Friday, October 24, 2014

Living Free From Sin: God's Way of Deliverance part 1

  God's Deliverance:
In Christ      

         Last time we learned the only way to be rid of the sin-nature that we inherited from Adam is by death.
"There is only one way. Since we came in by birth we must go out by death. To get rid of our sinfulness we must do away with our life. Bondage to sin came by birth; deliverance from sin comes by death - and this is just the way of escape that God has provided. Death is the secret of emancipation." - Nee To-sheng

          We also saw that this brings with it a problem. Since God deals with us in Christ and we were "baptized into his death" how are we to "get into" Christ? God comes to our help again. In truth we have no way to get in, but more importantly, we have no need to get in, for we are in. What we could not do for ourselves God had done for us. He has put us into Christ. "You are in Christ" (1Cor. 1:30). God's Word makes it clear. It leaves no room for debate. How are we in Christ? "And because of him [God] you are in Christ Jesus." God did it. Praise God! We do not have to come up with a way in or even work out the way. God has planned it and performed it. We are in; we don't need to try to get in. It is a divine act, and it is accomplished.
         If this is true then certain things follow. From our Hebrews 7 illustration in the last post we saw how "in Abraham" all Israel - and therefore Levi who wasn't born yet - offered tithes to Melchizedek. They did not offer separately and individually, but they were in Abraham when he offered. This is a true figure of ourselves as "in Christ".  When the Lord Jesus was on the Cross all of us died - not individually, for we had not been born yet - but, being in him, we died in him. "One has died for all, therefore all have died" (2 Cor. 5:14). When he was crucified all of us were crucified there with him. 
         Nee explains it in these simple terms: I have a book in hand. Now, I take this piece of paper, that is quite separate and distinct from the book, having an identity of its own and I place it in the book.  I mail the book to New York. Where is the paper? Can the book go and the paper stay? Can the paper have a separate destiny from the book? No! where the book goes the paper goes. If I drop the book into a river the paper goes too. If I quickly take the book out of the river the paper is recovered also. Whatever experience the book goes through the paper goes through with it, for it is still there in the book. 
        "Because of him you are in Christ Jesus." God himself put us in Christ, and in his dealing with Christ, God has dealt with us. Our destiny is bound up with his. What he has gone through we have gone through. To be "in Christ" is to be identified with him in both his death and resurrection. He was crucified. What about us? Must we ask him to crucify us? Never! When Christ was crucified we were crucified. His crucifixion is past, therefore ours cannot be future. All references to our crucifixion in the New Testament are in the Greek aorist form, which is the "once-for-all"tense, the "eternally past" tense (Rom. 6:6; Gal, 2:20; 5:24; 6:14). Just as no man can ever commit suicide by crucifixion, a task that is physically impossible, God does not, in spiritual terms, require us to crucify ourselves. We were crucified when Christ was crucified, for God put us there in him. "That we have died in Christ is not merely a doctrinal position, it is an eternal and indisputable fact." - Nee To-sheng. 

         There we have the answer to our confounding question at the beginning of this post. How do we get "into Christ"? We do not have to. God did it already for 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, "Because of him you are in Christ Jesus." It is a past tense statement. This is something that is forever done. Thank God that "in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us... To him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen" (Eph. 1:7-8, 3:20-21). Be with us next time as we look a little more at how Christ's death and resurrection are representative and inclusive.

          *Some of you may have noticed that I quote Nee To-sheng often in this study. The reason for this is that I am using one of his books for the outline of the study. I read the book recently and it had such a profound impact on my spiritual life and Christian walk that I wanted to share it. The book is entitled "The Normal Christian Life" by Watchman Nee (the name Nee To-sheng is known by). If you read this you will find that in many points I closely follow the book; to the point that I should probably use quotations every third or fourth sentence. I have taken great liberties with this for the sake of time. I don't have much time to write these posts and I feel that the author wouldn't be too upset with my liberties. His response would be, I feel, "As long as 'Jesus Christ and him crucified' is being preached". I hope that you will also forgive me for the liberties I am taking. I would encourage you to read the book also at some point, Nee writes it in a very clear and easy to understand way, which is why I follow the book so closely most of the time. I hope you join us again as we look at our last point in the more doctrinal and intellectual side of our death in Christ, after which the following posts will be aimed at the practical application of these great truths; our living delivered from sin, a life free from sin.

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