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]
“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!” – Ward Brandenstein
FACT 30 – MEMBER IN CHRIST’S BODY
I Corinthians 10:17, For we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.
I Corinthians 12:12,13, For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by (in) one Spirit were we all baptized into one body… and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
I Corinthians 12:27, Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Romans 12:4,5, For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Ephesians 1:17a,22,23, That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory… hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.
Ephesians 2:14,16, For He is our peace, who hath made both (Jew and Gentile) one (the church), and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.
Ephesians 3:3a,6, How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery…That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.
Ephesians 4:4, There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.
Ephesians 4:12, For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:15,16, But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, who is the head, even Christ; From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Ephesians 5:23, For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body.
Ephesians 5:30, For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.
Colossians 1:18, And He is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence.
Colossians 2:17, …but the body is of Christ.
Colossians 2:18,19, Let no man beguile you…intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from whom all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
Colossians 3:15, And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
The truths concerning the body of Christ were given by God to be written in the Scriptures uniquely through the Apostle Paul and will not be found in any New Testament books written by other writers.
There has been a great difference of opinion amongst various church groups as to whether the body is to be taken to mean either the invisible body or the local church as the body. When describing the church as the invisible body, the intent seems to stress that the church is a vital organism consisting of all those individuals since the beginning of the church on the day of Pentecost, continuing until Christ removes the church from the earth at the rapture. This view would focus primarily on the church from the divine viewpoint. Such a view is consistent with the truth that Christ is the head of the body as stated in Colossians 2:19. On the other hand, some believers would emphasize that the placement of the members in the body is to be seen primarily in its practical sense; therefore, their emphasis would be that the local church is the body of Christ. The difficulty with this view is the obvious disparity of not having enough members in a small church to allow Christ to accomplish all that needs to be done in His work throughout the entire world. There is also the reality that in each local church, there is often the situation that the local church may admit someone to its membership without the person’s being truly born again and without divine placement being involved, making the person a member of the local church but not of the body of Christ. Neither of these two views adequately explains the concept of the body of Christ. In I Corinthians 12:13, the Holy Spirit is the person who places the believer in the body of Christ; therefore, the work of the Holy Spirit in placing the believer in the body of Christ is most compatible with the view of the church in its universal aspect throughout the entire church age, but its manifestation may be seen in the local church. Since the book of I Corinthians was written to a local church, some of the members who comprise the body of Christ will be evident there in Corinth, but not all.
The church as the body of Christ fulfils both the divine intent through all believers throughout all time amongst all nations, as well as fulfilling the practical aspect as it is evidenced in the local church. The local church has a direct and important part to play in building up the body of Christ through missionary and discipleship ministries throughout the world. In addition, the influence of the local church under the headship of Christ extends beyond any given time period. Every member of the body of Christ today is directly related to the work of faithful members of previous generations, as well as to those who succeed us. Thus each individual can rejoice and rest in the truth that Christ has a place for him in the body of Christ today, and through walking with the Lord, the individual can discover that place in the body, as well as his accepting those who are serving along with him as equally placed by the Lord, as they, too, walk with Him.
FACT 31 – NEW CREATION
Galatians 6:15, For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature (or literally, creation).
II Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Ephesians 2:10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 4:24, And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Colossians 1:27, 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.
Colossians 3:10, And have put on the new man, that is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.
A new creation refers to the new life principle resulting in the Christian believer’s being something different from what he previously was in Adam. There appears to be a close correlation between the truth that the believer in Christ is a new creation and the truth of Christ’s indwelling the believer with Christ’s life being lived out through him. The new life which Christ lives through the believer may result in a radical transformation in the life of the new believer immediately after his being born again. Other converts may not see such a dramatic change in their living, but may experience a long, arduous journey of growth before much change is evident. Regardless of the degree of difference in individual experiences, the reality of being a new creation in Christ, of having the new man, is equally true for all believers at the time of the new birth. By accepting this truth, the individual can be freed from the feelings of frustration that often come when comparing one’s own life-experience with someone who seems to be doing better. There may be the temptation of one’s rejecting the truth of Scripture because of insufficient proof of change in one’s own experience. The solution is in accepting the Scripture and in being patient through the growth process as one studies the Word and grows in Christ in obedience to the Word. Each person’s growth rate is unique to himself.
