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Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ
(Of both blood and body aspects)

Ken Walker
June 2002

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Synopsis

If I were now asked to explain the Gospel and full effect of the cross of Jesus Christ,

  • How would I explain it?
  • How would I compare it with traditional descriptions and teachings of the Gospel?

The emphasis on the word now, means that I now have a different view of the Gospel, that view adding to what I already knew, and completing the whole story. I must say right here that this is not some weird made up gospel – 'some other gospel' as Paul puts it – but simply reveals what the Bible says in full. Although I believed I knew the Gospel well, I now consider my previous view somewhat incomplete, partly in knowledge, but mostly in the full application of the doctrine of the cross to my life as God intended.

The title for this study - The Blood and Body Gospel – is indicative of the nature of the study. Further clues as to the use of the title can be taken from the examples of the role of the blood and body of the lamb in the Passover and in the remembrance of Christ in the eating of the bread ( body ) and drinking of the cup ( blood ) in the Lord's supper.

I am going to contend that the blood aspect of the cross (dealing with sins), which is generally taught well in evangelical churches, is incomplete when the body aspect of the cross (dealing with sin) is not also known, taught and lived by believers. In fact, I would contend that it is not possible to live the Christian life from the blood aspect alone, because it only addresses the issue of sins and their forgiveness and does not fully recognize the sin / body aspect on the living of the present life. This leads to all sorts of difficulties such as powerless living, self-effort and the difficulties in having and applying true biblical faith.

I want to also say at the beginning that I did not work all this out myself. Yes, I have searched for a long time, and been down many an endless path. But the Lord, after initially enlightening me Himself, has now graced my life with several others who have guided me through the scriptural principles involved. Also the Holy Spirit has now graciously revealed His truth to my heart – and is still so doing. Fortunately, one of my endless paths had not been so far away from the real and full truth.

Even in this synopsis I must emphasize the vital and fundamental role of the Holy Spirit. In my experience it is quite impossible to understand these things at a knowing level of our spirit, without the Spirit's teaching. Intellectual knowledge alone will not and cannot make these things work in any life. It is only the Holy Spirit that can teach us and bring about the experiential knowing that is required to operate in these ways intended by God.

One caution. I have found these things to come to me in a knowing sense, only via the Holy Spirit. I believe that one may read and study such things intellectually, think we know them and think we live them out, but until such time as the Spirit of God reveals them, then we really do not know them. So I would suggest readers use the study to get to know the information in their mind, then seek and allow the Spirit of God to make it real in their experience. That is one of the aspects of walking by faith. I would advise against any Christian who finds the material is this study to be new or partly new to them – especially the body aspect of the cross, not to attempt to use it to teach others until the Holy Spirit has taught them first. Academic knowledge of such things is pretty useless without the revealing of it to one's heart, heart revelation being needed before one could ever teach it from their heart.

Finally, this study has been written with Christians in mind. This is not to say that unbelievers might not get to understand it with the help of a believer or with the help of the Holy Spirit in prayer. With God, nothing is impossible.

C o n t e n t s

Introduction

  1. What was Paul's experience of ministering the Gospel?
  2. Salvation is full and complete
  3. The blood aspect of the cross.
  4. The body aspect of the cross.
  5. How can this be applied to my life?
  6. Conclusion of basic study
  7. Issues related to this study – in question and answer format

Details of these are at the end of the study.

Introduction

When the prophet Daniel was brought before King Nebuchadnezzar to interpret a dream for the King, he said to Nebuchadnezzar A....there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets.@ (the word mysteries is used in some versions)

Some 650 years later the Apostle Paul wrote of the mystery of the Gospel, one of God's most important mysteries, when he stated,

"the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Col. 1:26-27 (NKJV)

Notice the nature of the mystery. "Christ in you"

He then extended the explanation of the mystery by adding:

"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col. 3:4 (NKJV)

The extended explanation is, "Christ who is our life"

So this mystery has a duality. Christ in us and Christ our life. So Paul was saying that this Christ, whose Spirit had re-birthed us at our regeneration, was actually in us and was our actual life. We (as our old man – old self – the word self used in some modern bibles is both incorrect and misleading – see later discussion) no longer lived. Christ now lived His life in us. Other parts of scripture also indicate that the old man was dead and that this new life of Christ was in us AS our new life.

Galatians 2:20 sums it up even more completely.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Gal. 2:20 (NKJV)

So we can say that: By faith in Jesus, our old life is gone and He lives in us, as our actual life!

To many in the Christian church, from my observations, these teachings remain somewhat of a mystery. To some, these things are more or less ignored and others, whilst they might give a lip service to them in partial understanding, do not know or have not experienced the full practical effect of this teaching in their lives. Still others, whilst they might know something of the principles, have not allowed the Holy Spirit, or cooperated with Him, to bring about the spiritual changes needed. Others still may have intellectually known all the doctrine but not known what to do with it. Knowing and experiencing the ways of the Spirit in these things is essential. The true and full Christian life cannot be lived without it!

The blood aspect of the cross is well known and well taught in most true evangelical churches. We are born again, regenerated, have our sins forgiven, saved from eternal death, justified before God and adopted by Him, receive eternal life, made righteous, reconciled to God, redeemed, sanctified and preserved by God.

But when it comes to being dead to sin, freed from sin, no longer slaves of sin, dead to law, our old man, having been crucified with Christ, the church somehow cannot, and generally does not teach how to apply these biblical facts by faith, as well as they do those relating to being born again – the blood aspect of the cross. Consequently, it does not teach that it is possible to receive the full benefits of the cross that scripture describes. There seem to be very few men and women of faith who have known to stand on all the correct biblical facts long enough for the Spirit of God to work, to make these things known in their personal experience. True biblical faith is required to do that. The church does not seem to teach to allow for the receiving by faith of the full benefits of the cross, which are:

  1. not sinning habitually
  2. being holy and blameless in His sight,
  3. being alive to God through Christ Jesus,
  4. being sons of God,
  5. being led by His Spirit
  6. being the new creatures God intended.

When reading the above points, some readers may consider there to be a conflict between the views expressed and the traditions or 'isms of their own denomination. Be patient! For what is said here is what the Bible itself says and will be fully explained. To avoid or not consider these explanations is to miss out on the full truth of the Gospel, which much of the church has done for centuries.

Dan Stone in his book The Rest of the Gospel, describes the problem new believers face.

"But once we are forgiven we have to start living the life. And we ask, "How do I live this thing out? How do I get my act together? How do I keep from sinning? How do I make it work? What we discover is that the truth that we are forgiven doesn't tell us one thing about how to live the life. It only addresses the question, "What do I do about my sins?" It has nothing to do with living the life." (Stone p 37)

In short, because of that incompleteness, new believers are not able to fully live as though Christ is their life or that Christ is fully within them. For even though they realize that Christ, through the Holy Spirit was their regenerator by His Spirit, they have not yet realized the fullness of Christ that Paul says is the mystery that has now been revealed in New Testament times, after the death and resurrection of Christ.

In my opinion, this not allowing for or properly seeking this available fullness, has led the modern day church to generally not have the experience of the fullness of Christ, as Paul did, as evidenced by his ministry over many years. The modern evangelical church might do a reasonable job with its teachings and activities in relation to being converted, born again and the like, but as for teachings regarding Christ our life and Christ in you, there is a great lack. Hence, the life that God intended for believers is not seen enough, a factor which must sadden Him, limit successful evangelism and more importantly, have partially enabled saints trying to do God's will without the power to do so, for that is the end result of such incomplete knowledge and application.

There are many reasons why this has happened over the centuries. In my opinion, one of the major causes of this deficiency is the incorrect interpretation of Romans 7:14-25 that is taught in many churches. See later explanations. Moreover, Romans is often referred to as the fifth gospel, yet is rarely taught. If it is not taught then how can it be lived? Paul's explanation of how to achieve the fullness he talks of in Romans 8 must be learned intellectually and experientially via some co-operation between man and Holy Spirit. To make the point in another perspective altogether, Martin Luther began the Reformation nearly 500 years ago, by his rediscovery of "the just shall live by faith". It could be argued that, to a very significant degree, the present church does not seem to teach how to operate from the fullness of faith originally intended. In a sense the Reformation has not yet been fully consummated. That is how important this issue appears to be.

The purpose of this study is to reveal what fullness of life through the cross means - and how believers might go about living that way. Believers also need to know these things when they help to birth sinners into the Kingdom of God, and provide the post conversion teaching required. In this study, we will examine both the blood aspect of the cross, but also see exactly what it means to be dead to sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus, dead to the law and led by the Spirit of God, in what I refer to as the body aspect of the cross, where Paul tells us that the body of sin has been done away with by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The question then is – Does the Gospel of Jesus Christ supply all we need to live in the power of the Holy Spirit? Where is a good scriptural example to demonstrate it for us? Obviously Paul is one of the best examples where we can look.

  1. What was Paul's experience of ministering the Gospel?

In the book of Acts, Luke records many of the significant events in the life of Paul. Despite the fact that Paul experienced his share of suffering and persecution, his ministry was as successful as could be imagined. If his record in Acts, is examined it reveals how his knowledge of the Gospel and the outworking of it in his life, enabled him to do things according to the Lord's will. All that he did reveals the fullness of life that can only come from the life of Christ being resident in him, enabling him in so many marvelous ways. Examine the things he did. But first, examine the underpinnings of his ministry, those words which describe the basis for all his fullness, knowledge, wisdom and actions.

Scriptures that underpin Paul's successful and victorious ministry

1.1. The words of Jesus.

That He had come that we (and Paul) might have life more abundantly, or as some versions put it, "have it to the full".

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)

In the Greek, the words "more abundantly" Strongs 4053 Perissos means "exceedingly" "above the greatest abundance" "superabundantly". So it can be seen therefore that the promise of Jesus was for an abundance way beyond normal acceptance. (Zodhiates 1 page 1721)

1.2. Paul's all embracing statement about his life source.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Gal. 2:20 (NKJV)

1.3.Paul asserting both blood and body aspects of the Gospel.

Paul said that both blood and body aspects of the Gospel contributed to the Christian life.

The blood aspect of the Gospel is well know in the church

"Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! " Rom. 5:9 (NIV)

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace " Eph. 1:7 (NIV)

"but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."

1 Pet. 1:19 (NIV)

The body aspect of the Gospel - which is not often mentioned or taught.

"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. " Rom. 6:6-7 (NIV)

Notice – anyone who has died has been freed from sin. As we died with Christ on the Cross we are therefore freed from sin. The remainder of this study will cover these aspects in full.

Also, Paul, when speaking to the Jews in the synagogue at Pisidian, Antioch, spoke this amazing sentence as part of his explanation. Notice that the two aspects of the cross are mentioned – forgiveness of sin (blood) and justified (or freed) from all things ( body)

"Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; And by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." Acts 13:38-39 (NKJV)

The NASB version says the body aspect with even more emphasis,

"and through Him, everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the law of Moses." (NASB)

Of particular interest is being freed from sin – and of law. This is a very important basis of Paul's ability to minister as he did in complete freedom, incorporating the full teaching of Romans 6-8. So how successful was he?

Let us move to particular examples of Paul's successful experience as an apostle. Notice the vast variety of experience and of victorious success. Each of the aspects of Paul's life are supported by scripture.

Scriptures to do with successful or significant aspects of Paul's life.

Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit and with joy.                 Acts 13:52

Paul healed.                                                                  Acts 14:9-10

Paul endured many tribulations.                                      Acts 14:22

Paul preached truth.                                                      Acts 16:14

Paul exorcised evil spirits.                                              Acts 16:18

Paul praised God in difficult circumstances.                     Acts 16:25

Paul's life was a witness.                                               Acts 16:25

Paul was in control of every situation he faced.               Acts 16:31

Paul taught effectively.                                                 Acts 17:11

Paul received personal guidance from the Lord.              Acts 18:9-10, 23:11

Paul performed miracles.                                             Acts 19:11

Paul's words convicted people of their sins.                   Acts 19:18-19

Paul brought people back to life.                                  Acts 20:10

Paul received words of knowledge from the Lord.          Acts 20:23

Paul sacrificed his life for the Gospel.                          Acts 20:24, 21:13

Paul suffered for the Gospel.                                      Acts 21:30, 21:13

Paul was protected by God.                                       Acts 28:5

Paul experienced suffering and persecution. - This one is listed last, for it should be remembered that Paul also experienced suffering and persecution of the highest order. He provides many descriptions of this apparent adversity. However, there is no way that these can be seen as a negative or a detraction from all his positive results, as suffering and persecution are a part of the Lord's will for true believers and are a part of His ways in bringing about successful ministry.

Could any reader propose a more imposing list? What a record that Paul could have put on a resume! But there is much more!! Dozens of other scriptures could be found that highlight the philosophical underpinnings of Paul's beliefs and actions. The weight of the New Testament absolutely asserts that fullness of life is obtained through Christ by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. Paul experienced this for himself, taught others and prayed for them to be established in the Kingdom. The importance of prayer for the Holy Spirit to do the work in believers is spoken of by Paul in this verse.

"My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you," Gal. 4:19 (NKJV)

Truly, his knowledge, commitment and dedication were impressive. No one could argue that he was anything else but successful.

However, as will be seen in later discussion, some interpretations of Romans 7:14-25 would seem to argue against it being possible to have these (fullness of life) achievements that are listed here is his negative experience spoken of here had been permanent. However, Paul would not and could not write Romans 7 and have it conflict with the rest of Scripture. Consequently, these apparent conflicts in relation to Romans 7 that seem to differ with the rest of his positive assertions, must and do have another explanation. There simply cannot be such a contradiction in the Word of God.

2. Salvation is full and complete

What about salvation? Is it all we need, or was Paul just exceptional? We can be reassured that God's salvation is full and complete and offers us exactly what it offered Paul – by faith.

Salvation by and through Jesus Christ has been provided completely, fully, and once and for all. In the Old Testament, some waited for it as did Jacob when he was dying, and Jonah when the Lord rescued him from the belly of the fish.

"I have waited for your salvation, O LORD!" Gen. 49:18 (NKJV)

"But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD."   Jon. 2:9 (NKJV)

In the Old Testament the word salvation came from the Hebrew word Y'shuw 'ah (Strongs 3444) and means a deliverance, help or victory coming from some source outside the oppression. It has the idea of being comfortable and living with no problems. The eternal result of our salvation wil be just like that. (Zodhiates 1 pp 1599)

In the New Testament, they knew from Whom salvation came, how it was obtained and its great value. Peter explained from Whom it came, Paul told Timothy that salvation came through faith and the writer to the Hebrews outlined its great value.

"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 (NKJV)

"..and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Tim. 3:15 (NKJV)

"...how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, Heb. 2:3 (NKJV)

In the New Testament, the word salvation comes from the Greek noun Soteria (Strongs 4991) and has a range of meanings, which include:

1. Deliverance from sin and its spiritual consequences.

2. Being attached to the body of Christ.

3. Admission to eternal life in the Kingdom of God – both now and future.

4. Freedom from sin as a present power.

5. Deliverance from the pollution of sin itself.

6. The believer's union with Christ.

7. The believer becoming a new creature.

8. Being reconciled to God.

9. Entering a new spiritual life of righteousness, peace and joy . (Zodhiates 2 pp 1360-1362)

To understand the full meaning of the word, the use of the verb for salvation is saved (sozo – Strongs 4982) is useful. To save – to sozo – means to:

10. Be delivered, make whole and preserve, in terms of both physical and spiritual life.

11. Be delivered from eternal death, sin, punishment and misery.

12. Receive a spiritual life of a new nature from God.

13. Be freed from the power of sin (even whilst enduring its presence on earth). Zodhiates 2 pp 1353-1356)

From the explanation of these Hebrew and Greek words we can see that salvation is something that is very complete – there is nothing missing – everything has been provided. So, if everything has been provided, then why do we not see Christians living in this fullness, instead of making it such the struggle it appears to be. Has God slipped up? Or have we?

To be saved or have God's salvation must result in a real change in the person. Elisabeth Elliot puts it this way.

"To be saved requires a severance from the former life as clean and sharp as though made by a knife. There must be a wall of separation between the old life and the new, a radical break. That means death, death to the old life, in order for the new one to begin. .....So my decision to receive Him, although made once, I must affirm in thousands of ways, through thousands of choices, for the rest of my life....It is no to myself and yes to Him. This continual affirmation is usually made in small things, inconveniences, unselfish giving up of preferences, yielding gracefully to the wishes of others, without playing the martyr, learning to close doors quietly and turn the volume down on music we would love to play loudly – sufferings they may be, but only small sized ones. We may think of them as little deaths. (Elliot pp 26-27)

And again.

"My once in a life time choice must be followed by moment-by-moment choices to do things His way or mine. I must accept not just 'salvation', meaning a free ticket to heaven, but His sovereign lordship of my life, His will ( which often cuts across mine). (Elliot pp 140)

It is my observation is that it is not generally realized that the old life is actually dead, and because of this, many Christians are not able to do things the Lord's way. This point is covered fully when the blood aspect of the cross is explained later in this study.

So let us now look in detail at all that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ provided for mankind. Firstly, let us look at the familiar aspect, the blood aspect of the cross, where our sins are forgiven and we receive the promise of eternal life.

3.  The blood aspect of the cross.

The most typical gospel sermon or teaching deals with the blood aspect of the cross. The chart following summarizes all the aspects of what the Bible teaches about these things.

What happens to the repentant sinner

Forgiveness of sins

(This is from the blood aspect of cross)

Long term viewpoint - eternal life from now into eternity.

 

We are saved from eternal
death by Jesus

 

Acts 4:10-12, Matt 1:21, 1 Thess 5:9

 

We are regenerated

 

Titus 3: 5-6

 

We are born again

 

John 3:3, 1 John 5:1,

1 Peter 1:23

 

We receive eternal life

 

John 3:15-16, John 3:36

 

We are made righteous

 

Phil 3:7-9

 

Our soul is converted.

 

Matt 18:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17

Acts 3:19-20, James 5:20,

 

We are adopted by God

 

Gal 4:4-5, John 1:12

 

We are reconciled to God

 

Eph 2:16, Rom 5:10-11, Col 1:20-22

 

Our sins are forgiven

 

Acts 10:43, Hebrews 9:22

 

We are justified before God

 

Romans 5:1

 

We are set apart for God - sanctified.

 

1 Thess 4:3, 1 Cor 1:2

 

We are redeemed by God – by the blood of Jesus Christ

 

1 Peter 1:18-19, Gal 3:13

Romans 5:9, Eph 1:7

 

We are preserved by God

 

1 Thess 5:23, Jude 1

 

Later, we will be glorified

 

1 Cor 15:51-52, Romans 8:30

 3.1 Explanation of the blood aspect of the cross.

We will deal with each of these of these aspects of the blood aspect of the cross, by asking a range of questions, which will then be answered in terms of the scriptures provided. This aspect of the cross makes provision for our sins. (plural)

3.1.1. Who saves us – and from what?

"let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. .....Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:10, 12 (NKJV)

"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Matt. 1:21 (NKJV)

"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ...."1 Thess. 5:9 (NKJV)

Jesus Christ is the One who saves and that He will save us from our sins if we repent and believe in what Jesus has done for us.

3.1.2. What is the process by which we are saved?

"not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, Titus 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Our salvation comes through the Holy Spirit, by His washing of us in a process called regeneration.We are made new.
As scripture says elsewhere –

The old has gone and the new has come.

Notice also that it is not our own works that save us,

but His regeneration based on His mercy.

3.1.3. What do we call this new state?

"Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 (NKJV)

"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him." 1 John 5:1 (NKJV)

" having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever..." 1 Pet. 1:23 (NKJV)

It is called being born again, but notice also – born of God.

3.1.4. What are our future prospects?

"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. John 3:16 (NKJV)

"that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:15 (NKJV)

"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

John 3:36 (NKJV)

We now have everlasting or eternal life.

3.1.5. What is our new state and outlook on life?

"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 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 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith..." Phil. 3:7-9 (NKJV)

Our new state is that we have righteousness from God.

Our new outlook on life is that we now view knowing Christ

as being more important than anything else in life.

3.1.6 What is the new state of our soul?

"and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 18:3 (NKJV)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord..." Acts 3:19 (NKJV)

"let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins."

James 5:20 (NKJV)

Our soul has been saved from eternal death, by being renewed (or converted).

Because of this, our sins are blotted out and we are refreshed.


3.1.7 Who do we belong to now?

"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Gal. 4:4-5 (NKJV)

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12-13 (NKJV)

We are now sons of the living God – and children of God.


3.1.8 What is the status of our relationship with God?

"..and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity." Eph. 2:16 (NKJV)

"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation." Rom. 5:10-11 (NKJV)

"...and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight" Col. 1:20-22 (NKJV)

We are now reconciled with God, Who considers us holy and blameless.

3.1.9. What is the status of our former sins?

"To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43 (NKJV)

"And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission." Heb. 9:22 (NKJV)

Our sins are remitted (forgiven) because of the payment of Christ's shed blood.

We are purified by His shed blood.

3.1.10 What is our standing before God?

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 5:1 (NKJV)

We are justified before God, just as if we had never sinned.

3.1.11 What else have we received?

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 1 Thess. 4:3 (NKJV)

"To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours" 1 Cor. 1:2 (NKJV)

We are sanctified or set apart for God's purposes, called to be saints of God.

3.1.12 How did we come to belong to God?

"knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your father, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 Pet. 1:18-19 (NKJV)

"Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Rom. 5:9 (NKJV)

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace " Eph. 1:7 (NKJV)

"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree")" (Gal. 3:13 (NKJV)

We were redeemed or purchased by God,

redemption being possible because He shed His blood for us.

We were redeemed from our sinful conduct and from the curse of the law.

3.1.13 Who now looks after us?

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. " 1 Thess. 5:23 (NKJV

"Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: (Jude 1:1 (NKJV)

We are preserved by the members of the trinity.

3.1.14. What shall be our final state?

"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Cor. 15:51-52 (NKJV)

"Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." Rom. 8:30 (NKJV)

We will be raised incorruptible and will be glorified.

Let us now summarize all these aspects of benefit of Christ shedding His blood.

3.2 How the believer benefits from the blood aspect of the cross – a summary

  • Jesus Christ is the One who saves. He will save us from our sins.
  • Our salvation comes via the Holy Spirit, by His washing of us in a process called regeneration. We are made new. The old has gone and the new has come. Notice also that it is not our own works that save us, but His regeneration based on His mercy.
  • Our new state is being born again, also referred to as born of God.
  • We shall now have everlasting (eternal) life.
  • Our new moral state is that we now have righteousness from God. Our new outlook on life is that we now view knowing Christ as more important than anything else in life.
  • Our soul has been saved from eternal death, by being renewed or converted. Because of this our sins are blotted out and we are refreshed.
  • We are now sons of the living God – and children of God.
  • We are now reconciled with God, Who considers us holy and blameless.
  • Our sins are remitted or forgiven because of the payment of Christ's shed blood.
  • We have been purified by His shed blood.
  • We are justified before God, just as if we had never sinned.
  • We are sanctified (or set apart) for God's purposes, called to be saints of God.
  • We are redeemed (or purchased) by God, the redemption being possible because He shed His blood for us. We were redeemed from our sinful conduct and from the curse of the law.
  • We are preserved by the trinity.
  • We will be raised incorruptible and will be glorified.

All this can be received by faith in the Son of God – Jesus Christ.

