The Personality of the Believer

While predestination establishes the Sovereign end to which a Christian can aspire to and progressively experience in real-time, and priesthood represents our personal responsibility in daily, moment by moment, contact with God; there is something of the peculiarity of a believer that we must take into account, as we seek to live faithfully before the LORD and fruitfully with other members of the LORD’s body.

At the very moment of salvation, the new believer, being grafted into Christ, is specifically fixed into a definite point in the LORD’s body, which, unknown to the new believer, already defines the solution (ministry or service) he represents to the rest of the body, and the role he will be required to play in the days to come. The expression of grace, the combination of gifts, as well as, the scope of his relevance (which is how he is structured to serve) to the rest of us (the LORD’s body) is already established on the very day of salvation. 

1 Corinthians 12:18 (emphasis mine)

“But now hath God SET the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”

Jesus is the Vine

And those of us who have been cut off from the wild olive (saved from sin) and grafted into the Good Olive (alive in Christ) are the branches. (John 15:1-2, 5; Romans 11:24, 1 Corinthians 12:13). The point at which you have been grafted is the SET place for you to blossom, and to serve the rest of us with that which has been kept into your care for us by the Vine. If we will be attentive to the workings of God in and around our lives, we will realize that the way we have been made (constructed) to serve is according to the measure of grace we have received, and where we have been located in the body. 

Differences of administration

This is why some may have a public ministry and others may have a more hidden work that cannot be taken for granted. Even when we seem to be in the spotlight, it largely depends on the hidden routines of our inner fellowship with God, as well as, the hidden work of those fellow members with us of the body of Christ, who may not have been appointed to such an assignment. The brother-preacher depends on the hidden machinery of his own fervent walk with God, as God shows him mercy, and the support he enjoys from his helpmeet, who graciously relives him of several important domestic activities that could have “punctuated” (hindered) his relevance. 

Each person’s part is important and you must choose never to look down on what you have been given. Just know that as little as it may seem to you, the rest of the body depends on it. And you know that, you also depend on others for what you don’t have. God has made it so, in order to ensure that (as important as we may think we are) we remain in fellowship with others, without which we could never have a ministry. This interdependence is the hallmark of Christ-likeness. It keeps us humble. Whenever we are giving, we are reminded that we have already received from others before, and we will yet be required to sit down to receive from others, as we finish our own turn of dispensing. 

As spiritual as you may be, there may be a quiet cloud of uncertainty over your spirit, that may be gradually degenerating into worry, which a very casual brother or sister can give a word of encouragement that easily dispels that cloud. You will notice that there was no struggle on the part of this person to give such an encouragement; it was a natural outflow of his life. That is the ministerial/service component of the life supply of Christ that is at work in him, as a branch on the Vine. 

We are usually in need for an excessively long period of time because we take God’s order for granted. What you need now has a supply in another but if you have despised the need to be in fellowship, you have, by the same token, cut off the appointed “branch” that could have given you the desired supply. And I dare say, you also have a supply that someone needs, and you have kept that person waiting indefinitely! 

Remember, it is that which you have been given, much more than others (that makes you special), that God expects you to dispense regularly to your members (other branches like you on the Vine). Hence, you always have something to give; don’t deprive your members their supply in your life (hands).

1 Corinthians 12:25 

“…there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”

From 1 Corinthians 12:18 above, we see that it is God the Father that does the grafting. He is called the Husbandman in John 15:1. He has SET each one of us into a specific space in the Vine, in Christ, and it is that grafting that determines your setting (the way you have been configured to participate in the continuous distribution of Christ-life in the body). 

Ephesians 4:16

 “Christ has put each part of the church in its right place. Each part helps other parts. This is what is needed to keep the whole body together. In this way, the whole body grows strong in love.” (New Life Version)

“Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (The Living Bible)

Whereas we have all received the same kind of life, Christ-life, and we have the same opportunity to “…grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 3:18), however, the differences of our peculiar situations, the diversities of the Spirit’s workings in our lives and the emphasis that our individual callings impose on us, demands that we accept the personality we have been endowed with.

