Identification Truth – The Foundation for Eternal Security: Part 2Ephesians 2:4-7 • Dr. Jim McGowan • August 7, 2016 • Soteriology - Sp. Anatomy
SUGAR LAND BIBLE CHURCH
Dr. Jim McGowan
Identification Truth – The Foundation for Eternal Security: Part 2
I’m so delighted to have the opportunity again to come and speak to you. Let’s open up with a word of prayer, shall we? Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great truth and Your great Word, and thank You for the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. And Father, as we continue on in our study today and the issue of the Identification Truths and how they relate to eternal security, my prayer, dear Father, is that You would speak through me and that we all might learn from what it is that You have for us this morning. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I do have to make one little housekeeping chore here, my wife wasn’t able to attend today because she’s under the weather so I wanted to say good morning dear, I hope you’re listening in, you said you were going to. Having said that, let’s get into our study.
Last time we were talking about the foundation for eternal security and we did Part 1. Let’s do just a quick review just to remind you. Here’s what our Lesson 2 outline looked like. We said that we cannot become what we already are in Christ until we know what we were in Adam. And I hope that you have had opportunity to reflect upon that statement since we met last time because it’s very important that we understand this. I think that most of our failure for victory in our Christian walk is centered right in this statement right here.
We said last time that we had a personal history in Adam, a personal history! Just like the United States has a history that we can refer back to and we can look at signposts in our history to see who we are today and how we got where we are. Similarly we have the same situation in terms of our relationship to Adam; it’s a historical relationship, isn’t it. And historical means it’s something in the past. So here we see who and what was Adam; we said he was the seminal representative head of the human race. We said that we inherited our sinful self-oriented nature and condition from him. And we said that we’re all born into sin and that results in death, judgment and condemnation.
And we said that this affected us in three different manners; it affected our position, our nature and our personal sins. So we, when we’re born into this life as unbelievers we’re born into Adam and that has consequences that go along with it, including a nature and then the personal acts of sin. However, we said that God in His great love for us, He didn’t leave us in our sin to just do the best we could do. He provided a solution to the sin problem but in order to do that He had to address sin at all three levels.
So He dealt with it in terms of our position in Adam. Why? Because when we became a believer we were translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son. We are now no longer in Adam, we have been put into Christ. And then also He dealt with our sin nature, you recall it said
that we’re to “reckon ourselves dead unto sin but alive unto God. [Romans 6:11, “Likewise reckon
ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” KJV] That’s our standing right now.
And then He also dealt with our personal sins. And I’m not going to take time to go into depth, this is just review right now. I’d encourage you to get the first lesson and that will probably help you. So we said that because of God’s solution that our relationship to Adam has been completely terminated, and that’s a great word–terminated. I think sometimes our struggle again comes from the fact that we forget that our relationship to Adam was terminated. We have a tendency to want to go back into the old Adam. It was necessary for God to terminate our positional relationship to Adam because the Bible clearly says “the wages of sin is death.” [Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”]
So God had to do something about this issue of sin in our lives. And when did He do it and where did He do it? It was, of course, done on the cross of Calvary and we should every day be rejoicing and when we start our prayer life out, probably the first thing we should do is “thank You Lord for the cross, thank You for what You did there.” How did He do it? We said that the Lord Jesus on the cross was identified with our position in sin and our sinful nature. And as our old man was condemned and crucified with Christ at the same time in His substitutionary work of redemption on the cross He paid the penalty of our personal sins. And so we had some key points, we said the source and principle of sin was not forgiven but it was judged and it was condemned.
Our inherited Adamic nature was not forgiven, God couldn’t just wink at this, He had to deal with it and what did He do? He judged it and He condemned it in and through Christ’s death. And then finally, because of that we say Christ’s death on our behalf completely freed us as individual believers from the Adamic principle, which is again the source, nature and practice of Adam. Not only that but all of the penalties and consequences associated with that at the point of salvation, at the point of faith, at the point of belief in Christ, so God is now able to justly include us in Christ’s death unto sin. And then we said the first step to our becoming experientially free from all that is associated with the first Adam in our daily experience… how do we do that? Well, we have to know that positionally we died or were separated once and for all from the first Adam by Christ’s crucifixion and burial.
And then we have a final point here, we have received the ultimate in deliverance when we were identified with Christ in His death, and my prayer is that we can all grasp this information right here and really make it a part of who we are. The more that we understand and focus on who we are in Christ now the more victory we have, where we get that old Adamic mindset and set it aside and we put on the mind of Christ, don’t we?
