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
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.
FACT 47 – SPIRITUAL HOUSEHOLD MEMBER
Galatians 6:10, As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Ephesians 2:19, Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
I Peter 2:5, Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house…
Hebrews 3:6, But Christ as a Son over His own house, Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
As a member of a spiritual household, the child of God is placed into a relationship with Christ, with Christ as the head and fellow-believers as members. The household grows by the believer’s leading the unsaved to Christ. Being fellow-members affords opportunities for believers to care one for another in times of need and hardship, as well as for having mutual fellowship and interdependence. The believer in Christ needs fellowship (I John 1:7) with other believers, to accomplish God’s design for his life; he needs the mutual ministry of other believers to grow to his full maturity.
FACT 48 – TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
I Corinthians 6:19,20, What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Not only is the believer simply a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit, but his body is the very temple (sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit. As in the Old Testament the priest would enter the Holy Place to offer incense (symbolic of prayer) and to serve in the place where God’s presence was manifest (the shekinah glory), so the believer’s body is the place where the Holy Spirit’s presence is to be held in reverence and honor!
FACT 49 – TRANSLATED INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD’S DEAR SON
Colossians 1:12,13, Giving thanks unto the Father, Who hath made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.
The contrast of the words, delivered and translated, are intended to convey the idea of rescued and transferred or exchanged. A modern counterpart is the picture of the sinner’s being a refugee, and of the desperate situation under the power of darkness (In the printed edition see: No. 14, above, Delivered from the Power of Darkness, p. 19) from which the sinner is rescued, then securely and safely established under the rule of the Son of God in which there is no darkness.
The kingdom into which the believer is placed is to be seen as compared to the power of darkness from which he has been delivered. The word, power, speaks of an authority received from a higher source. So the power of darkness indicates the power exercised by Satan which he gained by usurpation after his original rebellion, and will only endure until his ultimate judgment in the lake of fire. On the other hand, the kingdom of His dear Son is the realm in which the Son of God rules as the supreme sovereign and which is never ending. So the believer is translated from the temporal authority under Satan’s control into the eternal, sovereign rule of Christ.
FACT 50 – UNITED WITH CHRIST IN DEATH, BURIAL, RESURRECTION, ASCENSION (IDENTIFICATION)
(In the printed edition see also: No. 3, Baptized in the Spirit, p. 9; No. 4, Blessed with All Spiritual Blessings, p. 14; No. 26, Indwelt by God, p. 19; No. 34, Placed in Christ, p. 19; and Chapter 5, Living the Christian Life, p. 165, on walking in the Spirit.)
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.
Romans 6:4-8, Therefore, we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection; Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For He that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.
Romans 8:10,11, And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also give life to your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Ephesians 2:6, And (Christ) hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 2:12, Buried with Him in baptism, in which also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead.
Colossians 3:1, If ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:3, For ye are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
I Peter 2:24, Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by Whose stripes ye were healed.
Identification (In the printed edition see: united together, joined with, co-participation – See No. 3, Baptized in the Spirit, p.9) with Christ for the believer brings to him the basis for realizing his being dead to sin and alive to God through Christ. Being dead to sin means that the believer is under no obligation to obey sin as his master as he did before salvation was his. At the time he was without Christ, he was a servant to sin (being under sin’s dominion) and had no freedom. But in Christ, the believer is dead to (separated from) sin (that inner disposition which is in opposition to God and in rebellion against God) and is now alive to God. But the life he now has is Christ’s living out His life in the believer to the extent that the believer is willingly choosing Christ’s life by submitting himself to the control of the Holy Spirit. Essential to the believer’s being able to have Christ’s life in daily living is the knowledge that the believer was co-crucified with Christ. This means that when Christ died on Calvary, a work was accomplished which made every potential believer a participant in the crucifixion.
The words, crucified with Him, in Romans 6:6, and crucified with Christ, in Galatians 2:20, are the basis for the truth of co-crucifixion. In the historical sense the same word is used in the gospels of the two thieves who were crucified on crosses next to Christ (Matt. 27:44, Mk. 15:32, Jn. 19:32). In the positional sense, as it applies to the believer, God sees the believer in Christ, as Christ is being crucified, so that it is said that the believer is co-crucified. As Christ became sin (II Cor. 5:21) and took sin to its ultimate end – death, so the believer has become dead to the controlling principle of sin through co-crucifixion positionally. Co-crucifixion also affects the believer’s relationship to the flesh (Gal. 5:24) and to the world (Gal. 6:14). The practical reality of co-crucifixion is dependent on the believer’s reckoning himself dead to sin (Rom. 6:11).
