (distinctions), are two different totally different kinds of Christianity. I think a lot of people today are striving to look like Jesus. They think they're supposed to look and act like Jesus -- and then when they can't, they get discouraged. You were never meant to (look like Jesus). You were meant to manifest Christ Himself.
Over there in Romans 8, there is a phrase that says that the purpose of God is that we, "be conformed to his image." And from that people often misinterpret and misunderstand. They will say, "See. We are to be conformed to His image -- we are to look like Jesus."
Well, the Greek word there for, "conformed," means, "to be formed together with." And so it is really saying that as God forms Christ in us we are going to be made -- as it says in Philippians 3 -- we are going to be made, "conformable to his death." In other words, we're going to come into a realization of the fact that we have been planted WITH HIM together in his death -- and we're going to be united with Him, and raised with Him in HIS likeness. So to be, "formed together," or, "conformed to the image of His Son," simply means that Christ is going to be formed in us, and that's going to change us, so that we can manifest Him -- which is the whole point of this passage.
How many understand that you can't manifest Christ until YOU are out of the way? You can't manifest Christ until you are changed to be in harmony with Him. You can't manifest the truth until you are made True to God -- by the forming of Christ in us. So even that verse speaks -- not of being made to look like Jesus -- but it speaks of being made to manifest the Christ who is already dwelling in the believer.
Now, somebody might ask, "Well, how does this look? How does it work from a practical standpoint?" Because obviously God is not going to manifest Jesus Christ through us -- to the disregard of us. He doesn't bypass us; He manifests Christ THROUGH us. What's our part? What do we do?
Well, I think the best way -- just in a real quick summary of describing how this works -- is this statement -- and I read this many years ago by somebody. I don't even remember where I read it, but it says it's so wonderfully: The person stated, "Those who manifest Christ the most are the least aware of it." Let me say that again: "Those who manifest Christ the most are the least aware of it." Now, how can that be? Well, it CAN BE -- because if lost ourselves. It can be because we're not trying to direct traffic anymore. We are just abiding in The Vine. We have LOST our agenda and our desire to have things our way -- even spiritually. In fact, we are so focused on Christ -- so swallowed up in Him -- that we live, and we move, and He's able to live through us -- He's able to be manifested through us. It's not our effort; it's not us directing traffic. We are not fussing with that; we're not fussing with being under the law, or with whether we are righteous, or with do's and don'ts. We are just worshipping Him, and in love with him. And focused on HIM. And guess what? When a branch abides in the Vine -- well, that's all that's necessary -- the fruit will be there. No branch puts forth any effort to abide in the Vine -- the branches simply does. And we do by faith, and His life then is able to flow.
And so what makes this possible is that work of the cross -- "to bear about in ourselves the dying of the Lord Jesus," so that we can get our minds off of ourselves -- LOSE all of that; put it all the way; throw it in the trash can where it belongs; take our place, in other words, in the death of Jesus, and get our focus on Him -- so that, "the life of Jesus might be made manifest THROUGH us." Those who manifest Christ the most are those who are least aware of it -- because their focus and their obsession is no longer with themselves -- it's upon Jesus Christ. And so Paul gets at that here in II Corinthians 4, "That the life also of Jesus may be manifest in our mortal flesh."
So can we see again this tremendous distinction and separation between the Christ in us with Whom we are joined in Spirit -- the separation between that union -- from everything that's outside of it, which remains of the natural man? The two are distinct and each exists in every believer.
All in Jesus Christ
Now, from this we ought to be able to see something that I did allude to a little bit earlier here -- and that is that IN CHRIST the believer receives ALL. Christ is the source of ALL for the believer. Now, the reason I'm saying that is that that needs -- as a truth -- to be contrasted over and against saying that there's some source of Truth, Life, or value in the natural man. A lot of people today are teaching, for example, that when you are born again, God wants to muster up out of your natural man some kind of a latent greatness that he can use. I've even heard it stated on Christian television that Jesus died to bring out the greatness in man -- that was already there. I've heard it said that we have all these gifts in our natural man that are latent -- and they're not working right and they can't function to the glory of God -- but once Christ comes to dwell in us, then our natural man becomes sort of all supercharged, and God is able to draw OUT OF natural man all the latent greatness and gifts and usefulness -- and He's able to use our natural man, and bring us into the fullness of what was ALREADY in there. That is a lie. And it has resulted in many heresies in the Christian church today -- not the least of which is what I guess we could call, "The gospel of ME."
No. There is no truth, there is no life, and there is no latent greatness in natural man. That's why Jesus had to come to die for us and make a NEW MAN. There is a verse here in II Corinthians 13 that I will read. It says in verse 5, "Examine yourselves to see whether you be in the faith -- in other words, faith in Christ -- prove your own selves. Don't you know how that unless Jesus Christ is in you -- you are a reprobate? It says it right there: That unless Christ is in you there's nothing of value there. That's what the word, "reprobate," means: Good-for-nothing. No. You and I are dead -- "In Adam all die." There's nothing good in Adam. It is ALL corrupt. We have to be born from above in Jesus Christ or we have nothing.