 Each branch is the same, yet different. The content is the same (Christ-life) but the context is different (grace, gifts and calling). There is no calling or assignment in Christ that can compromise the Christ-life itself. In fact each calling is an expression of grace designed to show the diverse ways the Spirit glorifies Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

Know what you have been made to be

In as much as we will not go about coining technical titles for our services within the body, we must know what we have been made to be, by God, to the rest of the body of Christ. The other members of the body depends on the life supply of Christ that comes from the joyful discharge of your grace and gifts, of course, through the platform of your calling. In the same vein, you also have the privilege of receiving the life supply of Christ through their own peculiar grace and gifts.

When we have this continuous give and take relationship at work among God’s people, where we give what we have and receive what we don’t have, we are witnessing the sweet fellowship of the saints. This is one of the reasons why you don’t really want to be like another in the body. There can only be one of his or her type, and there can only be one of your type. However great the ministry of one may be to the rest of us, when we have received of Christ from him and are full, we also have something of Christ to give in return, however little it may seem. 

Recognizing your peculiarity in sobriety

The danger here is that we all are prone to think more highly than we ought to think of ourselves and our relevance to the body. In the light of our predestination to be holy and blameless before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4-5) and our privilege to minister directly to God as priests (Revelation 5:10), all of which are delivered unto us by God’s grace and not by our works, we have the more reasons to be sober about our peculiar placements in Christ. 

We have not received any gift or grace to feel bigger or better than anyone of our brothers and sisters. Even when our calling seems to place us at a position of influence over many, we must remember that we are only giving to all who receive from us that which actually belongs to them. We have not been endowed for ourselves but for others of the household of faith and those whom the LORD will eventually draw unto Himself. 

Finally, your uniqueness is more picturesque (vivid) in the context of others who have been made to be diverse from you. Our relevance is more profound when we are in fellowship with others. This is because they will learn to reserve the portion of service you do well than any other for you, and you should also learn to humbly release your hold on some aspects of service that can actually be done better by others. This is the joy of fellowship. As we each reserve that which we have no natural supply for, and focus on the consistent supply we have, we are giving room for the growth of the body of Christ. Honestly, this is your privilege!

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

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The Priesthood of the Believer

Salvation is by the grace of God. While it is beyond our will, it includes it or else we can have no way of arriving at the goal of our predestination. God has declared His love to us; whether we respond or not, it is now our choice. If predestination is about what God has chosen, then your salvation is about choosing what God has already chosen. We choose God and His purposes when we believe. Believing is what puts us into what God has planned. This is the beginning of our profession of faith (Hebrews 10:23, 4:14).

“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called.. ” (Romans 8:30). A calling demands a response. Only those who respond positively to the call to salvation can therefore be called “the called“, who are then justified and those remaining in that state of justification are eventually glorified.

Therefore, day by day, we choose God’s work and ways, as we worship in the temple of our hearts. Before Christ came, we could not think of drawing near to God by ourselves. We would need a prophet like Moses or a priest like Aaron to represent us, albeit annually. But now, in Christ, we do not need such go-betweens anymore. We have been invited into an everlasting covenant with a special relationship with the Trinity. While this may not look like what is widespread among believers today, it remains the truth, if you are willing to settle with God’s word. 

The proof that you believe this is that you will live like that. The actual temple of worship is no longer a place of meeting; it is now your heart. And the Word of God says “Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences.” (Proverbs 4:23 CJB). Your heart is the spiritual temple that determines the actual course and the material consequences of your life. And this is the place where the Word of God is planted, as you meditate and pray through Scriptures, to change the way you think in order to change (the direction of) your life (Romans 12:2, Luke 8:11, 15).

A place of meeting is simply a place to fellowship with others (Hebrews 10:25), of which Christ died for and made accepted in the beloved. It is also a place of instruction, where the Word of God is systematically dispensed to achieve “…the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13) Also check 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Now, let me ask you a simple question: which of these two places is busy – your heart (being the place in your body where you commune/interact with God) or a physical building that is your place of meeting? 

Where should we have more shouts of praise? Where should we have more supplications and petitions? Where should we have more melodies of joy? That’s right! Your heart! But we see that service times in churches are more busy with these than our hearts when we are not in church. Even though God has declared you a priest (Revelation 1:6, 5:10), you have to actually carry out your priestly service in the temple of your heart (1 Corinthians 3:16). 

Once this truth comes alive in your heart, you will see how difficult it is for the devil to make you a sinner again. You will understand why sin will no longer have dominion over you in Christ (Romans 6:14). It is a very simple matter. God, whose temple you are, will not allow you to be shared with the flesh, the natural man. Think about that! Once you believe, God is committed to make it your material experience.