What a wonderful summary of the incredible benefit for the sinner who repents and believes in Jesus Christ – and this is only a part of the story.

3.2. Comments on the blood aspect of the cross

True evangelical believers would have little trouble in recognizing and accepting all these elements as relating to the (familiar) blood aspect of the cross. However, for some believers it might appear to represent the entire gospel of Jesus Christ. They might think that this is all there is to the Gospel!

Remember, at the beginning of this study, I asked the question:

If I were now asked to explain the Gospel and full effect of the cross of Jesus Christ,

  • How would I explain it?
  • How would I compare it with traditional descriptions and teachings of the Gospel?

How would I explain it? Those details are still to come in later parts of this study.

How would I compare it to traditional descriptions and teachings of the Gospel can now begin to be answered. To many, the blood aspect of the cross is all they have been taught and all they know. What I have provided here in (3.1) is the traditional description and teaching of the cross. It is terrific and wonderful news – the good news of the Gospel. Without this aspect of the cross, people would not know and understand that their sins have been forgiven and that they have received eternal life. However, if that is all they know and experience, they will never know the fullness of life experience and freedom that is possible through Christ.

Can I suggest you look back over the benefits of the blood aspect of the cross and see which ones of them, if any, actually help you live the life without sin dogging you. If they were all you had, then consider what protection you would have against sin – and sinning? I believe that the Lord had far more in mind than just reconciling with a previously lost sinner, bringing him into newness of life and all the other things mentioned in 3.1. The Lord also made provision to have our old life crucified (at the cross) and replaced with a new life (coming from the body aspect of the cross). Although the blood aspect of the cross provides the initial benefits of this type, especially in regeneration and in forgiveness of sin, this is quite inadequate in order to receive the fullness of the power of the life of the risen Lord for our life here on earth.

My own experience as a Christian had me wondering if I could be doing anything wrong when my relatively ordered life and confession according to 1 John 1:9 did not seem to bring the fullness of life and peace that other parts of scripture suggested should be the norm for the believer. It was not until a friend took me through Romans 6, some 15 years ago and showed me that when Christ died, I also died, and that since my conversion the Bible actually said I had been freed from sin. That knowledge in itself, although it stood me in good stead was insufficient to bring the fullness promised, and for me, some level of frustration still existed until these present studies began, although I can now see how the Lord has been continually revealing these truths to me. When I started to consider the things in this study, my heart leapt because it understood, even though intellectual understanding took much longer. It would be my suggestion that you remember that for yourself, for God needs time to make these things understandable to our human minds, through the communication of His Holy Spirit with our spirit.

I have also observed many friends and acquaintances who, despite their best and wonderful efforts, believe they always seem to fall short of what they think should be possible. Some in fact think they are failures, even to the extent of doubting their salvation. So I believe these truths are something really special and worth the time and effort to persevere until the Lord reveals the truth.

3.4. Faith! The application of it to this blood aspect of the cross

How does one gain the advantage of the blood aspect of the cross? By faith! Do you remember when you first believed and trusted in the promises of God that said that if you repented of your sin and believed in what Jesus Christ had done for you, you would be saved? To be born again, this is all you have to do – repent and believe. Regeneration is not available if you do not repent or if you do not believe, or if you do not trust in what God has said in His Word. Jesus said that without faith we get nothing. So, simple faith is what is needed to receive full benefit from this aspect of the cross. However, Paul says that this simple faith needs to be expressed from our mouth, as an indication of our belief in what Christ has done for us to make our salvation possible. He advises us in the following verses.

"if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Rom. 10:9-10 (NKJV)

Without these words or expressions of faith, nothing happens. The Spirit of God has convicted us of our sin, we have heard the promises of God that He will forgive if we repent of our sins and we are desperate for the salvation He offers. So to escape the wrath of God and receive His forgiveness, we confess from our mouth the beliefs of our heart - and we then receive His salvation.

However, my own experience and the experience of most new believers making a confession of faith is that they are only aware of the confessing of their sins (in particular the sin of not previously knowing and accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour) and being free from the guilt of their sin, and experiencing that as an emotional freedom emanating from the spiritual realm. They normally still know nothing of the freedom from their (future) sin or from the law, nor of being led by the Spirit of God. Many in fact make a new law out of the considerable guidance given in the New Testament as to how to live the Christian life, trying to use the ink words on the page – to live by those words – which results in self effort, rather than the Spirit of God within to control their life. Sometimes 1 John 1:9 is (correctly) provided and taught as a key verse from which relief can be gained by confession of any sinful behaviour that might occur in their life. This is correct teaching but quite incomplete, as later parts of this study will reveal.

As faith is the key to opening up these truths, there will be much more discussion on it later in the study after the body aspect of the cross has been introduced and explained. Faith is perhaps even more important in dealing with the body aspect of the cross.

4. The body aspect of the cross

We now move to the more difficult, less known and less understood part of scripture, which I am referring to as the body aspect of the cross.

In some circles this would be quite controversial. However, I am not concerned about that for as all this information is in scripture, it must be there for good doctrinal and practical reasons, even though some divisions of Christendom and some of the Christian "ism's" and traditions might disagree, that is between them and the Lord.

I recognize that it is a difficult thing to be confronted with doctrines which go against what one has been taught and has practiced for many a year. I have twice experienced major changes in doctrine, which at initial hearing of them, I scoffed and did not see the point of even looking at them. That is a major problem for anyone who believes they know it all. Only God knows it all and we should be like the Bereans and see what the Bible says about these things. Temporarily at least, we should put aside our traditions and "ism's that might prevent us from finding out real truth.

Consequently, don't believe a word of what you see here in this study. Having been guided into these ideas, go to the Bible, and then to the Spirit of God over a long period, to see if these things are true. For my part I took nearly a year to get to an initial acceptance of them and am continuing in study and following the guidance of the Lord Who wrote all the relevant scriptures through His Spirit. All readers should consider these things carefully.

How the Lord enables us

 to live for Him

Freedom from sin

(This is from the body aspect of the cross)

Short term viewpoint - living in fullness here on earth

We are dead to sin.

We are no longer slaves to sin.

Romans 6:2 and 6:11

Romans 6:18, Romans 8:15

We have been freed from sin. Sin shall not be master over us.

Romans 6:7

Romans 6:14

We do not sin habitually.  If we do sin it can be confessed.

1 John 3:6, 9, 5:18

1 John 1:8-9.

Our old man (old self) has been crucified with Christ.

Romans 6:6, Gal 5:24

2 Corinthians 5:17

Our body of sin has been done away with.

Romans 6:6

We are holy and blameless in his sight.

Ephesians 1:4

We are alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Romans 6: 11, Romans 8:11

We are slaves to righteousness and to God.

Romans 6:18, Romans 6:22

We are dead to the law. We are not under law but under grace.

Romans 7:6

Romans 6:14

We are free from the law of sin & death. We live by the Spirit of life.

Romans 8:2

We are sons of God and led by His Spirit.

Romans 8:14

Christ lives in us.

Christ is our life.

Colossians 1:27, 3:4

Galations 2:20

4.1. Explanation of the body aspect of the cross

We will now deal with this most important and vital part of this study, by asking another range of questions which will then be answered in terms of the scriptures provided. This aspect of the cross makes provision for sin. (singular) This is quite different to the blood aspect of the cross which dealt with our sins. (plural)

4.1.1 What provision has God made for sin to be overcome?

".....How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" Rom. 6:2 (NKJV)

"Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. 6:11 (NKJV)

"And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." Rom. 6:18 (NKJV)

"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." Rom. 8:15 (NKJV)

He has set us free from sin, by having us die to it with Jesus on the cross.

He has given us His Spirit to use to rule our lives.

4.1.2. What relationship do we now have to sin?

"For he who has died has been freed from sin. Rom. 6:7 (NKJV)

"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Rom. 6:14 (NKJV)

We are freed from it. Sin cannot have dominion over us.

We live in God's grace.

4.1.3. Do we still sin?

"Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him." 1 John 3:6 (NKJV)

"Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God." 1 John 3:9 (NKJV)

"We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him." 1 John 5:18 (NKJV)

However, if we do sin incidentally, God has made provision

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9 (NKJV)

Christians do not sin habitually – as we are dead to it.

However if we do incidentally sin we can confess it

to receive forgiveness and cleansing.

4.1.4. What has happened to our old man (old self)? What takes his place?

"...knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. " Rom. 6:6 (NKJV)

"And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. " Gal. 5:24 (NKJV)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Cor. 5:17 (NKJV)

Our old man (old nature – old self – our flesh) was crucified with Christ.

We are created anew by God.

A necessary diversion into the meaning of some Greek words.

Care has to be taken with some of the words in these last few verses, otherwise wrong interpretations of words can emerge and cause misunderstanding, which can mislead as to what is being said. The words "old man" are a case in point. In some Bibles these words appear as "old self". Have you heard of the terminology "dying to self"? As you will see both here and later on in this study, these words have been known to cause confusion. If our old man (or old self) is dead, then how can there be any more dying to self as some propose? More on this later. Here are the meanings of these words from the Greek.

Old, from the Greek palaios, Strongs 3820. Old here means, "the sinful and unregenerate self previous to salvation. ( standing in contrast to Kainos, meaning qualitatively new, regenerate man. (Zodhiates 1 pp 1090)

Man, from the Greek anthropos, Strong's 444. Man here means, "a human person with human infirmity and imperfection, when contrasted with God. The old man means man with the former un-renewed disposition of heart. (Zodhiates 1 pp 180)

In Bibles where the word self is used instead of man, the meaning is still the same. Our old man or old self is dead, crucified on the cross with Christ. When we are regenerated we immediately have the benefit of our old man (old self) being dead. No more dying to self is either required or is possible.

Please Note! The word "self" is not a common biblical word in the original Greek. I have done some research with my King James Bible resources, which is the only Bible where I have all the Greek derivations. In the KJV NT the word self is only used 5 times and never in relation to the "old man" as usage in modern bibles tends to be. These 5 usages are in John 5:30, John 17:5, 1 Corinthians 4:3, Philemon 1:19 and 1 Peter 2:24. In those verses the range of Greek words is only three. The words are Strong's 4572 seautou (a reflexive pronoun), Strong's 1683 emautou (reflexive pronoun), Strong's 848 hautou . All these word meanings seem to be along the lines of – of thyself, to thyself, myself, to myself, of myself, himself, herself, itself. (Zodhiates 2 pp 1283, 573, 294)

Never do they relate to being the state of that self, whether unregenerate, or newly regenerate as the original words used "old man" do so state. It would appear that most modern translations (NKJV excepted) may well have changed the meaning of the text by using the word "self". In common usage the word self is a noun, which not only changes the word form from the original Greek, but also the meaning. One can easily see the confusion and misinterpretation that has resulted.

Flesh, from the Greek sarx, Strong's 4561. Sarx is derived from sarkikos 4559, meaning fleshly, pertaining to flesh, carnal, sensual, with proneness to satisfy the desires of the flesh. Flesh (4561) here implies sinfulness, proneness to sin, the seat of carnal appetites and desires, of sinful passions and affections whether physical or moral. (Zodhiates 1 pp 1280)

More on flesh. Earle adds to this description of sarx. "Paul uses the word sarx in two distinct ways. He uses it as a classical Greek word where it refers to flesh in the sense of the physical body. However, sarx is not synonymous with soma (physical body) From the very context it is obvious that Paul does not mean the physical body in this verse of Romans 6:6." Its other very significant use by Paul (says Earle) is that, "the flesh would seem to be interchangeable with the old man. However, this cannot be as the flesh (sarx) and the old man are quite different. The old man is dead but the flesh continues to strive against the Spirit as in Galatians 5.

Body (of sin), from the Greek soma, Strong's 4983, here means," believers physical body before salvation, possessed or dominated and controlled by the sinful nature. In simpler terms, the "body of sin" means the sinful nature. Theologians mostly do not allow for this body of sin to be destroyed, but that the believer is delivered from its power, whilst at the same time, the nature itself is left in him permanently. So for the body of sin "to be done away with" renders it idle, inactive, inoperative, reduced to a position of absolute impotence....as if it were dead Where the word destroyed is used instead of "done away with", it is not the body that is destroyed but the body as the seat of sin. (Earle pp 166)

The study of other Greek words and their meaning will be added as they are found to be useful to understanding these things.

4.1.5 What happened to our body of sin?

"...knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. " Rom. 6:6 (NKJV)

We cannot now be slaves to sin, as our body of sin has been done away with.

See discussion above in 4.1.4 for full discussion on this body of sin

and what happened to it.

4.1.6. How does God now view us?

"..just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love..." Eph. 1:4 (NKJV)

God now sees us as holy and blameless before him........in love.

4.1.7. Who is the source of our new life?

"Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. 6:11 (NKJV)

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.: Rom. 8:11 (NKJV)

We are now alive to God through receiving the Spirit of God.

4.1.8. To whom are we now slaves?

"And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. " Rom. 6:18 (NKJV)

"But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life." Rom. 6:22 (NKJV)

Having been set free from the law of sin and death

we can now consider ourselves slaves (servants) of God.


4.1.9. What is our relationship to the law?

"But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." Rom. 7:6 (NKJV)

"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." Rom. 6:14 (NKJV)

We have been delivered from the law.

The law has dominion over us no more.

4.1.10.What is our new relationship to death?

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. " Rom. 8:2 (NKJV)

Christ defeated death, so we share with Him in freedom from it.

We will be resurrected.

4.1.11 .Who are we and who leads us?

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Cor. 5:17 (NKJV)

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. " Rom. 8:14 (NKJV)

We are new creations, sons of God and led by His Spirit.

4.1.11.Who is the source of our life?

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. " Gal. 2:20 (NKJV)

"To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. " Col. 1:27 (NKJV)

"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." Col. 3:4 (NKJV)

We no longer live. Christ lives in us. Christ is our life.

All this by our faith in the Son of God.

Let us now summarize all these aspects whereby we benefit from the dying of the body of Christ.

4.2. How the believer benefits from the body aspect of the cross – a summary

  1. He has set us free from sin, by having us die with Jesus on the cross.
  2. He has given us His Spirit to use to rule our lives.
  3. We are freed from sin. Sin cannot have dominion over us.
  4. We live in God's grace.
  5. Christians do not sin habitually – as we are dead to it.
  6. However, if we do incidentally sin we can confess it and receive cleansing.
  7. Our old man (old nature – old self – our flesh) was crucified with Christ.
  8. We are created anew by God.
  9. We cannot now be slaves to sin, as our body of sin has been done away with.
  10. God now sees us as holy and blameless before him........in love.
  11. We are now alive to God through receiving the Spirit of God.
  12. Having been set free from the law of sin and death we can now consider ourselves slaves (servants) of God.
  13. We have been delivered from the law and the law has dominion over us no more.
  14. Christ defeated death, so we share with Him in freedom from it. We will be resurrected.
  15. We are new creations, sons of God and led by His Spirit.
  16. We no longer live. Christ lives in us. Christ is our life.

All this can be received by faith

in the Son of God – Jesus Christ.

4.3. Comments on the body aspect of the cross

The incredible benefits derived from the blood aspect of the cross listed earlier in 3.1 are quite profound, as they change the status of a sinner to a saint, providing regeneration, eternal life and salvation from eternal death, amongst many other wonderful benefits as the sinner becomes a son of the living God. This has enabled sinners to cross over from death to life, to change from the power of Satan to the power of God and receive forgiveness of sins. Moreover, they have changed from children of wrath, to children of God, from being sons of disobedience to obedient children. Wonderful incredible benefits which humankind could never achieve without God!

But now we have something at least as great. We have freedom from sin. Imagine it! And why don't we sin habitually? Because we are dead to it! We no longer have inbuilt mechanisms with the propensity to sin habitually. We are dead to sin because our old man was crucified with Christ. We have been dead to sin since we were born again and took on board the full benefits of the cross of Christ. If we do sin incidentally, we are cleansed by our confession. Not only is the negative gone but we also have the positive. We are now alive to God through Christ Jesus having received the Spirit of God in all His fullness. So we are new creations, with Christ living in us. Christ is now our life. We no longer live, but Christ lives in us. Not only that, but we are also freed from the dictates of the law and are led in our lives by the Holy Spirit of God.

What began with the cleansing of the blood of Christ to receive forgiveness, reconciliation and eternal life, now includes the replacement life of Christ to exclude habitual sin from us. We received what we needed to begin the Christian life but also to receive the changed conditions in our beings that make it possible to live the life on earth as Christ intended. Without receiving the benefits of the body aspect of the cross, we do not have the power to live the life for which God provided. This body aspect of the cross was a significant part of the total package all Christians need to live in the fullness that scripture describes.

4.3.1. Blood and Body at Passover

The reader should also be reminded of the importance of both the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Here are two other scriptural references to both body and blood. The first one comes from the Passover at the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. I will now quote an excellent summary of this from Dan Stone's book.

"So he (God) instructed each household, after they had smeared the blood of the lamb on the doorposts, to roast the lamb and eat it as nourishment for the upcoming journey. That's the body side of the cross. You take the lamb (Christ) into you as life. God is showing us here that the lamb they had used for blood on the doorpost was the same lamb they ate for the journey. In other words, everything that is necessary for life comes from the lamb...The lamb is the total answer. The lamb that gave its blood for them also gave its life to them. They took its meat into them, and that became their nourishment, strength and vitality for the journey. They lived their life out of the lamb's life.... They killed the lamb for two purposes: for the Passover and for the walk." (Stone pp 57-58)

4.3.2. Blood and Body in Lord's supper

The second is that Jesus said that we should remember Him by reference to both His body and His blood. Paul reminds us of His words.

"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, £"Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." 1 Cor. 11:23-26 (NKJV)

The person or church that does not fully consider the effects of both body and blood will not understand and will not incorporate the full gospel of Jesus Christ into their life.

4.3.3. The two fold message of the cross

About 100 years ago, Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis was a prolific writer concerning the cross. In her book The Cross of Calvary, she includes a chapter called The two fold message of the cross. In this chapter she talks of both the peace that comes through the blood of the cross and the reconciliation to God in the body of Christ through death.

"The message of "peace through the blood of His Cross" and reconciliation to God in the body of Christ through His death, therefore includes deliverance from the power, as well as the guilt of sin....... the deliverance from the bondage of sin, together with the remission of past sins." ( The Cross of Calvary p24)

She then refers to apostolic times, how they preached what the church does not now preach.

"...incalculable loss has come to the church of God by the severance of these two aspects of the Word of the Cross, in the proclamation of the Gospel of Calvary. Moreover, deliverance from the power of sin was manifestly not taught by Paul as an advanced experience, for when he wrote to the converts in Rome he seemed to speak of the death with Christ as an elementary stage of experience... for their fellowship with Christ's death was the only basis upon which they could realize the newness of life in Him" (The Cross of Calvary p 25)

In the context of this study, we can see that whilst Mrs. Penn-Lewis fully acknowledges that the blood aspect of the cross brings peace and reconciliation, she also proclaims that there is a further factor, which delivers from the power of sin. Whilst she does not actually name this second factor, it is fairly obvious that it can only be the body death of Christ and its use by God in delivering from the power of sin. She also refers to this aspect of the Cross in another book.

4.3.4. The Cross and the Blood.

Jessie Penn-Lewis also wrote on a comparison of the cross and the blood in her book, The Cross – The touchstone of faith. She asks the question,

"What was the difference between asking for the "full power of the blood" and the "full power of the victory won over Satan...on Calvary." From the experience of ministering to large numbers of people who could not gain the victory, she claimed, ".....there are various aspects of the cross which meet the Christian's need, and the difference between claiming the "power of the blood" and "all that Calvary means". (The Cross – the touchstone of faith p 15)

She further points out that,

"The power of the blood does not deal with the flesh.... The flesh or old Adam life cannot be cleansed – it must be crucified. "". (The Cross – the touchstone of faith p 16) Which is, "the normal position of every believer....God consigns the old fallen Adam to the Cross and has nothing more to say to him. (The Cross – the touchstone of faith p 17)

Also that:

"...children of God (sometimes) ignorantly claim the "shelter of the blood" upon the uncrucified flesh"! Without experiential knowledge of the crucifying power of the cross....that it is now crucified and out of action the "flesh" is not dealt with, but remains actively existent and open to the workings of the spirits of evil, even whilst the believer is claiming the "shelter of the blood". It cannot be said too strongly that the precious blood of Christ was not meant to shelter the uncrucified flesh. God does not promise to shield or defend by the blood of His son, what He has condemned to death in the death of His son.....the blood continually cleansing is only for the believer who walks in the light as God is in the light, as per 1 John 1:7...... The sixth of Romans is not an aspect of truth, but the foundation truth upon which every believer must stand, to know anything about victory." (The Cross – the touchstone of faith pp 17-18)

One very important comment must be made about this part of the above quotation. ( ie Without experiential knowledge of the crucifying power of the cross....that it is now crucified and out of action the "flesh" is not dealt with, but remains actively existent and open to the workings of the spirits of evil, even whilst the believer is claiming the "shelter of the blood".)

In effect she seems to be saying here that believers who have not yet realized the experience of the crucifying power of the cross, will be still somewhat open to the effects of some demonic activity, even if they are saved. This is because God did not intend that new believers benefit from just a part of what Jesus did on the cross but requires them to benefit fully from the spilt blood and His death and resurrection. That would then mean that if a believers faith does not allow for the experience of actual death of the old man, then the full resurrection life cannot be had either. Consequently, believers covered by the blood would not be sheltered from their uncrucified flesh. It also would seem likely that as a consequence of this point, that believers who are not attacked by the demonic realm, will nevertheless find that their own flesh will lead them into some normal sinful behaviour, until such time as they can experience the crucifying power of the cross and the resurrection life that can result – all and only by faith. The critical issue for each believer then is – how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to bring about the desired state. Other parts of this study address this issue.

She then reminds us that:

"....there is also a life side to the sixth of Romans, the resurrection side.....where death has no more dominion. The negative side of "death" should not be dwelt upon to the exclusion of the positive life side of union with Christ.......the believer has to reckon he has died – not that he is going to die." (The Cross – the touchstone of faith p 19)

As the reader will be able to see by her words, the power of the blood does not deal with the flesh, which must be dealt a death blow - which for believers has been done on the cross. Again, this fits with the rest of this study which claims that both blood and body aspects of the cross must be appropriated and experienced before any believer comes into full victory.

4.4. The application of faith to this body aspect of the cross

Do you remember how we said one gains the benefits of the blood aspect of the cross? By faith! Simple faith was what was needed to receive full benefit from that aspect of the cross. So too with this body aspect of the cross. It is by faith that the complete benefits of (4.2) are received from the Lord as He does His work in response to our standing in faith that these things are true, despite our apparent overt inability to be the way that scripture says – dead to sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

A reminder is needed here that full salvation is the result of the shedding of Christ's blood, BUT ALSO OF His body death. Salvation is not just being regenerated and receiving eternal life. It also means being enabled to live the fullness on earth. Many, if not most descriptions and teachings about salvation do not include this - with disastrous consequences. People are not taught about the body aspect of the cross and how to act in faith on those beliefs - that freedom from sin and law are possible. We need to know that in order to really get to know what the Christian life is all about. Without this knowledge, they become quite content with the limited version of provision of fullness of life and going to heaven.

Scripture is quite clear that we should reign in life on earth in all its fullness.

