Resurrection and the Life
A few weeks back I taught a seminar based upon Dr. Chant’s book Great Words of the Gospel. Of course, before teaching I had to re-read the book…probably the third of fourth time…and as always, I was blessed far more than the students (and they were blessed!). In Dr. Chant’s work, he discusses some of the great words of the gospel, none greater being that of our great salvation, which all hinges on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. There is so much in the book that has blessed me, but none more than contemplating on my position in Christ, provide by the incredible resurrection of Christ. Let me share a few excerpts from the book by way of illustration, with my brief comments in bold.
One of the most helpful ideas you can grasp in relation to victorious Christian life is the difference between your standing and your state.
Your standing refers to your legal position with Christ in the heavenlies – that is, your present spiritual union with Christ in his resurrection, ascension, and enthronement at the Father’s right hand. (Something we should especially be celebrating this weekend!)
Your state refers to your actual condition on earth – that is, the degree to which you have managed to appropriate the fullness of Christ in your daily life.
Paul’s letters to the Ephesians and the Colossians are built around this theme. In each case, the first half of the letter is devoted to the believer’s standing in Christ; and the second half deals with the believer’s state on earth. But the same method can be observed in all of Paul’s instructions to the various churches. Always he wanted them to know who they were in Christ before he told them what they should do as Christians. Insight must come before action, revelation before requirement, doctrine before duty.
How often that pattern is reversed! Time and again people are told that they must do holiness before they can pronounce themselves holy; or that they must live victoriously before they can declare themselves victors; or that they must act righteously before they can confess themselves righteous; and so on. But the end result of making personal behavior the criterion of one’s position before Christ is to lapse into suffocating legalism. Grace is abandoned. Law triumphs – with disastrous effects in the frustrated experience of God’s people.
The scriptures declare that in Christ you are already:
an heir of God (Cl 1:12)
a citizen of heaven (1:13)
reconciled and perfect (1:21-22)
indwelt by divine glory (1:27)
risen into the heavenlies (2:12)
dead to the world (3:3)
and so on.
All that, just from Colossians! And so much more you can find in this wonderful book…all of which has been provide to us as believers!
FROM POSITION TO POSSESSION
The legal standing you have in Christ in the heavenlies, as we have seen, is intended to provide the basis upon which you boldly grasp the promises of God, tread down the devil, and live a richly abundant life in the favor of God.
That will not happen of its own accord.
Vigorous and steadfast faith is needed.
And also self-discipline.
Nothing in your legal standing removes from you the need to serve God daily with all your heart, to deny the flesh, to oppose the devil, and to fight the good fight of faith.
But there is a difference between doing those things from a standpoint of strength in contrast with one of weakness. There is an even greater difference between doing them, not as an effort to earn heaven’s favour, but rather as an expression of what we know we already possess in the heavenlies.
Because I know God is already fully pleased with me in Christ I strive to live up to that grace-given status. But, by first positioning myself with Christ in the heavenlies, I can strive as one who is strong, not weak. In the heavenlies I have access to all the resources I need to accomplish fully the will of God.
Again, I serve the Lord, not to become righteous, but to express the glorious righteousness that is totally mine now in Christ. After all, I am already “the righteousness of God in Christ.” What can I possibly add to that? What could possibly improve God’s own righteousness, which is freely attributed to me in Christ? Would I insult the Father by suggesting that his righteousness is inadequate, that it needs an occasional dollop of mine?
I am content with Christ’s provision. What a place of peace!
But while I cannot work for the favor of God, I can work for his reward. There is an inheritance available to the saints in the coming kingdom of God, and we are urged many times in scripture to give ourselves to the quest of that heavenly prize.
The wonderful fact, which we celebrate most this weekend, is we have incredible blessings due to the resurrection of Christ…what joy! Our prayer is that this weekend will be filled with joy as you rejoice in the wonderful resurrection of Christ…and gratefully remember all our position in Christ provides to us. Happy Easter…God is good!
Ps….If you have not read Dr. Chant’s book, please order… click on the book or go to www.booksbyvision.com
Special Price… for 30 days… 15% off ..
Stan E. DeKoven, Ph.D., MFT
Founder and President
Vision International University
Dear Friend of Vision;
It is said, that every little bit helps…and that is true when trying to fund a primarily faith based and generous giving ministry like ITEN/Vision. As you will see in the information below, you can help us little by little by partnering with ITEN/Vision and Amazon…where many shop on line, and in this case, 5% of the amount of money you pay to shop at Amazon will go to Vision for Student Scholarships, Bible College planting, providing translated books to international students, etc. It will only take a few moments…but again, your little can go a long way in the Kingdom of God.
Stan E. DeKoven, Ph.D., MFT
Founder and President
Vision International University
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