The flesh refers to the kind of life Adam received through his disobedience, having lost the glory of God, and is now the type of life we are all born with before we come to Jesus. Genesis 1:27, 2:25, 3:7, Psalm 51:5

When you understand that you have been predestinated to be holy and without blame before God in love (Ephesians 1:3-4), it will drive you into your daily priestly service, where you officiate in the temple of your heart. That simply means you are active in the temple, in your inner man, worshipping God, and offering “…the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15).

Since righteousness is your right standing with God, it, thereby, requires you to stand before God daily in the Holy of holies of your heart, as an official of the Heavenly council. This kind of priestly service is what brings you into the obedience of life that is the literal out workings of your predestination by God (Romans 8:29, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1:11). 

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: [11] For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:10-11 (emphasis mine)


Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

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The Predestination of the Believer

I find it difficult to accept some (or is it most?) of the things taught among believers today. We discuss issues of predestination only to satisfy our intellectual curiosity, you know, to search out, as it were, the secret things of the LORD which has not been revealed (Deuteronomy 29:29). And a lot of these have turned the body of Christ into fractured parts, that are divided along the lines of every conceivable section of biblical thought, taken too far, and losing it’s complementary position in the midst of other doctrines (teachings) in the entire counsel of God. 

Every doctrine of the word of God is a piece of the puzzle. No one piece is the entire puzzle. Just like no one believer or no one group is the entire body of Christ. The only way to understand God’s word, without creating unnecessary factions in the body, is by putting every single teaching in scriptures, side by side, precept upon precept, fixing the puzzle as it were, in order to arrive at the image of Christ. If most of us believers will do this one thing, we will find more than 80% of our seeming differences resolved, without any extraordinary intervention.

Many of us are holding on to certain interpretations of God’s word that excludes other factors stated in the same scriptures, but which we have willingly chosen to be blind to. 

A candid check

I have a suggestion for you. Can you check what you or your group believe in the light of the rest of scriptures? Is there a clear rebuke from scriptures against the extreme you have taken certain interpretations you have of an aspect of God’s word? Why would you not want to reexamine what you believe? Obviously traditions are very powerful, and people will rather die believing errors than allow the whole counsel of God’s word to put them in order.

Take for instance the issue of predestination. I have wondered why it has always been discussed in the light of Esau and Pharaoh, which creates this nagging doubt in many believers, wondering whether they can ever be sure of their salvation. Yet, in those same scriptures, we see God saying some strong words to every one who believes in Him, which if we simply believe, we will experience the end result of what He said. Here are a few scriptures:

Ephesians 1:4-5 KJV

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: [5] Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

John 10:28-29 KJV

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. [29] My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Romans 8:28-29 KJV

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [29] For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

The case of Esau

You see for yourself that these scriptures are not written for our debates, rather it is written for our understanding, which if we believe, we will receive the result He promised. The question of not been sure we have been predestinated or not really does not arise from these scriptures. Even in Esau’s case, you only need to compare scriptures to see that the result of his life was his choice, as it is with the rest of us. Please compare Genesis 25:22-23 with Romans 9:10-14.

God’s declaration of hatred against Esau happened after the fact. You will see that in Malachi 1:3. The only thing stated in Genesis was the fact that the elder shall serve the younger. And that is not strange as we see in the case of Joseph, who being the youngest after Benjamin, was served by his entire family, not for any wicked reason, but as Joseph himself said, to preserve a posterity (Genesis 45:7). Hence, the fact that God said the older (Esau) will serve the younger (Jacob) doesn’t look like wickedness at all. 

It was merely a matter of function, an office of divine assignment that Jacob was called into, to serve his own generation. Remember that age is not always the yardstick for a higher responsibility in God’s programme. David was the last son of Jesse, forgotten in the fields with the family livestock, yet he was God’s chosen king for Israel. And you know what I mean, while age could mean seniority, it is not always God’s priority for determining who will lead.

What about Pharaoh?

Here is one rule we must always have in mind: while predestination is within God’s province, decision (choice) is given to all of us, to allow every man to freely choose the course of his own life and the end that results as a consequence. I believe, according to God’s word, that God knows the end from the beginning, but that is not a knowledge He shares with anyone (especially as it relates to the eternal fate of man) since it directly violates the condition necessary for man to choose freely.

