Man's Condition; and What Is the Remedy? Part 3

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 8
All this is as man and for man, so that those who, through grace, are in Him, have their place and relationship and eternal portion with God, and in the new creation. Such is God’s superabounding grace through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Romans this grace is developed in connection with justification and deliverance. And it is not merely that we are “justified from all things” — “justified by His blood” — we have “justification of life” as well. This involves having our life in Christ risen. He died for us, not only as bearing our sins, but that He might also bring us, through His death, out of the whole condition we were in as children of Adam. “Our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed [justified] from sin” (Rom. 6:6-76Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:6‑7)). “Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:44Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:4)). Thus all that judgment could lay hold of, all that in which sin could wield its power, all that the law could address itself to, has come to an end before God, for faith, in the death of Christ; and now in Christ risen we have our life — a life beyond judgment, beyond condemnation — a life of which the blessed Spirit of God is the spring and power. This is the life in which we stand before God. Christ Himself is our life — Christ risen — and thus we have “justification of life,” because we have a life to which no sin can attach, and which, in resurrection and glory, is forever beyond the reach of judgment. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:11There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)).
And here, too, we have a positive delivering power — not only a new position, but a power adequate to the new place in which we are set by grace — “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” Not only have we life in Christ, but it is life characterized by the power of the Spirit, and makes free from the “law of sin and death.” The believer has the life in which Jesus was raised from the dead, and he has also the Spirit which raised up Jesus, as the power of this life. It is a delivering power which sets the believer free from bondage to sin, through the death of Jesus as the door of escape from the house of bondage, and the life of Jesus risen, realized as the life we now live in the flesh by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us. Oh, to realize the blessed character of this life in the power of the Spirit, through communion with our risen Lord and Savior!
Reader, are you “free”? I do not ask if you are converted, or if your sins are forgiven; but are you free? Has the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made you free from the law of sin and death? Are you walking after the Spirit, and not after the flesh? The Spirit glorifies Christ. Is Christ your object? Is Christ ALL?
If we now turn to Ephesians, we shall see the way in which God meets man’s need as dead in his sins. It is not the subject of justification and deliverance that is developed, but a new creation, in connection with God’s eternal counsels.
And here God begins with Christ. There was His “eternal purpose, which He purposed in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 3:1111According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: (Ephesians 3:11)) — counsels before the foundation of the world — but when He began to bring this into view, He began by raising up Christ from the dead. Man in Adam was dead — dead in trespasses and sins — the old creation a hopeless ruin, and this proved by the death of Christ. Christ’s death on the cross was, so to speak, the end of the old creation before God. All was brought under God’s judgment, and done with before Him — man dead in sins, and Christ dead for sins and sin, all was death. Here God begins by raising up Christ from the dead, and setting Him “at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” Nor is this all; He “put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:20-2320Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:20‑23)).
This is a new creation. Christ is the Head; and now that the old creation is gone in death, and under judgment, Christ is “the beginning of the creation of God,” just as if the old had never existed. But Christ is not alone. “God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-74But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4‑7)). Thus, in the counsels of God, and to faith and in spirit now, we are seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus; and our associations are with Him in that new creation scene of which He is the head and the beginning. God, by the mighty operation of His power, has set us in Him. The same power that wrought in raising up Christ from the dead, setting Him above all thrones and dominions, and all created intelligences of all ages, has wrought in us who believe, quickening us with Christ, raising us up, and seating us in Him. And, blessed be God, the same power works in us to lead us into the apprehension of it in our souls.
This power is by the Spirit who dwells in us, as the blessed answer to all that Christ is and has entered into for us, making it all good in us, in the apprehension of our souls, strengthening us with might in the inner man, according to the riches of God’s glory; that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith; that, being rooted and grounded in love, we may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that we might be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:16-1916That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:16‑19)). Oh! what grace. Can it be possible? Yes, fellow-believer, it is possible. It is God’s own word. It is not a question of what we are, or what we can do. God is revealing the glory of His grace according to His eternal purpose in Christ, and it is wholly a question of what He can do, according to the power by which He raised up Christ from the dead, and set Him in the highest glory. It is a question of His mighty power operating in us by His Spirit. And who shall set limits to this?
What is the result of this inward strengthening? Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, and we get rooted and grounded in love. The Spirit dwells in us, and strengthens us inwardly; and our hearts open to the Object that is before the Spirit — Christ in glory — Christ, the Head of the Church, His body, and the center of the new creation scene, and this Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. This is what we have been brought into through grace, and what has got a place in our hearts by faith, and through the operation of the Spirit. But being there we do not find ourselves alone; in the counsels of God we find ourselves in the company of “all saints,” that with them we may look out on the scene of heavenly blessing, and comprehend it all, and, at the same time, drink in the knowledge of Christ’s love — the love which, through suffering and death, and the bearing of divine wrath and judgment, has brought us into all the blessing.
This, fellow-believer, is not something to be known afar off, as a tale that is told, in which we have no personal interest. The heart of believers is the sphere in which is developed, by the Spirit, this wondrous scene, this limitless expanse of glory — “breadth, length, depth, height;” this ocean of love — love fathomless, shoreless — “the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:1919And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)).
Is this the scene in which your soul now lives — from which it draws its life, and nourishment? Do you know it as your commonwealth, your home, that into which grace has introduced you in Christ for eternity? Then may you and I, and all who have tasted the blessedness, walk in the power of this truth, and learn its breadth, and length, and depth, and height, more and more. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:1010For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)). Sin, death, judgment, the world, are all left behind, and we belong to a scene in which the surpassing riches of God’s grace and glory are displayed, and will be displayed through all eternity. We are in this now in Christ, and have the Spirit in us as the blessed answer to it all, to make it good in our hearts, according to the power of God.
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Eph 3:20-2120Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20‑21)).