No. 11 – Salvation Through Christ – PART 2
We have just seen how close Jesus came to US – He became one with us. His name is Emmanuel, God with US. God the Father is the God component in that name, and Jesus Christ is the US component. So closely is He united to every single one of us that all of His experiences are our experiences. When He died, we died. When He was raised, we were raised. Whatever God the Father worked in His life, He was working it in OUR life. Let’s read again this powerful statement from Alonzo Jones:
Alonzo T. Jones 1895 General Conference Bulletin 299
This is the center around which everything else circles. And Christ having taken our human nature in all things in the flesh and so having become ourselves, when we read of Him and the Father’s dealings with Him, we are reading of ourselves and of the Father’s dealings with us. What God did to Him was to us; what God did for Him was for us.
So clear, and so clarifying! Our salvation comes to us THROUGH Christ. In order to be saved, we need the perfect right-doing of God in our lives. And so God sent His Son to this earth to unite His own life with our life, so that when God was working in Him, He was working in us. In Christ, God created a new life for each and every one of us. And when we open up our hearts to this reality, the life of Jesus will become our own life. When we are studying the Scriptures and watching Jesus do all these wonderful things in His life and having the most amazing victories over sin and Satan, He did that as us, with all of our weaknesses. And if we will believe this, everything that we see in His life will be the practical reality in our own lives. We are to pray, “Father, give me the life that you lived in your Son. I believe it was mine!” And His victories will truly be our own victories.
When we wake up in the morning, we can pray, “Lord, I accept the gift of your right-doing. I accept the gift of a new life in Christ. I open my heart to your Son that He may come and abide in me. Without Him, I can do nothing but disgrace your holy name. Please, I want You to live Your life in me.”
God has already done everything for us in His Son Jesus Christ. He has lived a perfect life for us. Now, we have heard this before, right? Just believe in Jesus. Believe that He has done all this for us, and you will be saved. OK. But now, there’s a difference that we have to get clear in our minds. Yes. What He did FOR us, must now be evident IN us and THROUGH us. The perfect life of Jesus WILL stand in the place of our imperfect life. His righteous life will cover the sins that we have done in the past. BUT that will not work for the future, especially during the time of trouble when Jesus is no longer pleading for us. Today, that perfect life that Jesus lived for us, MUST become our PRACTICAL reality. He must live His life IN us. The Father in Him, and He in us. When we see the Father working in Him, we MUST see the Father working in us in Him. That what He did for Him, He did for us. What we see Him DOING in Him, He is DOING it in us and we must let Him do it in us today.
It will take a little time for us to learn this and for it to become a reality in our lives. The quicker the better, though, because time is short. It depends on your determination – which depends on your sense of need. While we are learning to let go and to let God, we will make mistakes – in which case Christ’s obedience will still continue to stand in the place of our failures. We may fall, and often have to come before Him in tears expressing regret at our failures. But do not become discouraged. Pray more fervently, believe more fully. Pray, “Lord, help thou my unbelief!” But keep pushing on. Praying and believing more and more, day by day. God will finish what He has started in your life. Just keep trusting Him. Your sense of need may not be so great now, but in the near future, you will find yourself in a situation which is way beyond your control, and you will know that you do not have what it takes to get through. But you WILL HAVE the answer – “God, I can’t. You have to do it.” And God will step right in and do what needs to be done and you will experience the truth of these things. And that will start you upon an entirely new path of experience – the one that your heart has been crying out for. And so don’t become discouraged if you don’t feel that these things are impacting your heart right now in the way that you would hope. Just remember these things and think of it as God equipping you for what you will need in your life in the near future.
What we want to do now, is apply what we have just learned about Jesus in a personal way. Because this is what we need – a PERSONAL Jesus.
I want to read another statement from Ellen White that shows us the danger that the Christian world has fallen into today:
That I May Know Him 280
There is danger of not making Christ’s teachings a personal matter, of not receiving them as though they were addressed to us personally. In his words of instruction, Jesus means me.
