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The Wall: Reconciliation, Doctrine of Position in Christ (Part 8 of 8)

DOCTRINE OF POSITION IN CHRIST

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by an impassable barrier. This barrier, which we have termed “The Wall” constitutes MAN’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the sixth brick of the “The Wall” and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross. As I said before, the first three bricks were removed, on the cross by Jesus Christ. The final three can only be removed by you. It is your choice and yours alone.

 

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM

The first man, Adam, was the representative head of the human race. If you have been following this series, you have heard the story of Adam’s willful disobedience, sin, and resultant spiritual death. Since all of mankind are Adam’s offspring, his spiritual death was passed on to the entire human race (Romans 5:12). It is for this reason that “in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:21). As a result, all of us came into this life “alienated from the life of God” (Ephesians 4:18). In order to enter into fellowship with God and live with Him forever, every member of the human race must possess His perfect righteousness and His eternal life. We, as the progeny of Adam, possess neither. Because we are born “in Adam,” we are incapable of entering into fellowship with God. The limitations we possess in our brief lives present a barrier to fellowship with eternal God. As a result, we have a problem.

POSITION IN CHRIST, GOD’S SOLUTION

Even though in “Adam all die,” God has promised us that, “in Christ, all shall be made alive.” Our old position in Adam necessitated condemnation and death, but our new position in Christ guarantees justification and eternal life. We were born, physically, into Adam’s world and limited to a meaningless life of vanity. Through faith in Christ, we were born again, spiritually, into a personal relationship with God the Father. As His child, we have been given eternal life and unlimited potential to fulfil an eternal destiny with blessings beyond our wildest imaginations. But wait, it gets better. In addition, we, the Church, are the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:6-8). How can this be? Because my friend, as Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a changin.”

 Welcome home!

Jesus Christ is called the” Last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45, the head of a new spiritual species. This process is explained in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Old things do not simply refer to bad habits. A new believer retains all the bad habits he acquired before he was born again. What is more, he also keeps his old sin nature with all its trends and lusts. Bad habits may be overcome as the believer matures and chooses to leave them behind, but the old things, which have passed away, are all the liabilities that put us behind the barrier. You know them now. We have talked about this. They are sin, the penalty for sin, character of God, relative righteousness, spiritual death, and now, our current discussion, position in Adam.

 

A new dawn is the door to a world of new things, and we all love new things.

The new things to which Paul was referring are all the marvelous assets we have by virtue of our position in Christ. The instant we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit placed us in union with Him through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). From that moment on we were one with Him. Our physical birth, our position in Adam, ceased to be a problem. Through regeneration, the life of Christ became our life. Position in Christ means that, through regeneration and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the same spiritual assets that Jesus possessed during his earthly ministry. At this point, it is essential to understand that Christianity is not a religion. Anyone can be religious, but it takes a miracle to place a person in position with Christ. What I mean is, one cannot grow closer to God through a system of rituals, good deeds, or a specialized priesthood. Rather, Christianity is a personal relationship with God the Father. Through spiritual birth, each of us are members of His family, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, literally, Daddy! Father!” (Galatians 4:6).

 

Position in Christ guarantees us an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ that sets us apart from believers of any other dispensation. Not only does every believer of the Church Age share His eternal life (1 John 5:11-12), His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), His election (Ephesians 1:3-4), we also share His Son-ship (Galatians 3:26), His priesthood (Hebrews 10:10; cf. 1 Peter 2:9), His royalty (2 Timothy 2:11-12) and therefore, His kingdom (2 Peter 1:11) and His destiny (Ephesians 1:5). That’s a lot of stuff! You might want to go back and read that again and look up the passages. It will make you head spin. I guarantee it.

 

Since the beginning, that day in the Garden of Eden, every believer in Christ has been born again into the family of God: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children, τέκνα, of God.” The Greek word, τέκνα, plural for teknon, means a child who is a member of the family by virtue of his birth. ”And if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17). If we are children of the same Father, then it follows that we share in the same inheritance. However, this epistle was written to the Romans, and according to Roman law, this was not necessarily the case. A Roman was not a legal heir until he was declared worthy by his father and awarded the privilege of adoption.

 

In our culture, adoption means taking a child, who was not born into the family and making him a legal member of the family. Adoption in ancient Rome, however, had to do with making someone who was born into the family a league heir. In Rome adoption did not take place until the son in question reached the age of 14 years. For the first 14 years of his life, a Roman son was placed under the authority of a household slave. This slave was often his teacher. It was this custom that Paul referred to in Galatians 4:1-2: “Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time (of his adoption) appointed by the father” (Galatians 4:1-2).

