Righteousness! Chapter 6
The consciousness of our separation from God came from Adam whose identity we had assumed. We have acted before God just as Adam did, by hiding from Him behind the trees. These “trees” represent our thoughts, behind which we have sought refuge in thinking that the death of Christ was a substitute for our death, and provided us with the forgiveness of our sins, so God will not be angry with us. However, Jesus said in Matt. 16:24,
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
Your life is wrapped up in your thinking. Jesus is wanting you to take your life to the cross. That is, forsake your thoughts and learn of Him because His ways and His thoughts are what will give you the God kind of life that you are seeking.
Jesus called the multitude together and said, “Every plant (representing our thoughts) that my Father has not planted, shall be rooted up.” (Matt. 15:13) The Pharisees were offended by these things because they were blind to the Truth, and so they kept the people who were under them, in bondage also. Religion does the same thing today. Paul continues speaking to the Roman Christians by saying, “As sin has reigned (as king) bringing you into death, even so (in the same way) Grace reigns (as king) through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5:21)
So in Rom.6:1 Paul begins by asking a question, “Shall we continue in sin so that grace might abound?” He replies to this question by saying, “GOD FORBID that you should even think such a thing.” Then he introduces the question of Baptism to make his point. Of course he is not speaking here of baptism in water for the forgiveness of sins, but of that Baptism whereby we are Baptised by one Spirit into ONE BODY. In Gal 3:27, Paul speaks of being Baptised INTO CHRIST.
This baptism, involves being baptised into the death of Jesus Christ, and being buried with him. This indicates the absolute end of life as we had known it up to that point. Having now terminated all connection with our past life, we rise with him from that death to walk in a brand new life. In verse 6, Paul continues with the analogy and says our OLD MAN (called ADAM) was crucified with him, for the purpose of destroying that existence in which we were dominated by sin. This beloved, is the pathway of freedom. So if the “Adam” we thought we were, was swallowed up in Christ’s death, then in resurrection we rise to live a Christ life, over which sin has no power. Paul said in Rom. 14:17,
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
Despite the Truth of what we have just said, so many of God’s people continue to live in a perpetual war zone within themselves, facing conflict on every side. The reason for this “contradiction” is that they have never allowed God’s reconciliation to work in their lives bringing them into peace. What they have been taught by preachers and teachers is all that they know, and that knowledge has failed to bring them into oneness with God. Their lives have been one continual conflict between good and evil, flesh and Spirit, and Light and darkness, just to name a few. This is what living by Law brings us because we cannot live up to the Law's standards by ourselves.
Paul continues his personal testimony in Romans 7, saying, “I know that the law is spiritual but I am carnal and a slave to sin. Because that which I do not want to do I find myself doing, and that which I desire to do, I am unable to do.” This is the conflict with which we all identify, but at that time in Paul’s life his understanding was being illuminated by the Spirit. He continues by saying, “For I know that in me, that is in my flesh (that came from ADAM), dwells no good thing, for my desire is to do good, but how to do it eludes me.” He says his life is in constant conflict, because when I want to do good, evil is present to overcome my desire.
This is the cry of all humanity that echoes from the Apostle Paul as he came to grips with the reconciling of all things in himself to God. “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from THIS BODY OF DEATH, which lives in constant conflict.” Immediately he replies to his own call for help and says, “I thank God the answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Paul has now reached that point in his life where the Spirit of God has brought revelation to him concerning the way to experience the peace of God. However I know many people use this testimony of Paul to prove that the conflict he speaks of is to be an ongoing experience. If we have been reconciled to God it must mean surely that we have been made to conform to Christ in a way that will allow us to enter into union with him. There is no conflict in God, for there is only one power in this universe and not two as has been taught by so many. How could God reconcile us to Himself if there remains some power out there or within us that can challenge His authority in our lives? We must first discover how this reconciliation functions in our lives.
Paul says they that are in the flesh, or who function out of the Adamic consciousness, cannot please God. How then can we be reconciled to God if we cannot please him? The answer is that it is impossible and yet our natural mind has the power to hide reality from us so we can believe a lie. Therefore it is only Truth that can make us free.
Paul makes a profound statement that, “All things are of (or out of) God.” I do not believe many Christians have really grasped the truth that is revealed here. The concept of a “devil” that is in constant opposition to God, looms so large in the minds of many Christians that it has distorted our true understanding of God. We have been convinced that our God is simply playing a kind of “catch-up” game, being so busy cleaning up the mess that this “devil” keeps on making, that he has little time to do anything positive.