This is a simple summary of one of the main problems with the common gospel that we all hear today. Jesus is not personal. He is over there – just an example, or He just died on the cross 2,000 years ago, and then went back to heaven. Or that His words are spoken to us in just a general sense. And even when we talk about Him becoming one with US we might be tempted to think that it was all in just a representative sense, or a corporate, collective sense. In a way, yes, He was. But He was also a PERSONAL Saviour. He DOES relate with us on an INDIVIDUAL level. As we just read, everything that He says – and so everything that is in His word – we must receive as though it is addressed to each one of us personally. And so Emmanuel, God with us is? God with ME. Christ, one with ME. The Father with Christ in me.
Let’s look at this. In our last study we looked at us sharing with Him in HIS experience. Let’s see Him in OUR experience. I want to share with you a powerful statement from the book, The Desire of Ages, by Ellen White:
The Desire of Ages 483
Through all our trials we have a never-failing Helper. He [Jesus] does not leave us alone to struggle with temptation, to battle with evil, and be finally crushed with burdens and sorrow. Though now He is hidden from mortal sight, the ear of faith can hear His voice saying, Fear not; I am with you… I have endured your sorrows, experienced your struggles, encountered your temptations. I know your tears; I also have wept. The griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear, I know. Think not that you are desolate and forsaken. Though your pain touches no responsive chord in any heart on earth, look unto Me, and live.
I love this statement. I hear the voice of Jesus talking to me personally. But how could these words ever be of any value if all that Jesus did was come to earth many years ago and live a life separate from mine? How could He say, I have endured YOUR sorrows, experienced YOUR struggles, and encountered YOUR temptations? It would mean nothing. It would be like saying, I experienced something SIMILAR to you, but I didn’t really experience what YOU actually experience. And THAT is no help to me. THAT is NOT a personal Saviour.
What did we read a moment ago? “Jesus means ME”. Me. And in the same book, The Desire of Ages, on page 390, Ellen White says again, “In His promises and warnings, Jesus means me.” And this statement that we have just read is one HUGE promise. That means that when He says I have experienced YOUR sorrows – it means that He has literally experienced what YOU individually, personally, have experienced. YOUR struggles. YOUR temptations. He was one with you in your experiences in the past, and your experiences today. Even in the year 2017.
And our temptations today are very different to what He would have experienced 2,000 years ago, right? There was no internet back then, there were no fast cars, or rock & roll music. But He says, I have encountered YOUR temptations. And my temptations are different to yours. Something may be a huge temptation to me, but nothing to you! But this is what He says, and so we must believe it. Do you understand how it can be possible that Christ, who came and walked the earth two thousand years ago can know my temptations today? No? Neither do I. But I don’t care. God says if you believe it, He will supply the fact. And believe me, friends, it is true. God sent His Son to become one with each and every single one of us and to share with us in all of our life’s experiences and to experience all of our personal struggles and to meet and overcome all our individual temptations, even our bad habits and addictions to anything that is not good for us. Whatever your trials are, He has struggled with it, and overcome, and wants to bring that victory into your reality. Remember Revelation 3:20? “I will come into him and will sup with him and he with me.” This is personal.
Jesus says, “I know your tears. I also have wept.” How? Because when we are crying, He is crying. Why is He crying? For the same reason that we are crying. He is touched with our own feelings. Maybe you are crying because of the bad situation you are in because of the bad decisions you made. He is crying with you just as though He Himself was the one who made those decisions.
He says, “The griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear, I know.” How? Because His heart was united with your heart. He feels what you feel. Many times a husband and a wife cannot understand each other. They see the other suffering and they don’t know why. But Jesus understand why. He knows and FEELS that pain deep, deep down in your heart that no one else can feel or understand. He feels it as His own.
Never, ever, are we alone in our experiences. Never! Never think that you are alone and that nobody understands or cares. Jesus does. And He is right there with you experiencing with you whatever it is that you are going through. And remember, He had the victory. He never gave into sin or discouragement. And that victory He wants to give to you.