Yet, we can know how we will end by simply believing His word of promise and obeying it. Those who don’t believe and refuse to obey can also be sure of their end. Hence, it is not a matter of God determining a person to fail such that he has no choice in the matter; rather it is a matter of God equally giving us the opportunity to choose. Please note that ‘whosoever’ in John 3:16, which means anyone, is free to come to Jesus to believe, and scriptures emphatically declares that they shall be saved. In the same vein, anyone is free to refuse the call to salvation, and God’s word is equally clear about the destiny of such a person (John 3:18, 36).

The fact that the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart was an action taken after a period of “longsuffering” (bearing with him in the hope of a change), which marks the giving up of a person “…to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28 KJV). So we see in Romans 9:16-23, two types of vessels, vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy (v. 22-23), which are also called vessels unto dishonour and honour in verse 21. These are the two categories of people that God has determined. The analogy of the potter and the clay in verse 21 again reinforces the idea that we all have a choice in the matter. You are the clay, God is the potter; if you cooperate with Him, you will turn out a vessel of mercy (v.23), and if you don’t, then you have chosen to be “…fitted for destruction” (v.22), a vessel of wrath. 

Romans 9:19-20 KJV

“Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? [20] Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it , Why hast thou made me thus?”

The reason why you can’t question God about the outcome of your life, as it says in verses 19 and 20 above, is that you have been made exactly as you have chosen. Yes, God is sovereign and He knows the end of all things, yet within the scope of our own human understanding, we enter into either of the two possible outcomes (vessel of mercy or wrath) simply by choice. 

By faith, you can become a vessel of mercy like Paul and by unbelief, you can become a vessel of wrath like Pharaoh. Now look at this in Exodus concerning Pharaoh: “And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.” Exodus 10:3 KJV.

Now, let’s be honest, if God determined Pharaoh to be destroyed, why was He asking him this question? Did you know that all the 10 plagues of God’s wrath against Egypt were not just an arbitrary display of power, it was God giving Pharaoh the opportunity to choose what kind of vessel he will become? Even when Pharaoh finally released the Israelites, after the 10th plague – the death of his firstborn son and all first borns in Egypt – he still arose in anger to pursue them to the red sea, where he destroyed himself. So, we see that God gives everyone the opportunity to choose the outcomes of their lives. 

What is your predestination?

If you have come to Jesus, you need to take God’s word seriously, for all its worth. Why should you be clueless about how you will end when He has revealed in His word (unless you don’t know) that He has “… chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). As you can see, the one who is saved already should read and learn that he has been chosen to be holy and blameless. This is God showing you “the good pleasure of his will” for you which if you believe, you are (then) “…predestinated… unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself…” (Ephesians 1:5)

It is your choice! Just as the new birth occurred by faith, the entire Christian life is by faith. That’s why the scriptures say, the just shall live by faith, that is, the one who has been justified and declared righteous will continue in this state of righteousness only by faith. By believing that God has chosen me to be holy and blameless in Christ, that is how I am able to partake of His divine nature, and by that experience I confirm my predestination as a vessel of mercy and honour. 

Once you believe, it will produce the effects mentioned in John 10:28-29 and Romans 8:28-29. Jesus spoke so strongly and it is only for those who believe. What will be the proof of my faith? That which His predestination was designed to produce in me must then be seen by men (Matthew 5:16). 

Matthew 5:16 KJV “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Remember in Ephesians 1:4-5, God’s predestination will produce holiness of life. It is not your works but His own works done beforehand (Ephesians 2:10), which your total trust and rest in the Saviour will make manifest. So the works that God has already done before the foundation of the world actually gets done in our lives as we believe; and those are the good works we do as a result of His new life in us. (Titus 2:7, 14; 3:8, 14, 2 Timothy 3:17, Hebrews 10:24, James 3:13, 1 Peter 2:12). 

