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Risen With Christ

By David A. DePra

 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  (Eph. 2:6)

      There is an emphasis in the thinking of most Christian people, as well as in Christian teaching, upon the fact that Jesus DIED for us.  Of course, without the death of Jesus on the Cross there could be nothing more.  But have we forgotten the resurrection?  And what that resurrection means for us as His people?

      I think that there is an emphasis upon the death of Christ, sometimes to the exclusion of the resurrection, because His death speaks to our sin and our need to be right with God.  We have to contend with sin every day and most of us don’t feel right with God.  So we keep going back to His death.  This is perfectly fine – but not if we leave it there.  A Christianity that focuses solely upon the death of Jesus Christ is not the Truth.  After all, Christianity is new LIFE in Christ.

 It is Finished

      Immediately before He gave up His spirit, Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished.”  What was finished?  Well, whatever Jesus said was finished had to be finished by His death, but BEFORE His resurrection.  Thus, if we leave out His resurrection, what did Jesus finish solely by His death?

      The Adam race – and all the sin that was in it.  Jesus was The Last Adam -- not only because He perfected what the Adam race was supposed to be in God’s purpose through His sinless living – but He was The Last Adam because He then ENDED the Adam race through His death on the Cross.  Jesus had been the perfection of the Adam race, but then offered Himself for the rest of us – He bore the rest of us and all of our sin in Himself on the Cross, and then DIED.  This ENDED the Adam race.  Through His resurrection there came to be A NEW CREATION or race.

      The Adam race was finished at the Cross.  God had told Adam if he sinned he would die and that judgment was never revoked – it was simply carried out to the full in Jesus Christ.  The entire Adam race was placed in Christ on the Cross and in Him all who are in Adam died.  The Adam race was ended and finished – not yet as to existence – but ended as far as the full judgment of God.

      There is a common misunderstanding among Christians regarding this matter of the death of Jesus.  Many think that because Jesus died as our substitute that God then LIFTED from the Adam race the death sentence.  But this is never taught in scripture, for if it were true, there would be no new creation in Christ.  The fact is, God never lifted the judgment of death from the Adam race.  Rather, it was carried out to the full in Christ.  But because Christ died for us, we can DIE IN HIM – and be delivered OUT of the Adam race through His death, and INTO the new creation in Christ Jesus through His resurrection. 

      When a believer comes to Jesus Christ by faith, it means they are losing their life to Him and taking their place in His death.  Because Jesus died FOR us, we are able to die IN HIM – we are able to be crucified WITH Christ; buried WITH Him into baptism into HIS death.  Or, as Paul says in Romans, “we are planted together with Him in the likeness of His death.”  Thus, His death is more than just a death FOR those born in Adam – it is also our death TO ADAM.  If we are crucified with Christ we DIE to the Adam race.  We are no longer IN ADAM.

      This is why Jesus was able to say, “It is finished.”  The Adam race – and our captivity to that fallen race, with all of the heredity of sin therein – was finished.  It was finished through HIS DEATH – and then the planting of the believer into His death. 

 Planted and Joined to the Lord

 He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit (with Him).  (I Cor. 6:17)

      Most of us have a LEGAL grasp of the Redemption if we have any at all.  Indeed, some of our ideas of what Jesus did are simply wrong.  For example, many Christians think that the problem between God and man is God – God is mad at man because of sin and has condemned man to death.  But Jesus came and died for us -- to supposedly appease God.  And then because of Jesus’ death, God was able to lift from the Adam race the condemnation of death.  To many of us, this is, “forgiveness,” and, “salvation” – God’s lifting of the punishment of death from the Adam race.

      But if you examine this notion, there is no mention at all of newness of life – other than to define newness of life as no longer being under a legal condemnation of death.  But that isn’t newness of life at all.  It is merely the same old Adam race – except now, “forgiven,” and, stamped with the destiny of heaven.  This is NOT redemption.  It is not the Truth.

      If we want to discover the Truth on this matter, it goes right back to the very definition of Christianity:  “Christ in you.”  (Col. 1:27)  And Paul leaves no doubt as to what that means:  “Christ in you,” means that you and I are, “joined to the Lord and are one spirit with Him.”  Christ is in us in that we are one with Him in spirit – our quickened human spirit is one with His Spirit.  Or, if you prefer, we are IN CHRIST.  Either way, we are ONE with Him spiritually.

      Now, that changes everything.  And it explains why Paul was able to say we are planted in Christ – into His death AND resurrection.  Sure.  We are one with Him, and thus, His death becomes OURS – not just legally, but truly.  In Christ, our Adam – our old man – died.  In addition, it explains how we have eternal life – we have eternal life because we are one with THE LIFE, who is a Person, Jesus Christ.  He IS our life.  We are planted WITH HIM in His resurrection.