This also means that whatever choices we make in life will affect Him as well. Whatever feelings we choose to cherish and hold on to, He feels them. And so when someone annoys us and we get angry at them, Jesus feels that anger and He is crying out to God on our behalf to take that feeling away. Or when we make a bad decision with bad results, Jesus has to bear the consequences. And it is far worse for Him than you because He never sinned – He didn’t make that wrong choice. But because our sins are laid upon Him as though He is the guilty one, He has to bear the consequences of our mistakes as though He was the one that made them. And do you know how it feels to be blamed for something you never did? But He suffers it because He loves you. Something to think about isn’t it? How are my actions affecting Jesus? It’s so much more than just the cross of Calvary.
Let’s read Matthew 25:37-40 and see how Jesus considers His relation to each one of us individually:
37| Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38| When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee 39| Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40| And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Done it unto who? “ME” Jesus says that whatever we do to someone else, we do it to Him. Because He united Himself to them and is sharing with them in their experiences. If we would realise this, how much more nicely would we treat one another?
Let’s read Hebrews 4:15, which is speaking about Jesus Christ:
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
I want for Alonzo Jones to comment on this verse. Read what he says very carefully:
Alonzo T. Jones, 1895 General Conference Bulletins 234
He cannot be tempted in all points like as I am unless He was in all points like I am to start with. He could not feel as I do unless He is where I am and as I am. In other words, He could not be tempted in all points as I am and feel as I feel unless He was just myself over again.
Clear? Logical? Simple. Jesus Christ was tempted in all points like “we” are. And Jesus means “me”. My temptations depend on my genetics, the way I was raised, the habits I have formed, my location or situation and the time in which I live. In order for this verse to be true, our Saviour needs to have done more for us than just walk the earth 2,000 years ago in His own body, meeting the temptations of His generation. Can you see that there has to be so much more to the sacrifice of Christ than we think? No wonder there is no power in our lives. We put His experience way too far away from our own.
If we will read the word of God as a little child, and just say, I believe it because my Daddy in heaven says so, then it will become a reality in our lives. As AT Jones said – He is where I am, and as I am – just myself all over again – perfectly partaking with me in my experience, so that He may give to me His own experience.
We all feel the need of a great spiritual revival in our lives. But how can we have it? History shows us EXACTLY how to have it. In the days of Apostle Paul, the church had come to believe in salvation by association – salvation by being part of a corporate body of believers, but they had completely forgotten about associating themselves with God. They lost sight of a personal relationship with Him! The preaching of the disciples and especially the Apostle Paul brought REVIVAL. What did Paul preach? A personal Jesus. His conversion ITSELF was the very discovery of Christ’s union with him. See how he describes it here:
15| But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, 16| To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
“To reveal His Son in me”. This is true conversion. To discover a personal union with Jesus Christ. This is what will bring revival into our lives. And this personal union with Christ was the very foundation of all Paul’s preaching.
But the world forgot the teachings of the Apostle Paul, and so they fell back into the darkness of “salvation through corporation”. And so God raised up another man to bring another revival – a reformation. This man’s name was Martin Luther. See what message brought revival in his generation:
Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians (2:20)
Faith must be therefore purely taught, namely, that thou art so entirely joined unto Christ, that He and thou art made as it were one person: so that thou mayest boldly say, I am now one with Christ, that is to say, Christ’s righteousness, victory and life are mine. And again, Christ may say, I am that sinner, that is, his sins and his death are Mine, because he is united and joined unto Me, and I unto him. For by faith we are so joined together that we are become members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
Where do we hear faith being taught like this today? That Christ and us are made to be, as it were, one person. Remember, we do not lose our individuality. But somewhere, somehow, there is this mysterious union, so that you can “boldly” say, I am now one with Christ, His righteousness, His victory and His life are mine. And Christ can say, I am that sinner, that is, his sins and his death are Mine, because he is united and joined unto Me, and I unto Him. Abide in me and I in you. I will sup with him and he with Me. By faith we are so joined together that we are become members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
Now, I must emphasise the fact that just because we are united in life with Christ, we ourselves do not become Christ. No. He maintains His personal individuality, and we maintain ours. Ellen White makes this very clear statement in the Ministry of Healing, page 422:
Ministry of Healing 422
The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either. They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in person.
It is a mystery as to how two persons can inhabit the same life, yet it is essential for our salvation. And in another study we will spend some more time looking at that.