So that brings us to our outline for today and what we’re going to talk about here is our personal history in the Last Adam and notice again the phrasing here, this is historical fact that I’m sharing with you. In other words, when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, when we were saved, we immediately were identified with Him and something became true about us that represents a past accomplishment in and through our lives through the Lord Jesus Christ.
And the topics we’re going to talk about are the fact that we were buried with Christ, we’ve risen with Christ, we have a new position of life because of that, and also a new nature of righteousness and we’re ascended and seated with Christ and because of that we have a new walk of fruitfulness. So let’s get busy.
We said our personal history in the last Adam, Jesus Christ, begins on the only basis for resurrection life, which is death. You can’t have resurrection if you don’t first have a death. Right? Does that make common sense? Is that a logical assumption? I think so. Resurrection life can only spring forth from a prior death and while our relationship to the first Adam rendered us dead in sin, like we mentioned that already, our identification in death with Christ made us dead unto, or in relationship to sin. And this death unto sin is the one condition for new life.
So how did we become resurrected? I think we don’t really think these things through enough. How is it that we received eternal life and resurrected life? Well, we had to die, we died with Christ. There had to be a death. This is not something that we think of in terms of a corporate event, although that also is true, but we think of this in terms of our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and our personal identification. So as we talk about these things today what I would want you to do is I would want you to think about this as being personal to you, not your neighbor next to you but YOU personally.
So we said first of all that because of what Christ did on the cross and our placing faith and trust and confidence in what He did, we were buried with Him. And so since this is true… and again, we are focusing on what happened historically in the life of the believer here. So as we think about this what actually happened when we were identified with Christ? Well, we were placed in the tomb with Him; we were identified with Him, joined together with Him in that sense. And so we now… and kind of what we’re doing here is we’re giving you, as it were, a progression of what happened. Okay.
Now again any time we try to explain spiritual truth with human understanding we always fall somewhat short. However, that said, I do think this gives us a good picture of what it was that transpired. So when we put our faith in Christ what happens? Immediately we were crucified with Christ; when He was placed in that tomb, because of our identification with Him we too were placed in that tomb. And we need to understand that’s where we were. Through our identification with Christ in His death our relationship to Adam significantly changed. We’ve kind of mentioned that already but let’s stop and think about that. When we died with Christ immediately everything about us changed. Now does that mean that the moment we become a believer suddenly we’ve arrived, we have it all together, we soar through this life with no problems and issues and such? NO, because while it is true that we have been saved, right? We were saved, we have been saved, we are saved, there’s still something that we’re dealing with here in this life which is the sin nature, which is still hanging around. We’ll talk about that some more here in a second.
Romans 6:3-4, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death,” look at the wording here. Now I was raised up in a particular denomination and it’s very common in most denominations today to take this passage and apply it directly to water baptism. That’s not what it’s talking about. It’s talking about Spirit baptism; it’s talking about our being placed into Christ. Notice what it says, it says we “were baptized into Christ Jesus.” When you see the word “baptized” you should automatically associate the words “identified with;” that will help you understand the real meaning behind it. We were identified with Christ when we were baptized into His death.
Look at Colossians 2:12, this says that we were buried with Him in baptism. [Colossians 2:12, “having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”] Do you get the picture here that we were identified with Him. So in Christ’s burial we said having died in Christ our death to the flesh, which I’m referring to as the sin nature in this instance, has become the very means of our triumph over it.
Now I don’t have time this morning to go into all of the details but if you’ll go back and look at Romans 5, 6 and7 you’ll see the word “flesh” quite a bit, depending on the translation you’re using.
And I would like to suggest to you that in the Greek that word has the definite article with it and it’s a singular word in most instances, in which case it’s not talking about sins, it’s talking about the sin nature. And I would encourage you to read the passage that way; I think it would probably illuminate your understanding to what Paul was trying to say in these chapters. We died with Christ, our death to the flesh or death to the sin nature has become the very means of our triumph over it.
As an unbeliever how did you deal with the sin nature? You didn’t really, did you? You know, you might have got a self-help book, you might have went to a seminar, learned time management, you know (that’s a joke, someone smiled, some gave me some feedback here). I mean, there are all kinds of ways that the world attempts to deal with the sin nature but there’s no way to deal with it because the Bible refers to it in the life of the unbeliever as a tyrant, a dictator. Now of course once we come into Christ, if we look at what have said here we’ve died to the sin nature because we are identified with Christ. Therefore we now have options available to us to deal with the sin nature, as a believer.