      Failure to realize that we are ONE with Jesus Christ – and that this is the core definition of Christianity – and that HE carries ALL that God has for man – failure to understand this great Truth will blind us to so much else that God has for us.  But realize that Jesus Christ IS our life, and IS the source of all that God has for us – not a Christ off somewhere in heaven, but the Christ with whom we are ONE – realize that, and all of a sudden everything else, including so many Bible passages, becomes clear. 

      Christian people have been blinded to the reality of, “Christ in us.”  We have been offered almost everything else as Christianity.  But there is nothing else.  Christ is Christianity – Christ IN US.  We are joined to the Lord and are one spirit with Him.  We are one with Him in His death.  We are one with Him in His resurrection.  These are not merely historical events that happened FOR US – but rather, they are spiritual realities that are now carried in Christ – the same Christ with whom we are ONE.

      The purpose of God is now to form Christ in the believer; to bring us into an inward realization and revelation of His Son.  In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  In Christ we have all that God has to give.  We are to be made conformable to His death – His death into which we are planted.  We are to walk in the power of His resurrection – His life into which we are planted or made one.  It is all about HIM – the living Christ with whom we are one in spirit.

 The Resurrection

      Obviously, without the death of Christ on the Cross there is NOTHING.  There is no resurrection; there is no new creation.  Unless Christ died, we are still alive in Adam.  Jesus could have never said, “It is finished.”

      But the death of Christ is NOT, in and of itself, the new creation.  Death is NOT life.  It makes new life possible, but death, of itself, is not life.  It is death.  That is why it is error to tell someone that they need to, “keep their faith in the Cross,” or, “to put their faith in Christ crucified.”  No.  Our faith is not in what Christ DID – it is in the One who did it – the Person of Jesus Himself.  Put your faith in Christ and you will be brought face to face with all that He did – and you will have to take your place in His death.  But not once in the entirety of the NT will you ever read that we need to put our faith in the Cross, or in merely what Jesus DID.  No.  Christ is alive.  He dwells IN the believer.  HE is the object of our faith – which, it our faith is real, will ALWAYS include all that He accomplished for us.

       The death of Jesus finished the Adam race and all the sin that was therein.  But what did His resurrection accomplish?  The resurrection of Jesus Christ did not FIX or REPAIR the Adam race.  No.  Neither did the resurrection of Jesus Christ eradicate the Adam race, replacing it, and causing it to cease to exist.  No.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ resulted in a NEW RACE; a new creation.

      This is especially important to grasp as it pertains to our Christian experience.  It means that when you are raised with Christ, it does not eradicate your old nature – not by getting rid of it or replacing it.  No.  The Adam nature is still there in the believer.  Neither does our resurrection in Christ FIX and IMPROVE the old Adam nature.  No.  It is still there just like it was before.  Rather – and this is vital to see – in Christ we are raised FROM OUT OF the old Adam nature – in spirit only during this age – into newness of life. 

      To say it rather mechanically, God does nothing to our old nature in Adam when we are saved.  Not in this age.  But we are JOINED to the Lord in our spirit – in other words – Christ is ADDED to us.  Thus, we have a human being who is completely natural and in the flesh – all of which stays the same – but who is now IN SPIRIT joined to the Lord.  This joining raises us up OUT OF the old as our life – it is still there – and seats us with Christ in heavenly places – He is now our life.

       The Bible does sometimes say that the old man dies in Christ – “our old man is crucified in Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed.”  But from another point of view, in this age, that old man does not die – that old man can be quite active in us, can he not?  Sure.  That is why it is sometimes said that WE DIE TO the old man.  But either way – whether we say the old man dies, or whether we say that we die TO the old man – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has severed us from the old creation in Adam and raised us up as new creations in Christ Jesus.

      Now, can we see the utter finality of what Christ has done?  In His death, the Adam race was ended – the Adam race was finished being the life of, and the master of, those who come to Christ.  We have died to Adam.  But that alone would not save us – death alone doesn’t save.  Rather, once dead to Adam we are raised alive in Christ.  He is our life and our salvation.

      Hopefully, we can see why our faith must be in the Person of Jesus Christ.  If we try to put our faith in the Cross alone, there would be no LIFE in Christ.  If we try to put our faith in the resurrection alone, there would be no DEATH to the old.  Thus, we put our faith in the Christ who embodies ALL that He has done.  If we are planted into Christ we are planted into both His death and resurrection and they are both dynamics that work in us through Him.