Listen to what Paul had to say in Col. 1:16,
“For by him were ALL THINGS created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they are thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; ALL THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM AND FOR HIM. He is before all things and by him all things consist.”
We must conclude therefore that there is really nothing in all of creation that God has not made and made for Himself. Rev.4:11 says,
“Thou art worthy O Lord to receive glory, honour and power, for thou hast created ALL THINGS, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Remember that at the end of creation on the sixth day God looked at all He had made, including man, and declared everything was very GOOD. However, it was in the plan of God to lower man into a level of living that can only be characterised as vanity. This is how Moffatt translates Rom. 8:20,
“For creation was not rendered futile by its own choice, but by the will of him who thus made him subject. The hope being that creation as well as man would one day be freed from its frustration and be restored to its pristine glory as the children of God.”
This restoration involves a reconciliation of those opposites that have continued to function in us despite all our personal endeavours to be rid of this duality. Paul explains how this matter is to be resolved by saying. Col. 1:20,
“Having made PEACE through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile ALL THINGS unto himself, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven.”
What does Paul mean when he says he has reconciled all things in heaven and in Earth? First of all we must understand that the Heavens and the earth refer to us, rather than the physical creation. We are the heavens (the spiritual part of our being) and we are the earth. (the physical part of us.) Here is the main source of all our inner conflicts. You must understand that He made PEACE, through the “blood” (i.e. His life) of His cross so there would be no more conflict within us. However for most Christians there is still a battle that has not yet been resolved. This indicates to us that the conflict is still raging between the Flesh and the Spirit and between the carnal mind and the mind of Christ.
If we have not resolved the problem of Light and Darkness, or Good and Evil then we really have not yet touched the reality of being reconciled within ourselves. This means that the reconciliation Christ has achieved on our behalf has not yet been implemented in us and so we have not entered into that PEACE of God that passes all understanding. Paul continues to expound the truth of reconciliation by saying that he was made a minister according to the economy of God that had been given to him for US, so that we might fulfil the word of God. He calls this a “mystery” that has been hidden from the ages and generations, but is NOW made known to His saints.
This mystery is CHRIST IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY. What exactly does this mean with regard to our reconciliation? The word “glory” comes from a Greek word meaning to think and therefore to express the true honour and dignity of our being. Most Christians still consider themselves as sinners and mortal beings who were born and who will die. This does not express much in the way of glory.
We admit that our body is under the influence of sickness and disease, over which we seem to have very little control. Our emotions such as anger, hatred, lust and desire, often dictate our attitudes and actions, resulting in unresolved conflict. Reconciliation means that every part of our being has been brought into harmony with Christ, enabling us to express what He is. God expresses his Peace in the perfection of Christ. But the mystery of Godliness, is that Christ walked this earth in the form of a man called Jesus, who was born of a woman, being tested in all points just as we are, yet He never sinned, and in everything He pleased the Father, therefore, He could say, “If you have seen me you have seen my Father, and I and my Father are ONE.”
One day Jesus asked the disciples if they knew who He was, because from all outward appearances He was no different from any other man. Peter looked into the eyes of Jesus with spiritual understanding that was given to Him from the Father and declared, “Thou art the CHRIST the son of the living God.”
After His resurrection, Christ returned to the Father to receive again the glory He had before the world began in order to make that same glory available to us. Then He returned, just as He told the disciples, on the day of Pentecost to take up residence within His people. This is the mystery that reveals how reconciliation functions in us today. Christ IN YOU is the only possible hope of God being glorified in His people.
Paul says, “YOU are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” Eph 2:10 This reveals to us that we must have been created IN CHRIST in the beginning, so John declares to us, “As He IS, so are we in this world.” He is the likeness and image of God and also the righteousness of God. So Paul now says that if we are to express the glory, which is the honour and dignity of our true being and identity, we must understand that Christ has now taken up residence IN US as our Life, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. He now stands within us declaring, “ I AM THE WAY.” He did not say, come to me and I will show you the way. NO, he said, I AM the way and so if we are to express the glory of our true identity that is Christ, we must become what He is, because He said I AM, is the only way to declare that glory. We need to understand that the title, “I AM” is not the name of a person but is a state of being, expressing that our origin is out of Christ and has never changed from the beginning, and neither has our relationship with the Father. That “title” was revealed to Moses who needed to identify who it was that was sending him to Egypt to deliver Israel, and literally means, “I am becoming what I am becoming.” The truth is, he is becoming what he IS, in us.
