Part 2 – Who are we?
CHAPTER 3 continued – WHO I AM IN CHRIST BECAUSE OF WHO CHRIST IS IN ME
EXPOSITION OF THE 50 FACTS OF SALVATION[learn_more caption=”CMC Editor’s Note”] In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter three he writes: “There is freedom from living a guilt-ridden life to those who have received Christ, once the person learns his true identity in Christ. All of the amazing facts occur at the moment that a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her Saviour!” Towards the close of his introduction to the 50 Facts he adds: “All of the facts are positional truths. Some may not be apparent as an evident experience at the moment of salvation. (What the believer is to do as a practical result of knowing who he is will be considered under the last section of walking in the Spirit.) These wonderful facts of salvation allow us to know who we are in Christ.” In our online presentation of these 50 facts of salvation we will consider one or more facts per week. We trust that you will be blessed as you follow along Ward Brandenstein’s unfolding of these precious truths.[/learn_more]
FACT 8 – CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT AND OF THE DAY
Matthew 5:14, Ye are the light of the world.
Matthew 5:16, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, who is in heaven.
John 1:4, In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 8:12, Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John 9:5, As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
John 12:35,36, …Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not where he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the sons of light…
I Thessalonians 5:5-8, Ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober-minded. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that are drunk are drunk in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and, for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
Ephesians 5:8, For ye were once darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light.
Colossians 1:12, …the Father, who hath made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
I John 1:5…God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
Early in Jesus’ ministry He said to His followers that they were the light of the world (Matt. 5:14). Toward the end of His ministry He declared on several occasions (Jn. 8:12; 9:5; 12:35) that He was the light of the world, adding the statement in John 9:5, As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. Jesus intends for the light which was manifest to the world by His life to continue in the life of the believer, thus providing the world with the continued light of the glorious gospel of Christ (II Cor. 4:4).
In Christ, the believer becomes partaker of one of God’s essential attributes—light. This brings to the child of God the moral and spiritual ability to discern the presence of darkness, i.e., ignorance, confusion, secrecy, shamefulness, dishonesty.
In Matthew 5:16, a further privilege that accompanies the believer as a child of light is that as his light shines, it will accomplish good works that will cause others who observe them, or are recipients of the good works, to glorify the Father in heaven. Thus, the child of God is commanded to have his walk consistent with that characteristic of light, which means that he will have understanding of God’s ways and will choose to walk in them rather than to walk in the ways of the world in darkness.
A further characteristic of those who are the sons of light is sons of the day, as used in the passage of I Thess. 5:5-8. The significance of sons of the day is explained in verses 6 and 7, as compared with those who are of the night who sleep and are given to drunkenness. In contrast, the sons of the day are exhorted in verse 8 to be sober. Being sober carries the meaning of being watchful or discreet.
FACT 9 – CHOSEN GENERATION, A PEOPLE OF HIS OWN
I Peter 2:9,10, But ye are a chosen generation…an holy nation, a people of His own, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; Who in time past were not a people but are now the people of God; who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
A Chosen Generation is a distinct people or group of heavenly origin, of God’s making, a holy nation. The believer’s identity in Christ is not only an individual matter, but of a national significance as well. Just as we recognize that we have a national identity through our ethnic backgrounds here in this life, so we have a national identity as it relates to our heavenly citizenship, both here and now and throughout eternity.
FACT 10 – CLEANSED
John 13:10, Jesus saith to him (Peter), He that is washed (bathed completely) needeth not except to wash his feet, but is entirely clean; and ye are clean, but not all (everyone) of you.
John 15:3, Now ye are clean (purged, pruned) through the word which I have spoken unto you.
I Corinthians 6:11, And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Ephesians 5:25b,26, Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it, That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.
Titus 3:5, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
Revelation 1:5e,f, 6b, Unto Him that loveth us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood…to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The truth of cleansing was an integral part of the priestly ministering and of the sacrificial offerings under the Mosaic covenant (the Law). Thus, God teaches the principle that He cannot allow anything which causes defilement to be brought into His presence. As we become children of God through faith, He provides the cleansing from the defilement of our sins through Christ’s blood and through the washing of regeneration by the Word of God. We are, therefore, enabled to come into His presence without bringing any defilement.
FACT 11 – COMPLETE IN CHRIST
John 1:16,17b,18, And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. …grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.
Ephesians 1:22b,23, …and gave Him (Christ) to be the head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.