1 Corinthians 15:54 and 57, because of what Christ has done for us and because of the empowerments and enablements that He’s given to us with the Spirit we can with Paul say “death is swallowed up in victory, and we can say thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [1 Corinthians 15:54, “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:57, “but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”]
Now I don’t know about you but when I read this particular passage and passages like this sometimes I sort of get a little convicted because I feel like I’m not walking in my inheritance on a regular basis. And that’s my fault, that’s not God’s fault, it’s because if I’m not walking in victory I’m choosing not to walk in victory for the most part; I’m not doing those things that God has said in His Word that direct me into victory. So I hope that you’re not in the same state that I am; you all look very pious and holy out there this morning and I wish you would pray for me.
So not only did we die with Christ, not only did Christ die, not only was He put into the tomb, not only was He buried, but did He stay there? And of course, the answer is no. What happened? Well, He rose from the grave. We say, of course, that we were identified with Christ in every sense, so when Christ arose from the grave guess what? Because of our identification with Him we too rose. And God sees that as a historical fact, something that has taken place. That’s part of our history in Christ. This is exciting stuff; I’m holding onto the pulpit right now because I’m really want to kind of jump up and down.
We say Christ’s death and burial accomplished its liberating work on our behalf so we now begin to look up from the place of death and from our place in fallen Adam to the place of the new birth and new risen Christ. See how sequentially we’re progressing here. For when the Lord Jesus burst the bonds of death He took us with Him in His glorious resurrection life, and I just want to say praise God for that! Hallelujah, I’m so glad! Romans 6:4-5, look what it says here, “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united together” united is the same concept as identified with, so “if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection…” I don’t know about you but I’m excited to know that I’m resurrected right now and I’m looking forward to the complete fulfillment of that when I get to drop off this old saggy weak flesh. How about you?
From our new foundational vantage point of resurrection in Christ we can now consider what it is that God has done for us. So we’re resurrected. We’re walking around here with resurrected life and now we have a new position, we have a new nature, and a new walk of fruitfulness. And if you’ll go back and look at the previous lesson you’ll see that I’m using the very same standard, the very same format here. In Adam what did we have? We had a position, we had a nature and we had a walk of sinfulness. That was when we were in Adam. But now we are in Christ and that’s new, isn’t it? So a new life, new position, new nature, new walk. I don’t know why you’re not shouting “Hallelujah!”
In our old position in the first Adam we were rendered dead to God and alive unto sin. Stop and think about that for a minute. Why do people in the world act the way they do? Why did that guy cut me off on the highway; I mean, it was very evident I was in that lane, what’s going on here? What’s going on, why did that person treat me that way at work at the water cooler when I mentioned the name of Jesus? Well, there’s a reason—because they are dead to God and alive to sin, and they don’t even know it. And we were too. But our new position, in a risen last Adam that renders us alive unto God and dead unto sin because we find out in Colossians 3:1-3, “Therefore since you have been raised up with Christ” what does he say? Is there any variance there? Is there any indication that there’s a question there? NO, not at all; he’s saying here this is an established fact, it’s happening.
[Colossians 3:1-3, “Therefore since you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  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.”]
So because it’s true how should you conduct yourself. Well, “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is,” He’s “seated at the right hand of God.” What else are we to do? We are to [verse 2] “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Why? Why do that? Because the argument here, he says, folks you’ve died, you have died and your resurrection life is hidden with Christ in God. Oh my goodness, why would I want to go back to the world? Why would I want to go back to the Adamic way of doing things when I realize the pain and the misery and the suffering and the consequences and all the things that go along with that old life? Why would I want to do that when Christ paid the price to deliver me from all of that? Do you know why? As Pastor Andy has said, it’s because sin is fun. Isn’t it? There is an aspect of fun to it. And we’ve got to get our fun nature changed, right. I had to change a filter out in my car the other day. Why do we do that? Well, because the air flow wasn’t right. I need to get that fun meter changed in my brain so that I’ve got the right flow, it’s coming from the right direction. I’m not having a lot of success because I sit in front of the TV too much; okay, I’m sorry, I’ll get off of that, let’s go on.
I want to point out to you here that some of your translations has the word “if” there where I have the word “since.” [Therefore [*since] you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your [resurrection] life is hidden with Christ in God.” (NASB95)] And the reason I didn’t translate it that way is because there’s Greek behind the English text and we have a tendency to kind of not talk about the original languages too much these days, after all, people are not really smart enough to handle that, you know (I don’t personally believe that).