"For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)" Rom. 5:17 (NKJV)

We cannot reign in life until the Lord has brought His own death and resurrection life into our own beings, by the power that only He has. Scripture says that we are saved by His life. We first need to know this and then wait in faith as the Lord applies it to our life. If we don't know it in our spirits, we cannot wait in faith.

"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Rom. 5:10 (NKJV)

Not only are we saved by His life, He is our life. Our old life has gone and His life has replaced ours.

"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.@ Col. 3:4 (NKJV)

The life of Christ Himself is now within us as our very life. For us to live is Christ as Philippians says.

"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Phil. 1:21 (NKJV)

Without the full realization and acceptance of the life of Christ within us, we cannot live in fullness of life on earth. This must be and can only be achieved by faith in what Christ has done. We mentioned earlier that it was confession of faith by our words that brought salvation to us by the grace of God. All believers have experienced that in some form or another. Remember the verses from Romans!

"if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Rom. 10:9-10 (NKJV)

If I were now called upon to humanly assist to lead someone to the Lord by making a confession of faith, I would now teach and advise them to include confessions of belief in relation to them being dead to sin, alive to God through Christ Jesus, dead to law and being led of the Spirit of God.

We could add for example:

I am dead to sin.

I am alive to God through Christ Jesus.

I am dead to the law.

I am a son of God and led by the Spirit of God.

For present day believers who have never known these things and never confessed them in faith, this can be done at any time. However, you should know that the Lord is the only judge of how and when He brings about a manifestation of the witness of these truths in our lives. Norman Grubb once told the story that after his wife and he had made their confession of these things on the body aspect of the cross, it took two years before he had the witness of the Spirit that God had acted. During that time he maintained his confession of faith. His wife however, received this witness of the Spirit in just two weeks. Others with whom I have contact, also tell of various lengths of time, some of them telling of many years before "the penny dropped".

My own experience may be of some interest. Late in 1999, after many years of study (not perfectly directed) on the cross and its full meaning to Christianity, I came across what I now see as well themed and directed teaching on Romans 5-8 as well as single verses in Paul's other writings – Galatians 2:20, Colossians 1:26-27, 3:4 and related verses, all these being included in this study. I knew immediately that it was true, even though I did not yet understand it intellectually. That took many months of intensive study with help from others who had walked down that path before me. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, truth about previously obscure bible verses began to emerge. Suddenly I realized that the Holy Spirit was indeed teaching me more of His truth. And so the fullness of truth built up and began to be just a normal part of life. I found I needed to be aware of always affirming my faith for current things and any new direction. That is all any one of us has to do. Faith is the doorway. God does the rest.

The witness of the Spirit does come as promised. The Bible teaches that the witness of the Spirit comes for the simple basics of the faith, such as:

"If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son." He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself;.. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." 1 John 5:9-12 (NKJV)

"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,.." Rom. 8:16 (NKJV)

"...the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us." 1 John 1:2 (NKJV)

Just as the witness of the Spirit comes for these simpler things in relation to the blood aspect of the cross, so it also comes with the deeper things of the body aspect of the cross. We get to learn to see that we do not sin habitually and that the Lord has indeed brought to death some aspects of earlier poor behaviour. We did not know that before – now we do! Also, that we do not need to slavishly follow laws and traditions, for the Spirit Himself provides far better and more accurate guidance as to what we should be doing day by day, even hour by hour, or in lesser periods of God's time.

Although I am much stronger in faith at this time, I can still sometimes fall back into unbelief or fear for short periods of time, until either the Lord sovereignly delivers me out of it, or I remind myself of Who the Lord is, and what He has done for me, and for everyone who chooses to believe these things. In effect, this is standing in faith – perhaps in the dark of persecution or trouble, as I await the Lord's deliverance. So far, it has been the most powerful and meaningful experience of my life and will continue to be so, as I live, write, teach and intercede for others to whom the Lord directs my attention.

Something more needs to be said about this process where the Lord responds to our faith, whilst also, in His sovereignty, bringing about circumstances where our faith is put to the test. Walking in real faith is a very active process, which brings all forms of changes and surprises in life, some pleasing and some we would prefer had not happened, especially if we think something that is happening is really someone else's fault. Normally it is something brought by the Lord for proving that our old self, our old man, is in fact dead and that we can respond from the life of Jesus in us. This is a new and unique experience for many of us.

One of the key verses for understanding this process is Paul's statement about his own experience in gaining and knowing Christ. He said:

"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, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. " Phil. 3:8-12 (NKJV)

Notice that he said he suffered the loss of all things in order to gain Christ, through faith in Him. The loss of all things comes in various forms, through unjust persecution, through deprivation, through actual loss (both temporary and/or permanent) of some of life's privileges or normalities, which one would not expect to be affected in a Christ lived life. Not so! And if scriptures are examined it is easy to find many examples of the suffering of the saints in order for Christ to allow His death in them to work life in others. Knowing Christ and living His life in and through us is serious business. The Lord, whilst maintaining His love and grace, is lovingly relentless in bringing a willing participant into fullness of life – His way – and not some man-centered pseudo Christian way, of which there are and have always been many.

5. How can this be applied to my life?

When I had reached this stage of my near final draft I asked a friend who was also learning these things if he would review the study to see if it was understandable. He said it was and then asked a most significant question: "What difference in normal life does knowing and believing in the body aspect make? I feel there needs to be an application base."

I had been going to write in the "how to" in later parts of the study, but saw immediately that it was relevant right here. As a teacher, I should have known that to just present the doctrine, as complete as I could make it, is quite inadequate, as we all need to know how to apply doctrine to our lives.

So, how can these scriptures about the death and resurrection of Christ be applied to my life? Let me provide a short answer before the detailed answer to come. It is simply by faith! We need to believe that each of these scriptures are true about ourselves and that if we confess our belief in them and maintain that belief, the Lord will make it true in us and for us.

5.1. The Holy Spirit is the guide and teacher

The first thing to say is that the Holy Spirit needs to reveal the truth of all that I have written here before it is relevant or useful. This is not an intellectual or academic exercise. The Spirit will teach these things to each individual in a way uniquely applicable to that person. The Spirit of God knows our hearts, strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, and wisdom and can fashion His teaching to a way that He knows we will take notice and learn. Because of our individual natures, the Spirit of God knows there is no single way.

So, the Holy Spirit is the teacher and guide in our lives regarding how these things develop in our lives. This study is not the teacher, nor is the writer. The Holy Spirit alone will teach these things. Without Him, anything learned is useless in practical application.

There are however, a number of useful pointers that can be made about the application of these principles to our lives. Descriptions of these follow.

5.2. A basic principle

Christianity has one great principle of operation. Anything we receive must be received by faith. Without true faith we get nothing. Jesus made it very clear in these two verses.

"Then He touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith let it be to you." Matt. 9:29 (NKJV) (faith being Strongs 4102 – pistis)

We receive according to the level or degree of our faith. If we do not have faith we get nothing. If we have faith we can ask and expect to receive.

"Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Mark 9:23 (NKJV)

Anything and everything is possible if we have faith. Notice also in the following verse that faith in God is the one primary obedience of scripture. It is the obedience of faith. To be obedient to God we must live by faith.

"but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith.."Rom. 16:26 (NKJV)

The King James version below supplies the better statement about faith – the obedience of faith, not obedience to THE faith as per NKJV.

"But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:" Rom. 16:26 (KJV)

Finally, we cannot please God if we do not have faith, as the following verse reminds us.

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Heb. 11:6 (NKJV)

So, faith is absolutely necessary in all stages of the Christian life.

In principle, faith is simple in application. As already noted, when we believe and repent in God in order to be regenerate, or born again, receiving the benefit of the blood aspect of the cross, we make that act of commitment in faith, because God has said He will receive those that come to Him in repentance and belief. It is simple belief and trust.

Likewise, that same faith needs to be exercised in order to receive the benefits of the body aspect of the cross. However, my own experience, that receiving the benefits of the body aspect of the cross through faith is far more difficult, as it takes knowledge of doctrine and wisdom as to how God operates. There are many confusions associated with this aspect of scripture.

5.3. The changes are huge - God needs time – we need faith

Let us take four of the main changes to our lives that the death and resurrection of Christ makes possible. The Bible says :

  1. We are dead to sin
  2. We are alive to God through Christ Jesus
  3. We are dead to the law
  4. We are led by the Spirit of God.

Please note. I have just used these four important doctrinal points as examples. There are dozens of other points which are just as important, and the same principles should also be applied to them.

When we first believe, can you imagine a bigger change to life? Yesterday we were sinners and acting in sinful ways. Alive to sin, dead to God, alive to law and led by our Satanic sinful selves. Today, we are regenerate with the Spirit of God operating in our heart.

Not yet knowing much about these things.......

Do we sometimes still sin? Yes.

Does that confuse us? Yes

Are we absolutely sure we are alive to God through Christ Jesus? Not really

Are we able to set aside rules and traditions of man and church? No

Do we really fully know that the Spirit of God will show us the way? No

Does it all feel pretty confusing? Sometimes

This is easier to understand if we realize that we are dealing here with the perspectives of two different realms, one visible and another unseen. In the unseen realm – in the heavenly realm, from the moment of our regeneration we are dead to sin, alive to God, dead to law, led by the Spirit and holy and blameless before Him. That is God's perception of us. As far as we see ourselves, we are still struggling sinners, confused and not sure who is leading who. So who are we going to choose to believe? God and what He says? Or are we going to rely on ourselves and what we think and feel?

In my own experience most people tend to believe on what they think and feel themselves in the temporal realm, because that is what they see of themselves and that is how they feel. But that is not faith! That is unbelief because the Word of God says something different! God has said that because we are regenerate, we are now dead to sin, alive to God, dead to law, led by His Spirit and holy and blameless before Him. But because of our experience of ourselves, we tend to believe our experience. We are living by sight and not by faith.

5.4 Walking and standing in faith

Using the word "walk" as a description of the living of the Christian life the Bible says exactly the opposite!

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor. 5:7 (NKJV)

Logically, one would expect that a babe in Christ – a new convert – would be taught the right way to handle these things by church elders, ministers or friends. However, my experience of the modern church is that this does not happen, as many Christians, many church elders and many ministers themselves do not know these truths, nor how to apply them in their own lives, let alone guide other people into correct usage. There are no experts in these things, just disciples learning to live in different ways. However, thinking and believing on the right basis makes all the difference.

It seems to me that Christians are allowed by too many of their elders to walk (too much) by sight, by the experiences of living and not by the Word of God and its description of our state. Many years of my own walk with God were this way, as no one had shown me how one must wait for the Lord whilst professing His truth, as He brought about these truths into my life. I now believe these truths are made practical in our lives by walking by faith, not by sight.

The Bible also uses the word "stand" to describe our Christian life as we stand on truth as God works it out in our life. Consider the following scriptures that tell us to stand in faith and various other aspects of the Christian life. Whilst we stand, God acts.

"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong." 1 Cor. 16:13 (NKJV)

"Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear." Rom. 11:20 (NKJV)

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Gal. 5:1 (NKJV)

"Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel," Phil. 1:27 (NKJV)

"Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." Col. 4:12 (NKJV)

"For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord." 1 Thess. 3:8 (NKJV)

"through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Rom. 5:2 (NKJV)

"Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. Rom. 14:4 (NKJV)

"Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand," 1 Cor. 15:1 (NKJV)

So whether we describe the Christian life as a walk or as standing, we are standing or walking in faith as God does His work in us and eventually through us. Using these same five descriptions of the human life of being dead to sin, alive in Christ Jesus, being dead to law, led by the Spirit of God and holy and blameless in His sight, we can therefore say we need to stand or walk believing those things as God brings into actuality an experience of those states within us. They are already in the invisible spiritual realm and by His power He can and will bring them into the visible human realm, where they will be our normal human experience.

5.4. Some incidental practical examples

Here are six random examples of how to learn to operate in faith, to stand in faith and to walk in faith. Whilst they do not cover all aspects of Christian life, they should give some idea of how to approach this new way of living in faith.

5.5.1. Understanding scripture correctly

When we sin, we need to believe it is not habitual sin, but incidental sin, confess it, be forgiven and cleansed. It is quite remarkable to hear so many otherwise sound believers refer to themselves as sinners rather than saints, especially when the book of 1 John clearly says three times that we do not, or cannot sin (habitually) and Romans says we are dead to sin and freed from it. Moreover, John recognizes that if we do sin incidentally, he provides the means of forgiveness and cleansing from his words in 1 John 1:9.

We need to know scripture, believe it and rely on it, standing and walking in it. We must work out our faith this way – by understanding what scripture really says.

5.5.2 Giving God time to do His work

When we think that nothing is happening after initially believing and standing on these things, or we consider it is taking too long, it is quite easy to rely on feelings and thoughts rather than relying on the Word of God and trusting that God will do His work. When we rely on thoughts and feelings, rather than what the Spirit is saying to our spirit, then faith goes out the window and we begin to wonder why nothing is happening. This leads to one form of unbelief.

We need to have knowledge of separation of soul and spirit, so that soulish thoughts and feelings that come to us, can be set aside, so that we can focus on that still small voice that come through our spirit, through our spiritual union with God. We sometimes have to stand in faith for a long time.

5.5.3. Knowing where to obtain guidance

We need to take care when we hear directions from church authorities that provide guidance that comes from church traditions, or the various ism's that sometimes are used to direct church activities. Also, humanistic views are sometimes adopted by churches, and we need to check them out against what the Bible says.

Be a Berean and check out what you hear before you adopt it as gospel truth.

Faith says to trust in God that He will supply answers to every issue of life.

5.5.4. Handling emotional hurt or rejection correctly

When we are hurt or rejected, particularly by another believer, we can easily lapse into a semi-permanent state of feeling this hurt or rejection. Why do we allow ourselves to bear grudges, or want to retaliate, when scripture says not to do so? Also, it seems to me that the ways in which adversity is handled is one of the great weaknesses of the application of the Christian faith in the Christian church. Right through scripture there are multitudes of saints who suffered badly or were persecuted for some reason. They were put there for our example and our learning. Also in scripture, there is continual advice to count suffering or difficulty as a good thing and not a bad thing, yet most Christians still view it in the negative as though God had nothing to do with it. The truth is that God, in His sovereignty has everything to do with our adversities and uses them to bring us to the fullness of faith that He requires of us. If our lives went along smoothly all the time we would never get to learn strong scriptural faith.

Why not forgive and / or love / or forbear? All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Why not believe it is really ALL THINGS and not just some things? Faith can be hardest to hold when being persecuted or hurt, but that is when we need it most for God to work out His purposes in us.

5.5.5. Handle the decisions of life correctly

We all have a continuous stream of decisions to make in life, some of which are not specifically provided for in scripture. Scripture says that we have the mind of Christ. Would Christ not know what to do in each situation? Of course there is a learning period, where we also need to rely on guidance from other trusted people. That is why Paul wrote many of his letters, to reply to questions his newly established churches had asked. When it was only possible for them in their immaturity to drink milk instead of eating meat, he did not mind advising them in detail what to do and how to do it. But his main message to his charges was still "Christ in you" and "Christ my life". He wanted all believers to learn this one fact and to learn to operate from it. As we learn to operate from our "mind of Christ" we will of course make mistakes, but if we do not exercise this God given principle we will never grow and be able to operate as mature children of God.

Have confidence that we do have the mind of Christ, despite mistakes we might make as we learn to operate from the scriptural fact of Christ in you. Standing in real faith and believing all of scripture is sometimes like jumping over a cliff and hoping God is there to catch us. If He has said He will be there to catch us, then He will. Faith in one sense is a real risk – but in God it is obedience.

5.5.6 Interpret scripture correctly

When we sin and read of Paul's struggle with sin in Romans 7:14-25 and think that there is a constant battle with sin as he describes it in those verses, it is possible to be confused. Two things need to be said about that. First, those verses were a description of Paul's experience as the Holy Spirit taught him of his death to sin and law. It was a temporary experience around A.D 37 whilst in Arabia and Damascus. That it was not his life experience is evidenced by his spiritual achievements listed in 3.1 of this study. There is no way that Paul's apparent confusions of Romans 7:14-24 could have continued in his life, otherwise he would never have achieved what he did. Second, a close examination of Chapters 6-8 of Romans reveals that there was a change that came as he was released from his error and his wretched state spoken of in Romans 7:24.

This is best explained by going to Romans 8: 9. that says:

"But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." Rom. 8:9 (NKJV)

This verse in fact dispels all the problems that Romans 7:14-24 seems to create. Notice that the verse says, "you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit". Please remember that the problem of Romans 7:14 was based on Paul saying that he was carnal, sold under sin - carnal meaning fleshly, meaning that he was using ineffective human effort in his attempt to live righteously. But he is in fact now saying that he is not fleshly at all, but in the Spirit! But our flesh has been crucified on the cross.

"And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Gal. 5:24 (NKJV)

This means that he has the Spirit of God dwelling in him to empower him in all that he did. The Spirit of God empowers him to live as he should. If we walk in faith and live by the Spirit there is no battle between flesh and Spirit. There is no effective human effort with which to try and attain the law.

If as he says, he is not in the flesh, which has been replaced by the Spirit, then the apparent sin that he talks about in Romans 7: 15-23 is no longer a relevant issue. Not only is he dead to it, but the Spirit now controls his life. This is more evidence that Romans 7: 14-25 is a parenthesis explaining an aspect of his life that is no longer relevant, current, or true to Paul, as he has now passed into the fullness of life expressed in Romans 8. No wonder he wanted to thank God through Christ Jesus his Lord!

This one verse, by saying we are not in the flesh, in effect eliminates all the apparent problems and supposed conflict of Romans 7:14-25. It reveals that the apparent conflict that many believe exists in this section of scripture, is Paul's description of a believer who has not yet appropriated by faith, the benefits of the cross in Romans 6.

This subject of Romans 7 is difficult to deal with because of much incorrect understanding of the relevant passage. For more detail, go to these 3 articles written by the author.

http://www.goodnews.org.au/life/truthgrs-02.html

http://www.goodnews.org.au//life/truthgr-05.html

http://www.goodnews.org.au//life/truthgr-08.html

At times, we all need to re-examine our cherished beliefs or things taught to us in earlier days. Faith says that if we do, then God will supply the answers in His time. That is indicative of my own personal experience. We must stand and walk, believing that God will teach us through His Spirit.

5.5.6 The faith confession

This is the final part of the "how to" of all this study. For the Lord to see our faith in operation we need to confess our faith with our mouth. That is a principle previously mentioned as coming from Romans 10:9-10.

So, whichever of these scriptural truths you believe - really believe, if they are confessed from the heart through our mouth, then this tells God that we believe in what He has done through Jesus Christ – and He will then begin to bring about the benefits of these truths to our lives. The list is randomly sequenced, some of the more important truths being underlined and highlighted.

"I am born again through the Word of God."

"I know the truth and the truth has set me free."

"I am reconciled to God through Christ Jesus."

"I am born of God and the wicked one does not touch me."

"I am blessed because I have faith."

"I am holy and without blame before Him."

"I have the peace of God which surpasses all understanding."

"I have everlasting life and have passed from death to life."

"My life is hidden in Christ with God."

"I am delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of God."

"I have redemption, forgiveness of sin and knowledge of the mystery of His will."

"I am dead to sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus."

"I have been freed from sin."

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live; it is Christ who lives in me."

"I have been redeemed from the curse of the law."

"I am in Christ as a new creation."

"I have put off the body of the sins of the flesh."

"I have been made alive with Christ."

"I live by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which has freed me from the law of sin and death."

"I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing"

"I am the elect of God, holy and beloved."

"I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus."

"I am a partaker of His divine nature."

"I am free from condemnation because I am in Christ Jesus and walk with His Spirit."

"I have obtained an inheritance in Christ."

"I will overcome and eat from the tree of life."

"I am an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ."

"I am created in Jesus for good works."

"I am called according to His holy purposes."

"I am an ambassador for Christ."

"I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might."

"I am being changed into the same image as the Lord."

"I am more than a conqueror."

"I have the mind of Christ."

"I am the temple of the Holy Spirit."

"I am complete in Christ."

Conclusion

The question I asked myself at the beginning of this study was:

If I were now asked to explain the Gospel and full effect of the cross of Jesus Christ,

  • How would I explain it?
  • How would I compare it with traditional descriptions and teachings of the Gospel?

That question can now be answered.

How would I explain it?

The gospel of Jesus Christ has both a blood and body aspect, which together make possible forgiveness, regeneration leading to eternal life after death, and fullness of life on earth due to freedom from sin and law. The first aspect brings the new believer into permanent relationship to God and the second provides the freedom from sin and law , along with many other benefits which are needed to have the power to live the life on earth.

How would I compare it with traditional descriptions and teachings of the Gospel?

Traditional descriptions and teachings of the gospel normally only include the blood aspect of the cross dealing with forgiveness of sin, regeneration and receiving eternal life. The body aspect of the cross, which provides for freedom from sin and law is not normally taught as a part of the gospel and is mostly relegated to being just another bit of doctrine. Consequently, many, if not most believers, do not have the power to live the life as God intended, simply because they do not know the full effect of Christ's death and resurrection, nor how to have it implemented in their life. Alternatively, they get involved in pseudo Christian or humanistic practices that are not scriptural.

Having included something of the "how to" in this study, I should now add in summary that we need to expect great and unusual difficulties as we attempt to walk in faith and stand in faith as we live and learn this experience of full union with God. This union with God, this relationship with the Alpha and Omega is the most incredible union ever imaginable, and quite outside normal human experience, so we should expect there will be many surprises and difficulties as we learn.

Bibliography.

Elliot Gren Elisabeth. A Path Through Suffering – God's Mercy in our Pain. OM Publishing by arrangement with Viine Books, an imprint of Servant Publications, P.O. Box 8617, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48107

Penn-Lewis, Jessie. The Cross – the touchstone of faith. Published by Overcomer Literature Trust Ltd. 10 Marlborough Road, Parkstone Poole, Dorset BH14 OHJ England

Penn-Lewis, Jessie. The Cross of Calvary Published by Overcomer Literature Trust Ltd. 10 Marlborough Road, Parkstone Poole, Dorset BH14 OHJ England.

Stone D. and Smith G. The Rest of the Gospel – When the partial Gospel has worn you out. Published by One Press P.O. Box 832442 Richardson, Texas 75083

Zodhiates. Th.D. Dr Spiros The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament. AMG Publishers Chattanooga, Tn 37422 USA

Zodhiates. Th.D. Dr Spiros The Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible. World Bible Publishers Inc Iowa Falls, Iowa USA

Remaining Issues

What has been done so far in this study completes the basic teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, covering both blood and body effects resulting from the death and resurrection of Christ. In this study we covered how our sins are forgiven and how sin is defeated so that we may reign in life.

However, there are a significant number of related issues, which will now be addressed, in order to extend and complement the whole study. These will be written in the form of question and answer in brief form, with reference and resources suggested for further study.

6 Issues related to this study – in question and answer format

6.1 What is the nature of man? What differences are there between believers and unbelievers? Do believers have two conflicting natures?

6.2. How are God and man different given that we were created in His image? Given man's fall in Eden, how can it be said that man and God can now still have union and communion?

6.3 How does God provide real guidance to believers? How do we avoid the confusion that comes from thoughts and feelings? Relate these things to the rest mentioned in Hebrews 4.

6.4 What is real faith? In what realm does it operate? How can it be learned and implemented? How does one see beyond evil and difficulty?