Ephesians 3:19, And to know the love of Christ…that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 4:13a,d, Till we all come…unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Colossians 1:19, For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.
Colossians 2:9,10, For in Him (Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
The two words, complete and fullness, in these Scriptures are translated from the same word in the original Greek language of the New Testament. It is the intent of the above verses to declare that because Christ is very God of very God (God in His essential being undiminished), He is lacking in nothing by becoming a man.
As a person receives Christ, he partakes of that fullness, and from God’s view is seen in God’s eyes as complete as Christ is complete. And yet, throughout the believer’s lifetime, there is the need to come to know the love of God ever more and more so that God’s fullness through Christ will be a living reality to him or her. One’s ability to comprehend the full significance of the completeness in Christ increases through one’s Christian growth by means of his or her ministry within the body of Christ.
(CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST – See UNITED WITH CHRIST)
FACT 12 – DEAD TO SIN
Romans 6:1,2, What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer in it?
Romans 6:7, For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Romans 6:11, Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Romans 6:14, For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law but under grace.
Col. 3:3, For ye are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
II Timothy 2:11, It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.
If the question were asked of the majority of Christians in this day, “Are you dead to sin?” the answer would usually be, “No, because I know I have sinned today.” Such a response shows that few Christians know what the Apostle Paul meant by the term, dead to sin. Dead to sin means that sin has no claim on the believer to make the believer do sin’s bidding because of Christ’s death on the cross and the believer’s identification with Christ’ death. Paul is talking in Romans 6 about the person’s life before he was saved, compared with his present position in union with Christ of being dead to sin and free to become a servant of righteousness.
The Apostle’s statements in Romans 6 are better understood if we think of sin as a task-master and that the unsaved are slaves to sin. If the slave is killed, sin can no longer find a response in the slave when it seeks to give a command. Through the believer’s union together with Christ in His crucifixion (Rom. 6:6; Gal. 2:20), the slave has been killed.
The truth of this is not readily accepted in the believer’s mind because he fails to distinguish betweensin as a ruling disposition to which the unbeliever is enslaved, and sins as the deeds one does. The believer is dead to sin, the ruling disposition, but he may find himself committing sins. The one he is; the other he does.
Some may deny being dead to sin because they don’t want to be seen as teaching “the annihilation of the sin nature”. The difficulty here is that “the sin nature” is a theological construct and is not a Scriptural term. The Apostle Paul uses the terms the old man (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9), the body of sin (Rom. 6:6), the flesh (Rom. 7:18,25; 8:8,13; Gal. 5:16,17; 6:8; I Jn. 2:16), but nowhere does he use the term, sin nature. To do so confuses the distinction between the old man, which was co-crucified with Christ and which the believer has put off, and the flesh, which the believer can’t overcome in his own right, but which will be destroyed or rendered inoperative (Rom. 6:6) as the believer walks in the Spirit(Gal. 5:16,25).
Thus, the Christian can claim that he is dead to sin without being arrogant and without implying he does not sin. (The latter is warned against in I Jn.1:10.) Being dead to sin means that one is not obligated to respond to sin’s commands, but can choose now to be a servant of righteousness (Rom. 6:16,18,22). See also Dead to the Law, next.
FACT 13 – DEAD TO THE LAW
Galatians 2:19, For I through the law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Romans 7:4, Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Romans 7:6, But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead (literally, having died to that) in which we were held (i.e., the law), that we should serve in newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
Colossians 3:3, For ye are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Essentially, the law can make no demands on a man after he has died. When Christ died, He died to the law (Mosaic), so there was no longer the need for Him to observe the law as He did throughout His earthly life. Because the believer is baptized into Christ and into His death (Rom. 6:3), God accounts the same truth to apply to the believer so it is no longer necessary for the believer to live with his mind centered on trying to live his life through keeping the law. This does not mean the believer is given the freedom to be lawless, but rather he is freed from the bondage of trying to measure up to the demands of the law for gaining a righteous standing in God’s sight, and free from the condemnation of failing to do so.
Because the believer is not meant to work in a vacuum, God has designed that in place of living in obligation to the law, the child of God is afforded the opportunity to live life in keeping with the indwelling Holy Spirit to bring forth fruit to God (the fruit of the Spirit). Thus, the believer’s life is a living reality of the truth, the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life (II Cor. 3:6; Jn. 6:63). In this way, the believer is living his life unto God (Gal. 2:19).
Next Week: Facts 14+
Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein
Used with permission.
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.