So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: you died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. So now you are united with the One Who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.
As a believer’s trust in God's truth grows, more is opened up to his understanding. It is not new revelation, but illumination of God’s final word, by His Holy Spirit. The first, vital thing for any believer is to know Christ as the wonderful sin offering. Jesus took our place and the punishment we deserved was poured out upon Him.
We rejoice that Christ has died for our sins.. was buried and raised from death. We rejoice to know that 'in Christ' our sins are buried in God’s sea of forgetfulness. This understanding grows into wonderment... that Jesus became my substitute. All the punishment that I deserved as a sinner was transferred onto Him. He suffered and died, was buried, and rose again the third day… for me.
The knowledge that ALL my sins were forgiven forever was a most glorious truth – a cleansing that flooded my soul like a sweet refreshing fountain of crystal water. But part of growing in the faith dictates that faith must be tested.
Growing pains inevitable occur in all believers when our faith in Christ is tried. Sometimes stunted growth is the result of a lack of good teaching. Sometimes spiritual growth is resisted because of carnal desires. Often it’s because Scripture is little known, little taught, or little understood.
Forgiveness of sins is a fairly simple and acceptable concept – substitution. But sin, as a ruling power in our lives, requires identification. And unless this is taught and understood a disciple’s growth can be stunted, and worse still – believers try to do the work in their life that only God can do.
Substitution truths are generally wonderfully understood – He died for me. Identification truths are a much more difficult concept – I died in Him. So what are substitution truths and identification truths?
SUBSTITUTION – is where Christ took our sins upon Himself – He died for us. Christ died for our sins; He took the punishment we deserve; He was our substitute. Sin as an offence was forgiven at the cross. The death penalty for sin was paid. Sin in the life of every believer is totally acquitted, for Christ died for our sins. BUT sin as a master, ruling our forgiven lives requires identification with Him.
IDENTIFICATION – is where we died in Him at the cross. We identity with Him. In order to understand our identification we must appropriate truths in Romans 6. Romans 6 is the liberating truth of identification – with Christ on the cross. Romans 7 explains the trap many fall into – without apprehending this truth. A careful study of Romans Chapters 6, 7 and 8 outlines this fundamental, foundational truth.
I once heard about a godly man who read Romans – once, every month of his life. He wanted to firmly grasp and implement this concept of identification with Christ. The early chapters of Romans describe in startling clarity God’s hatred of sin. In logical sequence, Paul explains how everyone has knowledge of their Creator God. Gentile and Jew are guilty before Him – and no one has an excuse for unbelief.
Paul details how the righteous are justified by faith and are to live by faith – alone. He explains in great detail God’s wonderful plan of redemption – through faith in Christ. He explains how Jesus us the Federal Head of an entirely new creation – in Christ – for the old fallen creation in Adam have the sentence of death upon their heads, but the new creation in Christ has the free gift of eternal life in their hearts.
But then comes the wonderful TRUTH of Romans chapter 6 – identification. Because we are in Christ, we are not subject to the law of sin and death. Because we are in Christ, we are subject to the law of life and liberty in Christ. One saint of God describes it in these terms… He has put our old man – our original self – where He put our sins… namely, on the cross with Christ.
Just as the sins we committed were placed on Christ 2000 years ago… when He died, so our sinful nature (our old self-life), was nailed to that cross, when He died – our Adamic propensity; the old man; our sin nature was nailed to the cross. And that is where it needs to remain – crucified through the duration of this life.
And that was why Paul was able to say: 'My old self-life has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. It is no longer I – but Christ'. Galatians 2:20
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