But I just put up some information here for you as to the reason why we have the word “since” here, this is a first class condition in the Greek and it indicates the assumption of truth for the sake of argument. The normal idea, then is if, and let’s assume that this is true for the sake of argument, then, so when Paul is making this declaration here who is he talking to? Tell me, is he talking to believers or is he talking to unbelievers? It’s the church at Colossae, right, the general understanding of church is believers, right? So he’s talking to believers, therefore he can use this construction here.
All right. So now we also have a new position of life, don’t we. When we were “in Adam” God was our what? He was our judge. Do you know why He was our judge? Because the Bible says that we were God’s enemies when we were unbelievers. We were at enmity with Christ. But now that we’re in Jesus, now that we’re in Christ that’s no longer true. We have a new position of life by means of God’s Son’s death and resurrection, and therefore God the Father is free to be our Father and we’re free to be His sons.
There is a terrible misconception, that many believers and certainly the world has, about being sons of God, children of God. Right? What’s the general idea? What’s the general concept that most people have? Well, everyone, everyone is a child of God and we’re all… you know, we’re all God’s creation, we’re all God’s children. But the Bible doesn’t say that, does it? In John 1:12 what does it say? “But as many as received Him,” that is the Lord Jesus Christ, “to them He gave the authority to” what? To recognize that they’re sons of God? To recognize that they’re already sons of God. NO! “to become” sons and daughters, “children of God.”
Galatians 4:6, who are we talking to in the book of Galatians? Believers or unbelievers? We’re talking to believers aren’t we. So Paul says, “Because you are” YOU ARE “sons,” and by the way, that’s a present active indicative which is present tense, right, present tense, you are right now he says to the Galatians, you are right now “sons of God” and because of this “God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” I read an interesting commentary on this. Typically when we see “Abba! Father” we think in terms of a little child and how they’re affectionately going to their father and you know, daddy kind of thing. And there is that idea; that is not a completely incorrect idea but in terms of the life of a believer what this is referring to is not the daddy aspect but the intimate relationship, because I don’t have to come to Him as a little bitty child in a sense, I’m not coming to Him as just my child when he was two years old and didn’t know and understand and she just knew if she got up in my lap that I’d hug her and make everything all right. That’s not really the intent behind this; this is talking about a deep, intense, internal relationship with the Father, a mature relationship. In fact, this particular word, Abba, was used in legal documents to describe the relationship between grown children and their parents. So it’s a little bit different than what we normally thought.
1 John 3:2, look what he says here, “Beloved,” now who are the “Beloved.” The “Beloved” are the believers, are they not; yeah they are, they’re believers. He says, “Beloved, now we are children of God,” I’m not hoping to become a child of God, I am a child of God, right now. I know I don’t look like it, I know I don’t have the glow of Moses on me (although Dan says that I do and he had to change the filters on the video to fix it, sorry, that’s what happens when you get my age, but that’s not from God, that’s from the devolution of man. “Beloved, now we are children of God….” We also have a new nature of righteousness because of our identification with Christ. So in our co-resurrection with Christ our Father gave us a new life consisting of… here it is, new man with a new nature, which can only bring forth righteousness.
Have you stopped to think about that? When you sin where is that coming from. Well, it’s certainly not coming out of the “in Christ” person; it’s not coming from the new nature. It’s not coming from the new man, where is it coming from? It’s coming from the sin nature. But Jim, I thought you said we died to the sin nature. We did! But remember that death in the Bible does not ever mean extermination; it does not mean annihilation, it does not mean a ceasing of existence. It means separation. And I don’t know if you were paying attention but if you’ll look at this picture I have up here it’s somewhat different from the one I had up about Adam, being “in Adam.” Flip back a little bit in your notes there and you’ll see that when you’re “in Adam” what’s the difference? That sin nature that I have there in the red, where is it located? It’s actually in and part of you since you’re “in Adam,” but once you accepted Jesus Christ, once you believed in Him, remember we said you died to the sin nature, you were separated from it. It hasn’t ceased to exist, it’s still hanging around out there. It’s always trying to get access into the new man. And of course, when we allow it to do so it does and that’s why we sin as believers.