FACT 32 – PARTAKER OF THE DIVINE NATURE
I Corinthians 10:17, For we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.
I Peter 4:13, But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
I Peter 5:1, The elders who are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.
II Peter 1:3,4, According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue; By which are given unto us exceedingly great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Hebrews 3:14, For we are made partakers of Christ, if (or, since) we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.
Hebrews 12:9,10, Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.
Being partakers of the divine nature (or, of Christ), raises the level of what happens in the believer at the time of his new birth and identification with Christ from being ego-centric to being Christo-centric. The Father’s chastening is regarded as accomplishing God’s higher purpose of holiness in His children, and suffering is seen as a part of God’s process that results in the believer’s sharing in Christ’s glory throughout eternity to come. Sharing in Christ’s glory becomes a reality at the revelation of Christ in glory at His second advent.
FACT 33 – PERFECTED FOREVER
Hebrews 10:9a,10,12,14, Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. By which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God, For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
God’s will, that His Son should come to offer Himself as the one and only sacrifice for sins, provided everything needed for the salvation of all who trust in Him. Thus, there is nothing the child of God can do or needs to do to be acceptable in God’s presence. Thus, any exhortations to the believer to be perfect (See Matthew 5:48.) are for the benefit of the individual, i.e., for the individual to enjoy the fruit of the perfection already provided through Christ’s offering. When we understand our perfection as it relates to God’s salvation, it affords the believer the benefit of rest because of that finished work of Christ in securing redemption of mankind (Hebrews 4:3,9-11).
FACT 34 – PLACED IN CHRIST
Galatians 3:27, For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
I Corinthians 1:30a, But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus.
I Corinthians 4:15c, For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
I Corinthians 16:24, My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
II Corinthians 1:21, Now He who establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.
II Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature (creation); old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. KJV.
Romans 6:3, Know ye not that, as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?
Romans 8:1a, There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 1:1, Paul…to the saints who are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. (Also Ephesians 2:6)
Philippians 1:1, Paul and Timothy…to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi…
I John 3:24a,b, And He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him.
I John 4:13, By this know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.
I John 5:20, …we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
There are approximately 115 references in the New Testament which use the phrase in Christ, or in Him, or in the Lord. The reality of the believer’s being placed in Christ is inherent in each of the passages cited above. When the truth of being baptized into Christ (See No. 3 above, Baptized in the Spirit, p. 9) is considered, along with the believer’s union with Christ (No. 50, United with Christ, p. 19), we become aware that being in Christ permeates the total life of the believer and has a direct bearing on his “walk” as the Spirit of God leads him. After his salvation, the believer no longer lives his life to himself alone, but lives in view of Christ’s accompanying him in all that he does. Christ’s presence is with him throughout his entire earthly walk.
FACT 35 – PREDESTINED TO CONFORMITY TO CHRIST
Romans 8:29, For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The goal that God has established for His children before they enter His family by means of the new birth is that they are placed on a course the instant they are saved that will, at the end, conform them (or, fill them out) to the exact likeness to God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The reason God has set the believer on such a course is so that Christ and His children will have an identity in character when they stand together before God with Him in glory. On that occasion the word of Hebrews 2:13 will be fully realized, …Behold, I and the children whom God hath given me.
The truth of Christ’s being the firstborn among many brethren refers directly to the fact of the resurrection, inasmuch as Christ was the first one to come forth from death by means of resurrection. By Christ’s resurrection He provides the principle of life by which the Christian lives. (See Romans 8:2,10.)
Next Week: Facts 36+
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.