Ellen White says in Bible Commentary Volume 7 926:
Bible Commentary Volume 7, 926
In [the believer’s] relation to Christ he will be bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, one with Christ in a peculiar relationship.
Bone of bone, flesh of flesh. Sharing the same body, the same nervous system, feeling what the other feels, experiencing what the other experiences. One with Christ, in a “peculiar” relationship. When something is peculiar, is it easy to explain? No! But you can experience it.
Again, Ellen White describes this union with Christ, in the book Christ’s Object Lessons 311:
Christ’s Object Lessons 311
When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.
We do what? We live His life! Read this exactly as it reads. His life – the very life of the Son of God. We will live it.
Jesus told a parable of a wedding feast and how the ruler of the feast came in to examine the guests to see if they were wearing the wedding garment. In the days of Christ, when such a feast was arranged, the ruler of the feast would provide the guests with the garment that he wanted them to wear. It was a gift. And so Jesus was using this parable to illustrate what God is looking for today. He wants to see us wearing the garment of His own righteousness. But what is that garment of righteousness? Not the outward covering we might want to hope it is, so that we can keep on doing our own works, but the very LIFE of His Son. Let’s read that statement again:
Christ’s Object Lesson’s 311
When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.
God is investigating to see if we have received the GIFT. The gift of His Son and everything that comes with it, including His own perfect works in our lives. Can you see this? And why would we not want this gift! Not only is it a life filled with His own perfection, where He has met all of our trials and done everything right, but it is a life where we are never alone – He is feeling with us in all of our hurts and pains that afflict us so often. What a gift is this! We can barely comprehend how great a sacrifice God has made to be able to provide us with all this.
God has done so much more for us than we think or have been preaching. We wonder why people aren’t interested in listening to the gospel that is being taught today. But it’s easy to understand why not. They don’t care about a God who will take them to heaven tomorrow. They have problems today! They have bills to pay but they have no money. Their husband or their wife wants to leave them. Their children or even themselves are addicted to drugs and don’t know what to do about it! Somebody close to them who had been their support has just died. But here is a God who has provided for them TODAY. And when someone discovers such a true Friend, THEN they will want to be with Him tomorrow.
Just think about how much God really has done for us. Jesus was with the Father through all of eternity. As it says in John chapter 1, it was by Him that everything was made. YET He CHOSE to leave the heavenly courts and to come to this earth and be born as a helpless babe and to UNITE HIMSELF with His CREATION. Have a think about that. How humiliating would that be? But not just CREATION in its purity, but a corrupted creation. We, us, human beings, who have sinned and defaced the image of God in us. This is what He united Himself with. Have a look at yourself. See the sins in your life and how you have made a mess of it. He united Himself with YOU. Yes. YOU. and even ME! So that we would not be alone when we suffer from the stupid mistakes we have made in our lives. And more than that. So much more than that. So that He can bring to us an entirely new life – a life created by the wisest and most powerful Being in the universe. A life full of victories, one after the other, in every situation in life. Through His Spirit, the personal presence of Jesus can abide in each one of us. And He said, “I am the way the truth and the life”. His life, is our real life. The life that God has custom made for each and every single one of us.
Oh, but some may say, Camron, you are taking things too far! No. I am not. There is no other gospel that actually makes sense – and WORKS! As I said before, we do not become Christ, and He does not lose Himself in our personal individuality. No. Both His and our personal individualities are preserved. What everything that we have read is saying is that we can share with Him in the same LIFE and its experiences. Take for example, a marriage. It is supposed to be a symbol of this union with Christ. A husband and a wife share with each other in their life’s experiences, yet they are still two individuals. They live in the same home. They sleep in the same bed. They can talk to each other, enjoy each other’s company, and to a better extent than anyone else, understand each other. A symbol, but an IMPERFECT symbol, of our union with Christ, because He dwells with us INSIDE our hearts. He is the very thing the world is turning over every rock trying to find – our SOUL-MATE.