      The picture of Christ as the Vine and ourselves as the branches harmonizes perfectly with the picture of being planted into Christ.  In Adam, we are also planted into a vine – the vine of the Adam race.  This vine is dead spiritually.  Thus, all of the branches are likewise dead – and worse.  When we come to Christ and take our place in His death on the Cross, we are telling God to sever us from the old Adam vine.  We renounce it – we relinquish it.  But this alone won’t save us.  For if we are planted into His death, we are likewise planted into His resurrection, and thus, engrafted into Jesus Christ as our Vine and only life.  We have died to the old and been raised out of it into the new who is a Person.

 Saved by His Life

 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.   (Rom. 5:10)

      We see several Truths here, not the least of which is the fact that we are saved, not solely by the death of Jesus, but actually by His resurrection life.  You will note that we are reconciled to God by the death of Christ – sure, because through His death we are dead to the Adam life which was at enmity against Him.  All that stood between God and man was ended when the Adam race was ended at the Cross.  But this alone saved no one – because it alone did not put life into anyone.  Having been delivered from the Adam race we are actually saved BY HIS LIFE – because if Christ is in us; if we are joined to Him – HE IS OUR LIFE.

     There is another Truth in this passage that we can only briefly touch upon.  It is a Truth repeated in II Cor. 5.  Paul says, “If One died for all, then were all dead.”  It gets back to the fact that the Adam race ended through the Cross.  Jesus Christ bore the entire Adam race down into His death on the Cross.  No exceptions – every member of the Adam race who ever lived or will ever live was placed into Jesus Christ on the Cross and brought down into His death.  That is why Paul can say, “If one died for all, then were all dead.”  It is why Jesus could say, “It is finished.”  The Adam race died in Christ.

      Now, this does not mean universal salvation.  No.  But it does mean universal death – the Adam race is ended.  It does not matter whether a person puts their faith in Christ or not – the Adam race ended in Christ.  Indeed, Jesus Christ did die for every member of the Adam race – whether they put their faith in Him or not.  BUT – and we must hear this – it is only those who come to Christ and embrace His death for them that can be RAISED in Him. 

     Death always WAS universal, wasn’t it?  Because of the sin of Adam that is a fact.  But life was never universal.  Jesus did die for all – all are dead and He took that upon Himself – but only those who embrace Him are raised, saved, and become one with Him.  The rest are left in death.

      This is also why the sin of the human race – despite all of the other sin we could name – the sin of the human race is UNBELIEF.  Just as only faith in Christ will save us, so it is that only unbelief – the refusal to believe once light is given – can condemn us.  Sure.  Christ died for all.  But only those who believe are raised.

      We are saved by His life – impossible unless we embrace His death – but we are saved by His life because we are united with LIFE HIMSELF.  The believer is united with Christ in His death – made dead to the old Adam race -- and made alive in Christ.  Resurrection is LIFE – new life.

Separation of Soul and Spirit

      The believer is joined to the Lord and one spirit with Him.  THIS IS the new creation in Christ – our spiritual union with Christ.  But can we also see that the birth of this new creation in Christ takes place within an old creation in Adam?  Sure.  We are born in Adam – all of which is of the earthly and of the flesh.  But at the point of salvation, our dead human spirit is united with Christ and is made alive in Him.  But the rest of us remains in tact – what is birthed in us is, as it were, added.  It does not eradicate the old.

      This joining of our human spirit to the Lord creates in each believer a division.  It is a division of natures – all that is of Christ and our union with Him in spirit – over and against all that is outside of that union, which remains natural.  That which is born of the flesh will always BE flesh.  But that which is born of the spirit will always BE spirit.  The old is of Adam, and the new is Christ.

      We are dead to the old nature in Adam – through the new life in Christ.  This means we CAN and DO yield ourselves to the old – but if we would instead abide in Christ we would discover that we do not have to yield.  “Walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”  We do not need to kill that which is already dead, or that to which we are already dead – the old nature.  We need only to abide in Christ who is our life – and that which is dead will be shown to be without power.

      The point here is to see that what is raised to newness of life is our spirit, not our flesh.  Now, the flesh will progressively come to be governed by the spirit of Christ through us.  But this is not the flesh changing into spirit, nor is it the flesh being morphed to where it looks and behaves like Christ.  No.  It is the flesh being reckoned as dead because it IS dead – and the life of Christ flowing through us with less opposition.  This is, of course, a progressive outworking – through the work of the Cross and forming of Christ in us.

        Therefore, it is folly to try to make the flesh behave like Christ.  No.  The flesh cannot be made to LIVE.  It must be reckoned as dead.  Leave it alone and abide in Christ.  The result can be that without the necessity of much conscious effort on our part, Christ will be made manifest THROUGH the natural life.  The battle here is not works.  It is faith – it is a matter of which life we will abide in, and thus, will come to govern us.  