If you are still postponing the time of your salvation, the only thing you can be sure of is the outcome related to your current condition of sin, and not a future condition of righteousness. You cannot expect to receive the consequence of a life that you have not yet chosen. So, “…To day if ye will hear his (Jesus’) voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” (Hebrews 3:15 KJV – parentheses mine). The only time you are sure of choosing heaven is when you have chosen Jesus. He is standing at the very door of your heart now, waiting for you to open to Him (Revelation 3:20). Let’s pray together:

Lord, I am willing to open to you. Please come into my life now and make me whole. I repent and forsake my sin and I receive and embrace your righteousness. Help me to trust you and take you at your words. Let me live henceforth with the certainty that comes with your new life in me. Thank you Lord. In Jesus Christ’s name. Amen. 

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You are dead to sin and self

1 Peter 2:24 KJV

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Man has no solution for his predicament. He is helpless, hopeless and in most cases, recklessly so. He argues his own state, not knowing that his argument only confirms one thing – the “inherentness” and truth of the disease called sin. He may grow in intelligence, social status, and financial power, it is only to accentuate his sin condition, with a sophistication that easily buries a conscience desperately in need of redemption (Hebrews 9:14, 10:22).

The first sinner was not man. Lucifer was an anointed cherub, who thought he could change God’s order (Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:12-16), and by obliging himself, he became the first sinner and that sin disqualified him from his position in the immediate presence of God. 

Ezekiel 28:15 KJV (parentheses mine) Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity (evil, unrighteousness, perverseness) was found in thee.

How the sin nature came to be

When Adam and Eve agreed with Lucifer, who came as a serpent in Genesis 3:1-7, they, in essence, rejected God’s order (His ways, His word and His worship), and received the nature of sin. The glory of God, which signified God’s nature, lifted from them and they were now defenseless, to satanic schemes, having received satan’s nature, which is the sin nature.

Since then, all who are born into this world, are born with the nature of sin, rather than the glory of God. The following scriptures confirm this:

Psalm 51:5 KJV

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Romans 5:12 KJV

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Genesis 5:3 KJV

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

Whereas Adam (and Eve) was created in the image of God, representing the nature and glory of God (Genesis 5:1-2), his offspring was created “…in his own likeness…”, which is his own glory, which actually is the nature of sin that he received from satan. God calls all the goodliness (KJV) or loveliness (NKJV) of the flesh in Isaiah 40:6 as “…grass…and…flower of the field”. And in verses 7 and 8, He says the grass withers and the flower fades. 

This is the destiny of the glory of man. It withers and fades because it proceeds from satan, whose destiny is death – eternal separation from God.

This is what we have legally received from Adam, our first parents, which he received from satan. Now, let me make a statement you might have to read multiple times for you to grasp the meaning: in a sense it means sin was not directly your fault, it was Adam’s, and in that same sense, your righteousness is not your fault (your credit or your achievement) but Christ’s

The gospel is simply God giving every man a chance to make a choice to exit Adam’s race, where sin is the lifestyle, regardless of the gravity, privacy or publicity of your sin, and enter into Christ’s race, where righteousness is the lifestyle. The glory of God that Adam lost in Eden, is what we now begin to regain in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). In the same vein, not choosing Jesus Christ as the solution for you to be saved from sin, is an implicit choice of sin, of which, the justice of God will eventually vent itself (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 1:18).

Romans 8:1 KJV

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Leaving the Adamic race

When you make that choice to “…confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:10 KJV). You are instantly rescued and transported out of the Adamic race and placed into Christ. Before, you inherited the consequences of Adam’s sin, simply because you were physically born into the world, now you (will) inherit the consequences of Jesus’ righteousness because you are spiritually born (again) into the kingdom of God.

Romans 5:19 KJV

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Newness of life is inevitable in Christ when you believe

Now, please read this carefully. The condemnation that sin brought was not because of your personal sins, it was because of the ‘nature of sin’ you received from Adam at birth. Therefore, all the works of sin you were used to, the way sin has personally manifested in your life, CANNOT crossover with you from the Adamic race into Christ’s lineage. Never! This is the truth and until you believe it, you will keep mourning over reappearances of sin in your life, even after you have been saved from it. The problem here is not that you were not saved, the problem is unbelief; refusing to agree with God concerning your new status in Christ

Dealing with the old man

Then, you may ask, why do I keep getting tempted to do or act in the same old ways I used to, when I was not saved? Simple. Your entire old life, that sin nature you had when you were in Adam’s race, is stored up as memory in your mind. The physiology (feeling) and psychology (thinking) it provokes in you is what makes you to erroneously believe that you are still a sinner. 

