Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How then should we live?

From a chapter in "Pauline Dispensationalism" by Miles Stanford found at http://www.withchrist.org/

FURTHER POSITIONAL HISTORY -- Positionally freed from the Adamic life through my death unto sin in the Lord Jesus, the Father was at liberty to identify the essential me with His Son, and in His resurrection I was recreated alive unto the Father in Him. When He arose, as "the beginning of the [new] creation of God" (Rev. 3:14), I arose with Him in "newness of life"--a totally new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).

When the Lord Jesus, now Head of the new creation, the Church, ascended to the right hand of His Father, He took me with Him. The Father, having re-created me in His Son, raised me up and made me sit together in heavenly places in Him. "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6). Abide above!

I was positionally separated by death via the Cross from the first Adam, to be recreated in union with the Last=2 0Adam in His resurrection and ascension. Old Adamic things positionally passed away in the death of Calvary. In my condition, they are (slowly) passing away as I grow spiritually. Actually, finally, they will totally and eternally pass away at my death or at the Rapture--whichever comes first. "Even so, come Lord Jesus"!

There I am in my glorious position, "hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3). In the Lord Jesus, I am accepted in the Beloved, complete in Him, entirely sanctified in Him, perfect in Him. With that position, who can question his unconditional, eternal security?!

All of that, and much more, has been held in spiritual escrow for me ever since the One who is my Life ascended to the right hand of the Father. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3).

All had to be completed positionally before a single Christian and the Church could come into being, because Christianity is founded upon and springs from the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. "And ye are complete in Him, who is the Head of all principality and power" (Col. 2:10).

THE CONDITION FACTOR -- Born into the world in the life and image of the first Adam, I grew up a condemned sinner, "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1). In His foreordained time and purpose the Father called me, and by His grace and the Spirit's conviction of sin, I responded in unconditional faith--responsibly accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my own Saviour.

At that moment the Holy Spirit, by His indweliing, brought me the life of the ascended Lord Jesus Christ to be my Christian life. Then and there I was placed in my position as a new creation in the Last Adam. Nevertheless, Adamic life and nature continued to indwell my body of mortal flesh.

In the Spirit's time I came to realize the positional truths in the Word concerning me--from Romans 5:12 on throughout Paul’s Church Epistles. I saw that I had judicially died unto sin at the Cross, crucified with the Lord Jesus (Gal. 2:20).

In time, and plenty of that, I learned via Romans Seven not to struggle against the fleshly life of Adam within, but to count by faith upon the positional truth of the finished work of the Cross. "For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to have died indeed unto sin, but to be alive unto God in Jesus C hrist our Lord" (Rom. 6:10,11).

As I reckon my new self positionally dead unto sin, the Holy Spirit progressively applies that finished position to my growing condition. I experience, step by step, the freedom from the power and reign of indwelling Adamic sin that was wrought on Calvary. My condition begins to conform to its source, my position in Christ.

Likewise, reckoning upon my position as "alive unto God in Christ Jesus," the Holy Spirit centers my heart and mind upon the One who is my Christian Life. As I behold Him by means of the Word, in personal fellowship and worship, the Spirit of Christ develops that completed life to manifest the "fruit of the Spirit." With ever increasing growth I am slowly conformed to the image of the Son.

"But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18)

(The following is specific to Mile's dispensational beliefs...)
At the Rapture I will receive my renewed body, like unto His glorious body. Then, and not until then, my body of mortal flesh will be instantly transformed into my spiritual body. The old Adamic man will finally be eradicated, and I will be in eternal condition what has been my position ever since my death and resurrection in Him at Calvary--yes, ever since my Father formed me in His heart in eternity past.

The question remains: what of these great liberating positional truths have you learned from the Church--whether it be through your local Bible church, or elsewhere?

From nearly fifty years of close observation, I would say that your chances are just about one in a thousand. If the leadership in the sound Church realized who and where they are in the glorified Lord Jesus Christ, would they stop at Romans 5:11, unable to really enter into Romans 5:12 and beyond? Would they be OT- and Synoptics-oriented, holding the Church to the earthly level of Israel and her law?

Would they substitute the synoptic "Gospel of the kingdom" for Paul's exclusive "glorious Gospel"? Would they subject members of the heavenly Body of the glorified Lord Jesus Christ to Israel's earthly New Covenant, or her Mosaic and Kingdom law system--that to which the Christian has died? "For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God" (Gal. 2:19).

This is the present-day tragedy of the Church, settled in the great black hole between Romans 5:11, and 12.

"If [since] ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set you affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:1-3).