 Seated With Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.  (Eph. 1:3)

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.  (Eph. 1:20)

 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  (Eph. 2:6)

      All of these Truths about what Christianity IS, and the reality of death and resurrection in Christ, are necessary to an understanding of what it means to, “be seated with Christ in heavenly places.”  Can we see that the basis for such a declaration is that we are, “joined to the Lord and made one spirit with Him.”  Our spiritual resurrection union with Christ is why we are seated with Christ in heavenly places:  He is seated at the right hand of God.  And WE are joined to Him.  Our natural man is not IN CHRIST.  Our earthly nature is not seated with Christ in the heavenlies.  No.  We are joined to the Lord in spirit.       

      What we need to see at this point is what it means from the standpoint of living to be seated in Christ at the right hand of God in heavenly places.  First of all, can we see that this speaks of a THRONE – a position of authority over ALL?  Sure.  Read the passages from Ephesians.  That is exactly what Paul brings in.

      So what does that mean?  That the believer has been given power and authority to do things for God?  Nope.  Again – we have to get back to the Truth that we are IN CHRIST; ONE WITH HIM.  That we are seated IN Christ in HIS throne.  In other words, we have no autonomy here.  We are given to do HIS will unto His glory.

      The fact is, until we are under Christ as Lord we have no authority.  Until we are weak in ourselves, we cannot be strong in Him.  The only power that the believer possesses is, “Christ the power of God.”  But this is made possible only  by, “the Cross, the power of God” – we must lose our lives to find true life in Him.  If we are joined to the Lord, the only way in which the power of His resurrection can flow through us is if we come to the place where Paul came, “Yet not I, but Christ.”  Resurrection life is not found in ourselves as the source.  It is HIS LIFE in us – and works only for the will of God.

      Thus, we see that we have NO power to do anything that Jesus would not do.  But on the other hands, there is all power available to do what Jesus would do.  But again – this power is not a THING Christ gives us to use – it is rather the power of HIS LIFE through us.

 Heavenly, Not Earthly

      Being seated with Christ in heavenly places – which is equal to being raised with Him – should have a great impact upon our living.  Of course, we do need to have our eyes opened to the reality of this Truth.  But not merely as a THING or a FACT.  Simply put, it will be to the extent that Christ is formed in us, and we grow to know Him, that the reality of being seated with Him will also dawn upon us.

       Being risen with Christ and seated with Him is not merely a, “positional” truth that we are to memorize and add to our catalog of Christian doctrines.  Rather, it is supposed to be the outcome of our oneness and realization of Christ.  Christ has not merely given us life, but He IS our life – and His resurrection life is the only life we have -- the only life out of which we are to live by faith.  Thus, this is an all-encompassing Truth that is to govern us.  It is not just a doctrine.

      One of the greatest impacts of our coming into the reality of Christ – Christ in us; being risen with Christ; seated with Christ – is that it is supposed to result in a progressive freedom FROM the earthly but TO the spiritual.  We are to LOSE the earthly life and live out from Christ.  We are set free from the Adam race and are born from above with a heavenly nature.  We are no longer citizens of the earthly but citizens of the heavenly realm.  The result is that we should be less and less earthly minded, with earthly goals.  We should be less and less controlled by that which is earthly – both outside of us, in our environment – but also less controlled by the earthly nature that is IN US. 

      You will note that Paul states that Christ is seated at the right hand of God in heavenly places, “far above…….”  The principalities and powers that are mentioned are those that rule over the earthly – even though they, themselves, are spiritually wicked.  When Adam sinned, he forfeited the dominion God gave him over the earthly – both the earth itself and his own earthly nature.  The entire earthly realm became the ground and territory of dominion of Satan and these principalities.  Through death and resurrection Jesus conquered all of these.

      The earthly realm includes more than just the physical earth.  It includes that part of natural man you can see as well as that part of natural man that you cannot see.  All of this earthly nature came under the powers of darkness when Adam sinned.  When Adam sinned he lost his union with God and his spirit died.  Thus, his natural makeup had nothing to govern it to God’s glory.  Thus, all of man’s earthly nature was not only brought into captivity to Satan and the powers of darkness, but this earthly nature came under the death sentence.

      Now, when Jesus bore the Adam race on the Cross and died, this completely undercut the ground that Satan governs in human beings.  That earthly territory which belonged to Satan was left in the grave and when Christ was raised there was ushered in a NEW creation – a new kind of human being.  Thus, it can be said that in Christ we are raised up OUT OF that old nature – even though it continues to exist along side of the new – and seated with Christ above all of that old nature and above the forces that controlled it.  In Christ, we are a new creation – over which the forces of Satan have no power.  In Christ, we are seated in the One who has conquered all death; all that speaks of the old, earthly nature.  This is why, as we grow, we are supposed to be less controlled by the earthly, and more by Christ in us.