 

On his 14th birthday the whole family would gather together for the all important ceremony of adoption. The boy was brought in wearing the toga of youth for the last time. Then his father stepped forward and took the toga of youth by the shoulders and lifting with his left hand, dropped it to the floor. A slave would then hand the father another toga called the toga virilis (robe of manhood). The father would then place it around his shoulders. He then kissed his son for the last time. Then he stepped back and said, “My son, you have now been adopted into the family.” At this point, the son was no longer called teknon, child, but υἱοs, huios, which is an adult son. As an adult member of the family, he became a legal heir to his father’s estate. He was no longer under the authority of a slave, but a ruler over them. Having been “born again” into the family as an adult member, he was given, not only the privileges of an adult, but also the responsibilities of one. Therefore, the Christian, by virtue of his position in Christ, is called huios, an adult son, and a fellow heir of Christ.

Position in Christ places every Church Age believer into the royal family of Christ as an adult son. During the Church Age, Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. Seated as glorified royalty in heaven, God the Father is currently forming a royal family for Jesus Christ on earth. That royal family is the Church of Christ.

Jesus Christ retains three titles of royalty, each with a royal family. As God, our Lord is divine royalty.

His divine royal family is God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. As man, Jesus is Jewish royalty. His Jewish title is the Son of David and His royal family is the line of King David. As the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ won the strategic victory over Satan at the Cross and earned a third royal title, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Royal Titles

The Wall: Regeneration (Part 7 of 8)

FROM DEATH TO LIFE! REGENERATION

new life

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by an impassable barrier. This barrier, which we have termed “The Wall” constitutes MAN’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the fifth brick of the “The Wall” and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross. As I said before, the first three bricks were removed by Jesus Christ. The final three can only be removed by you. It is your choice and yours alone.

 

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The fifth brick of the barrier is spiritual death. The birth of a child is certainly one of God’s most precious gifts. But because of sin, there is a tragic injustice that occurs with the creation of human life. Through no fault of our own, we come into this life spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Colossians 2:13), alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18-19), destitute of God the Holy Spirit and therefore, separated from God the Father (Romans 8:9). And it only gets worse. In addition, we are condemned to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10-15).

Who’s to blame? The fact that we were all born spiritually dead is not our fault. It’s Adam’s. When Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he wilfully disobeyed God. As a result, he suffered the penalty of spiritual death (Genesis 2:17). Now, because we are all his descendants, we are all under the same curse of spiritual death, “In Adam all die” (1Corinthians 15:22).

It’s not fair! That’s right; it’s not fair, but only from a human viewpoint perspective. However, if we look prayerfully at the situation from the divine viewpoint of God’s Word, the grace perspective comes into view, and the mystery of God’s wonderful plan unravels.

When a baby comes into this life, through no fault of his own, he is spiritually dead, “By one man’s disobedience many, literally translated, the many, a reference to all to of humanity, were made, sinners” (Romans 5:19). The Greek text says that we were appointed or caused to be sinners.

Do all children who die before the age of accountability go to heaven? 

Yes, because babies are spiritually dead from the womb (Psalms 51:5; 58:3; Job 14:4), we have the assurance that all children who die before the age of accountability go to heaven (2 Samuel 12:23). Why? Because our sins have been paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross, they will not form the final basis for condemnation at the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:12). The final basis by which man will be judged will not be his personal sins. The final basis for judgment will be his rejection of Jesus Christ as his personal Savior (John 3:18, 36). Because the unbeliever rejects the solution to his sin problem, he is condemned to die in his sins (John 8:21, 24). Until a person reaches God consciousness, he cannot reject God. Since one can’t reject something he’s never seen, all persons who die before they reach the age of accountability, or the point of God consciousness, go to heaven (2 Samuel 12:22-23 cf. Psalm 23:6).

We are not sinners because we sin. Rather, we sin because we are sinners. We come into this life sinners because we were “caused to be sinners” (Romans 5:19). We don’t choose to be sinners any more than we can choose the color of our eyes. When Adam made the decision to disobey God, his nature was changed. By an act of personal volition his nature was changed from God-centered to self-centered. He exchanged his sinless nature for a sinful nature. But what is worse, he passed that sinful nature on to us.

In Romans 5:12, God explains the process by which all men were made sinful and, as a result, commit personal sins:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

A more literal translation would be: Through one man (Adam) sin, ἡ ἁμαρτία (the *Old Sin Nature cf. Romans 6:6-7, 12), entered the world, and (spiritual) death, through sin, and thus, οὕτως,literally, in this manner, death, spread, to all men, because, ἐφ’ ᾧ, literally, on the basis of which (spiritual) death, all sinned.