We’ve all read this passage so many times, but I’m hoping that we’re seeing this in a little different, a little more refreshing new light this morning. “If anyone is in Christ, he is” what? “a new creature; the old things” and I’ve added in here based in our historical relationship in Adam, those are the old things that are being talked about, those things have “passed away; behold, new things” what are the new things? It’s everything based in our historical relationship in Christ, “the new things have come.  Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself” how did He do that, how did God reconcile, He did it “through Christ….” He did it “through Christ.” [2 Cor. 5:17–18]
And I want to emphasize this word “historical.” I want to just repeat it over and over again, I want to get it into your consciousness. We’re talking about historically what took place in the life of the believer. I love sign posts; sign posts along the way that God puts in your life. And He brings you through something and something new comes your way and oh man, I don’t know how I’m going to deal with this and God says well, let me remind you what I did back over here. That’s one of the reasons why we read the Bible. I love the Old Testament because there’s just sign post after sign post after sign post. Well God, I just don’t know how you’re going to meet my finances… well, let’s go back and see what God did in the Old Testament for certain individuals. Wow! God, I just don’t know how I’m going to deal with this trouble in my life… well, let’s look at what God did back here, and oh, by the way, come over in the New Testament; hey, let’s go look at Paul’s life. Did God deliver Paul? Did He rescue Paul? Yeah, he did. Okay God, yeah, thanks for reminding me.
You remember when the men were going to stone David because the Amorites came down and they took off all the families and cattle and everything and the men came home and everything was gone and all the men, you know, the men of David, you know, it’s David’s fault, let’s just kill him right here. And what did David do? I love the wording, I love it especially in the King James Version, I think it says, “And David encouraged himself in the Lord.” [1 Samuel 30:6, “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”]
Now I can’t prove this but I just can’t help but believe, because he was a human being like me that you know what I think he probably did? I think that David, when all this was coming down, he was thinking well, this is it, and God went pssst, remember the lion? Pssst, do you remember the bear? Oh, pssst, hey David, remember Goliath? Hey David, do you remember all those victories I’ve given you up to this point in time? And David went oh, that’s right, that’s right God. God You can do anything; the situation I have right now is nothing, I am trusting You, I am putting my faith and trust in You to deliver me, even though I can’t see what’s going on, I don’t know what’s going on, You’re going to do it. And guess what, God did it. He’ll do it for you in your life too. But historically what was David doing? He was thinking back to the things that God has historically done in his life and in his walk.
Here you go, here’s a good slide; you notice I have “in Adam” marked out; why do I have him marked out? Because you’re no longer “in Adam,” right. Notice the difference, there’s your picture, look at the sin nature, where is it? When you’re “in Adam” it’s inside you; when you’re “in Christ” he no longer has access to you unless you allow him access. The old man position in Adam is not renewed. Oh boy, this is a good one, this is important. The old man is not renewed, he’s not refurbished, he’s not regenerated or… excuse me, renovated, he is replaced with that which is altogether new. Praise the Lord for that.
So all these things, it just keeps getting better. Do you feel like this is getting better and better, gooder and gooder? Well good, now because of all the things that have happened to this point in time we now have a new nature of righteousness. And as new creations in Christ we have been forever liberated from our relationship to the first Adam, which includes the position, the nature with its reign of sin and death. Jim, you keep repeating yourself. I sure do. What did Paul say? “I put you in remembrance…” I put you in remembrance….” Oh, let me remind you, Peter says, let me remind you, you’re going to hear me say this over and over again, what happened? We were liberated from being “in Adam.” Our Father now sees each of us completely new in His Son and He wants us to see ourselves from His point of view, as new creations in Christ Jesus with a new position in Christ and a new nature, Christ’s very own nature.
Man, I tell you what, when you wake up tomorrow morning and you go to work or you do whatever you do, and the enemy comes against you, you know, we have some enemies in this life, don’t we, the world, the flesh and the devil, and one or the other of them, or they gang up on you, come back to this slide, wait a minute, the Father wants me to see myself the way He sees me, not the way the old man in Adam wants me to be seen. I want to see myself the way God sees me. Is that based in feeling or fact, by the way? Thing about that. We sort of have a problem being human being preachers, you know, our first reaction to everything is feeling and I would like to suggest to you that as part of the being renewed in the spirit of your mind God is saying get off of the feeling wagon and get onto the fact wagon. Settle yourself on the facts of God’s Word and what He says about you, and the feelings, the proper feelings, will follow. Isn’t that interesting how that works? As new creations the Father maintains the identity of each believer so we remain the same individual but we acquire a new position, a new life and a new nature and it’s all based in the risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:21-22, “And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works,  yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and above reproach.” I wonder, do you see yourself as “holy and blameless and above reproach”? Probably not, and I’m not going to stand here and say that I see myself that way all the time, but that’s how God sees me. Okay. And so that’s a real good reason to keep short accounts with sin, you know. That’s one of the reasons why I love 1 John 1:9, because when I blow it and I am going to blow it from time to time, I can deal with that immediately; I can deal with that immediately and I can begin to feel and sense how the Father sees me. Right? When I’m walking in sin I don’t feel very holy, blameless and above reproach. But when my relationship is restored instantly this is how God sees me, how I should see myself.