But while the individualities are maintained, the union is so mysteriously perfect that the law can actually look at Christ taking upon Him our own sinful life and punish Him as though He was the guilty one. Remember, God is personal and so His law is also personal. In Ezekiel 18:3 it says, “the soul that sinneth, it shall die”. The individual cannot escape the punishment of death. But Christ, by becoming one with that individual can stand before the law and say, I am the one who did that sin, and bear the brunt of that penalty for us. And meanwhile, the law can look upon us, and see the perfection of Jesus, and it smiles and is very happy with us.
If you appreciate the writings of Ellen White, you will appreciate this following quotation:
Selected Messages Volume 2, 57
The time is not far off now when men will want a much closer relation to Christ, a much closer union with His Holy Spirit, than ever they have had, or will have, unless they give up their will and their way, and submit to God’s will and God’s way… When souls long after Christ, and seek to become one with Him, then those who are content with the form of godliness, exclaim “Be careful, do not go to extremes.”
Are we living in a time of earth’s history when we need a closer union with Christ than ever before? Absolutely! And we need this new life in Christ, desperately. But there will be those who are happy with their own lives – like Laodicea – they are rich, increased with goods and don’t think they need a new one. When they see you laying hold of these truths and seeking to become one with Christ in LIFE, they will think you are crazy. Let them. You expected it.
Let’s read Galatians 2:20:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
Here again is this wonderful truth. As we have learned, the discovery of Christ in him was the very foundation of Apostle Paul’s Christian experience, and so it is the very foundation of the Gospel that he taught. You will find this all through his writings.
He says here in Galatians, that he died when Christ died. Of Course, because Christ became one with him and so when Christ died, he died. And each and every one of us can read this in a personal sense. “I”, ME, am crucified with Christ, nevertheless… Jesus rose from the dead because there was no sin in His own self, but His own self was united with ourselves and so when He rose, we rose. And so now we live, but we don’t live – our sinful self was left in the grave, and now we are to live the new life that was created for us in Him – a life that was prepared for us BY the faith of Jesus when He trusted the Father to live His life in Him. And we are going to spend some more time in some future studies digging deeper into this beautiful reality.
Do you remember what the law wants? Let’s read this again from Alonzo Jones:
AT Jones 1893 General Conference Bulletin 412
“Well,” says one, “I have not got it. I have done my best.” But the law will say, “that is not what I want. I don’t want your best. I want perfection. It is not your doing I want anyhow; it is God’s I want. It is not your righteousness I am after; I want God’s righteousness from you. It is not your doing I want. I want God’s doing in your life.” That is what the law says to every man.
But we don’t have that, do we? A life filled with God’s own right-doing? Jones says on page 344 of the same book:
Alonzo T Jones 1893 General Conference Bulletin 344
Then how in the world are we ever going to have eternal life? Ah! “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” But we have got to have “perfect righteousness” before we can have that gift, don’t you see? Oh then, just like the Lord, He comes and says, “Here, in Christ, is perfect righteousness; here is perfect obedience to the law of God from birth to the grave; you take that and that will fully meet the condition on which alone anyone can have eternal life.”
God is so good, isn’t He? He knows that we do not have what we need, and so He comes to us and says, “Here. Here is a gift for you. My only begotten Son. If you will take Him, then you have everything you need. My own perfect obedience from the beginning of your existence right to the very end.”
This is something we need to understand. The law wants a perfect EXISTENCE. Even if we never sinned for the rest of our lives, we would still be under the condemnation of the law because we have sinned in the past. And so this gift of a new life in Jesus Christ is the gift of an entirely new existence. It is the “new man” which Paul in his epistles counsels us to “put on”. It is the “new creature” which is created for us in Jesus Christ. Truly, old things have passed away and ALL things are new. This perfect life that God has made for us in His Son stands in the place of our past life. The law sees only perfect obedience in our lives in the past. And now, when we die with Him, and are raised with Him, we rise to “newness of life” – THAT life. The very life that stands in the place of our sinful life, becomes our practical life today. Now we live the TRUE life – the life that God intended for us to live when He first came to this earth with His thoughts filled with creation.
This wonderful, mysterious union, this preparation of God, for each and every one of us is described here in Colossians 1:26-27:
26| Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: 27| To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
A mystery now made manifest. The love and mercy of God in preparing for us a new life in His Son and sending Him to this earth to become Christ in you, Christ, one with you, that His life might be manifested in your life. Hope of glory indeed!