*The first human sin was committed by Eve, but their eyes were not opened and the fall of humanity did not occur until Adam sinned. *At that point, the Old Sin Nature became part of human nature. From that point on, the sin nature has been passed down through the man exclusively because the man was responsible for the fall, not the woman. This explains why Jesus Christ was born without an old sin nature. Mary was fully human, but Jesus’ father was God the Holy Spirit. No human father; no Adamic sin nature.

A literal paraphrase of the Greek text would be as follows: “Through one man, Adam, the sin nature entered the world, and through that sin nature, spiritual death came into the world. So through the passing on of the sin nature spiritual death spread throughout all mankind. Therefore, because of spiritual death and the imputation of the sin nature, we all come into this world a sinful creature.” In other words, we were born sinners, because we were born with a sinful nature. As a result, we all will eventually commit personal sins” (Romans 5:12).

This is why I said earlier, we are not sinners because we commit person sins. To the contrary, we commit personal sins because we were born sinners. i. e. we were born with a sinful nature which we inherited through no fault of our own.

In summary, when Adam sinned, he died spiritually (Genesis 2:7). As his offspring, we are born with his sinful nature (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). As a result of our sin nature, we commit personal sins.

Because we possess a sinful nature, we come into this life separated from God, which is to say, spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5, 2 Corinthians 5:14; Colossians 2:13). As a result, man has a problem.

REGENERATION, GOD’S SOLUTION:

The solution to the problem of spiritual death is regeneration. In order for man to regain his spiritual relationship with God, he needs a new nature. God is spirit “and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Therefore, “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). At the point of faith in Christ, a miracle occurs that Jesus called “being born again” (John 3:3, 7).

 

Nic at Night John 3:1-21

 

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a leader of the Jewish people. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin the high court in Israel. One night he came to Jesus and they had an interesting conversation.

Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit (the gospel through God’s Word and the baptism of the Holy Spirit; see Acts 11:15-17) , he cannot enter the kingdom of GodI8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?

Nicodemus was an acclaimed Bible teacher, yet he was completely baffled by Jesus’ words. Why? Because he had not yet been born again. Paul explains this mystery in 1 Corinthians 2:13-14: “ These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Nicodemus had no capacity to understand Jesus teaching because he had not yet been born again. He had not yet experienced the miracle of regeneration. However, he did not remain in that condition for long after this conversation. At some point before Jesus’ crucifixion, he accepted Christ as his personal Savior.

We know this because he stood up for Jesus when the Pharisees were conspiring against him(John 7:50-51).

After the crucifixion, he helped Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb, at great risk to his safety and reputation.

Regeneration is the process of being born again. Through regeneration, the believer receives a new nature.

Something old and something new:

When we believed in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, His righteousness was imputed to us (Romans 4:3). As a result, God the Holy Spirit was justified (on the basis of imputed righteousness) to enter into each of our bodies (1 Corinthians 3:16) and give us spiritual life, “Even when we were dead in our sins, (God the Holy Spirit) hath made us alive, συνεζωοποίησεν, literally, to bring to life or cause to come to life, together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5; see also: Colossians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:18). This is a new birth. God the Holy Spirit gives birth to our formerly dead human spirit. This new birth is called being born again or regeneration. At this point, our true nature is changed from sinful to sinless, fleshly to spiritual, and self-centered to God-centered.

Through regeneration we become the children of The Living God “The (Holy) Spirit Himself bears witness with our (regenerated human) spirit that we are the children, τέκνα lit. children by birth, of God” (Romans 8:16-17, 21).

After Adam had fallen, he hid from God out of fear (Genesis 3:10). Were they naked? No! They had sewn garments out of fig leaves (3:7). They were not ashamed because their bodies were exposed, but because their deeds were exposed, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19-20).

Not so for His children, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:14-15).

Conclusion: This world is under divine judgment and will receive its just rewards. As God’s children, we can rest assured that the one thing we do deserve, the lake of fire, we will never experience. Why? Because Jesus Christ died a substitutionary death on our behalf. For this reason, we are delivered from the just consequence of sin. The issue for the unbeliever is not personal sin, but rather, Jesus Christ. My prayer is that this study has helped the readers to focus on the real issue, Jesus Christ.

The Wall: Imputation (Part 6 of 8)

IMPUTATION & JUSTIFICATION

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by an impassable barrier. This barrier, which we have termed “The Wall” constitutes MAN’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the fourth brick in the “The Wall” and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross. But there is a turn in the road here. As I said before, the first three bricks were removed by Jesus Christ. You weren’t there. No one that is hearing this was there. He was alone, hanging on a cross, abandoned. God the Father wept as He watched what they did to Him. The holy angels screamed, “Please, Father, let us go down there and stop this! They are desecrating our Lord! Please, God, Father, give us permission to stop this!”

But He, God Almighty, our Father in heaven said, “No! It is written. It is necessary. He is my legacy, and through him I will have a family; I will have children.”