      If you will take note of your own conduct and reactions, you will have to admit that you are controlled by what is happening in your outward life.  What happens outside of you is able to get inside of you and govern your inward reactions.  Or even if there is nothing happening on the outside of you, you are able to create within yourself imaginations and reactions that will come to govern your earthly nature.  All of this can govern a person’s life – it absolutely will govern without Christ.

      Amazingly, trying to find in oneself the materials needed to become what God desires – whether we realize we are doing this or not – is exactly what Satan wants each of us to do.  It is akin to Gnosticism.  It is the error of thinking that within ourselves there is a greatness, knowledge, or a value, that simply needs to be brought out and enhanced by Christ.  No.  The entire old man must DIE.  And the work of the Cross will, in fact, set the earthly aside as the source of anything that is of God.  We must RECEIVE from above all that is of value in the Person of Jesus Christ.  We must be born from above as new creations in Him.

       The earthly cannot produce life.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and will always be flesh, and will always produce only that which is of the flesh.  What you end up with are human beings whose entire perception of reality, and really, their perception of God, is nothing more than a product of their own imaginations, bias, morality, psyche, and natural frame of reference -- a product from out of themselves – from out of their own earthly nature.  “The nature man cannot receive the things of God,”  (I Cor. 2:14) and, “Unless you are born from above, you cannot see…..”

       Religious people, including many professing Christians, can do the same thing.  It is possible for a professing Christian to create from out of their own earthly nature a Christianity, a Christ, a God, and an entire belief system that they think is based on the Bible – but which is nothing more than a product of THEMSELVES.  This blindness can be fueled by the fact that they made indeed believe many correct Biblical doctrines and live a reasonably good life.  But they have NOT been born from above.  They know the doctrines of Christ, but have never come into a realization of Christ Himself.

      Christianity is heavenly in nature because it is the life of The Heavenly Man – it is Christ in us.  But it is entirely possible for us to try to bring Christ down into the earthly realm and to try to create an earthly Christianity out of the materials found in natural man.

      The fact is, this is exactly what ALL of us do until God sets us free – it is really ALL WE CAN DO.  Without revelation, religious people will have their imagination take over.  For example, if I read the Bible and see what God wants to do in His people through Christ, it is possible for me to unwittingly try to duplicate that in myself through emotions, imagination, and psychological mind games.  I might try to create in myself the right, “mind set,” or, “emotional condition,” because I think that I am supposed to – because I think that it is FAITH -- or because I am afraid that unless those conditions are in me I might not be a Christian. 

       If we were left to ourselves, we would have no hope.  Thankfully, Jesus promised that He would guide us into all Truth.  What this will mean is that God will have to expose our religious facades for what they are.  If my belief system is self-created, God will expose it as such.  If my faith is not real, God will bring it down.  If my Christianity is in any way earthly, God will bring it into total failure.  For awhile it might seem as if I am losing everything that is good.  No.  I am being set free from what is fake so that I can enter into that which is of Christ.

      This is why it is so important to realize that Christianity is not a matter of God taking the materials of our earthly man and, “upgrading,” them to look like Jesus.  No.  This is something entirely OTHER THAN earthly religion.  Jesus did not come to enhance or super-charge the earthly.  Rather, He came to lift us out of it into Himself.  Thus, even though we will continue to live in this earthly during this age, true Christianity is Christ living through us – in a way that you can be sure is OUTSIDE of any earthly understanding of it, and OUTSIDE of any earthly attempts to act or look like Jesus.  Indeed, the only way in which this can happen is if the earthly is kept under the work of the Cross where it belongs.

If We Be Risen With Christ

      Being seated with Christ is supposed to lift us above the earthly and set us free from its control.  But this is NOT simply about what we are set free FROM.  It is more about Who we are set free TO.  We are set free from the earthly so that we can live FROM OUT OF CHRIST. 

 If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.   (Col. 3:1-4)

      You will note that there is more involved here than what we would normally call SIN.  You can be relatively free from outward sins – or think you are – and yet be living as a professing Christian on an earthly basis.  In fact, you can think you are, “walking in the spirit,” with signs, wonders, feelings, sensations – thinking you are, “led of God” – all the while not realizing that your experience is almost entirely of the earthly.  The soul nature is easily mistaken for the Spirit of God.  And today this deception has been so finely tuned that it is accepted as the Spirit of God by millions.