And read the next verse here in Colossians 1:28:
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Every man, perfect, where? In Christ Jesus.
Would you like to see this “mystery” in a very practical sense? Come with me to
12| I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13| Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. 14| He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. 15| All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit – to take of the things of Jesus and to show them to us – to bring to us their reality. Notice in verse 13 how Jesus said the Holy Spirit will show us things to come. We often think this is prophecy! He will show us the future! But this is all in the context of taking of the things of Jesus and showing Him to us. And so what “things to come” will He show us? Your future life, IF you will believe and receive the truth that we are studying. The Holy Spirit will show you the life of Jesus. But whose life was it? It was our life as well. And so as we read in our last study, when we are reading of Jesus, we are reading of ourselves. What we see God doing in Him, we see Him doing it in US. When we see Him standing before Caiaphas and Pilate with perfect peace, He did that as you and me, with all of our weaknesses. And THAT is your future, if you will accept it. Paul said that all who live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Jesus said that you will be brought before kings and councils. But He also said, “my peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, I have overcome the world”. He did so, as you. And so His victory is your victory. What the Spirit shows you of His life is the future of your own life. One victory after another, perfect peace no matter what the experience will be. If you are called to stand before councils and kings, you will stand there with the same tranquillity as Jesus before Caiaphas and Pilate. And when it feels like life’s circumstances want to flood into your boat of life and you feel that you just can’t take anymore, just go back to sleep again. Isn’t that what Jesus did on the boat in the storm on Galilee? He slept ever so peacefully, trusting that the Father would bring Him safely through. And He was one with you. You already did it in Him, just do it again.
2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
What do we see when we look into a mirror? Ourselves! Here, it says that when that veil of unbelief is removed from our eyes, and we can see through the eyes of faith, we will see the reality. And what is that? When looking at the beauty of God’s perfection in Jesus Christ, we are looking at it in our own lives. And as we keep beholding that glory, as we keep remembering His life is my REAL life, we will become changed into the same image. In every situation, the Holy Spirit will show us Jesus overcoming in that same situation and we will cry out to God – That’s my life! Please give it to me! I want it! And unconsciously to us, that life will become ours in reality.
Is this a solution to all of our problems? The gift of a new life filled with God’s own perfection? And a friend and soul-mate in all of our life’s trials? Indeed, it is. And it is the ONLY solution. How great is the love of God toward us? Let these things sink deep into your mind and your heart. Through His Son, God has ALREADY lived our life for us. We just need to receive the gift in a practical sense, not just in a legal, substitionary sense. Let the old man go – let him go to the grave WITH Jesus. The old man and woman – the old self with all of the stupid things we have done and the bad habits we have formed and all the things we should never have done and said. Let Him take them to an eternal grave. And then rise with Him to newness of life – a life now where He lives in us, and yeah, there are still consequences to be met, and bad habits to be overcome, but that’s what the gift is for. God in Him has overcome in US. We just need to believe it and receive it. Moment by moment, “Lord, give me the life that is in your Son. I believe it is mine!” And remember what I said to begin with, it takes time for us to learn and to practice these things perfectly. Don’t become discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight. Keep pushing on. Pray Lord, help thou mine unbelief.
And don’t look at yourself to see these things happening in your life. You won’t see it. Although you will experience peace like never before and you will see yourself coming through situations in life you know you never could have overcome. But in your SELF, you will see nothing to encourage you. The closer you come to Christ and more consistently receive of His life, you will see nothing good in yourself. It’s a good thing. The Holy Spirit is showing you where the old man is still putting up a fight, struggling to stay alive and this is where the life of Christ needs to be applied. It is a daily struggle to believe these things and to yield the will to God to live this reality in us. Remember the “acceptable time”. It is our sense of helplessness and inability to do anything right that causes us to reach out for the new life. And this sense in many respects will get greater and greater until Jesus comes and we will cry out, “Who is able to stand!” Just keep your eyes on Jesus. Trust that what God has begun in you, He will finish it.