Children; have you ever thought about how they come to us? They come through extreme pain. Guys, we all know that making babies is fun. But for women, it’s a different story. Any guy who has been there, in the delivery room knows this; having babies hurts, a lot!

But as any mother will tell you, “It was worth it!”

I know that this may seem like bunny trail, but, as long as I am on the subject of babies, please let me give you some assurance of something I know to be true.

Babies who die before the age of accountability go to heaven; period; no discussion! That’s what the Bible says, “He (David) answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22). David, he was a pretty complicated guy, but after all that, he was inspired by God the Holy Spirit to tell the world something in the twenty-third Psalm. This is what he wrote: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LordForever.” So, where is David today? And where is his illegitimate son? This ain’t rocket science here folks. If you don’t get it, then you are on the wrong site. See ya! But if you do, then hang in there, because we are moving to higher ground.

 

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The fourth brick of the barrier is man’s relative righteousness. This brick is, to some, the most confusing aspect of the barrier. Why? Because in this lesson we are not going to focus on man’s sin. No, we are going to focus on his goodness. Many people are very good. They live a righteous lifestyle. They are honest, polite, responsible, relaxed, individuals who are delightful to be around.

On the other hand, some people are scheming, slandering, lying, irresponsible, uptight, and in general, people we tend to avoid. From this perspective, many unbelievers are good people. All of us can testify to that fact. To complicate the issue, many of these “good people” may even live a more upright lifestyle than some Christians.

Here, then, is the issue of relative righteousness. Obviously, some people are very good. They are respectable, honorable and above reproach. Let’s face it, many of those with whom we associate are just better than others, and that is the real problem. We often establish the fact that a person is good or righteous because he or she appears, on the outside, to be better than other people. This is what we mean by relative righteousness.

Now let’s compare these systems of morality with God’s standards. A person may have honorable characteristics and we enjoy his or her company; but with all their noble qualities, they are still only relatively righteous. What I’m saying is that they do not even come close to the righteousness of God, “There is no one holy like the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:2; Psalms 22:3, 47:8, 111:9). In addition, God is immutable, “I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). If He, God, were to enter into fellowship with relative righteousness, He would have to compromise His holiness (Romans 8:8; cf. 1 John 1:5-6). It is impossible for God to lower His standards (Hebrews 1:12).

In light of what God says about His own righteousness, let’s see how man measures up: “For all have sinned and, come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “For there is not a just man upon the earth, that does good, and sins not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10 cf. Psalms 14:1-3). Isaiah was inspired, by God the Holy Spirit, to describe human good in this way: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags. Literally translated, filthy rags, in the Hebrew means, “garments soiled by menstrual flow” (Isaiah 64:6).

Paul described human good like this: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8). The Greek word for rubbish is skubala. The word means dung, feces or excrement. I know that these words are going to hurt some of your delicate little egos, but that is what the Bible says in the original language. Some fear to not translate the Bible it literally, so as not to offend people. I, on the other hand, fear to translate Scripture any other way, but literally, so as not to offend God.

Relative righteousness (human goodness), therefore, forms a tremendous barrier between man and God because it often leads to religious or sanctimonious illusions. Even though God is love, He will not compromise His divine integrity in order to enter into a personal relationship with anything that is less than holy, as He is holy. As a result, man has a problem.

 

GOD’S SOLUTION:

The solution to man’s problem of relative righteousness is imputation and justification. The word imputation comes from the Greek verb, logizomai. It means to take money from one account and place it into another. It only takes the click of a mouse to move money from one account into another, but it took infinitely more for God to transfer or impute His absolute righteousness to our bankrupt soul.

For He (God the Father) hath made Him (Jesus Christ), who knew no sin (literally: the one having never known sin), to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Christ)” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

On the cross, our sins were charged to Christ. He paid our debt to God in full. Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross, God the Father has a gift to give to each member of the human race. That gift is the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

What makes a gift a gift? Before a gift can fulfill its purpose it must be received. This demands three things on the part of the receiver: faith, humility, and desire. What this means is that: First, the receiver must believe the gift is real. Second, he must accept it as something given and not earned. Third, he must desire to receive the thing being offered.

Salvation is a gift. It was bought and paid for with the blood of Christ and offered to man as a gift. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that, touto, (literally: this thing i.e. salvation) is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8) Note: touto, because of its neuter gender, can only refer to salvation. It cannot refer to either “grace” or “faith” because they are feminine nouns.

Because it is a gift, salvation must be:

1. accepted by faith.

First, we believed in the giver: “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to Him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3 cf. Genesis 15:1-6).

Second, we believed in the gift: “the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23). In order to received the gift of salvation it must be accepted by faith, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

2. received in humility.