      If you read this passage, you will see that it is possible to be risen with Christ and seated with Him in heavenly places, and yet be clueless and blind to the reality of it – because you are blind to Christ.  This is clearly possible because is exhorting Christians who are seated in Christ to, “set their mind on things above and not upon the earthly,” etc.  The, “mind,” in this passage means our heart, our will, and our affections, according to the Greek.  An exhortation to set our minds on things above would be needless if that happened automatically.  But no.  Paul knows that we continue to deal with the earthly and must learn how to put it aside and live from out of Christ as heavenly people in Him.

      Millions have Christ within them – but they, as were the Galatians, have been bewitched.  Many have, “begun in the Spirit,” they are now trying, “to be made mature by the flesh,” or earthly.  Thus, as was the case with the Galatians, “Christ is of no effect for them.”  They haven’t lost their salvation – that is not possible – but they have found another means and another way by which to walk with God – whether it be by LAW (any law or method), emotions, feelings, soul power, intellect, or form of religion.  Paul would say to such, “I travail until Christ be formed in you.”  (Gal. 4:19)  Christ alone is the solution.

       The church in general has operated in the earthly for the last two thousand years.  We have taken that which is, by nature, a heavenly life, and a heavenly organism, and brought it down into the earthly.  Most churches today are not about HIS LIFE in it’s members – but about the organization, the size, the money, the activities, and the THINGS that are happening.  Many churches do not differ at all from an earthly organization – they hire a pastor as an employee, and they have people running the church who wear badges, and they have programs within that church structured to entertain – geared to keeping and getting members.  But regardless of the structure and methods the real question is how much of the measure of Christ is there and being ministered.

     God has little to do with any of this.  God is interested only in His Son – and the forming of His Son in His people.  But the fact is, almost no where today is this reality even talked about, let alone taught.  If a church has lots of money and members, or the members are relatively happy with what is going on there, well, then we call that a living and successful church.  Again – none of this matters to God.  What matters is how much of the actual life of Christ is there IN the people.

      Paul tells us that if we are risen with Christ that we need to, “seek those things which are above where Christ sits at the right hand of God.”  Certainly, this generally speaks of seeking what pertains to the THRONE – to the will of God and what God is doing in His people.  It means to, “seek first His kingdom” – which is HIS RULE – and His righteousness – all of which is nothing more than, “kingdom language,” for losing your life in order that Christ might be our life.  In short, if we are seated with Christ in heavenly places far above all that is earthly, then why would we want to continue to seek, and entangle ourselves in, that from which we have been delivered – the earthly?

      Again – this isn’t simply good advice.  It is actually the only way to walk in the Truth with Christ.  The earthly is, in fact, under the curse.  It is under death.  If you want to drag spiritual things down into the earthly and try to make them work there, you might construct a form of religion, but you will have merely the equivalent of an OT type and shadow of Christ – except with Christian terms, rituals, and artifacts.  In other words, take LIFE out of Christianity – take the living Christ out of the picture – and you have death.  The deception can be so terrible that who can have a name of being alive, yet be dead – and never realize what has happened to you.

      But never think that the earthly, or soul life of man, is manifested only in what we might call dead religion.  It is also manifested in emotional religion – the soul realm can be passed off as, “the anointing,” or as the Holy Spirit coming upon someone.  The soul realm is a powerful dimension of man’s makeup.  It is currently the ground of the enemy.  In that realm, there can be feelings, sensations, incredible elation, signs and wonders, and experiences that are REAL – and because of this the soul realm is easily passed off as the Spirit of God. 

      Scripture tells us that Satan appears as, “an angel of light.”  Light speaks of illumination.  In other words, people will think they are being illuminated through the Holy Spirit but are actually being deceived.  We are also told that there can be signs and wonders – fire called down from heaven – and yet this is NOT of God, but of the enemy.  Paul also warned that even if an angel who claims to be from heaven preached a false gospel that such would be accursed.  John warned us to, “test the spirits” – a useless warning if the possibility of being deceived were not real for a believer.  The point is, the ground of the enemy and his access point even to believers is our natural, soul makeup.  And a primary way in which he uses this is to counterfeit the Spirit of God in the soul realm of man.

      The solution is never to try to sort all of this out.  The solution is to know Christ – that knowledge of Him will, “sort it out.”  Give yourself wholly to Christ – and realize that no matter what your experience might be, or how real it felt, that at the end of the day the Bible is the written standard of Truth.  Are we going to dismiss what the Bible teaches because we think we had a real experience that says something else?  If so, we are being deceived by, “an angel of light.”  The purpose of God and of His Spirit is the forming Christ in us – and this is what the Bible teaches.  Experiences – or our interpretation of them – are never to be our standard for the Truth.