6.5 What is sanctification? Is it sometimes described or interpreted incorrectly?

6.6 What effect does the Holy Spirit and Satan have on the spirit, soul and body of the believer?

6.7 What is the role of adversity in life according to God? How is it that a God of love can send or permit suffering, difficulty and persecution and use it as a means of growing faith in us?

6.8. As Christians are freed from sin, do they actually sin?

6.8.1.1. Using Romans 14:14-25, explain how some Bible commentaries can confuse rather than enlighten?

Details of these are at http://www.goodnews.org.au/life/truthgr-11.html

 

 

Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ 

(Of both blood and body aspects)

 

Ken Walker
June 2002

 

Synopsis

If I were now asked to explain the Gospel and full effect of the cross of Jesus Christ,

  • How would I explain it?
  • How would I compare it with traditional descriptions and teachings of the Gospel?

The emphasis on the word now, means that I now have a different view of the Gospel, that view adding to what I already knew, and completing the whole story. I must say right here that this is not some weird made up gospel – 'some other gospel' as Paul puts it – but simply reveals what the Bible says in full. Although I believed I knew the Gospel well, I now consider my previous view somewhat incomplete, partly in knowledge, but mostly in the full application of the doctrine of the cross to my life as God intended.

The title for this study - The Blood and Body Gospel – is indicative of the nature of the study. Further clues as to the use of the title can be taken from the examples of the role of the blood and body of the lamb in the Passover and in the remembrance of Christ in the eating of the bread ( body ) and drinking of the cup ( blood ) in the Lord's supper.

I am going to contend that the blood aspect of the cross (dealing with sins), which is generally taught well in evangelical churches, is incomplete when the body aspect of the cross (dealing with sin) is not also known, taught and lived by believers. In fact, I would contend that it is not possible to live the Christian life from the blood aspect alone, because it only addresses the issue of sins and their forgiveness and does not fully recognize the sin / body aspect on the living of the present life. This leads to all sorts of difficulties such as powerless living, self-effort and the difficulties in having and applying true biblical faith.

I want to also say at the beginning that I did not work all this out myself. Yes, I have searched for a long time, and been down many an endless path. But the Lord, after initially enlightening me Himself, has now graced my life with several others who have guided me through the scriptural principles involved. Also the Holy Spirit has now graciously revealed His truth to my heart – and is still so doing. Fortunately, one of my endless paths had not been so far away from the real and full truth.

Even in this synopsis I must emphasize the vital and fundamental role of the Holy Spirit. In my experience it is quite impossible to understand these things at a knowing level of our spirit, without the Spirit's teaching. Intellectual knowledge alone will not and cannot make these things work in any life. It is only the Holy Spirit that can teach us and bring about the experiential knowing that is required to operate in these ways intended by God.

One caution. I have found these things to come to me in a knowing sense, only via the Holy Spirit. I believe that one may read and study such things intellectually, think we know them and think we live them out, but until such time as the Spirit of God reveals them, then we really do not know them. So I would suggest readers use the study to get to know the information in their mind, then seek and allow the Spirit of God to make it real in their experience. That is one of the aspects of walking by faith. I would advise against any Christian who finds the material is this study to be new or partly new to them – especially the body aspect of the cross, not to attempt to use it to teach others until the Holy Spirit has taught them first. Academic knowledge of such things is pretty useless without the revealing of it to one's heart, heart revelation being needed before one could ever teach it from their heart.

Finally, this study has been written with Christians in mind. This is not to say that unbelievers might not get to understand it with the help of a believer or with the help of the Holy Spirit in prayer. With God, nothing is impossible.

 

C o n t e n t s



Introduction

  1. What was Paul's experience of ministering the Gospel?
  2. Salvation is full and complete
  3. The blood aspect of the cross.
  4. The body aspect of the cross.
  5. How can this be applied to my life?
  6. Conclusion of basic study
  7. Issues related to this study – in question and answer format

Details of these are at the end of the study.

Introduction

When the prophet Daniel was brought before King Nebuchadnezzar to interpret a dream for the King, he said to Nebuchadnezzar A....there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets.@ (the word mysteries is used in some versions)

Some 650 years later the Apostle Paul wrote of the mystery of the Gospel, one of God's most important mysteries, when he stated,

"the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Col. 1:26-27 (NKJV)

Notice the nature of the mystery. "Christ in you"

He then extended the explanation of the mystery by adding:

"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col. 3:4 (NKJV)

The extended explanation is, "Christ who is our life"

So this mystery has a duality. Christ in us and Christ our life. So Paul was saying that this Christ, whose Spirit had re-birthed us at our regeneration, was actually in us and was our actual life. We (as our old man – old self – the word self used in some modern bibles is both incorrect and misleading – see later discussion) no longer lived. Christ now lived His life in us. Other parts of scripture also indicate that the old man was dead and that this new life of Christ was in us AS our new life.

Galatians 2:20 sums it up even more completely.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Gal. 2:20 (NKJV)

So we can say that: By faith in Jesus, our old life is gone and He lives in us, as our actual life!

To many in the Christian church, from my observations, these teachings remain somewhat of a mystery. To some, these things are more or less ignored and others, whilst they might give a lip service to them in partial understanding, do not know or have not experienced the full practical effect of this teaching in their lives. Still others, whilst they might know something of the principles, have not allowed the Holy Spirit, or cooperated with Him, to bring about the spiritual changes needed. Others still may have intellectually known all the doctrine but not known what to do with it. Knowing and experiencing the ways of the Spirit in these things is essential. The true and full Christian life cannot be lived without it!

The blood aspect of the cross is well known and well taught in most true evangelical churches. We are born again, regenerated, have our sins forgiven, saved from eternal death, justified before God and adopted by Him, receive eternal life, made righteous, reconciled to God, redeemed, sanctified and preserved by God.

But when it comes to being dead to sin, freed from sin, no longer slaves of sin, dead to law, our old man, having been crucified with Christ, the church somehow cannot, and generally does not teach how to apply these biblical facts by faith, as well as they do those relating to being born again – the blood aspect of the cross. Consequently, it does not teach that it is possible to receive the full benefits of the cross that scripture describes. There seem to be very few men and women of faith who have known to stand on all the correct biblical facts long enough for the Spirit of God to work, to make these things known in their personal experience. True biblical faith is required to do that. The church does not seem to teach to allow for the receiving by faith of the full benefits of the cross, which are:

  1. not sinning habitually
  2. being holy and blameless in His sight,
  3. being alive to God through Christ Jesus,
  4. being sons of God,
  5. being led by His Spirit
  6. being the new creatures God intended.

When reading the above points, some readers may consider there to be a conflict between the views expressed and the traditions or 'isms of their own denomination. Be patient! For what is said here is what the Bible itself says and will be fully explained. To avoid or not consider these explanations is to miss out on the full truth of the Gospel, which much of the church has done for centuries.

Dan Stone in his book The Rest of the Gospel, describes the problem new believers face.

"But once we are forgiven we have to start living the life. And we ask, "How do I live this thing out? How do I get my act together? How do I keep from sinning? How do I make it work? What we discover is that the truth that we are forgiven doesn't tell us one thing about how to live the life. It only addresses the question, "What do I do about my sins?" It has nothing to do with living the life." (Stone p 37)

In short, because of that incompleteness, new believers are not able to fully live as though Christ is their life or that Christ is fully within them. For even though they realize that Christ, through the Holy Spirit was their regenerator by His Spirit, they have not yet realized the fullness of Christ that Paul says is the mystery that has now been revealed in New Testament times, after the death and resurrection of Christ.

In my opinion, this not allowing for or properly seeking this available fullness, has led the modern day church to generally not have the experience of the fullness of Christ, as Paul did, as evidenced by his ministry over many years. The modern evangelical church might do a reasonable job with its teachings and activities in relation to being converted, born again and the like, but as for teachings regarding Christ our life and Christ in you, there is a great lack. Hence, the life that God intended for believers is not seen enough, a factor which must sadden Him, limit successful evangelism and more importantly, have partially enabled saints trying to do God's will without the power to do so, for that is the end result of such incomplete knowledge and application.

There are many reasons why this has happened over the centuries. In my opinion, one of the major causes of this deficiency is the incorrect interpretation of Romans 7:14-25 that is taught in many churches. See later explanations. Moreover, Romans is often referred to as the fifth gospel, yet is rarely taught. If it is not taught then how can it be lived? Paul's explanation of how to achieve the fullness he talks of in Romans 8 must be learned intellectually and experientially via some co-operation between man and Holy Spirit. To make the point in another perspective altogether, Martin Luther began the Reformation nearly 500 years ago, by his rediscovery of "the just shall live by faith". It could be argued that, to a very significant degree, the present church does not seem to teach how to operate from the fullness of faith originally intended. In a sense the Reformation has not yet been fully consummated. That is how important this issue appears to be.

The purpose of this study is to reveal what fullness of life through the cross means - and how believers might go about living that way. Believers also need to know these things when they help to birth sinners into the Kingdom of God, and provide the post conversion teaching required. In this study, we will examine both the blood aspect of the cross, but also see exactly what it means to be dead to sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus, dead to the law and led by the Spirit of God, in what I refer to as the body aspect of the cross, where Paul tells us that the body of sin has been done away with by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The question then is – Does the Gospel of Jesus Christ supply all we need to live in the power of the Holy Spirit? Where is a good scriptural example to demonstrate it for us? Obviously Paul is one of the best examples where we can look.

  1. What was Paul's experience of ministering the Gospel?

In the book of Acts, Luke records many of the significant events in the life of Paul. Despite the fact that Paul experienced his share of suffering and persecution, his ministry was as successful as could be imagined. If his record in Acts, is examined it reveals how his knowledge of the Gospel and the outworking of it in his life, enabled him to do things according to the Lord's will. All that he did reveals the fullness of life that can only come from the life of Christ being resident in him, enabling him in so many marvelous ways. Examine the things he did. But first, examine the underpinnings of his ministry, those words which describe the basis for all his fullness, knowledge, wisdom and actions.

Scriptures that underpin Paul's successful and victorious ministry

 

1.1. The words of Jesus.

That He had come that we (and Paul) might have life more abundantly, or as some versions put it, "have it to the full".

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)

In the Greek, the words "more abundantly" Strongs 4053 Perissos means "exceedingly" "above the greatest abundance" "superabundantly". So it can be seen therefore that the promise of Jesus was for an abundance way beyond normal acceptance. (Zodhiates 1 page 1721)

1.2. Paul's all embracing statement about his life source.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Gal. 2:20 (NKJV)

1.3.Paul asserting both blood and body aspects of the Gospel.

Paul said that both blood and body aspects of the Gospel contributed to the Christian life.

The blood aspect of the Gospel is well know in the church

"Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! " Rom. 5:9 (NIV)

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace " Eph. 1:7 (NIV)

"but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."

1 Pet. 1:19 (NIV)

The body aspect of the Gospel - which is not often mentioned or taught.

"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. " Rom. 6:6-7 (NIV)

Notice – anyone who has died has been freed from sin. As we died with Christ on the Cross we are therefore freed from sin. The remainder of this study will cover these aspects in full.

Also, Paul, when speaking to the Jews in the synagogue at Pisidian, Antioch, spoke this amazing sentence as part of his explanation. Notice that the two aspects of the cross are mentioned – forgiveness of sin (blood) and justified (or freed) from all things ( body)

"Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; And by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses." Acts 13:38-39 (NKJV)

The NASB version says the body aspect with even more emphasis,

"and through Him, everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the law of Moses." (NASB)

Of particular interest is being freed from sin – and of law. This is a very important basis of Paul's ability to minister as he did in complete freedom, incorporating the full teaching of Romans 6-8. So how successful was he?

Let us move to particular examples of Paul's successful experience as an apostle. Notice the vast variety of experience and of victorious success. Each of the aspects of Paul's life are supported by scripture.

Scriptures to do with successful or significant aspects of Paul's life.

Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit and with joy.          Acts 13:52

Paul healed.                                                             Acts 14:9-10

Paul endured many tribulations.                                 Acts 14:22

Paul preached truth.                                                 Acts 16:14

Paul exorcised evil spirits.                                         Acts 16:18

Paul praised God in difficult circumstances.                 Acts 16:25

Paul's life was a witness.                                           Acts 16:25

Paul was in control of every situation he faced.           Acts 16:31

Paul taught effectively.                                             Acts 17:11

Paul received personal guidance from the Lord.         Acts 18:9-10, 23:11

Paul performed miracles.                                         Acts 19:11

Paul's words convicted people of their sins.               Acts 19:18-19

Paul brought people back to life.                               Acts 20:10

Paul received words of knowledge from the Lord.       Acts 20:23

Paul sacrificed his life for the Gospel.                        Acts 20:24, 21:13

Paul suffered for the Gospel.                                    Acts 21:30, 21:13

Paul was protected by God.                                      Acts 28:5

Paul experienced suffering and persecution. - This one is listed last, for it should be remembered that Paul also experienced suffering and persecution of the highest order. He provides many descriptions of this apparent adversity. However, there is no way that these can be seen as a negative or a detraction from all his positive results, as suffering and persecution are a part of the Lord's will for true believers and are a part of His ways in bringing about successful ministry.

Could any reader propose a more imposing list? What a record that Paul could have put on a resume! But there is much more!! Dozens of other scriptures could be found that highlight the philosophical underpinnings of Paul's beliefs and actions. The weight of the New Testament absolutely asserts that fullness of life is obtained through Christ by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.

Paul experienced this for himself, taught others and prayed for them to be established in the Kingdom. The importance of prayer for the Holy Spirit to do the work in believers is spoken of by Paul in this verse.

"My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you," Gal. 4:19 (NKJV)

Truly, his knowledge, commitment and dedication were impressive. No one could argue that he was anything else but successful.

However, as will be seen in later discussion, some interpretations of Romans 7:14-25 would seem to argue against it being possible to have these (fullness of life) achievements that are listed here is his negative experience spoken of here had been permanent. However, Paul would not and could not write Romans 7 and have it conflict with the rest of Scripture. Consequently, these apparent conflicts in relation to Romans 7 that seem to differ with the rest of his positive assertions, must and do have another explanation. There simply cannot be such a contradiction in the Word of God.

2. Salvation is full and complete

What about salvation? Is it all we need, or was Paul just exceptional? We can be reassured that God's salvation is full and complete and offers us exactly what it offered Paul – by faith.

Salvation by and through Jesus Christ has been provided completely, fully, and once and for all. In the Old Testament, some waited for it as did Jacob when he was dying, and Jonah when the Lord rescued him from the belly of the fish.

"I have waited for your salvation, O LORD!" Gen. 49:18 (NKJV)

"But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD."   Jon. 2:9 (NKJV)

In the Old Testament the word salvation came from the Hebrew word Y'shuw 'ah (Strongs 3444) and means a deliverance, help or victory coming from some source outside the oppression. It has the idea of being comfortable and living with no problems. The eternal result of our salvation wil be just like that. (Zodhiates 1 pp 1599)

In the New Testament, they knew from Whom salvation came, how it was obtained and its great value. Peter explained from Whom it came, Paul told Timothy that salvation came through faith and the writer to the Hebrews outlined its great value.

"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 (NKJV)

"..and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Tim. 3:15 (NKJV)

"...how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, Heb. 2:3 (NKJV)

In the New Testament, the word salvation comes from the Greek noun Soteria (Strongs 4991) and has a range of meanings, which include:

1. Deliverance from sin and its spiritual consequences.

2. Being attached to the body of Christ.

3. Admission to eternal life in the Kingdom of God – both now and future.

4. Freedom from sin as a present power.

5. Deliverance from the pollution of sin itself.

6. The believer's union with Christ.

7. The believer becoming a new creature.

8. Being reconciled to God.

9. Entering a new spiritual life of righteousness, peace and joy . (Zodhiates 2 pp 1360-1362)

To understand the full meaning of the word, the use of the verb for salvation is saved (sozo – Strongs 4982) is useful. To save – to sozo – means to:

10. Be delivered, make whole and preserve, in terms of both physical and spiritual life.

11. Be delivered from eternal death, sin, punishment and misery.

12. Receive a spiritual life of a new nature from God.

13. Be freed from the power of sin (even whilst enduring its presence on earth). Zodhiates 2 pp 1353-1356)

From the explanation of these Hebrew and Greek words we can see that salvation is something that is very complete – there is nothing missing – everything has been provided. So, if everything has been provided, then why do we not see Christians living in this fullness, instead of making it such the struggle it appears to be. Has God slipped up? Or have we?

To be saved or have God's salvation must result in a real change in the person. Elisabeth Elliot puts it this way.

"To be saved requires a severance from the former life as clean and sharp as though made by a knife. There must be a wall of separation between the old life and the new, a radical break. That means death, death to the old life, in order for the new one to begin. .....So my decision to receive Him, although made once, I must affirm in thousands of ways, through thousands of choices, for the rest of my life....It is no to myself and yes to Him. This continual affirmation is usually made in small things, inconveniences, unselfish giving up of preferences, yielding gracefully to the wishes of others, without playing the martyr, learning to close doors quietly and turn the volume down on music we would love to play loudly – sufferings they may be, but only small sized ones. We may think of them as little deaths. (Elliot pp 26-27)

And again.

"My once in a life time choice must be followed by moment-by-moment choices to do things His way or mine. I must accept not just 'salvation', meaning a free ticket to heaven, but His sovereign lordship of my life, His will ( which often cuts across mine). (Elliot pp 140)

It is my observation is that it is not generally realized that the old life is actually dead, and because of this, many Christians are not able to do things the Lord's way. This point is covered fully when the blood aspect of the cross is explained later in this study.

So let us now look in detail at all that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ provided for mankind. Firstly, let us look at the familiar aspect, the blood aspect of the cross, where our sins are forgiven and we receive the promise of eternal life.

3.  The blood aspect of the cross.

The most typical gospel sermon or teaching deals with the blood aspect of the cross. The chart following summarizes all the aspects of what the Bible teaches about these things.

What happens to the repentant sinner?

Forgiveness of sins

(This is from the blood aspect of cross)

Long term viewpoint - eternal life from now into eternity.

 

We are saved from eternal death by Jesus

 

Acts 4:10-12, Matt 1:21,

1 Thess 5:9

 

We are regenerated

 

Titus 3: 5-6

 

We are born again

 

John 3:3, 1 John 5:1,

1 Peter 1:23

 

We receive eternal life

 

John 3:15-16, John 3:36

 

We are made righteous

 

Phil 3:7-9

 

Our soul is converted.

 

Matt 18:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17

Acts 3:19-20, James 5:20,

 

We are adopted by God

 

Gal 4:4-5, John 1:12

 

We are reconciled to God

 

Eph 2:16, Rom 5:10-11, Col 1:20-22

 

Our sins are forgiven

 

Acts 10:43, Hebrews 9:22

 

We are justified before God

 

Romans 5:1

 

We are set apart for God - sanctified.

 

1 Thess 4:3, 1 Cor 1:2

 

We are redeemed by God – by the blood of Jesus Christ

 

1 Peter 1:18-19, Gal 3:13

Romans 5:9, Eph 1:7

 

We are preserved by God

 

1 Thess 5:23, Jude 1

 

Later, we will be glorified

 

1 Cor 15:51-52, Romans

8:30

 3.1 Explanation of the blood aspect of the cross.

We will deal with each of these of these aspects of the blood aspect of the cross, by asking a range of questions, which will then be answered in terms of the scriptures provided. This aspect of the cross makes provision for our sins. (plural)

3.1.1. Who saves us – and from what?

"let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. .....Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:10, 12 (NKJV)

"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Matt. 1:21 (NKJV)

"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ...."1 Thess. 5:9 (NKJV)

Jesus Christ is the One who saves and that He will save us from our sins if we repent and believe in what Jesus has done for us.

3.1.2. What is the process by which we are saved?

"not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, Titus 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Our salvation comes through the Holy Spirit, by His washing of us in a process called regeneration.We are made new.
As scripture says elsewhere –

The old has gone and the new has come.

Notice also that it is not our own works that save us,

but His regeneration based on His mercy.

3.1.3. What do we call this new state?

"Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 (NKJV)

"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him." 1 John 5:1 (NKJV)

" having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever..." 1 Pet. 1:23 (NKJV)

It is called being born again, but notice also – born of God.

3.1.4. What are our future prospects?

"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. John 3:16 (NKJV)

"that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:15 (NKJV)

"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

John 3:36 (NKJV)

We now have everlasting or eternal life.

3.1.5. What is our new state and outlook on life?

"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 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 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith..." Phil. 3:7-9 (NKJV)

Our new state is that we have righteousness from God.

Our new outlook on life is that we now view knowing Christ

as being more important than anything else in life.

3.1.6 What is the new state of our soul?

"and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 18:3 (NKJV)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord..." Acts 3:19 (NKJV)

"let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins."

James 5:20 (NKJV)

Our soul has been saved from eternal death, by being renewed (or converted).

Because of this, our sins are blotted out and we are refreshed.


3.1.7 Who do we belong to now?

"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Gal. 4:4-5 (NKJV)

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12-13 (NKJV)

We are now sons of the living God – and children of God.


3.1.8 What is the status of our relationship with God?

"..and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity." Eph. 2:16 (NKJV)

"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation." Rom. 5:10-11 (NKJV)

"...and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight" Col. 1:20-22 (NKJV)

We are now reconciled with God, Who considers us holy and blameless.

3.1.9. What is the status of our former sins?

"To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43 (NKJV)

"And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission." Heb. 9:22 (NKJV)

Our sins are remitted (forgiven) because of the payment of Christ's shed blood.

We are purified by His shed blood.

3.1.10 What is our standing before God?

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 5:1 (NKJV)

We are justified before God, just as if we had never sinned.

3.1.11 What else have we received?

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 1 Thess. 4:3 (NKJV)

"To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours" 1 Cor. 1:2 (NKJV)

We are sanctified or set apart for God's purposes, called to be saints of God.

3.1.12 How did we come to belong to God?

"knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your father, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 Pet. 1:18-19 (NKJV)

"Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Rom. 5:9 (NKJV)

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace " Eph. 1:7 (NKJV)

"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree")" (Gal. 3:13 (NKJV)

We were redeemed or purchased by God,

redemption being possible because He shed His blood for us.

We were redeemed from our sinful conduct and from the curse of the law.

3.1.13 Who now looks after us?

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. " 1 Thess. 5:23 (NKJV

"Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: (Jude 1:1 (NKJV)

We are preserved by the members of the trinity.

3.1.14. What shall be our final state?

"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Cor. 15:51-52 (NKJV)

"Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." Rom. 8:30 (NKJV)

We will be raised incorruptible and will be glorified.

Let us now summarize all these aspects of benefit of Christ shedding His blood.

3.2 How the believer benefits from the blood aspect of the cross – a summary

  • Jesus Christ is the One who saves. He will save us from our sins.
  • Our salvation comes via the Holy Spirit, by His washing of us in a process called regeneration. We are made new. The old has gone and the new has come. Notice also that it is not our own works that save us, but His regeneration based on His mercy.
  • Our new state is being born again, also referred to as born of God.
  • We shall now have everlasting (eternal) life.
  • Our new moral state is that we now have righteousness from God. Our new outlook on life is that we now view knowing Christ as more important than anything else in life.
  • Our soul has been saved from eternal death, by being renewed or converted. Because of this our sins are blotted out and we are refreshed.
  • We are now sons of the living God – and children of God.
  • We are now reconciled with God, Who considers us holy and blameless.
  • Our sins are remitted or forgiven because of the payment of Christ's shed blood.
  • We have been purified by His shed blood.
  • We are justified before God, just as if we had never sinned.
  • We are sanctified (or set apart) for God's purposes, called to be saints of God.
  • We are redeemed (or purchased) by God, the redemption being possible because He shed His blood for us. We were redeemed from our sinful conduct and from the curse of the law.
  • We are preserved by the trinity.
  • We will be raised incorruptible and will be glorified.