We cannot earn salvation since it is “not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9) It was purchased by Jesus’ spiritual death on the cross, “you were not redeemed with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1: 18-19). The only way salvation can be attained is to humbly receive it as a gift that was purchased by someone else. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).

3. as something to be desired.

At the point of God consciousness we begin to make a series of decisions. The decisions, in view here, center around the desire to know the God of Heaven and Earth that is revealed to all. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shown it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead (qeioths, literally: divine nature) so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).

Those who desire to know Him, He will draw to Himself (John 6:44; James 4:8). Those who do not, are blinded to the truth by Satan (Romans 1:21 cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4). In his blindness man tries to earn salvation by works, “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? (Literally: Why not?) Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law” (Romans 9:31-32). It is man’s responsibility to respond to God’s offer of salvation as a gift to be desired and received by faith.

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Their response was simple. They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31).

Why faith? Faith is an expression of the will that gives all honor and merit to the object rather than the subject. As a result, an expression of faith gives glory to the object (God) rather than the believer (man). Therefore, in God’s plan of salvation faith is not considered works, but obedience to His declared will, “Therefore, we conclude that man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28; also: 4:5; Galatians 2:16; Titus 3:5).

Conclusion: Whenever a person chooses to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation, God is free to impute the righteousness of Christ to that believer (Romans 3:22; 4:3; 5:17; 9:30). On the basis of imputed righteousness, God declares this new believer to be justified.

This part is always so fresh to me. Please be patient, but I feel a story coming. Yes, I’m going to tell you a story, but I promise, it will be short. You are standing, weary, at the end of a very long day. You are broken, staring at your feet. Then Someone speaks to you. It’s a man’s voice, so masculine, so engaging. You look up, but there is no one there. Just then a gentle breeze strokes you gently across your cheek and you look down. There on the dirty pavement is a soiled piece of paper. You don’t know why, but you bend down and pick it up. It’s a flier, and as you soon as you look at it, you grimace. This was was left here by some Jesus freak. But you have nothing else to do, so you read it, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16). You crush the paper in your hand, but your emotions deny your actions. A tear runs down your face. And you, know, nothing will ever be the same.

And then God steps forward to embrace you, as family. By one simple act of faith, you have been born again, and now possesses the righteousness of God.

What is the significance of justification? Until man receives the imputed rightness of Jesus Christ by faith, God is not even justified to have fellowship with him, let alone to enter into him (indwell him) and call him family. But once the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the new believer on the basis of his faith, God is, as a result of this imputation, is justified, not only to enter into a holy bond with this person, but, through regeneration , make him his child for eternity.

 

Simply put, it is the through the imputation of God’s righteousness, received by faith in Christ, apart from works, that God is justified to indwell the believer and bring him into the Royal family of God forever. Therefore, only through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is God justified to enter into a personal relationship with a person without compromising His holiness which is an intrigal part of His divine essence or integrity (see Doctrine of Divine Essence).

Angels

 

By Dennis Coulter

The other day a friend asked me if I believed in angels. The focus of the question was not so much on the angels of Biblical antiquity, but on the involvement of heavenly spirits in our everyday life. Here is a thumbnail sketch of what I have learned about this subject.

 

Angels are an essential part of our everyday life. Each of us has at least one guardian angel (Psalm 34:7 cf., Matthew 18:10; Hebrews 1:14).

 

Demons are fallen angels. They are not the chubby little creatures you saw in the movie Ghostbusters. They are warriors; armed and dangerous.  Satan was the first to fall (Isaiah 14:12; Ezekiel 28:13-15). One third of the angelic realm followed him into the rebellion that continues to this day (Revelation 12:4). Because of their actions, they are condemned with no hope of redemption, and so they constitute Satan’s army. As does any army, they have a mission. Their mission is twofold. First, they intend to take as many souls to hell with them as they possibly can. Second, they mean to neutralize their enemy, that would be us, by anesthetizing us to any source of information that would expose them for who they are and what they intend to do to the human race. So what is their strategy? It’s really quite simple. They merely use our own human arrogance to blind us and keep us from the truth (John 8:44).

Demons and the holy angels are locked in battle 24-7. They are all around you. You just can’t see them (Ephesians 6:12). Demons are assigned to individuals, cites, states and nations as are Holy angels. It is a highly organized political-military system. There is a demonic prince assigned to every section of society in the world and under him, thousands of emissaries (Daniel 10:13). I’m sure there is a demonic prince assigned to every church that is carrying out the great commission (preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ).  The good news is that the holy angels out number demons 2 to 1.