However, this is just memory, which only requires your choice to either remain a memory or to progress to activity. You have the choice. It is because of this that the Holy Spirit says “… be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2). But before that, in keeping with the truth of been dead to sin and self, the Spirit says through Paul, to “… present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1). This is your choice! Give yourself away to God so that what He has said (that you are dead to sin) can literally become your experience.

If you don’t choose to give your “bodies” to God, that is every part of your being & personality, it means you will easily reenact your old ways, and it will make your life a contradiction. Heaven has declared you dead to sin, who are you not to agree? That is pride and unbelief. When you humble yourself and accept what God says, even if it doesn’t make sense, you will realize that it is this understanding that Lucifer, the devil, hates and fears in you. 

Romans 6:6 KJV (emphasis mine)

“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.” 

The devil doesn’t want you to know this. But once you know that your old man, that collection of habits, attitudes, assumptions and behaviors you had before you met Christ, is crucified (dead) with him, you will meet every temptation to sin with the rebuke: “I am no longer a sinner. I cannot sin.”

That is because it totally destroys the basic assumptions the devil needed you to have, in order for you to agree with him to sin. He likes you to come up with all kinds of reasons why only some people can be holy, not you. When you hold on to this assumption, you will sin. If you just cast your mind back a little bit, you will see that most of the time you have sinned, after been saved, you were thinking like that. It is time to live according to the new life you were given at salvation. 

Please read this:

AMPC 1 Peter 2:24 He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross [willingly offering Himself on it, as on an altar of sacrifice], so that we might die to sin [becoming immune from the penalty and power of sin] and live for righteousness; for by His wounds you [who believe] have been healed.

Losing confidence in ourselves

Ephesians 3:8 KJV Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Philippians 3:3 AMPC

“For we [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit and by the Spirit of God and exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances

As abundant as the grace of God is to all of us who have come to Christ, until we lose confidence in ourselves, we cannot experience the unrestrained flow of this grace in our lives. What has constituted a poor testimony to the church of Jesus Christ today is the few areas of our lives that contradicts the gospel, which is only a reflection of how much we have put our trust in the flesh. Many of our unconscious actions (way of life) only show who really owns our allegiance; whether Christ or self. 

Objective vs subjective

If we will humble ourselves, we will realize that most of us do not understand the implications of our salvation. If we do, our choices (thoughts, feelings and actions) will not despise the mighty work of grace that has abounded towards us. At salvation, we lost our own righteousness and gained (or received) the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 54:17).

NOTE: Let it remain permanently imprinted into your mind that your own (and my own) self righteousness is “as filthy rags” before God (Isaiah 64:6, Philippians 3:9).

Now, please pause and think about that! Not your righteousness but God’s own righteousness. How can this righteousness be in you and you are still full of unrighteousness? This is God living in you, how does that make you a sinner? This is receiving the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1, Galatians 2:21). God has never been unrighteous…and you can place a demand on that extent or quality of experience and excellence in your life. His righteousness is what makes Him unchallengeable by sin, why should it produce anything less in you? 

“Never allow your previous experiences (or other’s), to interfere in your understanding of God’s grace and righteousness. It is not God’s righteousness that needs to measure up to the standard of man’s experience; rather, it is man’s experience that needs to be upgraded to the standard of God’s word “

God has done a work that will never need any amendment. And nobody who has truly come to Christ has received a watered-down, cheap rate righteousness; we have all received equally, the same quality of grace, the same intensity of faith, and the same gravity of life…such that it should be taken for granted that you can no longer sin (1 John 3:9) or fall away (John 10:28-29). This is true, believe it or not! And this establishes the objective work of God that needs nothing to be added to it or removed from it.

However, the subjective side of things, which is your own side of choice, will determine your fate. That is, in spite of the majesty of God’s work of righteousness in your life when you got saved, it cannot impose on you the way (and life) of righteousness; and once your choices in the long run are against God’s righteousness in you, you are revoking your own salvation. Just as Adam (and Eve) had a choice in the matter of their righteousness in the beginning, and the children of Israel had a choice in the matter of entering Canaan, so also do you have a choice in the matter of righteousness and experiencing the grace of God.