Colossians 2:13, “When you were,” notice the tense here, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He” God “made you alive together with Him,” Christ, “having forgiven us all our transgressions.” Ephesians 5:27, “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” Wow, who’s he writing that to? Man, you know, he was writing that to Ephesian believers and he was encouraging them to see themselves the way God sees them.
So we have a new nature of righteousness. So what does that mean? Say goodbye to that old life, say goodbye to it. Did you read the license plate? Somebody is out there going L8R, L8R, L8R, Later, right. I had to ask somebody to tell me what that was, I’m not hip. You know, some of you old folks out there it’s okay, really. Say goodbye to the old life. Why? Because you have a new nature of righteousness.
Okay, the story is not over yet, there’s more to it, thankfully. We also ascended when Christ ascended and was seated in the heavenly places. The Bible tells us that we too… we too, because of our identification with Him, are joining together with Him, are being united with Him. We too rose with Him and we ascended and are seated with Him. So we’re born from above, right? And we’re supposed to abide above. Ephesians 2:4-7,” But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,” what kind of love was it that God loved us with? A “great love,” … a “great love!” “Because of His great love with which He loved us  even when we were dead in trespasses,” isn’t that interesting, He “made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” and what did He do? Because of His great love He not only made us alive, but He  “raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. From God’s point of view this is a historical event, this has happened, “so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
The little AAI there in parenthesis is grammatical nomenclature, it means aorist active indicative and the aorist active indicative in the Greek means something that happened in a point in time, it wasn’t something that happened and it’s continuing to happen, happen, happen. No, it happened, it’s like taking the gavel and hitting it on the bench, bam, it happened, God did it! What did He do? He “made us alive,” He “raised us up,” He “made us sit,” bam, He did it. I like the finality in that. You mean I’m not going to slip out of that heavenly seat there? No! No, it’ll fit you just right.
Now because of all of that we have a new walk of fruitfulness, we said. We talk about fruit sometimes here. We’re abiding above in Christ while we’re walking below in the Spirit. Have you ever thought about that? We’re joined together with Christ so we’re actually “in Christ,” we’re abiding above, but we’re down here walking. But how are we walking down here? We’re walking in the Spirit. As newly created believers we’re in the Lord Jesus in the heavenlies while at the same time we are in the Spirit of Christ here on earth. Paul tells us what, but since we’re in the Spirit let’s walk by the Spirit.
The Comforter is now our natural environment as we operate as Christ’s hands and feet in this sin-cursed world. Think about that for a minute. There’s a picture there in the bottom left-hand corner of a diver, I don’t know how well you can see that, a diver and he’s swimming down there and what’s all around him? Sharks everywhere, right. And he’s notice that, we could probably say it this way, he’s not in his own environment, is he? He’s in someone else’s environment and he’s down there trying to interact with those people in that environment.
That’s kind of a good representation of what it is for us. We’re down here functioning in an environment that we’re not equipped for the environment anymore; we’ve been translated out of that. Right? But we’re having to try to relate to people who are caught up and still in that environment. But when we try to engage the environment… what happens when the diver pulls the mask off his face? Hey, I think I’ll… you know, I’d really like to talk to this shark right here so let me just pull this mask off… hey, let’s have a conversation. Well guess what, the same thing happens to believers when they take their spiritual mass, as it were, off, I’ll just… you know, I want to identify myself with this unbeliever, you know, I want to make sure that he knows that I appreciate him and love him so I’ll come down to where he is (in a sense).
It reminds me of a story one time, I know a guy who used to do a radio program at a radio station I won’t mention, it’s not Bruce so don’t say that one, but a pastor friend I used to have used to go to… he’d record sessions on Sunday evening at this radio station and he came back one time and he told me, he says, you know, I was down there and there was a young DJ, probably twenty years old down there, and we got to talking and he said the young DJ said to me, you know, he says, you know I really feel like God’s calling me to minister to the people in the drug culture. And you know, my pastor, oh, that’s great, you know, and so how’s God leading you? Well, you know, I know where to go and smoke pot and I go smoke pot with them, you know. You know, I want to bring the walls down, bring the barriers down you know, and I want to be able to reach them you know.