There is a little mess in the road that I would like to clean up right away. The sons of God in Geneses 6:1-4 cf. Jude 6-7 were not angels. That is a fairy tale designed to back up Greek mythology. Angels do not cohabit with each other nor have they ever done it with humans. I have done my homework on this (you can Google it: angels cohabiting with women).

Angels are the creation of God. They were created to worship Him and share eternal life in His glorious presence, as were we. After the fall of Satan, many of God’s holy angels were assigned to be our protectors. Why? Because, through Christ, mankind was given the mission to destroy Satan and his demons (Hebrews 2:5-18).

 What Satan fears most is God’s Word. If you can invasion this, I would like you to look into a Sunday school class, but instead of seeing a bunch of little kids running around, invasion a training ground in Sparta. Sparta, where boys and girls were bred and trained for one purpose. They were brought into this world to fight, against all odds, for Sparta. They were taught to fight and win! However, they were not without resources. Each had a helmet and armor, a sword, a spear and a shield. And when placed together with fellow Spartans, as a team, they were invincible. They were the most respected fighting machine that has ever been assembled on planet earth.

Christians, you are not unlike Spartans. You are first and foremost warriors! Satan fears your potential like he fears nothing else. Look! Gaze upon your assets. You have God the Holy Spirit indwelling you and “the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day,… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-20).

And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Have you any idea what that passage means? It means, Christian, listen up! On the battlefield, throughout the angelic conflict, we, you and I, are the pointed end of the stick.  In other words, it’s up to us. Our job, in order to accomplish our mission, is to stay focused on the truth and thrust our spear into the devil’s heart. It’s not complicated, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17). There it is! Just say the words! Lay it down! Don’t embellish! Strike! And then, step back and watch God do His magic. How hard is that?

Every time a believer brings another lost soul into the Kingdom of God, Satan screams in agony. Why? Because everything he has thrown at you to keep you from your mission has failed. Simply stated, through you, God has won another battle, and Satan and his demon army have lost.

Now we are going to turn a corner, and I know I am going to lose a few of you in this alley (please, take my hand, I’ve been here before. I’m not afraid, I know the way and I promise, I won’t let go of you), but if you were here, standing in my office, I would stand, face you, and look you dead in the eye and say this, “Anyone who says they are worshiping God through any other means than Jesus Christ has been duped by the Prince of Darkness. He, Satan, also goes by the title, “Angel of Light” (2 Cor. 11:14) Let me be clear. If you call anyone, other than Jesus, “Lord,” then in reality, you are bowing down to Satan and worshiping the Lord of Darkness. His name is Lucifer, and he is the declared enemy of God. So, you’re into yoga. That’s fine. It’s purely physical, but on whom do you focus during your interludes into that realm of ecstasy? Is it Jesus? If it is, enjoy.

But, what if it’s not Jesus? Than with whom are you communing? Did you ever think about that?

Spiritualists and shamans! You know what? I’m just going to tell you straight up. I’ve been there; done that! Here it is: You get your power and light from demons, not God. Anyone who claims to be leading people toward the light apart from the Bible (the only authorized source of the Word of God) is as deluded and blind to reality as a mosquito heading for the zapper on a balmy spring evening.

Then I get asked this question, “But Dennis, what about E. T.? Might he have been an angel?” Angles are indeed creatures from outer space. That’s where they receive their orders, in the third heaven, the Holy of Holies, the throne room of God. Satan hangs out there too. But not to receive orders from God, but to accuse you and I of sin. However, we have an advocate up there in heaven.

Please allow me to once again paint you a picture. Here’s the scene: Satan is slandering you and I, and it’s all true. God the Father patiently hears Satan out. Then He turns to God the Son, His only begotten, and nods. Aware of His Father’s focus upon Him, Jesus stares down Satan. As Satan winces, He, God the Son, smiles; it’s almost winsome. He then turns a gentler eye to God the Father and calmly says, “I paid for that sin.” Just like that! And then, He casts a casual look across the room, as if to say, “Anyone else got anything to say?”  In response, God the Father turns back to Satan and says, “Case dismissed!” Satan has no recourse, but to storm out of the throne room of God. He is in a rage. And there is only one thought burning a hole through the pages of his diary. Listen, and listen to this carefully. Satan is angry most of the time, and his anger has a definite focus. His rage, his hatred toward the human race, his contempt (you have no idea how much he loathes you) continually inspires a solemn vow that evokes these words: “I swear that not one more of those pitiful creatures shall ever again steal another soul from my kingdom.” Did you get that? We are at war! So, get into the fight or get out of the way! Sorry, that’s just how I feel.