The plague of self-confidence

Now, there is enough grace within the entire salvation enterprise to make any sinner, regardless of the degree (or pedigree) of sin, into a saint, a righteous person. Whenever people fall away from grace, it was never a shortage of God’s grace or sufficiency, it was always a little or no revelation of their own insufficiency. It was always a private estimation of self, translating into confidence in self, that deprives them of the necessary inadequacy that unleashes the grace of God upon a life. 

The only condition required to receive the grace of God is to lose confidence in your self. There was a measure of that when you got saved because anyone coming to Jesus to be saved is saying in effect, “I am inadequate, I need help, I can’t help myself, please save me!”. I always wonder why we cheapen that which was the basis of our salvation, later on in our Christian experience, thinking that we can now help ourselves. It is a real mark of maturity to retain throughout my life, the same amount of insufficiency that brought me to Christ. If anything, to even grow in that sense of insufficiency. That is the only thing that releases the grace of God continually into my life. 

Have you ever wondered why our brother Paul was so effective? We can say, it was because of the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:10), but there is something very obvious about the release of this grace into his life. He always considered himself the least (1 Corinthians 15:9). If he had more grace, it must have been because of how he thought less of himself, preferred others before him and counted all things that were gain to him as loss (Philippians 3:7). 

Which means if all that Christ died to achieve in our lives will become a reality, we must repudiate ourselves. We must lose confidence in self. We must refuse to credit ourselves with anything. This may be difficult to accept but that is the only way we can explore the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8). For all that is on the objective side of what God has done in Christ to become ours on the subjective side, we must refuse to retain anything of ourselves. We must evacuate all the trust we have in ourselves or else by retaining any measure of confidence in self, we are revoking the means by which we are saved, which can lead to a falling away. 

New Living Translation Galatians 3:3 How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?

Finally…

To backslide into your own human efforts only points to one thing: there has been a shift in your heart. You have quietly admitted self-confidence into your heart, and it is now making you to neglect your trust in Christ to trust in yourself. It is time for you and me to check our hearts and put to death every high thought of ourselves. Let us think soberly! If there be any achievement, let us credit the rightful owner – Christ. 

Romans 12:3 KJV

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith

Picture credit: quote master, virtueonline

Union with Christ 2

Philemon 1:6 KJV (Empahsis mine)

“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the ACKNOWLEDGING of EVERY GOOD THING which is IN you IN Christ Jesus.”

Once you come to the LORD Jesus to be saved, you are, henceforth, legally one with Him, the acknowledging of which brings you into your rest in God and gives you unrestricted access to ALL that Christ died to accomplish in your life. This “ALL” is called inheritance (Acts 20:32, Ephesians 1:11, 18) in the Scriptures, which we can call benefits of redemption and privileges of salvation in today’s language. These are things that are legally yours and when you believe it, it becomes your experience. 

1. You are dead to sin and self. 1 Peter 2:24

2. You are alive to God. Romans 6:11

3. You have lost confidence in self. Philippians 3:3

4. You have the faith of Jesus. Galatians 2:16, 20; 3:22

5. You cannot sin. 1 John 3:5, 6, 9

6. You are above law. Romans 6:14, Matthew 5:17, 21-22, 27-28

The standard of grace is actually higher than the law.

7. You are the Righteousness of God in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21

8. You are Christ conscious, not sin conscious. Colossians 3:1-3

9. You are seated together with Christ in the heavenlies. Ephesians 2:6

10. You are in the New Covenant. Hebrews 12:22-24

These are all yours on the objective side of things. When you believe, it will literally fill up your experience on the subjective side. 

If you will experience the full transformation of the New Creation in Christ, you must forsake your own ideas of being and doing right; and then cling to Christ alone. In the new life, self must be dismissed, despised and rejected so that Christ will be all in all.

“For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:11 KJV) You cannot be ashamed if you believe. All has been achieved by God, in Christ. Your faith disgraces your flesh and honours God. Those who kept the law could not achieve these; like Paul, they had to repudiate their self-achieved righteousness, in order to be accepted by God. 

My hope is built on nothing less     

than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; 

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 

but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Refrain:

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;             

all other ground is sinking sand,             

all other ground is sinking sand.

