Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Living Free From Sin: God's Way of Deliverance part 2

God's Deliverance:
Death and Resurrection
          
          We are in Christ. It is a divine act fully accomplished. I don't understand this concept fully, not the mechanics of how or all the implications that this truth has for my life, but I believe it. We were in Christ when he died so that our "old man" might pass away. The inheritance that we had from Adam, that is sin-nature, was put to death on the Cross of Calvary. We were also in Christ when he was raised from the dead that, "We too might walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4). Now we will look a bit more into both the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Representative and Inclusive

          When the Lord gave his sinless life as atonement for our sin by dying on the cross he shed his Blood. That was the prerogative of the Son of God alone. No man could have a share in that. Scripture never tells us that we shed our blood with Christ. In his atoning work before God he acted alone. But he did not die only to shed his Blood. He died so that we might die also. He died as our representative. In his death he included you and me. 
          Substitution and identification are terms often used to describe these two aspects of Christ's death. Identification is a good word, but would suggest the thing begins with us. It suggests that I try to identify myself with the Lord. Begin instead with the fact that the Lord included me in his death. The "inclusive" death of the Lord puts me in a position to identify myself. It is not that I identify myself to be included. It it God's inclusion of me in Christ that matters. It is something that God has done. 
        The death of Christ is inclusive, in the same manner the resurrection of Christ is inclusive. At the beginning of 1 Corinthians we saw that we are "in Christ". At the end of that letter we learn something more of what this means. 

The Last Adam and the Second Man
         In 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47 two names, or titles, are used for the Lord Jesus Christ. He is called "the last Adam" and he is also called "the second man". There is an important distinction for us to note here. Scripture does not refer to him as the second Adam but as "the last Adam". Scripture does not refer to him as the last man, but as the "second man". 
        As "the last Adam", Christ is the sum total of all humanity; as "the second man" he is head of a new race. Here we have two unions, one relating to his death and the other his resurrection.  Firstly, his union with the race as "the last Adam" began historically in Bethlehem and ended at the cross and tomb. In this union he gathered up into himself all that was in Adam and took it to judgement and death. Secondly, in his union with us as "the second man" begins in resurrection and ends in eternity. He rose as Head of a new race of men, in whome the purpose of God  wil at length be fully realized. 
        When the Lord Jesus was crucified, it was as the last Adam. All that was in the first Adam was gathered up and done away with. We were included there. As  the last Adam he wiped out the old race; as the second man he brings in the new race.  In his resurrection he stands forth as the second Man, and there too we are included.  "For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his" (Rom. 6:5). We died in him as the last Adam; we live in him as the second Man. "The Cross is thus the mighty act of God which translates us from Adam to Christ." - Nee To-sheng
        

        Here is the conclusion to the first section of our study on Living Free From Sin. We now have a new parentage in Christ. God delivers us from the power of sin by death. We were born in sin and have now died that we might live in "newness of life". Next week we will begin the next portion of our study. We know that we died, but still we sin. When we were in Adam sin came naturally, without the need to decide for it. In Christ we get what is of Christ freely by grace. This seems unpractical though. How does it work out in our lives? How does it become real in our experience? This is the topic we will be covering in the upcoming posts. Until next time live resting in the knowledge that we are children of the Living God.

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