      Paul tells us that we are to set our hearts upon things above, rather than upon the earthly.  Why?  Because it is the only way to walk in the Truth.  But right in line with that, we are to do so because we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God.  Because we are risen and seated in Him.  Because Christ IS our life.  Again – this isn’t merely good advice.  It is the only way to walk in the Truth.  It is the place to where a growing knowledge of Jesus Christ – and the work of the Cross – will bring us.

 Spiritually Minded

       God wants us to have the mind of Christ.  But this is not quickly or easily achieved.  It takes trauma, trials, and a real work of the Cross.  In order to become spiritually-minded, your earthly-mindedness must be crucified, and be exposed in living color as being insufficient, in error, and even out of unbelief.  To be earthly-minded is actually DEATH.  Much of what God needs to do is to show us that it is death.  You cannot learn that by reading it.  You have to learn it by experience.

      For example, you and I are going to encounter impossible situations wherein our earthly nature – and our earthly mind – will be utterly defeated.  You will not be able to think yourself through to God, feel yourself through to God – shout, cry, praise, sing, or generate anything at all from out of yourself that will get you through to God in the situation.  You may quote Bible verses and promises and encourage your heart a thousand times – all of which is fine and good – but none of it will seem to make a dent.  You will see NO evidence that God is with you or doing a thing in your situation.

       But ask:  Where do we usually look for evidence that God is working?  We usually look at the earthly.  We certainly look to our situation for evidence that God is working.  But perhaps all the more, we look into our own earthly nature.  And isn’t it a fact that there is usually no evidence in any of those earthly realms that Christ is present?  Sure.  Why?  Because HE ISN’T present.  Christ is seated in HEAVENLY places – He isn’t in the earthly.  Thus, when we look to the earthly, or through the earthly, we are in error.  We have to look to Christ spiritually – despite all of the contradiction the earthly provides.

      The earthly will never evidence Christ.  We prove that every day.  Take an honest look at yourself.  Don’t you have some good days, when you think God is close to you, but then many bad days where it is so difficult to function, or to think that God is with you?  Maybe even some days where you are overwhelmed with a fear that God might even be against you?  Well ask:  Has God changed at all throughout any of those days?  Is Christ – the Jesus who is the same yesterday, today, and forever – is Christ in you?  The point is this:  Our earthly nature is all over the place.  It is utterly unmanageable.  But we are allowing ourselves to be governed by it.  The only solution is faith in Jesus Christ – a faith that needs to be based on a revelation in the knowledge of Him.  He is the Rock.  We prove every day that we are not.

      You will note that I did NOT say that the solution here was to discover the key as to how to control your earthly nature and make it behave in a consistent manner.  No.  The solution is to completely by pass as irrelevant the earthly nature and put your faith in Christ.  We are raised OUT OF the earthly INTO th heavenlies in Christ.  This is how we set our minds on things above – for we are DEAD and our lives are hid with Christ in God.  The earthly used to be our life.  Now, Christ is our life.

       It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the earthly – indeed your earthly makeup is, by nature, absolutely tied to all that is of the earthly realm.  The trial of faith is often when there is NOTHING in the earthly realm that is affirming the faithfulness or presence of God, indeed, everything in the earthly – inside of you and outside of you – may be calling Him a liar.  And nothing of your earthly nature can get you through.  The amazing answer in this is that it is all orchestrated by God – to show you the utter uselessness of your earthly nature.  It cannot get you through to God.  Jesus Christ is the only Way.

       Thus, if you are risen with Christ and seated in Him in heavenly places FAR ABOVE all that is earthly, you have to BY PASS the earthly.  That is the only way to live in the TRUTH.  You have to realize you are DEAD to the earthly and reckon it to be the Truth.  And you have to put your faith in the One who is your life. 

      You have to do this without any affirmation from your earthly emotions or soul life.  You have to do it because it is the TRUTH.  It is the Truth no matter whether you feel like it is, or whether anything about the earthly changes in a way that you can notice.  And if you think this is folly, note that, “the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit.  They are folly unto him.”  In short, if all of this seems insane or folly, it is supposed to seem that way to our natural thinking and react that way upon our earthly makeup.

       I like Paul’s statement, “You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.”  Note the word HID.  There are times when everything God is doing seems hidden.  You just cannot understand – and it is no use saying you should.  You cannot and God doesn’t expect you to.  But, “when Christ who is our life is made manifest, we also shall be made manifest with Him in glory.”  The reference here to the Second Coming is obvious.  But there is a more immediate fulfillment.  It is when Christ is made manifest IN US – and we see Him more fully – then what God had been doing in us will be understood.  Or, as Jesus noted in John 16, when the child is born, and we see and rejoice at the birth, we don’t ask the same questions we used to ask – because then we know that the birth is the answer – Christ being formed in us.