All this can be received by faith in the Son of God – Jesus Christ.

What a wonderful summary of the incredible benefit for the sinner who repents and believes in Jesus Christ – and this is only a part of the story.

3.2. Comments on the blood aspect of the cross

True evangelical believers would have little trouble in recognizing and accepting all these elements as relating to the (familiar) blood aspect of the cross. However, for some believers it might appear to represent the entire gospel of Jesus Christ. They might think that this is all there is to the Gospel!

Remember, at the beginning of this study, I asked the question:

If I were now asked to explain the Gospel and full effect of the cross of Jesus Christ,

  • How would I explain it?
  • How would I compare it with traditional descriptions and teachings of the Gospel?

How would I explain it? Those details are still to come in later parts of this study.

How would I compare it to traditional descriptions and teachings of the Gospel can now begin to be answered. To many, the blood aspect of the cross is all they have been taught and all they know. What I have provided here in (3.1) is the traditional description and teaching of the cross. It is terrific and wonderful news – the good news of the Gospel. Without this aspect of the cross, people would not know and understand that their sins have been forgiven and that they have received eternal life. However, if that is all they know and experience, they will never know the fullness of life experience and freedom that is possible through Christ.

Can I suggest you look back over the benefits of the blood aspect of the cross and see which ones of them, if any, actually help you live the life without sin dogging you. If they were all you had, then consider what protection you would have against sin – and sinning? I believe that the Lord had far more in mind than just reconciling with a previously lost sinner, bringing him into newness of life and all the other things mentioned in 3.1. The Lord also made provision to have our old life crucified (at the cross) and replaced with a new life (coming from the body aspect of the cross). Although the blood aspect of the cross provides the initial benefits of this type, especially in regeneration and in forgiveness of sin, this is quite inadequate in order to receive the fullness of the power of the life of the risen Lord for our life here on earth.

My own experience as a Christian had me wondering if I could be doing anything wrong when my relatively ordered life and confession according to 1 John 1:9 did not seem to bring the fullness of life and peace that other parts of scripture suggested should be the norm for the believer. It was not until a friend took me through Romans 6, some 15 years ago and showed me that when Christ died, I also died, and that since my conversion the Bible actually said I had been freed from sin. That knowledge in itself, although it stood me in good stead was insufficient to bring the fullness promised, and for me, some level of frustration still existed until these present studies began, although I can now see how the Lord has been continually revealing these truths to me. When I started to consider the things in this study, my heart leapt because it understood, even though intellectual understanding took much longer. It would be my suggestion that you remember that for yourself, for God needs time to make these things understandable to our human minds, through the communication of His Holy Spirit with our spirit.

I have also observed many friends and acquaintances who, despite their best and wonderful efforts, believe they always seem to fall short of what they think should be possible. Some in fact think they are failures, even to the extent of doubting their salvation. So I believe these truths are something really special and worth the time and effort to persevere until the Lord reveals the truth.

3.4. Faith! The application of it to this blood aspect of the cross

How does one gain the advantage of the blood aspect of the cross? By faith! Do you remember when you first believed and trusted in the promises of God that said that if you repented of your sin and believed in what Jesus Christ had done for you, you would be saved? To be born again, this is all you have to do – repent and believe. Regeneration is not available if you do not repent or if you do not believe, or if you do not trust in what God has said in His Word. Jesus said that without faith we get nothing. So, simple faith is what is needed to receive full benefit from this aspect of the cross. However, Paul says that this simple faith needs to be expressed from our mouth, as an indication of our belief in what Christ has done for us to make our salvation possible. He advises us in the following verses.

"if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Rom. 10:9-10 (NKJV)

Without these words or expressions of faith, nothing happens. The Spirit of God has convicted us of our sin, we have heard the promises of God that He will forgive if we repent of our sins and we are desperate for the salvation He offers. So to escape the wrath of God and receive His forgiveness, we confess from our mouth the beliefs of our heart - and we then receive His salvation.

However, my own experience and the experience of most new believers making a confession of faith is that they are only aware of the confessing of their sins (in particular the sin of not previously knowing and accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour) and being free from the guilt of their sin, and experiencing that as an emotional freedom emanating from the spiritual realm. They normally still know nothing of the freedom from their (future) sin or from the law, nor of being led by the Spirit of God. Many in fact make a new law out of the considerable guidance given in the New Testament as to how to live the Christian life, trying to use the ink words on the page – to live by those words – which results in self effort, rather than the Spirit of God within to control their life. Sometimes 1 John 1:9 is (correctly) provided and taught as a key verse from which relief can be gained by confession of any sinful behaviour that might occur in their life. This is correct teaching but quite incomplete, as later parts of this study will reveal.

As faith is the key to opening up these truths, there will be much more discussion on it later in the study after the body aspect of the cross has been introduced and explained. Faith is perhaps even more important in dealing with the body aspect of the cross.

4. The body aspect of the cross

We now move to the more difficult, less known and less understood part of scripture, which I am referring to as the body aspect of the cross.

In some circles this would be quite controversial. However, I am not concerned about that for as all this information is in scripture, it must be there for good doctrinal and practical reasons, even though some divisions of Christendom and some of the Christian "ism's" and traditions might disagree, that is between them and the Lord.

I recognize that it is a difficult thing to be confronted with doctrines which go against what one has been taught and has practiced for many a year. I have twice experienced major changes in doctrine, which at initial hearing of them, I scoffed and did not see the point of even looking at them. That is a major problem for anyone who believes they know it all. Only God knows it all and we should be like the Bereans and see what the Bible says about these things. Temporarily at least, we should put aside our traditions and "ism's that might prevent us from finding out real truth.

Consequently, don't believe a word of what you see here in this study. Having been guided into these ideas, go to the Bible, and then to the Spirit of God over a long period, to see if these things are true. For my part I took nearly a year to get to an initial acceptance of them and am continuing in study and following the guidance of the Lord Who wrote all the relevant scriptures through His Spirit. All readers should consider these things carefully.

How the Lord enables us

 

 to live for Him

Freedom from sin

(This is from the body aspect of the cross)

Short term viewpoint - living in fullness here on earth

We are dead to sin.

We are no longer slaves to sin.

Romans 6:2 and 6:11

Romans 6:18, Romans 8:15

We have been freed from sin. Sin shall not be master over us.

Romans 6:7

Romans 6:14

We do not sin habitually.  If we do sin it can be confessed.

1 John 3:6, 9, 5:18

1 John 1:8-9.

Our old man (old self) has been crucified with Christ.

Romans 6:6, Gal 5:24

2 Corinthians 5:17

Our body of sin has been done away with.

Romans 6:6

We are holy and blameless in his sight.

Ephesians 1:4

We are alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Romans 6: 11, Romans 8:11

We are slaves to righteousness and to God.

Romans 6:18, Romans 6:22

We are dead to the law. We are not under law but under grace.

Romans 7:6

Romans 6:14

We are free from the law of sin & death. We live by the Spirit of life.

Romans 8:2

We are sons of God and led by His Spirit.

Romans 8:14

Christ lives in us.

Christ is our life.

Colossians 1:27, 3:4

Galations 2:20

4.1. Explanation of the body aspect of the cross

We will now deal with this most important and vital part of this study, by asking another range of questions which will then be answered in terms of the scriptures provided. This aspect of the cross makes provision for sin. (singular) This is quite different to the blood aspect of the cross which dealt with our sins. (plural)

4.1.1 What provision has God made for sin to be overcome?

".....How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" Rom. 6:2 (NKJV)

"Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. 6:11 (NKJV)

"And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." Rom. 6:18 (NKJV)

"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." Rom. 8:15 (NKJV)

He has set us free from sin, by having us die to it with Jesus on the cross.

He has given us His Spirit to use to rule our lives.

4.1.2. What relationship do we now have to sin?

"For he who has died has been freed from sin. Rom. 6:7 (NKJV)

"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Rom. 6:14 (NKJV)

We are freed from it. Sin cannot have dominion over us.

We live in God's grace.

4.1.3. Do we still sin?

"Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him." 1 John 3:6 (NKJV)

"Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God." 1 John 3:9 (NKJV)

"We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him." 1 John 5:18 (NKJV)

However, if we do sin incidentally, God has made provision

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9 (NKJV)

Christians do not sin habitually – as we are dead to it.

However if we do incidentally sin we can confess it

to receive forgiveness and cleansing.

4.1.4. What has happened to our old man (old self)? What takes his place?

"...knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. " Rom. 6:6 (NKJV)

"And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. " Gal. 5:24 (NKJV)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Cor. 5:17 (NKJV)

Our old man (old nature – old self – our flesh) was crucified with Christ.

We are created anew by God.

A necessary diversion into the meaning of some Greek words.

Care has to be taken with some of the words in these last few verses, otherwise wrong interpretations of words can emerge and cause misunderstanding, which can mislead as to what is being said. The words "old man" are a case in point. In some Bibles these words appear as "old self". Have you heard of the terminology "dying to self"? As you will see both here and later on in this study, these words have been known to cause confusion. If our old man (or old self) is dead, then how can there be any more dying to self as some propose? More on this later. Here are the meanings of these words from the Greek.

Old, from the Greek palaios, Strongs 3820. Old here means, "the sinful and unregenerate self previous to salvation. ( standing in contrast to Kainos, meaning qualitatively new, regenerate man. (Zodhiates 1 pp 1090)

Man, from the Greek anthropos, Strong's 444. Man here means, "a human person with human infirmity and imperfection, when contrasted with God. The old man means man with the former un-renewed disposition of heart. (Zodhiates 1 pp 180)

In Bibles where the word self is used instead of man, the meaning is still the same. Our old man or old self is dead, crucified on the cross with Christ. When we are regenerated we immediately have the benefit of our old man (old self) being dead. No more dying to self is either required or is possible.

Please Note! The word "self" is not a common biblical word in the original Greek. I have done some research with my King James Bible resources, which is the only Bible where I have all the Greek derivations. In the KJV NT the word self is only used 5 times and never in relation to the "old man" as usage in modern bibles tends to be. These 5 usages are in John 5:30, John 17:5, 1 Corinthians 4:3, Philemon 1:19 and 1 Peter 2:24. In those verses the range of Greek words is only three. The words are Strong's 4572 seautou (a reflexive pronoun), Strong's 1683 emautou (reflexive pronoun), Strong's 848 hautou . All these word meanings seem to be along the lines of – of thyself, to thyself, myself, to myself, of myself, himself, herself, itself. (Zodhiates 2 pp 1283, 573, 294)

Never do they relate to being the state of that self, whether unregenerate, or newly regenerate as the original words used "old man" do so state. It would appear that most modern translations (NKJV excepted) may well have changed the meaning of the text by using the word "self". In common usage the word self is a noun, which not only changes the word form from the original Greek, but also the meaning. One can easily see the confusion and misinterpretation that has resulted.

Flesh, from the Greek sarx, Strong's 4561. Sarx is derived from sarkikos 4559, meaning fleshly, pertaining to flesh, carnal, sensual, with proneness to satisfy the desires of the flesh. Flesh (4561) here implies sinfulness, proneness to sin, the seat of carnal appetites and desires, of sinful passions and affections whether physical or moral. (Zodhiates 1 pp 1280)

More on flesh. Earle adds to this description of sarx. "Paul uses the word sarx in two distinct ways. He uses it as a classical Greek word where it refers to flesh in the sense of the physical body. However, sarx is not synonymous with soma (physical body) From the very context it is obvious that Paul does not mean the physical body in this verse of Romans 6:6." Its other very significant use by Paul (says Earle) is that, "the flesh would seem to be interchangeable with the old man. However, this cannot be as the flesh (sarx) and the old man are quite different. The old man is dead but the flesh continues to strive against the Spirit as in Galatians 5.

Body (of sin), from the Greek soma, Strong's 4983, here means," believers physical body before salvation, possessed or dominated and controlled by the sinful nature. In simpler terms, the "body of sin" means the sinful nature. Theologians mostly do not allow for this body of sin to be destroyed, but that the believer is delivered from its power, whilst at the same time, the nature itself is left in him permanently. So for the body of sin "to be done away with" renders it idle, inactive, inoperative, reduced to a position of absolute impotence....as if it were dead Where the word destroyed is used instead of "done away with", it is not the body that is destroyed but the body as the seat of sin. (Earle pp 166)

The study of other Greek words and their meaning will be added as they are found to be useful to understanding these things.

4.1.5 What happened to our body of sin?

"...knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. " Rom. 6:6 (NKJV)

We cannot now be slaves to sin, as our body of sin has been done away with.

See discussion above in 4.1.4 for full discussion on this body of sin

and what happened to it.

4.1.6. How does God now view us?

"..just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love..." Eph. 1:4 (NKJV)

God now sees us as holy and blameless before him........in love.

4.1.7. Who is the source of our new life?

"Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. 6:11 (NKJV)

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.: Rom. 8:11 (NKJV)

We are now alive to God through receiving the Spirit of God.

 

4.1.8. To whom are we now slaves?

"And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. " Rom. 6:18 (NKJV)

"But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life." Rom. 6:22 (NKJV)

Having been set free from the law of sin and death

we can now consider ourselves slaves (servants) of God.


4.1.9. What is our relationship to the law?

"But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." Rom. 7:6 (NKJV)

"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." Rom. 6:14 (NKJV)

We have been delivered from the law.

The law has dominion over us no more.

4.1.10.What is our new relationship to death?

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. " Rom. 8:2 (NKJV)

Christ defeated death, so we share with Him in freedom from it.

We will be resurrected.

4.1.11 .Who are we and who leads us?

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Cor. 5:17 (NKJV)

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. " Rom. 8:14 (NKJV)

We are new creations, sons of God and led by His Spirit.

4.1.11.Who is the source of our life?

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. " Gal. 2:20 (NKJV)

"To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. " Col. 1:27 (NKJV)

"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." Col. 3:4 (NKJV)

We no longer live. Christ lives in us. Christ is our life.

All this by our faith in the Son of God.

Let us now summarize all these aspects whereby we benefit from the dying of the body of Christ.

4.2. How the believer benefits from the body aspect of the cross – a summary

  1. He has set us free from sin, by having us die with Jesus on the cross.
  2. He has given us His Spirit to use to rule our lives.
  3. We are freed from sin. Sin cannot have dominion over us.
  4. We live in God's grace.
  5. Christians do not sin habitually – as we are dead to it.
  6. However, if we do incidentally sin we can confess it and receive cleansing.
  7. Our old man (old nature – old self – our flesh) was crucified with Christ.
  8. We are created anew by God.
  9. We cannot now be slaves to sin, as our body of sin has been done away with.
  10. God now sees us as holy and blameless before him........in love.
  11. We are now alive to God through receiving the Spirit of God.
  12. Having been set free from the law of sin and death we can now consider ourselves slaves (servants) of God.
  13. We have been delivered from the law and the law has dominion over us no more.
  14. Christ defeated death, so we share with Him in freedom from it. We will be resurrected.
  15. We are new creations, sons of God and led by His Spirit.
  16. We no longer live. Christ lives in us. Christ is our life.

All this can be received by faith

in the Son of God – Jesus Christ.

4.3. Comments on the body aspect of the cross

The incredible benefits derived from the blood aspect of the cross listed earlier in 3.1 are quite profound, as they change the status of a sinner to a saint, providing regeneration, eternal life and salvation from eternal death, amongst many other wonderful benefits as the sinner becomes a son of the living God. This has enabled sinners to cross over from death to life, to change from the power of Satan to the power of God and receive forgiveness of sins. Moreover, they have changed from children of wrath, to children of God, from being sons of disobedience to obedient children. Wonderful incredible benefits which humankind could never achieve without God!

But now we have something at least as great. We have freedom from sin. Imagine it! And why don't we sin habitually? Because we are dead to it! We no longer have inbuilt mechanisms with the propensity to sin habitually. We are dead to sin because our old man was crucified with Christ. We have been dead to sin since we were born again and took on board the full benefits of the cross of Christ. If we do sin incidentally, we are cleansed by our confession. Not only is the negative gone but we also have the positive. We are now alive to God through Christ Jesus having received the Spirit of God in all His fullness. So we are new creations, with Christ living in us. Christ is now our life. We no longer live, but Christ lives in us. Not only that, but we are also freed from the dictates of the law and are led in our lives by the Holy Spirit of God.

What began with the cleansing of the blood of Christ to receive forgiveness, reconciliation and eternal life, now includes the replacement life of Christ to exclude habitual sin from us. We received what we needed to begin the Christian life but also to receive the changed conditions in our beings that make it possible to live the life on earth as Christ intended. Without receiving the benefits of the body aspect of the cross, we do not have the power to live the life for which God provided. This body aspect of the cross was a significant part of the total package all Christians need to live in the fullness that scripture describes.

4.3.1. Blood and Body at Passover

The reader should also be reminded of the importance of both the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Here are two other scriptural references to both body and blood. The first one comes from the Passover at the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. I will now quote an excellent summary of this from Dan Stone's book.

"So he (God) instructed each household, after they had smeared the blood of the lamb on the doorposts, to roast the lamb and eat it as nourishment for the upcoming journey. That's the body side of the cross. You take the lamb (Christ) into you as life. God is showing us here that the lamb they had used for blood on the doorpost was the same lamb they ate for the journey. In other words, everything that is necessary for life comes from the lamb...The lamb is the total answer. The lamb that gave its blood for them also gave its life to them. They took its meat into them, and that became their nourishment, strength and vitality for the journey. They lived their life out of the lamb's life.... They killed the lamb for two purposes: for the Passover and for the walk." (Stone pp 57-58)

4.3.2. Blood and Body in Lord's supper

The second is that Jesus said that we should remember Him by reference to both His body and His blood. Paul reminds us of His words.

"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, £"Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." 1 Cor. 11:23-26 (NKJV)

The person or church that does not fully consider the effects of both body and blood will not understand and will not incorporate the full gospel of Jesus Christ into their life.

4.3.3. The two fold message of the cross

About 100 years ago, Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis was a prolific writer concerning the cross. In her book The Cross of Calvary, she includes a chapter called The two fold message of the cross. In this chapter she talks of both the peace that comes through the blood of the cross and the reconciliation to God in the body of Christ through death.

"The message of "peace through the blood of His Cross" and reconciliation to God in the body of Christ through His death, therefore includes deliverance from the power, as well as the guilt of sin....... the deliverance from the bondage of sin, together with the remission of past sins." ( The Cross of Calvary p24)

She then refers to apostolic times, how they preached what the church does not now preach.

"...incalculable loss has come to the church of God by the severance of these two aspects of the Word of the Cross, in the proclamation of the Gospel of Calvary. Moreover, deliverance from the power of sin was manifestly not taught by Paul as an advanced experience, for when he wrote to the converts in Rome he seemed to speak of the death with Christ as an elementary stage of experience... for their fellowship with Christ's death was the only basis upon which they could realize the newness of life in Him" (The Cross of Calvary p 25)

In the context of this study, we can see that whilst Mrs. Penn-Lewis fully acknowledges that the blood aspect of the cross brings peace and reconciliation, she also proclaims that there is a further factor, which delivers from the power of sin. Whilst she does not actually name this second factor, it is fairly obvious that it can only be the body death of Christ and its use by God in delivering from the power of sin. She also refers to this aspect of the Cross in another book.

4.3.4. The Cross and the Blood.

Jessie Penn-Lewis also wrote on a comparison of the cross and the blood in her book, The Cross – The touchstone of faith. She asks the question,

"What was the difference between asking for the "full power of the blood" and the "full power of the victory won over Satan...on Calvary." From the experience of ministering to large numbers of people who could not gain the victory, she claimed, ".....there are various aspects of the cross which meet the Christian's need, and the difference between claiming the "power of the blood" and "all that Calvary means". (The Cross – the touchstone of faith p 15)

She further points out that,

"The power of the blood does not deal with the flesh.... The flesh or old Adam life cannot be cleansed – it must be crucified. "". (The Cross – the touchstone of faith p 16) Which is, "the normal position of every believer....God consigns the old fallen Adam to the Cross and has nothing more to say to him. (The Cross – the touchstone of faith p 17)

Also that:

"...children of God (sometimes) ignorantly claim the "shelter of the blood" upon the uncrucified flesh"! Without experiential knowledge of the crucifying power of the cross....that it is now crucified and out of action the "flesh" is not dealt with, but remains actively existent and open to the workings of the spirits of evil, even whilst the believer is claiming the "shelter of the blood". It cannot be said too strongly that the precious blood of Christ was not meant to shelter the uncrucified flesh. God does not promise to shield or defend by the blood of His son, what He has condemned to death in the death of His son.....the blood continually cleansing is only for the believer who walks in the light as God is in the light, as per 1 John 1:7...... The sixth of Romans is not an aspect of truth, but the foundation truth upon which every believer must stand, to know anything about victory." (The Cross – the touchstone of faith pp 17-18)

One very important comment must be made about this part of the above quotation. ( ie Without experiential knowledge of the crucifying power of the cross....that it is now crucified and out of action the "flesh" is not dealt with, but remains actively existent and open to the workings of the spirits of evil, even whilst the believer is claiming the "shelter of the blood".)

In effect she seems to be saying here that believers who have not yet realized the experience of the crucifying power of the cross, will be still somewhat open to the effects of some demonic activity, even if they are saved. This is because God did not intend that new believers benefit from just a part of what Jesus did on the cross but requires them to benefit fully from the spilt blood and His death and resurrection. That would then mean that if a believers faith does not allow for the experience of actual death of the old man, then the full resurrection life cannot be had either. Consequently, believers covered by the blood would not be sheltered from their uncrucified flesh. It also would seem likely that as a consequence of this point, that believers who are not attacked by the demonic realm, will nevertheless find that their own flesh will lead them into some normal sinful behaviour, until such time as they can experience the crucifying power of the cross and the resurrection life that can result – all and only by faith. The critical issue for each believer then is – how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to bring about the desired state. Other parts of this study address this issue.

She then reminds us that:

"....there is also a life side to the sixth of Romans, the resurrection side.....where death has no more dominion. The negative side of "death" should not be dwelt upon to the exclusion of the positive life side of union with Christ.......the believer has to reckon he has died – not that he is going to die." (The Cross – the touchstone of faith p 19)

As the reader will be able to see by her words, the power of the blood does not deal with the flesh, which must be dealt a death blow - which for believers has been done on the cross. Again, this fits with the rest of this study which claims that both blood and body aspects of the cross must be appropriated and experienced before any believer comes into full victory.