But here’s the cool part. I have already read the book. I know how it ends. We will continue, through the power of God, to kick Satan’s butt, and we will, ultimately, win. There will be many casualties however. I will never take the power and authority the Devil has over this perturbed planet lightly. I respect him as an intelligent and awesome warrior far beyond anyone I would have a prayer against. If it were not for my protective angles, under divine orders, I would have been terminated long ago. You may, at this point pose the question: “Am I fearful of the consequences I may incur by walking out into the battle fray?” If I were not, I would be either naive, ignorant or stupid. But as General Patton once told his son in a letter, “Fear is not a good enough reason to refrain from going into battle.”

There’s something else I want to talk to you about. I enjoy a good science fiction story or a fantasy as much as any other. Star Wars and The Lord Of The Rings are some of my favorite movies. But when I was in college, Chariots of the Gods was all the rage among the young intelligencia. But what was it, really? It was a smoke screen, that’s what, laid down by Satan to get our eyes off the real issue that was going on at that time. Did I fail to mention, the year was 1972, and the Jesus Freaks, ignited by the music emanating from Azusa Pacific University in conjunction with Chuck Smith’s teaching inspired a revival.  There was an evangelical movement happening in So. Cal. and it was at full tilt. And gee, guess what? Yours truly was one of those hippies, kissed sweetly on the face by the grace of God. And, as a result, I transformed from peace freak to a Christian warrior.

As things progressed, I began to witness to my friends about Jesus and then, this side issue came up. A book called Chariots of the Gods stimulated all kinds of thoughts about the heavenly realm, like, what about all the ancient wall drawings and signs in the wheat fields. It even infiltrated the Bible. People asked, “What about Ezekiel, chapter 1; that had to be a spaceship, right?”  And on and on it went!

These were just some of the many “but, what if’s” I got from people as I witnessed to my friends (most of whom I lost as I drifted from their world to His). But, please listen, all these were, and continue to be, simply different forms of distractions to get your eyes off the real issue. Satan is the master of deception. He creates smokescreens and illusions to keep people from focusing on the truth, to neutralize them from ever becoming a threat. There is something you need to understand.

The Dark Prince of the High Desert knows my name. My job is, as it has always been, is to equip and train men and women for spiritual battle. And he knows that I am writing this letter and by whom it is being embraced. He knows all about the Bible doctrine I am writing down for you. These pearls are, in reality, loaded guns.

A friend asked if me if I believe in angels. Well, here it is: I don’t just believe in them, I’m on the battlefield with them. I talk to them (just so you know, they have yet to answer back), but, just the same, I know they are there.

There are many sources of wisdom and truth in this world besides the Bible. I personally own hundreds of volumes of wisdom literature, from Socrates to Emanuel Kant. I’m not uninformed, but I have learned over the years to look at everything through the lenses of the Bible. I listen to many, but I put my confidence in few.

Thank you for your time; I hope this was helpful,


Dennis

The Wall: Expiation (Part 3 of 8)

EXPIATION

Expiation

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by “The Wall,” an impassable barrier. The barrier constitutes MANKIND’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the second brick in the wall and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross.

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The second brick is the penalty for sin. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). When Adam chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, he brought the penalty of spiritual death crashing down upon the entire human race (Romans 5:12). As a result we come into this world spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 5; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Colossians 2:13). By our very nature we are born enemies of God (Romans 5:10) and children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). As a result, man has a problem.

Here is the part where I get to tell you a story.

God created Adam, and he was perfect (ladies, don’t even try to envision this man, he doesn’t exist anymore than does the Garden of Eden). Then God told him to go out into the world and give everything a name (Geneses 2). However, during the process, Adam noticed a discrepancy in Eden between God’s creation and himself. All the creatures he had been observing, naming and categorizing came in pairs. All but he, and he alone, had a mate. And so, he discovered a feeling he had never experienced before. He became lonely. It was not a very nice feeling. It hurt, way down deep inside, in a place that he had not ever even known existed. It was then, I believe, that the first tear fell and trickled down the face of humankind.

Since the only real friend Adam had ever known was his Father, God, he raised his eyes to heaven and wondered, “What would it be like, to touch the face of another of my kind? What would it be like to be with someone and share life? And so, he wandered, and he felt something that he had never felt before. He felt desire. What must that have been like? To want to love a woman, having never met one, and to want to be a father, having never experienced anything outside of what went on in the animal kingdom to which he was confined.

Then God looked down at His only man child, and He felt compassion. Yahweh was the first to speak, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18). And that’s how it happened; how the world of humanity came into existence. It all began in a garden.

In the beginning they were happy, Adam and his beautiful bride, Eve. At sunset, Yahweh would come to the garden and they would walk together. Then they would sit and talk, in the cool of the day. They stood together, shoulder to shoulder and marveled at the sunset, as the world around them closed their heavy eyelids and drifted off peacefully to a place that has long been forbidden to us.