One more statement from Alonzo Jones:
Alonzo T. Jones 1895 General Conference Bulletin 303
Christ has allied Himself with every human being, on His own part; and if every human being in the world tonight should drop everything and say, “Yes, that is a fact; He and I are one, and He is the one,” every soul would be saved tonight, and Christ would appear in every soul tomorrow.
Tomorrow! If we will say, yes, Jesus is one with me, and His life is my life. And then we would be ready for whatever will come in the future.
Now THIS is the answer we have all been needing, isn’t it? Finally, a gospel that makes sense! I really pray that you can appreciate these things as I do. As I said in the introduction, I was raised as a Christian, but I spent most of my life in confusion. And to be honest, I spent most of my life in FEAR, because I did not know how I would ever be ready for Jesus second coming. And even in everyday life, I was a nervous wreck because I was never taught how to survive in this world.
And one day when my life began to fall apart, I found that I did not have the answers that I needed. There was nothing in the gospel which I had been taught that could bring me through.
I remember the minister of the church came to me in my distressed situation and said: “Camron, be encouraged, I know what you are going through because I went through something similar”. I thank him for trying to help, but I walked away and shook my head and said to myself, you have no idea what I am going through because you are not me. And then a friend came to me and he said, “Camron, I am so glad that I am not you because there is no way I would want to go through what you are going through”.
And then, through the word that we have been studying Jesus came to me and said, “I know what you are going through because I am going through it with you, as you”. I cannot tell you how much that meant to me at that time. And then He said to me that I don’t have to live my life any more, but that He will live it for me. If I will just admit that God did give me a life once before and that I ruined it. But, He said, don’t worry, God has put all of that behind His back – He won’t see it. If you accept my life, then that is all He will see. And all of the mistakes that you have made, and all of the consequences, I will deal with them. They are not for you to worry about anymore. Just let me be one with you and let me do in and through you the things that need to be done.
He is saying this to you too. He doesn’t want you to feel so alone any more. He hates to see you cry and give in to the discouragement and the depression, especially when He is right there with you. And that life you have made a mess of, He wants to take it away and give you a new one.
There are many people who are afraid to get out of bed in the morning. They have lived their life and made a mess of it. They know that everything they touch falls apart. Maybe you are one of them. If you are, I hope that you have been listening carefully, because here is the answer to all of your problems.
If you are someone who has been walking with Jesus according to the best of your knowledge, but you want a deeper experience and to help others experience it also, then make this message your ministry. You will reach hearts that cannot be reached by any other gospel. You will find that millions of people in this world are crying out to hear these truths. Especially the young people. The youth of today are very intelligent and the reason they are walking away from religion is because the gospel that is being taught does not make sense. And it doesn’t work. They see the hypocrisy they in the churches. Why would they want to be part of that? But here is a gospel that makes sense. It is logical. A friend said to me the other day that we think the young people leave the church because they are not interested in Christ, but that is wrong. They leave the church because they cannot find Christ in the church. These words are so true. And maybe there are others who we thought have rejected the truth, but in reality, never did because what they rejected, was not the truth, but another gospel. There is still so much hope for them, and maybe even more for them than us. Because now we have to unlearn many things that we were taught, and those things we have learned will always be in our minds fighting against the simple truths of God’s word.
May God help us to be humble. May God help us to be willing to admit that something has been missing from our gospel and from our lives. May He help us to be willing to be taught by the Spirit of God.
Just one more thought.
There are some Christians who are praying and waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But the reality is that it could be falling into the hearts of many around them, but they may not see it or receive it. Why not? Because they do not know what they are looking for. They cannot recognise the work of the Spirit.
One last quotation from Ellen White:
Desire of Ages 805
The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ.
THIS is the work of the Holy Spirit. He will take of the things of Jesus and show them to us. His work is to bring to us the reality of what we have been studying – the life of Christ. And so if our faith is not laying hold of these things, if we have not yet begun our journey of dying WITH Christ and learning to live the new life that God has prepared for us in Him, then we have not been “born again”.
And we are not prepared to receive the fullness of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
May God have mercy upon us and help our unbelief.