4.4. The application of faith to this body aspect of the cross

Do you remember how we said one gains the benefits of the blood aspect of the cross? By faith! Simple faith was what was needed to receive full benefit from that aspect of the cross. So too with this body aspect of the cross. It is by faith that the complete benefits of (4.2) are received from the Lord as He does His work in response to our standing in faith that these things are true, despite our apparent overt inability to be the way that scripture says – dead to sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

A reminder is needed here that full salvation is the result of the shedding of Christ's blood, BUT ALSO OF His body death. Salvation is not just being regenerated and receiving eternal life. It also means being enabled to live the fullness on earth. Many, if not most descriptions and teachings about salvation do not include this - with disastrous consequences. People are not taught about the body aspect of the cross and how to act in faith on those beliefs - that freedom from sin and law are possible. We need to know that in order to really get to know what the Christian life is all about. Without this knowledge, they become quite content with the limited version of provision of fullness of life and going to heaven.

Scripture is quite clear that we should reign in life on earth in all its fullness.

"For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)" Rom. 5:17 (NKJV)

We cannot reign in life until the Lord has brought His own death and resurrection life into our own beings, by the power that only He has. Scripture says that we are saved by His life. We first need to know this and then wait in faith as the Lord applies it to our life. If we don't know it in our spirits, we cannot wait in faith.

"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Rom. 5:10 (NKJV)

Not only are we saved by His life, He is our life. Our old life has gone and His life has replaced ours.

"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.@ Col. 3:4 (NKJV)

The life of Christ Himself is now within us as our very life. For us to live is Christ as Philippians says.

"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Phil. 1:21 (NKJV)

Without the full realization and acceptance of the life of Christ within us, we cannot live in fullness of life on earth. This must be and can only be achieved by faith in what Christ has done. We mentioned earlier that it was confession of faith by our words that brought salvation to us by the grace of God. All believers have experienced that in some form or another. Remember the verses from Romans!

"if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Rom. 10:9-10 (NKJV)

If I were now called upon to humanly assist to lead someone to the Lord by making a confession of faith, I would now teach and advise them to include confessions of belief in relation to them being dead to sin, alive to God through Christ Jesus, dead to law and being led of the Spirit of God.

We could add for example:

I am dead to sin.

I am alive to God through Christ Jesus.

I am dead to the law.

I am a son of God and led by the Spirit of God.

For present day believers who have never known these things and never confessed them in faith, this can be done at any time. However, you should know that the Lord is the only judge of how and when He brings about a manifestation of the witness of these truths in our lives. Norman Grubb once told the story that after his wife and he had made their confession of these things on the body aspect of the cross, it took two years before he had the witness of the Spirit that God had acted. During that time he maintained his confession of faith. His wife however, received this witness of the Spirit in just two weeks. Others with whom I have contact, also tell of various lengths of time, some of them telling of many years before "the penny dropped".

My own experience may be of some interest. Late in 1999, after many years of study (not perfectly directed) on the cross and its full meaning to Christianity, I came across what I now see as well themed and directed teaching on Romans 5-8 as well as single verses in Paul's other writings – Galatians 2:20, Colossians 1:26-27, 3:4 and related verses, all these being included in this study. I knew immediately that it was true, even though I did not yet understand it intellectually. That took many months of intensive study with help from others who had walked down that path before me. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, truth about previously obscure bible verses began to emerge. Suddenly I realized that the Holy Spirit was indeed teaching me more of His truth. And so the fullness of truth built up and began to be just a normal part of life. I found I needed to be aware of always affirming my faith for current things and any new direction. That is all any one of us has to do. Faith is the doorway. God does the rest.

The witness of the Spirit does come as promised. The Bible teaches that the witness of the Spirit comes for the simple basics of the faith, such as:

"If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son." He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself;.. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." 1 John 5:9-12 (NKJV)

"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,.." Rom. 8:16 (NKJV)

"...the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us." 1 John 1:2 (NKJV)

Just as the witness of the Spirit comes for these simpler things in relation to the blood aspect of the cross, so it also comes with the deeper things of the body aspect of the cross. We get to learn to see that we do not sin habitually and that the Lord has indeed brought to death some aspects of earlier poor behaviour. We did not know that before – now we do! Also, that we do not need to slavishly follow laws and traditions, for the Spirit Himself provides far better and more accurate guidance as to what we should be doing day by day, even hour by hour, or in lesser periods of God's time.

Although I am much stronger in faith at this time, I can still sometimes fall back into unbelief or fear for short periods of time, until either the Lord sovereignly delivers me out of it, or I remind myself of Who the Lord is, and what He has done for me, and for everyone who chooses to believe these things. In effect, this is standing in faith – perhaps in the dark of persecution or trouble, as I await the Lord's deliverance. So far, it has been the most powerful and meaningful experience of my life and will continue to be so, as I live, write, teach and intercede for others to whom the Lord directs my attention.

Something more needs to be said about this process where the Lord responds to our faith, whilst also, in His sovereignty, bringing about circumstances where our faith is put to the test. Walking in real faith is a very active process, which brings all forms of changes and surprises in life, some pleasing and some we would prefer had not happened, especially if we think something that is happening is really someone else's fault. Normally it is something brought by the Lord for proving that our old self, our old man, is in fact dead and that we can respond from the life of Jesus in us. This is a new and unique experience for many of us.

One of the key verses for understanding this process is Paul's statement about his own experience in gaining and knowing Christ. He said:

"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, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. " Phil. 3:8-12 (NKJV)

Notice that he said he suffered the loss of all things in order to gain Christ, through faith in Him. The loss of all things comes in various forms, through unjust persecution, through deprivation, through actual loss (both temporary and/or permanent) of some of life's privileges or normalities, which one would not expect to be affected in a Christ lived life. Not so! And if scriptures are examined it is easy to find many examples of the suffering of the saints in order for Christ to allow His death in them to work life in others. Knowing Christ and living His life in and through us is serious business. The Lord, whilst maintaining His love and grace, is lovingly relentless in bringing a willing participant into fullness of life – His way – and not some man-centered pseudo Christian way, of which there are and have always been many.

5. How can this be applied to my life?

When I had reached this stage of my near final draft I asked a friend who was also learning these things if he would review the study to see if it was understandable. He said it was and then asked a most significant question: "What difference in normal life does knowing and believing in the body aspect make? I feel there needs to be an application base."

I had been going to write in the "how to" in later parts of the study, but saw immediately that it was relevant right here. As a teacher, I should have known that to just present the doctrine, as complete as I could make it, is quite inadequate, as we all need to know how to apply doctrine to our lives.

So, how can these scriptures about the death and resurrection of Christ be applied to my life? Let me provide a short answer before the detailed answer to come. It is simply by faith! We need to believe that each of these scriptures are true about ourselves and that if we confess our belief in them and maintain that belief, the Lord will make it true in us and for us.

5.1. The Holy Spirit is the guide and teacher

The first thing to say is that the Holy Spirit needs to reveal the truth of all that I have written here before it is relevant or useful. This is not an intellectual or academic exercise. The Spirit will teach these things to each individual in a way uniquely applicable to that person. The Spirit of God knows our hearts, strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, and wisdom and can fashion His teaching to a way that He knows we will take notice and learn. Because of our individual natures, the Spirit of God knows there is no single way.

So, the Holy Spirit is the teacher and guide in our lives regarding how these things develop in our lives. This study is not the teacher, nor is the writer. The Holy Spirit alone will teach these things. Without Him, anything learned is useless in practical application.

There are however, a number of useful pointers that can be made about the application of these principles to our lives. Descriptions of these follow.

5.2. A basic principle

Christianity has one great principle of operation. Anything we receive must be received by faith. Without true faith we get nothing. Jesus made it very clear in these two verses.

"Then He touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith let it be to you." Matt. 9:29 (NKJV) (faith being Strongs 4102 – pistis)

We receive according to the level or degree of our faith. If we do not have faith we get nothing. If we have faith we can ask and expect to receive.

"Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Mark 9:23 (NKJV)

Anything and everything is possible if we have faith. Notice also in the following verse that faith in God is the one primary obedience of scripture. It is the obedience of faith. To be obedient to God we must live by faith.

"but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith.."Rom. 16:26 (NKJV)

The King James version below supplies the better statement about faith – the obedience of faith, not obedience to THE faith as per NKJV.

"But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:" Rom. 16:26 (KJV)

Finally, we cannot please God if we do not have faith, as the following verse reminds us.

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Heb. 11:6 (NKJV)

So, faith is absolutely necessary in all stages of the Christian life.

In principle, faith is simple in application. As already noted, when we believe and repent in God in order to be regenerate, or born again, receiving the benefit of the blood aspect of the cross, we make that act of commitment in faith, because God has said He will receive those that come to Him in repentance and belief. It is simple belief and trust.

Likewise, that same faith needs to be exercised in order to receive the benefits of the body aspect of the cross. However, my own experience, that receiving the benefits of the body aspect of the cross through faith is far more difficult, as it takes knowledge of doctrine and wisdom as to how God operates. There are many confusions associated with this aspect of scripture.

5.3. The changes are huge - God needs time – we need faith

Let us take four of the main changes to our lives that the death and resurrection of Christ makes possible. The Bible says :

  1. We are dead to sin
  2. We are alive to God through Christ Jesus
  3. We are dead to the law
  4. We are led by the Spirit of God.

Please note. I have just used these four important doctrinal points as examples. There are dozens of other points which are just as important, and the same principles should also be applied to them.

When we first believe, can you imagine a bigger change to life? Yesterday we were sinners and acting in sinful ways. Alive to sin, dead to God, alive to law and led by our Satanic sinful selves. Today, we are regenerate with the Spirit of God operating in our heart.

Not yet knowing much about these things.......

Do we sometimes still sin? Yes.

Does that confuse us? Yes

Are we absolutely sure we are alive to God through Christ Jesus? Not really

Are we able to set aside rules and traditions of man and church? No

Do we really fully know that the Spirit of God will show us the way? No

Does it all feel pretty confusing? Sometimes

This is easier to understand if we realize that we are dealing here with the perspectives of two different realms, one visible and another unseen. In the unseen realm – in the heavenly realm, from the moment of our regeneration we are dead to sin, alive to God, dead to law, led by the Spirit and holy and blameless before Him. That is God's perception of us. As far as we see ourselves, we are still struggling sinners, confused and not sure who is leading who. So who are we going to choose to believe? God and what He says? Or are we going to rely on ourselves and what we think and feel?

In my own experience most people tend to believe on what they think and feel themselves in the temporal realm, because that is what they see of themselves and that is how they feel. But that is not faith! That is unbelief because the Word of God says something different! God has said that because we are regenerate, we are now dead to sin, alive to God, dead to law, led by His Spirit and holy and blameless before Him. But because of our experience of ourselves, we tend to believe our experience. We are living by sight and not by faith.

5.4 Walking and standing in faith

Using the word "walk" as a description of the living of the Christian life the Bible says exactly the opposite!

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor. 5:7 (NKJV)

Logically, one would expect that a babe in Christ – a new convert – would be taught the right way to handle these things by church elders, ministers or friends. However, my experience of the modern church is that this does not happen, as many Christians, many church elders and many ministers themselves do not know these truths, nor how to apply them in their own lives, let alone guide other people into correct usage. There are no experts in these things, just disciples learning to live in different ways. However, thinking and believing on the right basis makes all the difference.

It seems to me that Christians are allowed by too many of their elders to walk (too much) by sight, by the experiences of living and not by the Word of God and its description of our state. Many years of my own walk with God were this way, as no one had shown me how one must wait for the Lord whilst professing His truth, as He brought about these truths into my life. I now believe these truths are made practical in our lives by walking by faith, not by sight.

The Bible also uses the word "stand" to describe our Christian life as we stand on truth as God works it out in our life. Consider the following scriptures that tell us to stand in faith and various other aspects of the Christian life. Whilst we stand, God acts.

"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong." 1 Cor. 16:13 (NKJV)

"Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear." Rom. 11:20 (NKJV)

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Gal. 5:1 (NKJV)

"Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel," Phil. 1:27 (NKJV)

"Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." Col. 4:12 (NKJV)

"For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord." 1 Thess. 3:8 (NKJV)

"through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Rom. 5:2 (NKJV)

"Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. Rom. 14:4 (NKJV)

"Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand," 1 Cor. 15:1 (NKJV)

So whether we describe the Christian life as a walk or as standing, we are standing or walking in faith as God does His work in us and eventually through us. Using these same five descriptions of the human life of being dead to sin, alive in Christ Jesus, being dead to law, led by the Spirit of God and holy and blameless in His sight, we can therefore say we need to stand or walk believing those things as God brings into actuality an experience of those states within us. They are already in the invisible spiritual realm and by His power He can and will bring them into the visible human realm, where they will be our normal human experience.

5.4. Some incidental practical examples

Here are six random examples of how to learn to operate in faith, to stand in faith and to walk in faith. Whilst they do not cover all aspects of Christian life, they should give some idea of how to approach this new way of living in faith.

5.5.1. Understanding scripture correctly

When we sin, we need to believe it is not habitual sin, but incidental sin, confess it, be forgiven and cleansed. It is quite remarkable to hear so many otherwise sound believers refer to themselves as sinners rather than saints, especially when the book of 1 John clearly says three times that we do not, or cannot sin (habitually) and Romans says we are dead to sin and freed from it. Moreover, John recognizes that if we do sin incidentally, he provides the means of forgiveness and cleansing from his words in 1 John 1:9.

We need to know scripture, believe it and rely on it, standing and walking in it. We must work out our faith this way – by understanding what scripture really says.

5.5.2 Giving God time to do His work

When we think that nothing is happening after initially believing and standing on these things, or we consider it is taking too long, it is quite easy to rely on feelings and thoughts rather than relying on the Word of God and trusting that God will do His work. When we rely on thoughts and feelings, rather than what the Spirit is saying to our spirit, then faith goes out the window and we begin to wonder why nothing is happening. This leads to one form of unbelief.

We need to have knowledge of separation of soul and spirit, so that soulish thoughts and feelings that come to us, can be set aside, so that we can focus on that still small voice that come through our spirit, through our spiritual union with God. We sometimes have to stand in faith for a long time.

5.5.3. Knowing where to obtain guidance

We need to take care when we hear directions from church authorities that provide guidance that comes from church traditions, or the various ism's that sometimes are used to direct church activities. Also, humanistic views are sometimes adopted by churches, and we need to check them out against what the Bible says.

Be a Berean and check out what you hear before you adopt it as gospel truth.

Faith says to trust in God that He will supply answers to every issue of life.

5.5.4. Handling emotional hurt or rejection correctly

When we are hurt or rejected, particularly by another believer, we can easily lapse into a semi-permanent state of feeling this hurt or rejection. Why do we allow ourselves to bear grudges, or want to retaliate, when scripture says not to do so? Also, it seems to me that the ways in which adversity is handled is one of the great weaknesses of the application of the Christian faith in the Christian church. Right through scripture there are multitudes of saints who suffered badly or were persecuted for some reason. They were put there for our example and our learning. Also in scripture, there is continual advice to count suffering or difficulty as a good thing and not a bad thing, yet most Christians still view it in the negative as though God had nothing to do with it. The truth is that God, in His sovereignty has everything to do with our adversities and uses them to bring us to the fullness of faith that He requires of us. If our lives went along smoothly all the time we would never get to learn strong scriptural faith.

Why not forgive and / or love / or forbear? All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Why not believe it is really ALL THINGS and not just some things? Faith can be hardest to hold when being persecuted or hurt, but that is when we need it most for God to work out His purposes in us.

5.5.5. Handle the decisions of life correctly

We all have a continuous stream of decisions to make in life, some of which are not specifically provided for in scripture. Scripture says that we have the mind of Christ. Would Christ not know what to do in each situation? Of course there is a learning period, where we also need to rely on guidance from other trusted people. That is why Paul wrote many of his letters, to reply to questions his newly established churches had asked. When it was only possible for them in their immaturity to drink milk instead of eating meat, he did not mind advising them in detail what to do and how to do it. But his main message to his charges was still "Christ in you" and "Christ my life". He wanted all believers to learn this one fact and to learn to operate from it. As we learn to operate from our "mind of Christ" we will of course make mistakes, but if we do not exercise this God given principle we will never grow and be able to operate as mature children of God.

Have confidence that we do have the mind of Christ, despite mistakes we might make as we learn to operate from the scriptural fact of Christ in you. Standing in real faith and believing all of scripture is sometimes like jumping over a cliff and hoping God is there to catch us. If He has said He will be there to catch us, then He will. Faith in one sense is a real risk – but in God it is obedience.

5.5.6 Interpret scripture correctly

When we sin and read of Paul's struggle with sin in Romans 7:14-25 and think that there is a constant battle with sin as he describes it in those verses, it is possible to be confused. Two things need to be said about that. First, those verses were a description of Paul's experience as the Holy Spirit taught him of his death to sin and law. It was a temporary experience around A.D 37 whilst in Arabia and Damascus. That it was not his life experience is evidenced by his spiritual achievements listed in 3.1 of this study. There is no way that Paul's apparent confusions of Romans 7:14-24 could have continued in his life, otherwise he would never have achieved what he did. Second, a close examination of Chapters 6-8 of Romans reveals that there was a change that came as he was released from his error and his wretched state spoken of in Romans 7:24.

This is best explained by going to Romans 8: 9. that says:

"But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." Rom. 8:9 (NKJV)

This verse in fact dispels all the problems that Romans 7:14-24 seems to create. Notice that the verse says, "you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit". Please remember that the problem of Romans 7:14 was based on Paul saying that he was carnal, sold under sin - carnal meaning fleshly, meaning that he was using ineffective human effort in his attempt to live righteously. But he is in fact now saying that he is not fleshly at all, but in the Spirit! But our flesh has been crucified on the cross.

"And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Gal. 5:24 (NKJV)

This means that he has the Spirit of God dwelling in him to empower him in all that he did. The Spirit of God empowers him to live as he should. If we walk in faith and live by the Spirit there is no battle between flesh and Spirit. There is no effective human effort with which to try and attain the law.

If as he says, he is not in the flesh, which has been replaced by the Spirit, then the apparent sin that he talks about in Romans 7: 15-23 is no longer a relevant issue. Not only is he dead to it, but the Spirit now controls his life. This is more evidence that Romans 7: 14-25 is a parenthesis explaining an aspect of his life that is no longer relevant, current, or true to Paul, as he has now passed into the fullness of life expressed in Romans 8. No wonder he wanted to thank God through Christ Jesus his Lord!

This one verse, by saying we are not in the flesh, in effect eliminates all the apparent problems and supposed conflict of Romans 7:14-25. It reveals that the apparent conflict that many believe exists in this section of scripture, is Paul's description of a believer who has not yet appropriated by faith, the benefits of the cross in Romans 6.

This subject of Romans 7 is difficult to deal with because of much incorrect understanding of the relevant passage. However, there are several teachings on that subject in this site.

At times, we all need to re-examine our cherished beliefs or things taught to us in earlier days. Faith says that if we do, then God will supply the answers in His time. That is indicative of my own personal experience. We must stand and walk, believing that God will teach us through His Spirit.

5.5.6 The faith confession

This is the final part of the "how to" of all this study. For the Lord to see our faith in operation we need to confess our faith with our mouth. That is a principle previously mentioned as coming from Romans 10:9-10.

So, whichever of these scriptural truths you believe - really believe, if they are confessed from the heart through our mouth, then this tells God that we believe in what He has done through Jesus Christ – and He will then begin to bring about the benefits of these truths to our lives. The list is randomly sequenced, some of the more important truths being underlined and highlighted.

"I am born again through the Word of God."

"I know the truth and the truth has set me free."

"I am reconciled to God through Christ Jesus."

"I am born of God and the wicked one does not touch me."

"I am blessed because I have faith."

"I am holy and without blame before Him."

"I have the peace of God which surpasses all understanding."

"I have everlasting life and have passed from death to life."

"My life is hidden in Christ with God."

"I am delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of God."

"I have redemption, forgiveness of sin and knowledge of the mystery of His will."

"I am dead to sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus."

"I have been freed from sin."

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live; it is Christ who lives in me."

"I have been redeemed from the curse of the law."

"I am in Christ as a new creation."

"I have put off the body of the sins of the flesh."

"I have been made alive with Christ."

"I live by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, which has freed me from the law of sin and death."

"I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing"

"I am the elect of God, holy and beloved."

"I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus."

"I am a partaker of His divine nature."

"I am free from condemnation because I am in Christ Jesus and walk with His Spirit."

"I have obtained an inheritance in Christ."

"I will overcome and eat from the tree of life."

"I am an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ."

"I am created in Jesus for good works."

"I am called according to His holy purposes."

"I am an ambassador for Christ."

"I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might."

"I am being changed into the same image as the Lord."

"I am more than a conqueror."

"I have the mind of Christ."

"I am the temple of the Holy Spirit."

"I am complete in Christ."

Conclusion

The question I asked myself at the beginning of this study was:

If I were now asked to explain the Gospel and full effect of the cross of Jesus Christ,

  • How would I explain it?
  • How would I compare it with traditional descriptions and teachings of the Gospel?

That question can now be answered.

How would I explain it?

The gospel of Jesus Christ has both a blood and body aspect, which together make possible forgiveness, regeneration leading to eternal life after death, and fullness of life on earth due to freedom from sin and law. The first aspect brings the new believer into permanent relationship to God and the second provides the freedom from sin and law , along with many other benefits which are needed to have the power to live the life on earth.

How would I compare it with traditional descriptions and teachings of the Gospel?

Traditional descriptions and teachings of the gospel normally only include the blood aspect of the cross dealing with forgiveness of sin, regeneration and receiving eternal life. The body aspect of the cross, which provides for freedom from sin and law is not normally taught as a part of the gospel and is mostly relegated to being just another bit of doctrine. Consequently, many, if not most believers, do not have the power to live the life as God intended, simply because they do not know the full effect of Christ's death and resurrection, nor how to have it implemented in their life. Alternatively, they get involved in pseudo Christian or humanistic practices that are not scriptural.

Having included something of the "how to" in this study, I should now add in summary that we need to expect great and unusual difficulties as we attempt to walk in faith and stand in faith as we live and learn this experience of full union with God. This union with God, this relationship with the Alpha and Omega is the most incredible union ever imaginable, and quite outside normal human experience, so we should expect there will be many surprises and difficulties as we learn.

Bibliography.

Elliot Gren Elisabeth. A Path Through Suffering – God's Mercy in our Pain. OM Publishing by arrangement with Viine Books, an imprint of Servant Publications, P.O. Box 8617, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48107

Penn-Lewis, Jessie. The Cross – the touchstone of faith. Published by Overcomer Literature Trust Ltd. 10 Marlborough Road, Parkstone Poole, Dorset BH14 OHJ England

Penn-Lewis, Jessie. The Cross of Calvary Published by Overcomer Literature Trust Ltd. 10 Marlborough Road, Parkstone Poole, Dorset BH14 OHJ England.

Stone D. and Smith G. The Rest of the Gospel – When the partial Gospel has worn you out. Published by One Press P.O. Box 832442 Richardson, Texas 75083

Zodhiates. Th.D. Dr Spiros The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament. AMG Publishers Chattanooga, Tn 37422 USA

Zodhiates. Th.D. Dr Spiros The Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible. World Bible Publishers Inc Iowa Falls, Iowa USA

Remaining Issues

What has been done so far in this study completes the basic teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, covering both blood and body effects resulting from the death and resurrection of Christ. In this study we covered how our sins are forgiven and how sin is defeated so that we may reign in life.

However, there are a significant number of related issues, which will now be addressed, in order to extend and complement the whole study. These will be written in the form of question and answer in brief form, with reference and resources suggested for further study.

6 Issues related to this study – in question and answer format

6.1 What is the nature of man? What differences are there between believers and unbelievers? Do believers have two conflicting natures?