Stop and think about that. And you know, that’s a pretty extreme example but don’t we sometimes do that ourselves, in terms of how we engage the world. Ah, you know, I don’t want to come off too holier than though, and I don’t want them to see my halo, you know, it might impede the conversation at the water cooler, when in reality just the reverse is what needs to happen. Right? Stay in your environment, you know, you want to bring them to your environment, not you go into their environment.
Romans 8:9, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” And so the point Paul is making here, he says look guys, you’re not in the flesh any more. You’re “not in the flesh,” you’re “in the Spirit,” and notice again this is a first class condition. Why? Because he’s talking to believers and he’s saying we’re going to assume this is true for the sake of argument; there’s no doubt intimated there. He’s saying look guys, you’re in the Spirit, why are you wanting to try to deal with your walk in a fleshly manner? It doesn’t work. On the one hand the Holy Spirit continually applies the finished work of the cross to the mortal flesh life of the believer… the mortal flesh life of the believer, right? Would you agree we’re all… part of our condition is that we have a mortal flesh life. Yeah, absolutely. Well, the Holy Spirit is dealing with that; He does that through conviction, wooing us and drawing us to Christ, right, when we sin. Encouraging us to keep short accounts, right?
On the other hand the Holy Spirit causes the fruit of the Spirit, which is based in the new nature and new life characteristics, He causes that to be manifested. Where does that take place? In the mortal flesh life of the believer. Isn’t that interesting? Have you ever considered how amazing it is that the Holy Spirit is manifesting spiritual fruit through a mortal flesh container. Have you stopped to think about being made… now that’s a miraculous thing that only God can do.
Here’s some Scriptures that kind of give you an idea of that. Galatians 5:16, he says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” There it is, “walk by the Spirit.” Why? You’re in the Spirit so “walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22, he tells us what is the fruit of the Spirit, and there it is, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control” oh I’m so glad, I just have those in spades… how about you? Right. [Mentions name] is overt here going that isn’t the Jim McGowan I know. [Laughter]
A closer look at Galatians 2:20 will clarify the Bible distinction between what we were in the first Adam and who we are now in the last Adam, so if you have your Bible turn over there, or you can look at the screen. Here’s our passage, right; we could probably all quote this one. Nest to John 3:16 this would be probably the next one, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Yes, absolutely, go and walk in it.
Let’s break it down a little bit. What is he actually saying? What is Paul actually saying here when he says, “I have been crucified”? Well, who was crucified? It was the old man in Adam, right; the old man in Adam has been crucified. Now what that means is it happened in a point in time in the past and the effects of that continue to the present. So I was crucified with Christ and I remain crucified with Christ in the sense that I died to everything that’s Adamic. That doesn’t ever change, I can’t go back and forth.
What else does he say, “it is no longer I that lives,” well what does he mean? The “I” [the Old Man in Adam] that lives,” but who’s living in me? It’s “Christ lives in me,” in what sense does He live in me? Well, I’m His new creation—the New Man, and I have a new nature, don’t I? and “the life which I [the New man], now live in the flesh,” and what is the flesh here? It’s referring to my physical container, okay. This life which I have [the New Man] “now live in the flesh,” how do I do it, “I” (the New Man) I “live in faith; and this faith is in the Son of God who loved me,” when did He express his great love for me? He did that as a lost individual in Adam. And He “gave Himself up,” when did He give Himself up for me? As a substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, when I was a lost individual in Adam, as we stay here.
I would encourage you to maybe take this home and reflect on that and see if it doesn’t open that passage up to you a little bit more, because there are very important things transpiring here that Paul is saying there’s a historical relationship to Adam, and there’s a historical relationship in Christ. Christ is our risen life and it is His life and His nature that composes our newly created life, therefore Christ is to be found in us. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Christ is the source and He’s also the motivation now of my Christian life as such and He lives in me, not instead of me. You know, you can pray all you want, God just live through me, live through me… okay, get up and go! He says okay, I’m ready to live through you, I’m ready to manifest Myself, make yourself available to Me; be My hands and My feet.
Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is” what? “Christ.” Galatians 3:4, Christ, who is Christ? He’s our life. 2 Corinthians 4:11, “…that the life of Jesus also may be manifested” where is the life of Jesus going to be manifested? “in our mortal flesh.” “…in our mortal flesh.” This is miraculous stuff here, just miraculous. So how are we doing on time here? Oh, not too bad.