 Resurrection Life

      Resurrection life is certainly new life – but it is likewise a DIFFERENT KIND of life from what any of us have ever experienced.  Sure.  It is HIS life and we are one with Him.  Resurrection life is merely life that is free from death.  It is life that has CONQUERED death.

      What this means is that resurrection life in Jesus Christ cannot be overcome by the earthly – by definition it has conquered the earthly.  And since the earthly is the territory of Satan in this age, resurrection life cannot be touched by Satan.  This means that the power of Satan in the life of the Christian is, yes, through the earthly nature.  But since Satan cannot force himself upon a believer, the real power of Satan – that which gets us to give him access to our earthly – is found in deception.

      The fundamental way in which Satan deceives Christian people is, first, by blinding us to the reality of the Son of God IN US.  God wants to reveal Christ in us; form Christ in us – bring us into an inward realization of His Son.  This is Christianity – Christ in us – and the purpose of God – the forming of Christ in us.  The goal of Satan in his deceptions is to blind us to Christ by offering us something else as Christianity – usually something of that very earthly nature which is Satan’s ground.  You will note that the goal here isn’t merely to get us living on the ground of Satan.  No.  The real goal is to keep us OFF of the ground of Christ.  If Satan can get us onto the ground of the earthly – and convince us that we are walking in the Truth – he will be happy.  Christ, in that case, will not BE OUR LIFE – and thus, because we have found another means of living before God, Christ will essentially be, “of no effect for us.”

      Of course, there are millions of Christian people right now who are trying to fix up their earthly nature and make him look and behave like Christ.  Many are convinced that resurrection life is a thing or a power – they may call it, “the power of the Spirit” – but they are convinced that they have some power to go around doing things for God – serving, healing, praying, etc.  But this is not Truth.  Resurrection life is HIS LIFE.  And it is only to the extent that we abandon our earthly life under the Cross – LOSE IT – and abide in Him by faith, that His life is operative in us.  And even then that resurrection life is not to simply DO THINGS.  Rather, resurrection life is operative to conquer death in any form.

      It is a tragic irony that resurrection life is life that has conquered all that is of the earthly, and yet Satan has succeeded in deceiving millions into thinking that the same earthly nature IS the life of Christ.  No one ever said Satan was not smart.  He knows how easily we seek to save our earthly life.  So he gives it to us in the name of Jesus.

      So Satan wants to blind us to the living Christ, who is our life, and offer us a substitute – ANY substitute will do.  And once that is accomplished, then we will not be walking in the power of His resurrection, but rather, in the power of our old earthly nature.  Without realizing it, we will be living in a way that is contrary to the fact we are risen with Christ and raised from out of that earthly nature and seated in Jesus at the right hand of God.  This is a false Christianity and deception.  It is everything that speaks of antichrist.

      If we are risen with Christ and seated in Him, this speaks of the fact that we have LOST and relinquished our old life – the earthly, our self possession, and all that goes with it – we have lost that in the death of Christ and been raised with in unto NEWNESS of life.  Not the old life on a new basis.  But a new a different kind of life from the life of the earthly into which we were naturally born.  But since we are IN CHRIST, raised in Christ, and seated with Christ in HIS throne, this means that the life of Christ flows into us only as we abide in Him and surrender to Him for His will.

      How many realize that if we are risen with Christ that we forever belong to Him?  That even though we must lose all that we are to Him, that this also insures that we will both receive and become all that is within God’s purpose?  To be seated in Christ at the right hand of God pictures the ultimate purpose of God, indeed, pictures inheritance:  The Father, the Son, and all who are in the Son.

God’s Desire

      There is no such thing as a born again person who is NOT seated with Christ; risen with Him.  But that does not mean we believe or live in that Truth.  For this, we must have an on-going revelation, not only of the fact of these Truth, but an ongoing revelation in us of Christ Himself.  We must UNLEARN all of our old patterns of religion and begin to learn Christ.

      This was, in fact, the prayer of Paul for his brethren.  And since God inspired this prayer to be recorded as part of the inspired Word of God, we can be sure that it is the desire of God Himself for us. 

 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened ; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named , not only in this world, but also in that which is to come :  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.  (Eph. 1:16-23)

      God wants us to know HIS purpose in Christ.  It is stated here.  Paul wrote it.  And yet he says that we still need TO SEE.  You will note that it all begins with, “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.”  An inward seeing – an inward realization of Jesus Christ.  And all of what God worked through Christ was consummated, “when he raised Him from the death and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above…….”  And we are seated IN HIM.  God wants us to SEE THIS.  Doing so would change us.

 Back to the Goodnews

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