This is God’s work, not man’s. Your only access to it is by faith. Nothing to struggle to do. He only seeks to work it out in you “…both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13). Be not afraid, only believe (Mark 5:36).
Picture credits: Antioch Community Church, Pinterest 

Union with Christ

Ephesians 2:1 

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;” KJV

“In the past you were spiritually dead because of your sins and the things you did against God.” New Century Version

“AND YOU [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins” AMPC

There is no life in Christ Jesus without the death of the former life of sin. In fact, the continuous experience of life outside Christ, after you have been saved, brings upon you the accumulating death that sin normally incurs to a climax (Romans 6:23), and if continued long enough, a climactic spiritual death that occurs as a final judgment of the sin that has ruled for so long. 

The final death that breaks the dominion of sin was the death of Christ, our substitute; and by our deliberate union or identification with Christ, we, who have come to Christ, have now passed from (spiritual) death to life.

Hence, it is those who realize that they “…were dead in trespasses and sins” who can experience resurrection to a better life, the life of Christ. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin…” (Romans 6:11). The deed has been done. Victory over sin and all the effects of sin have been achieved by Christ. There is nothing to be done again. It is now left for you to reckon it as the truth and make it the principle/rule for your life henceforth. The death of death occurs when we refuse to reckon the perfect work that was done. (Death of death is not used here as Death dying but as a double situation of death)

We have received all that we are in the new creation through our union with Christ. The only way to freedom from any besetting sin at work in your life, as a Christian, is not to cry or pray “warfare” prayers or go for deliverance. The right way is to recognize your union with Christ, the fact that you ARE one in Christ, in His death and in His resurrection. 

So that when you pray, you will not be begging God to save you from what He has already saved you from in Christ; you will only give thanks to God and then “pray” that understanding into your spirit man. It is treasonable to think or declare that something else needs to be done to set you free from your peculiar sins. Christ has done it; your faith in what He has done is what brings you experientially into Union with Christ, where you will literally experience the victory that is accustomed to your new position (Ephesians 2:5-6).

Reckon means “to take into account, compute, impute, to take an inventory, having the like force or weight…” The same weight of consideration you give to the death of Christ is to be your consideration of your own death to sin. And the same force with which He was raised in resurrection is to be seen as how you have also been resurrected into newness of life. If you don’t take the inventory of all that Christ’s death has purchased for you because of your identification with Him, you will keep struggling to pay for your freedom again, as if the full price was not paid by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Now, as many as believe that they are saved by grace, and still refuse to reckon that they are dead to sin, and “…alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:11) are doubly dead. It is a mighty blindfolding that has come upon them, that makes them unable to see the perfect work of redemption. This blindness is usually because they are not taught (Romans 10:14) or they refuse to believe if they were taught (Hebrews 5:12). They are dead twice because, even though they are dead to sin through Christ’s death, they cannot practically experience the resurrection life UNTIL they “reckon” – accept, believe, confess – their death to sin through Christ. 

And since they do not come alive into the newness of life, their death to sin, not being reckoned – accepted, appropriated, believed – becomes double death. That is the death that the nature of sin in their lives have already incurred, which invites God’s wrath, and the “unused” or unreckoned death of Christ for them, which reactivates the verdict of spiritual death upon them afresh.

Hebrews 6:4-6 

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened…And have tasted the good word of God…If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” KJV

Not accepting the death of Christ as the end of your sin (and the power of sin over you and the former desires you had for sin) means you reject that perfect substitutionary and sacrificial death of Christ, of which you must now come under the judgment/wrath of God afresh, to become confined to (a life of) spiritual death. If you don’t believe that the death of Jesus is the end of sin in your life, you have rejected God’s means of perfect deliverance from sin, by which you were justified, and you must now appear before the court of heaven alone, as it were, to receive the full wrath of God for your sins. The destruction that results is self-inflicted and needless. And it is the only destiny for those who choose to set aside the righteousness of God, to establish their own righteousness, by trying to “work” for victory over sin, rather than accept the work that has already been accomplished by God in Christ (Romans 10:3-4).

John 3:18 KJV

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

*NOTE: Until you have reckoned what Christ has done, and settled into your new position in Christ, you do not have the appropriate foundation to receive the building blocks of further instructions of “what to do” into your life (Ephesians chapters 4-6). The instructions of how we are to live, in scriptures, are building blocks for a life that already have the foundation upon which to build the structure of Christlikeness. The foundation is Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11) and our understanding of what He has done for us (Ephesians chapters 1-3)

Picture credits: ekklesia muskogee dot org, Jacob’s Well NJ, Pinterest