Raised to Walk in Newness of Life
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Bill Gillham; ©2000|
|Dr. Gillham continues his look at our salvation from God’s point of view. We already possess so much that we do not take advantage of, for a variety of reasons. This article will challenge you to change your thinking—and your living!|
Raised to Walk in Newness of Life!
(from What God Wishes Christians Knew About Christianity, Harvest House, 1998)
Step out of your car and climb up into God’s helicopter over there on the time line of life. You’re in for the ride of your life. You’re lifting off and going back down the time dimension to the crucifixion. Higher, higher. Look down below as you read the following verses, giving special attention to the verb tenses. God worked a miracle in you down there. These verses are all from God’s tour-guide book—Romans. The numerals represent verses that are taken from chapter 6. All of them say that you died as the person you once were.
- How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (2)
- Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? (3)
- We have been buried through baptism into death. (4)
- We have become united with Him in the likeness of His death. (5)
- Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him…(6)
- He who has died is freed from sin. (7)
- Now if we have died with Christ … (8)
- Consider yourselves to be dead to sin. (11)
- Present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead. (13)
Listen! God is speaking to you:
Turn your head to the left and look over here at Me. No. Right into My eyes. Look at Me. Who did you see being crucified down there in My Son? That’s right. You died in My Son, Jesus! I crucified everything about you that I could not tolerate in My holy presence. Now move your eyes forward three days. What do you see? That’s right!
That’s you being reborn as a new, righteous child in My Son’s resurrection (2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17)! I gave spiritual birth to you! You’re now My child! I am so proud of you! And look—only one life arose from that grave. My Son is your life Yes!
Anyone born of His Spirit has Christ as life. “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:3-4). Christ is now your life. You’re a brand-new spirit being, and you’re equipped with My Son as life. Is that great or what! That, along with your forgiveness, is how I bridged the separation between you and Me. And we’re always going to be together, just like this!
Now, I’m going to take you back. Much of what I have shown you, you must continue to believe by faith. My promise and my trustworthiness will be your lifetime guarantee of these things. Treasure them. I prepared them to take you through the deep-water days of life on earth. I have given you My Holy Spirit as an “earnest” that I will never back out on My promises (2 Corinthians 5:5). Ah, here we are. I’ll always treasure this ride with you. And I’ll always love you. Be faithful to Me. My Son is coming back for you soon.
Wow. That was some ride, wasn’t it? What a God! That view you got of your crucifixion in Christ was real, you know. If a card were to be placed in a book, everything the book was subjected to would be experienced by the card. Leave the book in the rain, and the card gets wet. Throw the book in the fire, and the card burns. Nail the book to a tree, and the card is pierced. “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:4). So, you were in Jesus as He walked up Calvary. You were in Him when He was nailed to the cross. Just like the card in the book, you were crucified in Him. This was a physical phenomenon for Jesus; it was a spiritual phenomenon for you. Like God told you, He killed everything about you, spiritually, that He could not tolerate in His holy presence. This was the first step as He was preparing to re-create you as a clean vessel so He could cohabit in your spirit with you once you became a saint! This is part of your salvation through your new birth. This is not a feeling any more than being an American is a feeling; it’s a fact, like your U.S. citizenship is a fact. All you did to become an American was be born here. All you did to become a new creature in Christ was to be first crucified as who you were and then reborn in Christ’s resurrection.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones left his career as a physician and became one of the world’s most respected theologians. He wrote an entire book about chapter 6 of Romans. Look what he says about our crucifixion in Christ:
- The old man is the man I was in Adam; that is the man that has died once and forever. This is, to me, one of the most comforting and assuring and glorious aspects of our faith. We are never called on to crucify our old man. Why? Because it has already happened—the old man was crucified with Christ on the cross. Not to realize this is to allow the devil to fool you and to delude you. What you and I are called upon to do is to cease to live as if we were still in Adam. Understand that the “old man” is not there. The only way to stop living as if he were still there is to realize that he is not there. If you are a Christian, the man you used to be has gone out of existence; he has no reality at all; you are in Christ. If we but saw this as we should, we would really begin to live as Christians. We would all hold up our heads, we would defy sin and Satan, we would rejoice in Christ as we ought. (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, Exposition of Chapter 6 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1972), p. 65.)
Had God not fixed it so you would die in Christ, when you were reborn as a Christian you would be spiritual Siamese twins, one evil, one good, who constantly fought for the upper hand—a spiritual schizophrenic, a “house divided against [yourself]” (Matthew 12:25). Do you remember what Jesus said about such a house? “Any… house divided against itself [can never] stand” (Matthew 12:25)! I don’t intend to be ugly about this, but this two-headed monster is precisely what we Christians are taught that we are by most well-meaning Bible teachers. The Greek text does not support this. If we are, in fact, creations with two spirit natures, one good, the other evil, then we are a “house divided against itself.” And what did Jesus say? “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25). That’s precisely the reason that God had you crucified in Christ before He caused you to be reborn—so you would never be a house divided against yourself!
Tragically, despite what Jesus said, and despite what saintly old giants taught tens of thousands of Bible teachers in the first three quarters of the twentieth century, modern Christians have been and are being taught that we have two spirit natures one good and one evil—that each Christian warrior is indeed a “house divided against himself.” Is it any wonder that we see the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy? Many, many deceived Christians collapse each day. As long as the church continues to believe and teach this untruth about our identity, we’ll continue to be a defeated group of warriors who sound pretty brave as we praise the lord in the assembly, but get picked off by snipers as soon as we hit the parking lot.
“But, Bill! That’s exactly the way I feel! I feel like the good me fights against the bad me. I see that the Bible says that I was crucified in Christ. You’ve convinced me. But I can’t deny the reality that I live with.”
We’ll get there, but we’re going to have to continue to build our case on Scripture, not on your experience. When we finish, we’ll be better able to compare what God says is reality against what your feelings and your experience say is reality. Let’s both trust God that you’ll have received enough revelation by then to choose against your feelings and your experience in favor of God’s Word. We’ve got to go by the definition of reality in His dictionary, not ours.
Simply believing in the literality of our crucifixion with Christ however, won’t guarantee that you’ll not wind up in the motel room like Jimmy Swaggart did, but I’ll tell you this: Walking in it will keep you out of that motel room. How would a dead man react to the idea of propositioning a prostitute? He wouldn’t. He’s dead to such plans. This is not to be felt, but believed, gang!
It’s going to take some doing to change your lifelong habit of living independently into depending upon Christ to express His life through you. Too often our feelings—rather than God’s Word—become the controlling factor in our lives. We must count the facts about ourselves as true as declared by God, not as declared by our feelings and the world-system programming of the thoughts we process. As we consistently walk in the “light” (truth of God’s Word) and by the life of the Spirit of Christ through us, God will begin to develop a sense of reality within us of what is already true about our identity—that we are literally new creations in Christ.
In addition to the fallacy that our identity in Christ is merely positional, not literal, another common deception Satan may plant in your mind is that claiming Christ as life is simply a method for handling emergencies, that you should continue on as is until you face a crisis, and then call on Jesus to handle it through you. That won’t work. How does this differ from your present method of operation? Most Christians do the best that they can and then call on Christ to help them when they hit a snag, don’t they? That’s not God’s plan, gang. The fact from God’s Word remains: Christ is your life. “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:3-4). This is to be the new fact of life for how you face each moment of each day, and it’s going to require practice. The more you practice Christ as life through you, by faith, the more you will experience His overcoming the world, the flesh, and the devil through you (Hebrews 5:14). You’re going to love this thoroughly biblical way to face life!