If we sum this up we have a personal history in the last Adam and these are all the things, all the things, the last Adam is who? Jesus Christ, these are all the things that were accomplished instantaneously the moment that I put my faith in Jesus Christ, these things became true about me. I was buried with Christ; when He went in the tomb, I went in the tomb with Him. I have risen with Christ, when the stone was rolled away and Jesus came out of that tomb I was with Him. Because of that I have a new position of life; I’m no longer in Adam, I’m in Christ, I have a new vantage point from which to view all of life now. And because of that I have a new nature, I also have a new nature of righteousness, thank God for that, I’m not under the tyranny and the dictatorship of the sin nature any longer. I have choices now; we like choices, don’t we? Also I have ascended and I have ascended and been seated with Christ in heavenly places. And I have a new walk of fruitfulness.
So what do we want to take away this morning from this? As new creations in Christ we’ve been forever liberated from our relationship to the first Adam, forever liberated, with its reign of sin and death. Our Father now sees each of us as completely new in His Son, and He wants us to see ourselves from His point of view, new creations in Christ Jesus with a new position in Christ and a new nature, which is Christ’s nature. The ground of the first Adam… why don’t we want to go back to Adam? Look at this: The ground of the first Adam is that into which we were born and in which we grew, where even now the world, the flesh, and the devil would keep the believer in bondage. This second statement here, this is the struggle we have as believers; we listen to the voice of our enemy as he attempts to keep us focused on the world, the flesh and the devil. And finally the ground, being in Adam the ground in Adam is the ground of carnality, sin and death. And that is off limits to the new creation in Christ. It’s off limits! That’s not our environment anymore; we have a new environment, don’t we?
But what about being “in Christ?” The ground of the last Adam is that into which we have been reborn and we’re to abide; it’s where the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit would have us grow and mature. And it is the ground of spirituality, righteousness and life, and that is the Father’s one abiding place for the believer. Flip back for a second, how do you want to walk today? Do you want to walk in Adam? Do you want to associate yourself with that which is no longer true about you? Or do you want to walk in Christ as a new creature and all that that entails and all that that says about who you are and how God sees you. That’s the challenge today, is to try this week to put this on your refrigerator, print it out and put it on your refrigerator, the ground of the last Adam is… and see that all the time and reflect on that and meditate on that and don’t listen to how you feel; you might have had a bad pizza the night before, right? Don’t base it on your feelings, base it in the facts, the facts of God’s Word.
And so finally, I want to leave you with this graphic here. Some people who don’t believe in eternal security and you’ll notice that I didn’t use the word eternal security much this morning, did I? And yet I said this whole topic this morning is identification truth, the foundation for what? Eternal security. Okay. Well, why have I not said anything specifically, why have I not mentioned the words eternal security? I didn’t think I had to. Here’s why. What comes between the man in Adam and the man in Christ? It’s the cross. See, one of the problems that people have who believe that you can lose your salvation is they don’t understand the permanency of the cross. They can’t transgress it. You can’t go back and forth. The man over here in Adam can’t, of his own choosing, under his own power, (notice the phrasing there) he cannot under his own power and choosing come into Christ. He has to have a Word of God delivered to him and the Spirit of God has to work on his heart and when he’s wooed and he’s convicted, then he can exhibit fright. Right?
But the reverse is also true, the man in Christ has no way of crossing the boundary or the barrier that the cross is. Why would you want to? Why would you want to? And yet what do we do on a daily basis? Do we not stand and look across the barrier through the barrier of the cross and we get engaged with the old Adam; hey, I remember when I used to do that; that was kind of fun. Right? We begin to entertain, we look on the other side, we’re looking past the cross and we’re not paying attention to what it stands for and oh hey, yeah, oh, that’s just a little sin, that won’t make a difference.
Why would we want to come back under the bondage of being in Adam. Let’s not do that; let’s make a determination and a choice this morning that we’re going to understand, know and walk in everything it means to be in Christ Jesus, to have a new nature, to be a new man, a new creature. As we take our rightful stand on the resurrection side of the cross, setting our minds and hearts on the Lord Jesus via the Word, the Holy Spirit will establish us in Him above and it’s on that ground of growth that we will indeed grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever, Amen.
And by my watch we’ve got about three minutes to go, so let’s close in prayer. Heavenly Father, it’s my great heart’s desire that this teaching, Father, would infiltrate every recess of our being and that we might truly, Father, on moment by moment basis see and understand and know who we are in Christ, what You delivered us from and what You have delivered us to. And Father, my prayer is that you help us to walk in who we are in Christ and help us to grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus as we see Him revealed, as we behold Him, Father, in the Word of God. And we thank You for these things, in Jesus’ name, Amen.