The time of the co-crucifixion is confirmed by Paul’s use of the aorist tense in Romans 6:6. The use of the aorist tense in the original Greek indicates the event as occuring at a single point in time with the effect continuing after the initial event. Thus co-crucifixion for the believer occurred at Calvary in Christ’s crucifixion with the resulting effect that the believer is no longer under the principle of sin and death.
In Romans 6:6, the Apostle Paul identifies the old man as that which is co-crucified with Christ. It takes us back to what Adam’s condition was before the time of the fall of man. Before that event there was nothing in Adam that could relate to what is now called the old man. Thus the old man appears in man’s being at the time of Adam’s disobedience and continues throughout mankind’s history until it is destroyed in death, i.e., either through co-crucifixion by identification with Christ for the believer or through physical and eternal death of the unbeliever.
The old man can, therefore, be regarded as that spirit of independence from God which came into humanity at the time of Adam’s first sin which infects all of humanity through the process of human generation and creates in each person an entity for the principle of ruling sin to have the individual as its absolute slave. This entity – the old man – is always in ready response to every command that the ruling principle of sin brings to man’s mind.
The old man is no longer an entity to be reckoned with for the child of God after his salvation because it has been co-crucified in Christ’s crucifixion. Because of this, Paul exhorts the Christian to put off the old man (Eph. 4:22 and Col. 3:9), which means that in his attitude he is to disassociate himself from the old man, so he can live in keeping with the new man he becomes in Christ. In doing this, the believer is able to be in proper alignment with the reality of the way God has said he is in Christ. The believer is, therefore, freed from the misconception that he can’t help it if he sins. Rather, he comes to see that, for the believer, to sin is a choice, and he is not under any obligation to sin!
There is, however, the dilemma the believer is confronted with in the question, “Why do I keep sinning if the old man has been crucified?” Note again in Romans 6:6, that after stating that the old man is co-crucified with Christ, Paul says that the body of sin might be destroyed. The term, body of sin, is more clearly understood when seen in combination with what Paul describes in Romans 7:23, which states:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
The emphasis Paul makes is that the body, not yet being redeemed, is still burdened with the working of sin in its members. Perhaps it would be helpful to explain it in another way. It appears, when studying human behaviour, that man is a creature that is greatly regulated by habits. Although the control-point in man that responds to sin (the old man) has been crucified with Christ, the members of the body still try to operate according to the learned program (habits). In Romans 6:6, Paul stated that the old man has been crucified… that the body of sin might be destroyed. (The body of sin is the flesh principle.) The destruction of the body of sin is not accomplished at the time of the believer’s being crucified with Christ as a sustained work, but as the believer reckons and yields (Rom. 6:11,13). The word translated, destroyed in Romans 6:6, might better be understood as rendered inoperative. The power for the body of sin to operate is functioning whenever an individual walks after the flesh, i.e., the principle of living for self. It can only be disengaged as the child of God lives after the Spirit (Rom. 8:5), when he submits to the Spirit’s control in his walk. So the disengaging or rendering inoperative of the body of sin is realized progressively, and is in proportion to the amount of time an individual is effectively walking in the Spirit. A person needs to be cautioned against the danger of trying to evaluate how well he is doing in regard to his walk, because it is a walk of faith, not by sight. If one’s focus is on how well he is walking, he is not looking to the Spirit, but to the self (the flesh).
Another benefit of the believer’s being identified with Christ is that he is seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6), and the believer can experience the divine perspective or viewpoint regarding the events and circumstances throughout his earthly walk. He is borrowing that heavenly viewpoint here on the earth as he works through the situations of his daily living.
In I Corinthians 2:16, the divine viewpoint is referred to as having the mind of Christ. In Matthew 6:33, the divine viewpoint is included in seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. In James 3:17, the divine viewpoint is spoken of as the wisdom that is from above. The practical benefit of having the mind of Christ is realized in the believer’s life experience as he reckons himself alive unto God through Jesus Christ, our Lord (Rom. 6:11). The evidence of Christ’s being made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (I Cor.1:30), will also become a living reality in the believer as he appropriates the truth of the presence of Christ within him!
(In the printed edition: Please see Chapter 5, regarding the believer’s Walk in the Spirit, beginning on page 165, for further explanation, and Patterns for Praying – For a Believer Who Realizes His Identification with Christ, p.249, and For the Believer To Walk in the Holy Spirit, p.252.)
Next Week: Chapter Four
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.