6.2. How are God and man different given that we were created in His image? Given man's fall in Eden, how can it be said that man and God can now still have union and communion?

6.3 How does God provide real guidance to believers? How do we avoid the confusion that comes from thoughts and feelings? Relate these things to the rest mentioned in Hebrews 4.

6.4 What is real faith? In what realm does it operate? How can it be learned and implemented? How does one see beyond evil and difficulty?

6.5 What is sanctification? Is it sometimes described or interpreted incorrectly?

6.6 What effect does the Holy Spirit and Satan have on the spirit, soul and body of the believer?

6.7 What is the role of adversity in life according to God? How is it that a God of love can send or permit suffering, difficulty and persecution and use it as a means of growing faith in us?

6.8. As Christians are freed from sin, do they actually sin?

6.8.1.1. Using Romans 14:14-25, explain how some Bible commentaries can confuse rather than enlighten?

These are all answered on various parts of this site.  Please use the onsite search engine.

 

 

 

The Adversities of Life

 

For more information on broader aspects of this issue, please go to Fullness of Life in Christ

How do you see and handle the adversities that come to you in your life? Most of us consider them a nuisance, something that shouldn't have happened to us. Common adversities include ill-health, financial loss, violence of both physical and verbal types, loss of loved ones, unemployment, disunity and various traumas such as accidents or just plain misfortune. We almost never see such things as positive, but always as something bad, calling it a set back, bad luck, misfortune, or if they the adversity is really difficult we would call it a disaster, calamity of catastrophe, as indeed they can be. So why are adversities such a common occurrence in life? Why do they happen and how should we view them? This is just a short introductory discussion on the issue.

There are some basic premises being implemented here. One is that because mankind is basically sinful, there is plenty of trouble and strife available in the world for God to use as afflictions to bring adversity. The second is that because God is sovereign and in control of the whole world, He is able to utilize whatever might be going on around us to allow the adversity he wants. Also, it is a Biblical principle that God uses bad or evil to bring about good. So ,just in case God might appear to be an ogre who only brings trouble, let it also be known that God also brings good to all men and protects and keeps them from a wide range of otherwise harmful events – and in His own time, delivers His own from trouble. However, let us establish from the Bible that God also initiates the negatives of adversity, woe and calamity, all for His own purposes, which normally can be shown to be of ultimate benefit to mankind.

First, Solomon tells us that prosperity and adversity come from God.

"In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find out nothing that will come after him. Eccl. 7:14 (NKJV)

Second, Jeremiah tells us that both woe and well being proceed from God

"Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed? Lam. 3:38 (NKJV)

Third, Job, one of the greatest sufferers of all time tells his wife that God brings adversity.

"But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:10 (NKJV)

Fourth, God Himself, through Isaiah tells us he created calamity.

"I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.' Isa. 45:7 (NKJV)

In this verse God says that He makes peace and creates evil. (KJV) Different versions of scripture use different words for evil. It comes from the Hebrew word "ra" meaning adversity and calamity.

In addition to those four, there are many other examples in scripture where God both plans and uses evil for His own glory and His own purposes – to bring ultimate good from evil – even though we might not fully understand.

Exodus 4:11.           God says that He makes the dumb, the deaf, the seeing and the blind.

Jeremiah 43:10       God said that the heathen king Nebuchadnezzar was His servant.

Isaiah 10:5             God called the evil Assyrians, "the rod of My anger".

Joel 1:4 and 2:25    God called the locusts etc "My great army which I sent among you".

Genesis 50:20        God MEANT evil for good.

Acts 2:22-23          Peter said that Jesus was delivered (unto the cross) by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.

Acts 4:27-28          When believers were praying after Jesus death, they acknowledged that Herod and Pilate only did what God had decided to permit them to do beforehand.

John 19:11             Jesus said to Pilate that he could only have the power over Him that was given from above. If there were two powers, Jesus would surely have said – power from below. Jesus only saw one power – and that was His.

John 18:11            Jesus said to Peter in the garden when he was being arrested, that it was the Father's cup that He had to drink. Would not he have said Satan's cup if He was acknowledging two powers?

God indeed does cause and use what we might see as evil, difficulty and trauma for His own ultimate good.

As a believer in God, and therefore believing in what the Bible says about these things, and as an observer of the human condition of my own and the lives of others, I believe that adversity, if viewed correctly can have and indeed normally will ultimately have a positive effect. Of course it is rarely possible to see the good in adversity just after the difficulty happens. We are emotionally involved in our lives and will always be shocked or saddened or annoyed at this trauma that has just happened to us. Some time later we may well see that it was meant to be and had that difficult event not happened we would not have learnt what we did.

Take for example the receiving of a few speeding fines. Not nice! $125 each time really hurts the hip pocket. But after having these penalties applied, we might learn not to speed and our lives are better off. It might have even helped us to live and not die on our roads. At a minimum we will have more money to enjoy. It seems to me that we can learn from adversity, if we take responsibility for what happens to us. Not that we can ever get rid of all adversity, but I believe we can limit the damage by learning from the adversities that come our way. If we don't learn from them, we can really suffer long terms effects and never really know something of the peace and prosperity in life that can be possible. I believe that the God of this universe has a purpose in allowing adversities to come our way. There are literally dozens of scriptures in God's Word that say this in various ways.

So how does God use adversity to teach us better ways to live. There are many guidances like Psalm 1 which express God's expectations about how man should live and the consequences of not doing so. Basically it says that those who go God's way will prosper in life and those who do not shall not prosper. For those who do it His way, they prosper and those who don't suffer. However, for both believers and unbelievers that is not the end of the story. Here is the psalm.

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish."

So, given that basic position that God's people will do well and those who do not acknowledge God shall not (even their own human effort

shall ultimately fail them) let us first look at the reasons for the adversities that come to believers. Yes they do suffer them and there are Godly reasons for this. Right through the Bible God tells us to positively view adversity – to be joyful in it. The average person on reading this might think that perhaps God is some sort of a nut. Why should we be joyful in adversity?

For believers the reason is simple. God uses adversity to sharpen us up and refine us into the sort of person He wants us to be. Scripture tells hundreds of stories that demonstrate that principle. King David once said that had God not afflicted him he would not have learned right ways. The Bible also teaches those principles in many places. Believers who know and realize this is how God works, normally after asking God lots of "why's", eventually come to realize that many clouds of misfortune will probably have a silver lining. Of course any adversity caused by our own stupidity is exempt from this good. God does not reward us for doing stupid things. But genuine adversity allowed by God for our own benefit, will bring benefit if we take notice of the point being made and change our attitude and behaviour accordingly.

So the adversity suffered by believers, providing it is not caused by their own stupidity, will ultimately benefit them if they view it as God's teaching of them. Mankind is sinful and stubborn and like a child needs disciplining for his wrong ways and stubbornness, so do we need to correct our ways as adults when we still need to learn more of God's ways. God actually allows or causes such adversities as an act of His love for the believer, so that He can bring greater benefit to the believer out of the greater obedience that results in the believer's life.

What of the adversity that come to the unbeliever?

Before we can look at that there is one more thing about the believer that needs to be understood. It is simply that he believes in God and what Jesus has done on the cross and by way of His resurrection, in order to bring life to the believer by his trust and obedience in God. He belongs to God. He believes that God made all things. He believes that God can keep and guide him through life and that he will be saved from eternal death and live forever with Christ. He has crossed over the line from death to life.

As yet, the believer has not crossed this line. He has not yet had the benefit of knowing these things. So God's first task with the unbeliever is to get him to a point where he realizes he needs the power of God in his life. And to do this, one of God's ways is to bring adversity to the life of the unbeliever, in order that he begin to question his life and who is in control of it. What God intends is that the more He brings adversity to a life, the more God hopes and believes that the unbeliever might begin to ask eternal questions about what life is all about – and by his seeking of truth, and seeking of God, that God Himself meets the unbeliever and saves him into eternal life.

The sooner the unbeliever decides to go God's way, the less he suffers and begins to benefit. Bringing adversity to the unbeliever is God's way of showing His ultimate love for him, to draw him to Himself that He might reward him from His vast storehouse of good things, that comes from the unbeliever coming into obedience to the things of God.

The primary purpose of this writing is to let both believers and unbelievers know of the principles behind how God works in relation to the adversities of life.

If an unbeliever does not find out these things he may consider life to be just one long succession of things going wrong. It may well be – until the unbeliever takes solace in these words and begins to seek God and His ways. It is the most important life lesson anyone can learn.

Norman Grubb spoke of life's adversities in this way.

"The Bible makes it plain that God as purposively sends the unpleasant as the pleasant. No reader (who has read Old and New Testaments) can call that into question. God's will and its outworking in our lives in not permissive, but determined. When even Satan is only God's agent, and evil men only fulfilling His foreordained plan, then we can start off by praising God for adversity and counting it all joy...... Adversity is prosperity in disguise." Grubb pp 95

Grubb's writing on adversity is worth the read. See details below.

Nor does the unbeliever have to put vast effort into his new life as a believer. He will find that he has exchanged his old life of striving for the new life of letting the Lord provide His strength and wisdom to his new life in Christ. Many unbelievers think that if they become believers they will have to try hard and because they do not think they can do this (they can't in their old state) they avoid seriously considering God and what He offers.

So, God uses adversity both in the life of believers and unbelievers. With believers to enhance their life by bringing them into closer relationship with Himself and with unbelievers by bringing them into initial relationship with Himself so He can call them sons of God and provide for and guide them into their new life. It is certain to be difficult and sometimes painful, but the rewards are great for those who persevere. Ultimately it settles the eternal destiny of every human being.

Reader, whether you be unbeliever or believer, try to see your life and the adversity that sometimes come as a wake up call from God, summoning you into fullness of life with Christ, both here on earth and later in heaven.


Bibliography

Norman Grubb. Chapter 14 Adversity or Adventure? in God Unlimited Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania 19034 1962

Ken Walker

September 2002

 

 

The Parable of the Unknowing Boy

 

Jobab awoke and looked around him, brushing the sand from his face. He now remembered falling asleep outside his hut after a long day of swimming, fishing and prising shell fish off the rocks. He had taken some for himself and given the rest to his father further up the hill. He looked out across the endless sea, with its white tops eventually pounding against this rocky outcrop he called home. Black clouds and lightning threatened, whilst trees bowed to the strong wind. There would be no fishing today.

Picking up a fallen coconut, he cracked it open and drank from it as he sat leaning against a tree and wondered what he would do today. It was a strange life he led. Time passed easily, although he had no idea of time passing, until his father told him to put a mark on what he called the moon tree for every full moon of his life. Jobab had just noticed that the markings now on the tree were equal to the number of the fingers on his hand and toes on his feet, five times over.

His island they called Uzal, apparently after some distant relative. The elders of his island used to tell Jobab of the long ages past when his forefathers first found themselves on this island. To Jobab, all the stories sounded very strange. They used to point him to the moon rocks ( rock faces were used for large time spans) where the markings were countless, filling one rock face after another. When he ask them about the water all around the island, they told him of the water legend - how at one time water covered the whole earth and that the god's had somehow placed them on this island. To Jobab, Uzal was his whole world. He did not understand all the legends told, nor his own father, rarely feeling at ease when with him.

Although there were plenty of people on the island, he was very lonely, and sometimes quite sad. He didn't really know why. Empty feelings plagued him and strange conflicts were going on within. Sometimes, time spent with friends made him feel better. At other times he could not find any nice feelings or thoughts in his heart. To Jobab that was life - a great mixture of emotions that he did not fully understand.

He would often walk around the island, looking far out to sea, but never seeing anything to indicate what lay beyond. The island was a rocky mass with sandy soils and luxuriant growth. He wondered how his people had first come to the island, so inhospitable was its shoreline. Jobab just thought his people had always been there.

His heart used to glow when he saw the beauty of his world. Tall trees and dense forest would sometimes break open into clearings used as vegetable gardens. He could then see the sky with wonderful white cloud formations flying above him across the clearing. Sometimes, large sea birds would flash across the sky on the wind, whilst others in the forest would welcome each day in song. He loved the singing of the birds. Uzal was also abundant in colorful flowers and trees. It all made him feel he was enjoying his life. It seemed to give him good thoughts and nice warm feelings. There were even animals that would snuggle up to him as he sat and reflected on his life. He liked the natural world. It brought him great joy, different to most other things that went on deep inside of him.

There was one place on the island he did not like. It was where they burned people when they could no longer move or speak. Muwth was the word he heard used when someone was burnt. The ash heaps in that part of the island were quite high from centuries of use. He wondered how many had passed that way. He tried not to go there and became frightened whenever he knew there was to be another burning. His father or the elders never really explained it to him. It was just another mystery of his island home.

Jobab had an older brother as well as a younger sister. His mother had been burnt just after his sister's birth. It would come to the eldest brother in his father's family to carry on the tradition of acting as chief of all affairs on the island. His elder brother used to spend time with his father almost every day, learning the secrets of being chief and how to uphold the traditions and rules over all people living on Uzal. His elder brother never ever told Jobab what he learnt from his father.

Apart from spending time with friends his own age, and collecting or catching some food each week, Jobab did more or less what he wanted. He used to spend countless hours wandering the island, exploring and admiring the mountainous terrain. Mostly his thoughts were peaceful as he enjoyed the beauty around him. But if he ever thought about his father, a tinge of fear would steal up on him. He was frightened of being like his father. His father seemed to allow him to live as he liked, but Jobab always felt some hidden control that made him do as his father wanted him to.
Jobab wanted to believe he was free to do as he wished but somehow knew deep down, that as hard as he might try, he was under the control of this man and could not do anything about it. At the same time he felt independent and able to do what he liked. He was puzzled by that feeling of conflict and sometimes felt like escaping. Surely whoever or whatever had caused him and the others to be on this island, would have organized life so that they might live at peace with themselves. At least Jobab thought so. Perhaps a madman had done all this! It was not right somehow.

It was not as though his father treated him harshly, although he did expect him to collect or catch all his own food. The island was run like that. Although there were no rules - there were rules that seemed to operate automatically without anyone mentioning them - like an unseen force. He knew his father often talked with the elders. They were an aloof secretive group and no one knew much about them, except that if they spoke, no one ever questioned what they decreed. Jobab used to wonder about his father's relationship with them. Because they seemed in awe of him, he assumed that his father was the most important person on the island - a sort of ruler. His elder brother continued to be secret about his life and Jobab just knew to never ever question him on these matters.

Jobab's life seemed timeless to him. The only way he knew anything about time passing was by keeping up his markings on the moon tree with each full moon, as his father had instructed him from a young age. One day, after Jobab had dutifully recorded the latest full moon, he checked to see how many moons he had now lived. To his surprise he could put every finger on both hands and every toe on his feet in the markings ten times over. He noticed that his body had developed and he was now nearly the same size as other adults.

One day, Jobab heard the noise of many voices shouting very loudly. He ran to the top of the cliff face to see a great crowd of people staring intently out to sea. In the distance, almost imperceptible, was a dark mark on the horizon, very gradually moving across it. Initially, everyone was very excited, but as they watched, they became quieter, just staring in amazement at this strange sight and talking among themselves. They had never ever seen anything like this before. As they watched, the black mark on the horizon seemed to get larger and a small wisp of smoke was visible above this strange and scary thing. When his father arrived to look, he heard him telling the elders group, that although no one had ever seen this before, there had been legends about such things carrying men over the wide sea. Before today no one had really believed it. Gradually this black mark on the horizon began to get smaller, eventually vanishing altogether.

Over the next few days, Jobab heard many people still talking excitedly about what had happened. They had begun to wonder if there were other people like them and how they lived out there on their floating island. Jobab wondered that if other people like them did exist, then perhaps someone among them might have some idea of how to get rid of this internal conflict that constantly worried him. Was there another person (he thought) that might be able to take away the hidden control his father had over everyone on Uzal. Mind you, Jobab had never ever heard anyone talk about these things. Most other people seemed so intent on their every day survival, that they never ever had time to contemplate the nature or quality of life. People seemed isolated from each other, as though they were individuals all quietly warding off some hidden foe or disease. It was indeed a strange place to live, but Jobab knew that he had to accept what his life was. He could not escape to any other place. As far as he knew, no other place existed anyway, despite the smoking object on the horizon. Uzal was all there was in his world.

One day Jobab wandered much further than usual and found himself on a far corner of Uzal where people did not normally go. This part of Uzal was also quite mountainous and the forest foliage very thick. At one stage he thought he was lost, but just as he thought that he came out into a bright sunny clearing. He was amazed to see the remains of a garden. It was now well overgrown. Jobab guessed it would have been many moons since it had been cultivated. Near the edge of the clearing he noticed an old hut. Entering through the thatched doorway and squinting in the relative darkness, he was shocked at what he saw. There lay the bones of a person. He was frightened and wanted to run outside again into the clear sunlight, but was too curious to do that straightaway. Looking more carefully he noticed that the bones still had some small fragments of skin attached, although all the persons hair had gone. Jobab just stood and stared as he took in the whole scene. He noticed some pieces of parchment on a small table. There was one piece much thicker, which still seemed intact, although very dusty. Brushing away the dust, he noticed some markings on one side of the thick paper. He did not recognize the markings. He wondered what H...O...L...Y...B...I..B..L..E. might mean. Near this was two pieces of wood, one part tied across the other with thonging.

Jobab had never heard of anyone living this far from the main settlements, so all this was quite a mystery to him. He wondered how he could find out about this person and the strange things he had found there. He resolved to ask someone back near his hut, but did not know who to ask. He pondered on this as he gradually made his way back home.

A few days after he returned he decided to ask the father of one of his friends about the person's bones he had discovered. When he asked him, he noticed the man's face fill with fear. He whispered to Jobab that this man had been an outcast from the main village because, according to Jobab's grandfather (still alive at that time) he believed some strange things. The old man, whose name was Enos, had lived there for some time before Jobab had been born. His friend's father told him that there had been something special about Enos. He had been different to all other people on the island. They had all noticed his very peaceful nature - nothing ever seemed to bother him. He used to spend a lot of time reading a very thick book. Some people liked him because of his wonderful friendly nature and wisdom, but others, especially Jobab's grandfather had hated him and had sent him out of the village. Once they tried to kill him, but he vanished. His friend's father warned Jobab not to mention his discovery to his father or the elders, because they had been taught to hate Enos.

He told Jobab that Enos had been well known for having a lot of knowledge and special wisdom, particularly about the legend of a flood that had killed many people on earth and of a God who had created the earth and all things in it. According to Enos, after this flood, the few men remaining, gradually spread themselves out across the larger world. Jobab wondered how large this world might be.

Jobab was stunned. He had thought that Uzal was all there was. So that object that he had seen on the water had really come from another place. There were other people after all! Jobab thought how wonderful it would have been to have talked to Enos. He might have been a person who would have understand his conflicting thoughts and feelings. Jobab felt very sad and went home to his hut and cried himself to sleep because he felt like he had lost a best friend. He resolved to find out more about Enos, because he might have been a person who could have helped Jobab with his problems.

During that night there was a severe storm and a lightning bolt broke off the trunk of a nearby tree. It fell and smashed Jobab's hut into matchwood as he slept. Later that day, as he watched the funeral pyre burn, his father's face was unmoved, apart from a slight smile, unnoticed by others.

The End

What do you think this parable might mean to you in your life at this time in history? It is really worth while to think about it.

When you have thought about it for a while, then read on.

************************************************************

The Parable of the Unknowing Boy explained.

The meaning has serious implications for the well-being and lives of all men, women and children beyond the age of accountability. Man, and particularly modern man is mostly quite ignorant of the spiritual basis of life, believing that they themselves control their own destiny. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Those with some spiritual understanding will know something of what the parable is meant to convey. For others, this is what it means.

1 Jobab is representative of many men and women on earth today . He had no real knowledge or awareness of the reality of God and spiritual things, only recognizing what was visible. Jobab did not know these things - nor do most people living today. Those who do are often ridiculed for their "strange" ideas.

2 Uzal represents the world we live in - planet Earth. Jobab did not know or understand the powers in control of Uzal. Modern man does now know or understand who runs this present world ( i.e. Satan - under God's control).

3 Jobab eventually dies in his ignorance of Christ. God, Bible, as will men and women now living. Men and women today are just as ignorant as Jobab, or if not, have closed their minds to the truth.

4 Through Enos, Jobab did have some contact with the life of a godly person, but that may have been insufficient for him to get to know Creator God. Jobab had no chance to meet the author of eternal life, to be sure of gaining it and eventually live in heaven when his earthly life ended.Fortunately for modern men and women the truth is readily available. However, the pressures of modern life and the distractions of the media and its mistruths, give mankind little time or motivation to find and examine truth.

5 Jobab thought he could live by his own rules, but in reality, and especially because he was his father's son, he was subject to the laws of his father, who in the parable represents the devil, otherwise known as Satan. Present day men are also subject to Satan, but do not know this and unknowingly follow his will. People today think they are independent selves and not under anyGod, but in fact are under one (Satan) or the Other (The true Father God in Heaven).

6 Jobab was in fact a son of the ruler of his world - the island Uzal. Satan is is permitted temporary rule over this world and its peoples by God.

6 Jobab's father was training up others, including his eldest son and the elders to continue their dominance over their people. The people were quite unaware of this. Everything seemed normal to them, although as we saw, Jobab had some awareness of the evil controlling him. Jobab's father was the generational ruler of Uzal. Satan is the generational ruler of this world. Consequently there is an ever present demonic presence who continues to have mastery over many of the world's peoples.

7 Enos had been the only one on the island who knew the real truth about life and death, studying it from his blessed scriptures. Because he knew his real Father (Creator God) and was subject to Him, he had stopped being subject to Jobab's grandfather, the evil generational ruler of the island at that time. Enos therefore had not been subject to the strange conflicts experienced by Jobab. Men and women today can have that same assurance of peace and wisdom as Enos experienced.

Questions for you to consider.

Do you have some similar conflicts to Jobab?

Do you understand their source?

Do you have knowledge of the reality of God and spiritual things?

Are you in the dark about these things?

Do you know who runs this world?

Who is your master, Satan or God?

Like Jobab, are you going to die without knowing the truth about life and death?

Do you want the truth that Enos had?

If you want look for some answers to some of these things you could:

1 Start to read your bible. If you don't have one, there are plenty of internet sites where you can read a bible online. For a start, read the New Testament, followed by Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

Continue on this site is all other places

Ken Walker 

 

 

Getting through the strife of life

 

1 Scripture says we are equipped, so how do we manage life?

The sovereignty of God ought to indicate to believing man that God is in control of all things at all times. Further, that if believing man has faith in God that His will is applied to his life in every circumstance of life by God, then believing man should have no anxiety and little concern about his life. It could or perhaps should be as simple as that.

But this is certainly not so in most men and women today as they struggle with life, almost as if God was not there at all, as though they had to do something to keep their life on even keel, whilst hoping that God might do a bit for them now and then.

However, what does scripture say about our equipping by God for the Christian life?

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Pet. 1:3-4 (NIV)

Scripture says we have everything we need for life and godliness, that we might participate in the divine nature. So if we have everything, then why do we seem to struggle so much with the issues of life? Sometimes unbelievers must see us as not being much different to how they are without God. So, if we Christians are the example on which they judge God, no wonder God does not rate highly in the community!