But there was evil crouching in that pristine forest behind them. It was lurking behind the bushes, waiting for just the right moment, patient until the time was right. And, in stride with all else, alliances were being formed. And strategies, woven by a serpent, slithering along the damp forest floor. Evil plans were being formulated by a wicked monster. A creature, a dark thing, bent on destruction of all that God had created, blessed, and brought into existence.

And all the while, this force, this thing, this creature with only one obsession, laughing, snickering really, an evil sound unbridled by conscience, or anything holy was merely masterminding his own destruction. But that is a story I shall reserve for another day.

THE CROSS, GOD’S SOLUTION:

“What was their crime?”

This is a picture of real people being escorted to their unjust execution. Why would I show you this? Because I want you to think about something. Life and death is not about justice. It’s a choice. If you want to understand the purpose of life, than you need to understand the creator and sustainer of life. He is not without a plan. Everything He has ever done has a purpose, and it includes you. Please listen carefully to what I am about to say.

**Picture temporarily omitted

I reiterate, “What was their crime?”

“Being born.”

“And for that they must die?”

“Yes.”

“Doesn’t seem fair.”

“It’s not. So God stepped in”

God’s solution to the problem of the penalty for sin is expiation. The word expiation means to pay the penalty for a crime committed and thereby atone for a wrong that was done. When Adam and Eve were placed in The Garden they were given a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17a). The penalty for disobedience was instant death (Genesis 2:17b). Since Adam continued to live to be over nine hundred years old (Genesis 5:5), the death that he died on the day that he ate the fruit must have been a category of death other than physical. The day Adam and Eve ate the fruit they died spiritually.

What is spiritual death? Spiritual death is separation from God. It occurs when one falls short of God’s glory or divine integrity. If God were to disregard any aspect of His divine essence in order to enter into fellowship with a fallen creature, He would, in the process, compromise His divine integrity and, as a result of that compromise, cease to be God. Since God is immutable (unchanging) and incapable of compromising any of His divine attributes, He must turn away and separate Himself from anything that is less than perfect. When Adam fell into temptation, he willfully disobeyed God. In doing so, he changed his nature from God centered to self centered. By an independent act of his own will Adam became, by nature, a child of wrath and separated from God. At this point the Adamic or sinful nature came into existence (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9) and the nature of man was corrupted (Jeremiah 17:9; Eccl. 9:3) throughout all generations to come (Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Corinthians 15:22).

Repercussions of spiritual death: Since man is spiritually dead there is nothing that he can do to appease God in order to escape judgment (Romans 8:8). As we noted earlier to expiate means to make amends for committing a crime. A criminal makes amends by serving a prescribed sentence. After taking his punishment, the accused has paid his debt to society, and legally, the guilt is erased. But mankind can never repay its debt to God. Spiritually, the natural man is totally bankrupt. He owes God perfect righteousness, but is without the means to come up with it. There is none righteous, no, not one”(Romans 3:10).

Without the work of Christ on the cross, mankind would be doomed to eternal judgment; yet, God never leaves man in a hopeless situation. The substitutionairy death of Christ cancelled the staggering debt of the penalty of sin against us (Colossians 2:14). Only God’s grace can supply complete and perfect payment.

Since it is impossible for us to approach Him, God chose to come to us.

What did it cost? Acting as our substitute, Jesus Christ took upon himself the punishment for our sins. “The LORD has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). God the Father judged those sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). The penalty for our sins is spiritual death (Genesis 2:17).

At one point while our sins were being poured out on Jesus Christ and judged, He screamed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34 cf. Psalms 22:1). What made Him scream? Our Lord screamed because “He (God the Father) made the one having never known sin (Christ) to be sin on our behalf, in order that we might become righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The payment for our sins was the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the cross. Jesus Christ, in His humanity, suffered spiritual death on the cross so that we could have spiritual life. Because God can have no fellowship with darkness (1 John 1:5), God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had to turn their backs on the humanity of Jesus Christ while He was being made sin for us (1 Timothy 6:16).

Jesus Christ, as the only perfect man, was qualified to pay this debt. Our Lord was the “lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Only the perfect humanity of Christ, “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1: 19), could accomplish salvation.

When Jesus at last said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), His atoning work was finished and the problem of the penalty of sin was removed.

How valuable are we! David declared the creation of the universe the mere finger work of God (Psalms 8:3). Yet Isaiah says that God made bare His holy arm in the accomplishment of our salvation (Isaiah 52:10). If God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16), then how valuable are we and how precious must we be in His sight!

Dennis’ Blog Goes Live!

Hi, my name is Dennis Coulter!

I am an instructor at the Oikos Bible Institute at High Desert Church in Victorville, CA.

The purpose of this blog is to open a forum for discussion about life’s many issues from a biblical perspective.