Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying AGAIN a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God…
A believer’s acceptance by God starts and ends at rebirth and we are complete in Him. However, the believer’s life does not start and end at rebirth – that is only the beginning. We all need to know the foundational truths of how to draw close to God; how to live in the spirit; how to walk in the spirit; how to pray in the spirit – how to grow in the spirit.
We try many paths to draw closer to Him, but end up disappointed in our progress. We all find ourselves in life’s cul-de-sacs, having to retrace our spiritual steps. We often live in the flesh; walk in the flesh; pray in the flesh and 'grow' in the flesh! It is only through a process of constantly failing to draw close to God by self-effort, that we eventually discover that it is not something that we can do ourselves.
God never leaves us floundering, but He does wait until we come to an end of ‘self’. He waits until we realise there is nothing we can do to help to make us spiritually mature. It is only a heart that is prepared by the Spirit of God that will move into true maturity. Many believers are encouraged to consecrate and re-consecrate their self-life. Many are motivated to do all they can do for Him because of what He did for them.
As our substitute, Jesus went to the cross alone. As our substitute, Jesus paid the price for our sins alone. As our substitute, Jesus suffered the penalty for our sins alone. As our substitute, we are accepted by God in the Beloved - alone. As our substitute, we are forgiven because He alone died in our stead. As our substitute, we are forgiven from the penalty of sin through Him – alone. As our substitute, we are reconciled to God and justified by Him – alone.
Many are motivated to do all they can for Him because of what He did for them. This ‘love motive’ is a good motive, but it is not the correct path to spiritual maturity, for this path of devotion can lead the old-self trying to live for God, by being good, and the consequences of this path is often in living the self-life instead of the Christ-life.
Self-denial can be sought UN-successfully through our flesh... OR denying self can be achieved successfully through the Cross. The ‘love motive’ sees Christ as our wonderful Redeemer – as our substitute. It is grateful for the forgiveness of sins with the penalty of sins paid in full. However this love motive can often cause believers to remain in spiritual babyhood. To move into maturity the believer must also see Christ as our Representative.
As our representative we went to the cross with Him – together. As our representative our old-man was crucified together with Jesus. As our representative our old, Adamic self and sin-nature died together with Him. As our representative He took us to the cross and we are in Him Who is the last Adam. As our representative, Christ has delivered us from the power or sin. As our representative Christ’s life – our new-life must remain in Him alone.
Christ’s Life has no place in the old life. That must remain crucified. We all need to know how to draw close to God:- to live in the spirit, to walk in the spirit, to pray in the spirit, to grow in the spirit. It is the new-life about which Paul says “It is not I that live but Christ lives in me”. It is the new-life in Christ and not the old-life in Adam that the Spirit will sanctify.
Sanctification can only take place in the new-life in Christ. Sanctification can never take place in the old-life in Adam. But how do we live and move and grow and pray in spirit and truth, you ask. The answers are all in the Word of God.
We are to accept without reservation that we are unconditionally accepted by God. We are to recognise that there is no self-effort that can draw us closer to Him. We must “K-R Y” to Him – to Know..to Reckon.. and to Yield to His guidance. This concept is explained in Consecration – chapter 9 of the Green Letters.
A careful study of all the Epistles of Paul will show that they are written on the basis of the cross, set forth in Romans 6. God consigns the old fallen Adam-life to the cross forever, and God will have nothing to do with the old life in Adam. God deals with all believers on the grounds that in Christ YOU died. But the Church of Christ, as a whole, ignores this fact. It treats the fallen creation (the self-life) as capable of improvement. In doing so, the meaning of the cross is nullified, for the old Adamic life is beyond repair,
We have to get to an end or our own efforts and throw ourselves on Christ alone. We have to be one that seeks and seeks and seeks to know Him. We have to invite the Spirit of God into our hearts to examine us. We have to ask Him to examine our rebellious and carnal nature – to know the difference between 1) Christ as substitute and Christ as representative. 2) between sanctification truths and identification truths. 3) between the new-life in Christ and the old-life in Adam. 4) between the spiritual believer and a carnal Christian. We have to want to move on into maturity and grow in grace. We must not get our whole life stuck in perpetual Christian infancy.
The seeking heart permits God to examine His rebellious, carnal heart. The seeking heart allows God into the holy of holies, to teach him these truths. Lord give me a teachable spirit. Death no longer has dominion over Christ, for the death that Christ died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God – likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:9; 10
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