Now, 2nd Corinthians chapter 5 -- I quoted this earlier, but I want to read it now, here, to emphasize again the distinction between the old and the new. Paul, there writes -- II Cor. 5:17 -- "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW creature. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things have become new, and all things -- that is in this new creation -- are of God. Now, when Paul says old things are passed away, can we see that this proves that Jesus Christ did not come to resuscitate Adam? Jesus Christ did not come to repair and fix up the old man in Adam. He did not come to resuscitate Adam -- or to prop him up with something called resurrection life. Jesus came so that all of Adam, and all of that old creation, could DIE IN HIM -- and then once dead -- He could raise up a NEW man and a NEW creation.
The Last Adam
Now, this is exactly why, if we turn back to 1st Corinthians 15 again, that Jesus Christ is called The Last Adam. He is called The Last Adam -- really there are two dimensions to that -- ONE Truth -- but I'd like to explain it using two different dimensions. Jesus is The Last Adam because he is the consummate Adam -- in other words he became the Adam, or the man, that God intended right from the start when He created the first Adam. In that sense of the word, Jesus summed up the totality of everything that God wanted in His original creation of Adam -- and that makes him LAST in that sense -- there doesn't need, in other words, to be another -- because Jesus Christ is the fullness of God thought for a man. Jesus did that, of course, by being born into this world from the outside, living a completely sinless life, and in doing so he became -- through experience -- everything that God intended when He created the first Adam. And I really believe that on the Mount of Transfiguration the glory that you see there is the perfected man according to God's mind. "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased" -- in other words, Jesus Christ became The Last Adam; the fullness of everything God intended in a man -- and God was pleased with it.
So that's one sense in which Jesus is The Last Adam -- he's the fullness; he's the consummate man in the mind of God -- (as God in the flesh.) But how many understand that once Jesus accomplished that then he offered himself as the, "Lamb without blemish," as The Last Adam, the perfect man -- to bear the sin of the entirety of the Adamic race. And that's the second way in which Jesus is The Last Adam. Jesus ENDED, on the cross, the Adam race. He did not end it as existing -- He ended it as being anything that God would have to do with -- but of course, ultimately it will be ended as a race.
We know that Jesus died for all the sin of the world. That's fundamental Christian truth. But we've also read today, from Romans 6 -- where Paul uses all those pictures of being planted INTO the death of Jesus -- that Jesus also BORE the Adam race; BORE all the sin of Adam race; BORE the Adam race itself in his body on the cross -- and that's what Romans 6 said: "We were planted in his death; we are engrafted into his death." That's not just Jesus dying FOR us -- that's included. But that's US dying in Jesus! How many understand that the only reason you and I can be free from sin -- that the only reason that we can be free from the Adam race -- is if the Adam race died in Christ: "He that has died" -- Romans 6 says, "is freed from sin."
Hold your finger in 1st Corinthians 15 because I want to go there in Romans 6 and read that verse 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. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we also live with him. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more. Death has no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once. But in that He lives, He lives unto God. Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ Our Lord." And then he gives direction as to the fact that we don't need to yield to sin, but that we can learn to yield to Christ.
And so Jesus is The Last Adam in the sense that all the Adamic race died IN HIM on the cross. He bore, "the body of sin," on the Cross. And He DIED. How many understand that that's the END of the Adamic race? Jesus became the fullness of everything God wanted Adam to be -- and then died on a Cross. That's the end of the Adam race. But it is the segway to the new race -- because what came out of the grave was a NEW creation in Christ Jesus.
So again -- we are no longer, if we are in Christ, in Adam. If anybody is in Jesus Christ he is a NEW creation. The OLD has passed away. Now, that's a fact for us. It's what the new birth IS. But in each believer we have BOTH the old and the new -- existing side by side in this age. We have the new creation in Christ Jesus, by virtue of our joining with Him in spirit -- but then we also have the remnant of that old creation. And God -- in this age through the work of the Cross -- as we read in 2nd Corinthians 4 -- is bringing us into the reality of Jesus Christ in that new creation -- and he's putting that old under the cross. And both work together: "Whosoever will lose his life by picking up his cross," Jesus said in Matthew 16, "will find ME as his life." And so this truth is all through scripture.
The Purpose of Satan and the Purpose of God
The Purpose of Satan and the Purpose of God
Right there -- what I just described -- is the purpose of Satan. Satan would like to get us to sin; he would like to get us to go off and live as a heathen. All of that I'm sure would please him very much. But most professing Christians, at least, are not going to do that. Satan would be more than happy if he could simply get us walking according to flesh and natural man -- but thinking that we are walking in the spirit with Christ. And if you look down through church history, you can see that the greatest inroads that the devil has made is to establish Christianity upon a natural basis -- and then that becomes, "the new normal." Satan wants to blind professing Christians to the person Jesus Christ -- Who is dwelling in us. He wants to blind us to the whole reality of, "Christ in us, the hope of glory" -- and if he can do that then the default will be some form of natural religion that we call Christianity -- and we will be deceived. We will be deceived in our inward man -- we won't know Jesus -- and then we'll start to practice some of the nonsense you see everywhere in the church today -- people trying to fix the natural man; trying to go through programs and seminars -- and all these things that are proposed to try to make a natural man behave like a Christian. We will try to live our Christianity THERE -- and we will wind up deceived.
God has a better intention for us. He says NO -- he says turn to Me with all of your heart. Ask me to, "Do whatever it takes," that you may know Christ. And then if we know Christ, we're going to know what's not of him, and we're going to be able to be guided into the truth, and walk with Jesus Christ by his spirit -- and avoid all of these other pitfalls and deceptions.
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