Either in Adam or in Christ? Part 3

 •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 8
I may add that what came on man by sin, death, as well as an awaiting judgment, Christ has truly gone down into, and broken its power for the quickened soul forever. Resurrection has told its tale, and the power of death as the dread of judgment is gone for the believer forever.
But this is not all. The Holy Ghost has been given to dwell in us, for we are cleansed. And as Christ has done that work which is the foundation of the eternal blessing of heaven and earth, so the Holy Ghost has been given to us to unite us with Christ and dwell in us, so as to set us, as in Him and He in us, in the center of the whole scene of His glory. This will be perfectly so in the ages to come. But even now, not only are we one with Him, according to Eph. 1, but the Holy Ghost is in us, and the apostle looks to our being strengthened with might by Him in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith, that we may be rooted and grounded in love, and able to comprehend all the glory on every side, length and breadth and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, filled even to all the fullness of God. Thus it is we are a testimony. Thus it is that glory is to God in the church throughout all ages. Thus the way Christ the blessed Lord has perfectly glorified God Himself, on the cross in His death, brings us into that glory according to divine purpose in and with Him, and fills us with the Spirit, that we may be able to comprehend all the glory of which Christ is the center, and know the love which has made the glorious One bring us so into the center of all with Himself to whom all glory belongs (all things that the Father has are His, and we, His children, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Him)—not only bring us with Him there, but, better yet, give us Himself, and with Him a place with Him in the Father's love.
The result is this: the whole standing, condition, or estate in life of the believer is changed, not outwardly as to the body yet, as is evident, but in relation to God, and that really by a new life. He is as completely out of the old as a man is out of the life of his former state when he has died; and now he looks to live with Christ who is risen; yea, in spirit as having partaken of life from Him when risen, he can say he is risen with Him. His place before God is in Christ risen, not in Adam in the flesh. But as he is there by the death and resurrection of Christ, he is there according to the value of what He has there wrought; that is, all his sins, all he was in the first Adam, atoned for and put away totally and wholly out of God's sight. He is fit, according to God's own work and nature, for God's sight and presence. Morally he is justified before God; and, as regards God's nature and presence, he must be fitted for it to be in it. And Christ has perfectly glorified God Himself.
Harmless, holy, in love we must be to be there. Hence in Eph. 1:44According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Ephesians 1:4) it is not said “according to the good pleasure of His will.” We must be that according to God's nature. But here, as we have seen, we cannot leave out God's purpose, if we would know His mind about us. His good pleasure was to predestinate us to the adoption of sons, and bring us in glory as such into His presence. Such was the worth of Christ's death; so did He therein glorify God, that this purpose is righteously accomplished, and He becomes our life as risen that we may have this place, and He, in unspeakable goodness, be the Firstborn among many brethren.
But there is yet more. He in an especial way loved the church, and gave Himself for it; and thus it has a place with Himself as His body and His bride, which He nourishes and cherishes, as a man would his own flesh. By the Holy Ghost, consequently given to us, we know our place thus given to us, sonship in present consciousness, the bride's relationship in divinely given knowledge. For the former ( sonship) is individual, the latter clearly not. So far we learn what closely connects itself with it, that individually we know we are in Christ and Christ in us. But we are members of His body [of His flesh, and of His bones]. We are consciously in Him in the presence of God, holy and without blame before Him in love, and the Father's children by Him: “as He is, so are we in this world.” This, according to God's purpose, is justly founded on His perfectly glorifying God in His offering of Himself. This is our place with and before God, a perfect one as and in Christ: Eph. 1 brings it most richly before us.
This is privilege, not testimony, save as all privilege rightly so acts as to produce testimony. But, besides, Christ is in us; the Holy Ghost dwells in us individually and in the assembly. And here present joy, responsibility, and testimony come in. We have fellowship ( the blessed Lord being our life) with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ, that our joy may be full; we abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost; the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given to us. Yea, “we know that we dwell in God, and God in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.”
Our responsibility depends on this too. It is often thought that responsibility is connected with uncertainty; but it is a mistake. Responsibility is founded on the relationship we are in. If we are always in it, we are responsible to act rightly in it. My child cannot be other than my child. Hence he is always bound to act and feel as my child. Were he not in the relation, he would not; and so of others. We are not to grieve the Holy Spirit of promise by which we are sealed to the day of redemption. Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost; we are not to use them for sin. We are to walk worthily of the calling wherewith we are called, in the unity of the Spirit.
Hence, when the apostle has shown the church in that unity as the dwelling-place of God, and us all heirs of glory in our position in Christ, he prays according to the riches of that glory, that we may be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith. And thus God was to be glorified in the church by Christ Jesus—this by a power that works in us. This becomes thus testimony. So the church is a testimony to principalities and powers in heavenly places. So are we called on to mortify our members on earth; to apply the cross to all the workings of flesh in us and every movement of our will; to mortify by the Spirit the deeds of the body. And the result, as in Paul, of hearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus is that the life of Jesus might be manifested in our mortal body.
Thus our being in Christ is the highest possible place as to standing, and perfect. But God's dwelling in us, our being individually and collectively His habitation and temple, Christ's dwelling in our hearts by faith—here is the power of fellowship grounded on our standing. Here our responsibility, our state is tested, as compared with our standing, not to put this to doubt but to use it; here are the character, means, and way of our testimony.
We then are to reckon ourselves dead; we are not in the flesh at all, but in the Spirit; in Christ who has died, and justified us as to all we were in Adam, before God; alive to God through Him, and in Him members of His body. We are not to know ourselves as alive in the flesh, but as having died and risen again; not to know even Him after the flesh (that is, as down here connected with man and with Israel, as in the world) but as passed through death to all here, and by resurrection into glory and a new state, to begin and be the Head of a new creation, of which we are the firstfruits.
I do not pursue the consequences of this as to law, conflict, and other collateral subjects. My object was to lay the great basis of truth as to it, as Scripture states it. We must look at the atonement in all its truth to know it thoroughly. No compassionate remembrance of weakness was there, no patience with poor dust and ashes as we are. God had no need—it was not the time—to consider weakness, as if the spirits should fail before Him, and the souls which He had made. One was there who could drink the cup, made sin before Him; and all the outgoings of the divine nature against sin were let loose against sin, as such, on One able to sustain it, that sin might be put away out of God's sight according to His nature; and eternal blessing might be in righteousness before Him.
Our special place must then be sought in His purpose. The foundation in righteousness is according to His nature: not merely the putting away of the old thing, needed for God's glory as it was, rebellion, and disobedience, and sin; but Christ by glorifying God entering as man into (yea, beginning) the new thing, the fullness of which will be in eternity, and in that the First-begotten from the dead, the Head of the body, the church, and withal the Firstborn among many brethren conformed to the image of God's Son in glory.
The Lord make us to know how truly it is all new. If permitted, I may enter more specifically into the prayer of Eph. 3, and compare it with that of the first. For the present I confine myself to a skeleton of the whole subject. The reader will find the question of righteousness, and the essential character of the new thing through death and resurrection, treated of in the Epistle to the Romans; the purpose of God, our place in His presence in Christ and His dwelling in us to fill us with blessing, in Ephesians. Hence, as to doctrine, Romans does not go beyond resurrection; Ephesians goes to ascension and union. (Concluded).
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