Another example of God's equipping of us:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Eph. 1:3-4 (NIV)

Notice - every spiritual blessing in Christ – holy and blameless. These are the written words of scripture, penned by Paul under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Surely if we were appropriating these words of Peter and Paul and be living this way, we would see a different generation of Christians from that we now see in these times.

It will be my contention in this article that although most true believers who make a serious attempt at living the Christian life really do their very best, there is a far deeper life available to them than is generally recognized, where the very life of our Saviour Jesus Christ is the life they can live, without any of the personal human effort they presently use. Our old life is dead and gone and the new life of Christ is available – but many do not yet seem know this. Even if it is known by the intellect, it may not be known in the heart.

In the light of the way we are equipped for the Christian life, let's look briefly at two different aspects of living the Christian life. These two look at the handling of tough times in the form of trials, tribulations and also serious loss of amenity in our lives.

1.1. What does scripture say to do in tough times?

What is man meant to do in tough times, when the adversities of life hit where it hurts? Scripture seems to have plenty of advice on such matters.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 (NIV)

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Pet. 1:6-7 (NIV)

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Pet. 4:12-13 (NIV)

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 1 Pet. 4:16 (NIV)

So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. 1 Pet. 4:19 (NIV)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:6-7 (NIV)

Also, considering James 4:7-8, why can't we always count it pure joy, rejoice, praise God, commit ourselves to God and case our anxiety upon Him in a way that will recognize His sovereignty and His perfect will for our lives?

1.2. What does scripture say our attitude should be when we experience serious losses or actual evil in our lives?

When this happened to Job He did not blame anyone and maintained hope in God and what He might do.

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2:10 (NIV)

The King James Version is more explicit. It refers to trouble as evil. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? But Job simply believed in God and what He said. So Job said:
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; Job 13:15 (NIV)

If Job can treat his adversity like that, surely we can try to follow his example!

Paul is a wonderful New Testament example of a godly attitude to loss. Another example to emulate.

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." Philippians 3:7-11 (NIV)

2 Let's examine our Christian lives

2.1. Some questions

Why do we sometimes seem to fall apart with the many difficulties of life? Why do we act as if we have no faith at all?
Where is walking by faith and not by sight when trouble strikes?
Why do we only see what is seen in the temporal realm and not see into the eternal realm where real life is evident?
Why do we seem to forget God when evil or trouble appears to strike?
Why do even mature believers appear to worldly people be no different to themselves? Is there some lack of knowledge or wisdom within us?

2.2. Some possibilities

Could it be that:

We don't know who God really is?
We don't know how He tries to relate to us?
We don't know how to relate and communicate with Him?
We don't know how God uses adversity, suffering and evil to draw us to Himself? We don't know the deep theologies of scripture on these things?

2.3. Are there some gaps in our knowledge and experience?

It seems to me that:

We don't or may not appreciate where evil, trouble and adversity fits into the whole scheme of things.
We may not fully know who we are in Christ.
We may not know how to or are unable to appropriate the benefits of the cross. We may not know how to appropriate the life of Christ from His resurrection.
We may not have real faith.

2.4. A bridge into truth and true Christian living

Given the likelihood of this range of negative experiences in life, then what can we learn from them? What guidance does scripture give us? How might we learn to utilize such guidance and how might we achieve what God wants us to achieve? The concept of evil is one example of something we need to know about.

Given what scripture says about the provisions and promises we have been given by God, we should consider some of the more difficult aspects of scripture that may seem to affect our relationship to God, particularly if we do not understand them correctly. For example, God's word mentions such things as evil, (and relating to adversity, loss and persecution) and clearly shows how the concept of evil has relevancy in how God works in our lives. So let us take a look at evil, where it is mentioned in the Bible and how it all fits with God and His purposes in our lives.

3 Where does the concept of evil fit with God and with our lives?

Most of us, when questioned about our limited success in living in any degree of spiritual fullness in our lives, as Jesus mentioned in John 10:10 (I have come that you might have life and have it in its fullness) would point the finger elsewhere – away from us – away from taking any personal responsibility for our lives. Some seem to expect that because we are believers, everything should be perfect, that God will look after everything and we will have no difficulties in life at all. Despite the fact that scripture does not say this – in fact it is nearer the opposite, as scripture promises we will share in the sufferings of Christ – we still expect to mostly sail through life on a magic carpet.

In the temporal realm, we might blame our spouse, our children, our boss, our pastor, our neighbour, our parents, or at times, even our best friend. Spiritually speaking, we might blame the devil, demon activity, the evil in the world, or if we have an extra degree of honestly we might sometimes even blame ourselves, or even recognize the role of our own flesh in seeming to bring us difficulty, or in exasperation, just blame Adam and Eve for it all. After all, that's where it all started! Some might even blame God for the difficulties in our life.

Although these attitudes might come from unbelievers, this is not confined to unbelievers. Many believers can also find themselves doing so, when something bad happens in their life, they ask God - why them? It is as though evil had no part with them and that God should not allow it to happen. Humanly speaking, in the soul realm, where human emotions and thoughts can run rampart, such reactions are to be expected. There are not many of us like Job who can take it all on the chin and not think wrongly, but think as God does. Neither do we always praise God in all circumstance as did Paul, or count all difficulties as joy, as James did. However, in this life, all of these are going to impact us from time to time. No doubt at all. Nothing is more certain. The whole counsel of scripture underlines this principle of God utilizing evil and trials of various types to bring about His purposes in this world and specifically in our lives.

It seems to me that many believers do not connect evil and misfortune with God in any way. It is though evil exists separate from God and He has nothing to do with what happens in the world or in our lives. However, this inclination to separate God and evil is a vital clue in seeking to explain why many believers have been unable to live in the fullness Jesus promised. When afflicted with evil, misfortune or trauma, most believers are able to quote Romans 8:28 (that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes) as some vague attempt to rationalize or explain that what has happened is OK ( which it generally is) but without really understanding the depth of that scripture and how it takes into

account the relationship between the forces of evil that might have caused the misadventure or trauma, and the relationship of God to the whole thing.

Many also know the scripture in Genesis 50:20, where it is said that when evil came against Joseph, God meant it for good. In other words, God meant to bring good out of the evil that came against Joseph. This scripture of course gets much closer to explaining God's role in the way that He uses evil to bring about His purposes for His people. Still the same general point as Romans 8:28, but much more explicit.

However, in life, what do most of us do when evil or misfortune overtakes us? We often say," God, why have you allowed this to happen to me?" It is as though God in His sovereignty (which we conveniently forget about at that time) is not allowed to bring difficulty against us. But He is, and He does and always has, with all His saints. Abraham, Moses, Joseph, most of the prophets, along with what we know of the lives of many of the disciples, especially Paul, Peter and John, all experienced God's determinate will of imposing affliction upon them. That was His method of bringing them into fullness of faith. Without trials true faith will not develop. Peter and Paul experienced this as a routine part of their lives and both wrote about their suffering extensively, praising God for it and telling how it was the method that God used to further the gospel.

So why don't we take more notice of their experience and their writings as to how to cope with the difficulties that God brings? Firstly, suffering is difficult to experience. It is not pleasant. We don't like it. We would rather God took it away. Also, perhaps there is too much emphasis on things like prosperity, healing, deliverance and the like, getting us OUT of things, rather than THROUGH them. God has methods of dealing with our lives and we need to take note of the scriptural ways, so clearly announced and described in the lives and in the commands and teaching of scripture, both Old and New Testaments.

It is going to be the main purpose of this article to show where evil and similar negative events will often fit perfectly into the will of God and how scripture actually explains these things in both simple and sometimes deeper ways.

Before we go too far with this discussion about God and how He uses evil for His own wonderful and good purposes, let us get one thing straight. Most people will baulk at the words God and evil being in the same sentence, as though God had nothing to do with evil and evil had nothing to do with God. However, this is not the case. Evil and everything else in all creation is intertwined with God, although God does not do evil Himself or is responsible for it. Norman Grubb's simple comment is as good as any to give an initial explanation of this.

"It does not mean that God is the doer of that evil. As Paul said, "God forbid!" (Romans 9:14). And James said, "God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempeth He any man" James 1:13). God does not sin; nor is He responsible when we sin." (Grubb pp 167 Yes I Am)

God just uses evil for His own divine purposes. It is very clear from scripture that God does utilize and organize events which might be considered evil in themselves in order to bring about His perfect will for His glory and ultimately for the benefit of His people, which includes us in this day and age. After having mentioned Genesis 50:20, as one example of this, let us now look at a larger range of scriptures of this type.

3.1 Scriptures that indicate God's relationship to evil.

Many will be surprised to find that some of these scriptures exist and that they mean something in the context of bringing the gospel to the world and fullness of life to our lives. Although the New International Version is used here, not because it is better, but because it is commonly used, The King James version is also quoted for some of these verses, where the translators of the NIV have used different words.

3.1.1 God created evil, as He created everything else in the world.

I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. Isa. 45:7 (NIV)

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isa. 45:7 (KJV)

Notice the KJV use of the word evil. This comes from the Hebrew word Ra' Strongs 7451, having quite a range of meaning, depending on the context. It's meanings include, bad, inferior quality, malignant, disaster, unpleasant, hideous, severe, injurious, fierce, wild, adversity, deadliness, unethical, immoral, mischief, and calamity, right through to wicked and evil. Calamity is often used in some translations. So, whichever word chosen, God created them all. God said – "I make peace and create evil". Isaiah knew and wrote the word Ra by inspiration of the Spirit of God and it was translated into the KJV as evil. However, we don't have to rely on just that one verse.

3.1.2 Jeremiah said that both evil and good come from God

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? Lam. 3:38 (NIV)

Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? Lam. 3:38 (KJV)

By this he means that God actually organizes evil things to happen and well as good, but always for His own higher purposes. One example from the Old Testament, which occurred many times is as follows. Did not God on many occasions bring other nations against His people Israel in order to teach them a lesson and get them right with Himself? The best New Testament example is Jesus death on the cross. Again, Jeremiah knew and wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Then there is Job.

3.1.3.Job said we must be prepared to receive evil as well as good from God

His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2:9-10 (NIV)

Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10 (KJV)

Again, notice the stronger words from the KJV. This example is interesting for another reason, as Satan was involved directly with all proceedings. When God allowed Satan a lot of (perhaps unusual) access to Job, so that Job's losses in life would be huge and his suffering incredible, was God making a mistake? Of course not! God was working on the pride and small view of God that He knew existed in Job's being. When this happened Job's faith held, (although he suffered as he was refined) for he knew that God was still in charge. He did not consider Satan's role at all. He knew that God's power was over Satan, as though any power Satan had was inconsequential. In a very real sense, only one power (God's) was operating as the power of Satan was a part of God's power given to Satan for specific purposes. There will be more discussion on this aspect later.

3.1.4 Solomon said that God made both good and adversity.

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Eccl. 7:14 (NIV)

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him. Eccl. 7:14 (KJV)

Again, notice the stronger word in the KJV.

Before we finish this brief outline or the origins of evil, let us look at that in a little more detail. We know from scripture that evil began to be visible, when Satan rebelled against God. (Ezekiel 28:14 and Isaiah 14:13-14) Satan, fixed in his own self-centredness, set himself up in opposition to God. In doing so, Satan set himself up as the opposite sort of personhood to God – he was the one for evil, God was the One for good. Because Satan as God's light bearer was created by God, the evil within him emerged at that time – but as no surprise to God. (Grubb pp 31 Who Am I?)

Having now dealt with four scriptures showing of God's involvement in evil and its use, let us now look at a related aspect – God's use of evil forces in the world for His own ultimate purposes.

3.2. God's deliberate use of evil forces in the world

3.2.1. God said that the heathen king Nebuchadnezzar was His servant.

Then say to them, 'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy above them. Jer. 43:10 (NIV)

God says here that Nebuchadnezzar, that He treated a pagan King as His servant at that time.

3.2.2. God indicates that it is He who gives men sight / blindness, deafness / speech

The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Ex. 4:11 (NIV)

God indicates here that it is His will that decides who is afflicted and who is not.

3.2.3. God indicates He is using the Assyrians to express His anger and wrath

"Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! Isa. 10:5 (NIV)

God says here that the Assyrians are here expressing His wrath for Him.

3.2.4. God indicates that it is He who sent destroying locusts among His people

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you. Joel 2:25 (NIV)

God's destroying army here are locusts – He can send even insects to do His work for Him.

3.2.5. God indicates He has taken away the punishment He sent against Israel

The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. Zeph. 3:15 (NIV)

The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. Zeph. 3:15 (KJV)

Notice again the use of the word evil in the KJV translation.

In this case God is shown removing a punishment from His people Israel, indicating that He did inflict them in the first place. This shows that He did use other nations to chastise Israel – the use of evil peoples for His own purposes and against His own people.

So we can see that in the Old Testament period, God had no qualms about sending evil against His people. What about in the New Testament?

3.2.6. Peter said that it was God's set purpose and foreknowledge that delivered Jesus up for crucifixion

"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. Acts 2:22-23 (NIV)

Here it was God's express purpose, well known and ahead of time, but now revealed by Peter, to send Jesus to the Cross.

3.2.7. Luke writes that it was God's predetermined purpose that allowed power to Herod, Pilate, the gentiles and Israel to crucify Jesus.

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Acts 4:27-28 (NIV)

Here, God, by His power and will, has organized the Romans and the Jews to bring Jesus to the Cross

We can see from this that when believers were praying after Jesus death, they acknowledged that Herod and Pilate only did what God had decided to permit them to do beforehand. This is another example of God using evil for His purposes.

3.3. A summary of God's establishment and use of evil in this world

• God has said that He has created evil as well as peace.
• Solomon has said that God created adversity as well as good.
• Jeremiah has said that out from God comes evil and good.
• Job has said that God sends evil as well as good.
• Zephaniah indicates that God was removing the punishment He had applied earlier.
• God used a heathen king as His servant to come against His own people.
• Moses recorded God as saying that God caused deafness and blindness.
• Isaiah said that God used the Assyrians to bring wrath to His people.
• Joel reported God as saying that He sent locusts among His people.
• Luke reports that it was God's set purpose for the people of Israel to put Jesus to death.
• Luke also reports that God anointed both Herod and Pilate to bring Jesus to the cross.

4 One relationship of evil with suffering

These verses clearly establish the principle that God at times has used the evil He created to be brought against His people Israel in the Old Testament and against Jesus (in these examples) in the New Testament.

There are two issues to be looked at here. One is this. In our day and age, given that God does not change and His ways and means of doing things do not either, should we not expect that we too will have to live as though God is going to do similar things and act in similar ways to teach us His ways and get us to be disciples. The New Testament abounds with examples and teachings of how we can expect to share in the sufferings of Christ. Consider the following New Testament scriptures:

Romans 8:17 (NIV) - "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."

1 Peter 2:20 (NIV) - "But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God."

1 Peter 3:14 (NIV) - "But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened."

1 Peter 4:16 (NIV) – "However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name."

Matthew 5:11 (NIV) - "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me."

Acts 9:16 (NIV) – "I will show him how much he (Paul) must suffer for my name."

2 Corinthians 4:11 (NIV) – "For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body."

2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV) – "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Philippians 1:29 (NIV) – "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,.."

That sharing in the sufferings seems to be God's way of bringing us to a total reliance on Himself, in order that He might then work through us.

The second is perhaps more important. From all the examples provided here so far, we can see that God is always in charge and that Satan is always subservient to Him and that Satan requires God's permission before he is able to do anything in this world. The story of Job is the best

example of that, where God imposes limits on what Satan is allowed to do with and to Job and his family. So it can be argued that Satan's power (that is permitted by God) is really a part of God's overall power and in consequence of that premise, there is only One power in the universe. This factor, later becomes a critical part in how we see things in our lives and how we approach God for resolution of all things in our lives.

5 The overruling power of God in the universe.

Jesus Himself indicates here that the power Pilate intended to use against Jesus actually came from God. Consider this response from Jesus:

Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin." John 19:11 (NIV)

Jesus said to Pilate that he could only have the power over Him that was given from above. If there were two powers, Jesus would surely have said there was power from below. It suggests that Jesus only saw one power.

Jesus again saw that the earthly powers could be used to wrongly oppose God's will, as when He rebuked Peter.

Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" John 18:11 (NIV)

Jesus said to Peter in the garden when he was being arrested, that it was the Father's cup that He had to drink. Would not he have said Satan's cup if He was acknowledging two powers?

God also incited Satan against Job (twice) indicating that He was the overall power controlling all things.

Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." Job 1:8 (NIV)

Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." Job 2:3 (NIV)

And just for a reminder of the power of God over Joseph's oppressors, this is what Moses recorded in a verse already referred to.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Gen. 50:20 (NIV)

Jesus in one of His teachings about evil and desired single-minded-ness about God, gave this instruction during the extension of the sermon on the mount. This one is much more complex but has very detailed teaching in it as to how we should view evil. Please take time over it as it is very important.

Jesus, in the following scriptures talks about the relationship between a good eye and light (righteousness or good), comparing it with a bad eye and darkness (unrighteousness or evil).

(On this issue we have to go to the King James Version to get either Matthew and/or Luke's words as other modern versions do not convey the correct meaning by not including the word "single" in the verse. These other versions, by using good, healthy or clear, convey the wrong meaning. As will be seen, the word single has special meaning in the Greek, which these other words do not convey)

"The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" Matt. 6:22-23 (KJV)

"The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light." Luke 11:34-36 (KJV)

The word "single" in Greek is Strong's 573 haploos. It means singleness and is used of the (spiritual) eye not seeing double as when it is diseased. It means single, sincere and without duplicity, without deception and without evil. If you think about it, this sort of seeing involves prudence in knowing how to deal with fellow humans and the circumstances of life.

Notice what Jesus is saying here. Jesus is saying that an eye that is not single is evil (or is seeing double) In other words an evil eye, an eye that is not single, is seeing both good and evil. He also says that the eye that is single will have a body that is full of light, but if the eye is also seeing the evil in a situation, then the whole body will be full of darkness. So if we want to have our body full of light we need to have an eye that sees single and not double or evil.

All this is another way of saying that our faith with regards to a particular matter will be tainted by the darkness of unbelief if we see at all with a double or evil eye. So this issue becomes a vital factor in having our issues of faith being brought forth into victory. In any situation therefore we need to see beyond any evil relating to the situation and focus only on the good, in full faith without any unbelief, that good may come from it. (If we focus on the negative, or see both with a double eye, light and good cannot be the result) It is perhaps another way of saying that even when things are bad, we need to see the good or possible good that can come out of that situation – as per these scriptures.

Job said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Job 1:21-22 (NIV)

He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2:10 (NIV)

So in the context of the discussion on the source of power in this world, we can argue that there is only one power, as all other power by men, angels and demons is granted by God and is under His control. So when we see evil, we need to see it in the context that it has been permitted or specifically arranged by God for His own purposes, even if we do not like it or understand its purposes at that time.

6 The practice of living out life in these ways

There isn't any formulae for learning to live life the way God intended. It is learned out of knowing many things about God, at least intellectually, so that the Spirit of God may use these as fodder to teach us when difficult times arrive. This is likely to be more or less on a continuous basis for those who are really committed to the Lord and are prepared to lose their own lives in order to have His.

There are probably many ways this could be taught, as evidenced in the many How To books available. However, I am going to use a personal example that is perhaps indicative of how the Lord teaches us His ways. I wrote most of this document in November 2005 and did not publish it then because I did not know how to finish it off. Then, in 2009, I stumbled over the incomplete file on my computer again, just as a circumstance came to my life that gave me the insight to finish the article. So here is just one of the many ways to look at life like this.

"Recently, a close friend became very ill, although there was no immediate threat to his life. However, there were potential long term difficulties as well as an immediate sharp inconvenience to life. I felt for him deeply.

Loving him, I naturally wanted to help, but distance, his shock and pride, as well as some family relationship issues made it difficult to do much at all. To cut a long story short, I was left having to trust the Lord. I did not like that. The emotional shock set in and my imaginations ran riot. What if......? What about....?

Now I am still learning that there is nothing wrong with falling into a heap when the problem first appears. It shows me as being very human.

However, my focus was on the problem and how to solve it, which as I said was impossible for all sorts of reasons. For days I reasoned and analyzed and thought about it – another word would be worried, which is really sin. Darkness reigned as I struggled. There was no answer!

So I then did what I should have done first. I asked the Lord and really all I did was re-establish relationship with Him. Abiding! Oneness! Faith! Zoe life! Hebrews 4 rest! His life, not mine! There were no answers to the problem, but peace returned. There will be intercession. There will be suffering, but hopefully knowing that the Lord is in control of all things and trusting Him in it all. Isn't that what faith is!

God has allowed or instigated these circumstances for His purposes in both me and my friend. Exactly what those purposes are I cannot tell. I am not God.

I don't know what the Lord is doing with this person. He may be making him into a special son and saint. Doing what I would have done in the circumstance might have gotten in His way. My job is to praise Him and thank Him for what He is doing in this person's life and wait on Him to see if He wants me to do anything. In the meantime, keep as perfect a relationship with the Lord, because without it, I will not hear from Him what to do for this person anyway.

I am sure this does not cover all the bases for the problems of life but is perhaps indicative of some of the principles of spiritual life that God intended for us."

I pray that you yourself will come to surrender to the Lord and His ways sufficiently so to enable Him to direct and control your lives according to His will and for His glory.

Finally, the article provided below, written by Marshall Broomhall is a living example of the principles mentioned here. Broomhall describes how Hudson Taylor lived exactly like this.

Initially written in November 2005 - Completed in April 2009 Ken Walker, Global Good News
kgww @tpg.com.au -leave out the space before the @ to make the address operative

The Secret of Rest - Marshall Broomhall

The secret of his (Hudson Taylor's) rest of heart, amid such tempests of hate, was his refusal to look at second causes. His times were in God's hands. He believed that it was with God, and GOD ALONE, he had to do. This is strikingly brought out in his article entitled ''Blessed Adversity.'' With the experiences of Job as his text, he wrote:

''Even Satan did not presume to ask God to be allowed himself to afflict Job. In the first chapter and the eleventh verse he says: 'Put forth Thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.' Satan knew that none but God could touch Job; and when Satan was permitted to afflict him, Job was quite right in recognizing the Lord Himself as the doer of these things which He permitted to be done.

''Oftentimes shall we be helped and blessed if we bear in mind that Satan is servant, and not master, and that he and wicked men incited by him are only permitted to do that which God by His determinate council and foreknowledge has before determined shall be done. Come joy, or come sorrow, we may always take it from the hand of God.

''Judas betrayed his Master with a kiss. Our Lord did not stop short at Judas, nor did He even stop short at the great enemy who filled the heart of Judas to do this thing; but He said: 'the cup which My FATHER hath given Me, shall I not drink it?'

''How the tendency to resentment and a wrong feeling would be removed, could we take an injury from the hand of a loving Father, instead of looking chiefly at the agent through whom it comes to us! It matters not who is the postman--it is with the writer of the letter that we are concerned; it matters not who is the messenger--it is with God that His children have to do.

''We conclude, therefore, that Job was not mistaken, and that we shall not be mistaken if we follow his example, in accepting all God's providential dealings as from Himself. We may be sure that they will issue in ultimate blessings; because God is GOD.

With peaceful mind thy path of duty run: God nothing does, nor suffers to be done,
But thou wouldst do the same if thou couldst see The end of all events as well as He.''

(From The Man Who Believed God, by Marshall Broomhall)