It represented to Israel, that God would declare Himself through Moses, to deliver them from their humanity and mortality, bringing them into an expression of Himself. Ex. 19:4-6 says,
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bear you on eagles wings, and BROUGHT YOU UNTO MYSELF. Now, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you will be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine. And you shall be unto me a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, and a HOLY NATION.”
This expression “I AM,” expresses the will and purpose of God to dwell in man, and in doing so, for man to reflect his image and likeness, even as it is in Jesus Christ. Because of this, Jesus was able to say, “I am the way.” This means that He had “become” the WAY in Himself. For any man who is seeking “The Way,” can only discover it by becoming what Jesus had become.
He also said, “I am the Truth.” The truth is not some teaching that he brought to us, but what He himself had become. There are not many who seem to have understood this fact, considering instead that Truth is ink on paper, or verses in the Bible. No, Truth is a person and if we desire to know truth, we must become what he is. This seems so foreign to so many Christians. I can remember when I was first told that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus how foreign that was to me! It did, however, excite me to think that I could become that close to Jesus!
In this sense, truth is something that has always been, and can never change for it is set in the reality of God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things that are not as though they were. (Rom. 4:17) Jesus connected one more thing to the concept of I AM, and that is LIFE. Again, He never suggested that life could be had, just by coming to Him and asking for it. He said, “I am the LIFE.” Therefore life is but an expression of the “I AM,” therefore to have that life we must become just what he is. Every attribute of God is reflected in the, I AM and therefore manifest in Jesus Christ. He is the God of MERCY and so mercy is manifested in that state of being that is, I AM. The same can be said for Peace and every other attribute of God.
Now listen to what Paul has to say to us in 1 Cor 1:27-31.
“But God has chosen the foolish ones of the world to put the wise to shame, and God has chosen the weak ones of the world to embarrass the mighty…….. But you who also belong to God through Jesus Christ, who from God is made to all of us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and salvation. As it is written, he who glories let him glory in the Lord.”
It can be seen from the above scripture that we must look closely at Jesus Christ to discover the mystery which Paul spoke about in Eph 3:2-7.
“Have you never heard of the dispensation of the Grace of God which was given to me for you? For this mystery was made known to me by a revelation, as I have briefly written to you before, so that when you read it you can understand my knowledge of the Mystery of Christ. This mystery in ages past was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the spirit, (the mystery is) that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and partakers of his body and of the promise, that is given through him by the Gospel.”
During the time of the Old Testament, Israel was considered to be the people of God and the Gentiles were as the heathen. But Israel failed to fulfil the covenant and so the kingdom was taken from them and given to a nation bringing forth the fruit thereof. Paul goes into details as to what constitutes a Jew. He says in Rom. 2:28-29,
“He is not a JEW who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a JEW that is one INWARDLY, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
In the light of this definition, we must conclude that we who have entered into covenant relationship with God and have been circumcised in our heart by the Spirit, ARE THE REAL JEWS. Let us consider what Paul says about the Gentiles in the flesh. Eph 2:11-12
“Remember, that you being in times past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands. That at that time you were WITHOUT CHRIST, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having NO HOPE, and WITHOUT GOD in the world.”
Paul's definition of the Gentiles surely fits the description of many of those who claim to be Jews by natural birth in this our day. How incredible it is that God said to the Prophet Hosea, (Rom. 9:25, Hosea 2:23)
“I will call them my people which were not my people, and her beloved that was no beloved, and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, You are not my people, there shall they be called the children of the living God.”
Israel who sought relationship with God on a natural level failed to qualify, but those who now seek relationship with Him in the realm of spirit, being circumcised in the heart are indeed the Children of the living God. If you have ears to hear what the spirit is saying, you should have already discovered the wonderful truth that is called reconciliation, and also the way by which it can become your own personal experience. We must remember that all these things are in the Spiritual Realm, and so must be spiritually discerned. What we are in the natural cannot change the reality of our true being that was created in Christ Jesus.
Allow me to once again say that all these things are in the Spiritual Realm and can only be understood by spiritual discernment!