Life Really Works! (Part Two)
The following pages are a brief sharing from my heart of what is for me the Total Truth of the "mystery which hath been hid from the ages which is Christ in you the hope of glory" (Col. 1:26, 27). This is the truth lived out, in, through, and as me. Some have suggested that putting this into print might help other members of the Church understand what I and those of like mind with me believe.
What about Sin?
We must learn that only Christ can live the Christian life in us through our being joined to the Lord as one spirit. It is actually Christ’s life being lived out through me and as me (Gal. 2:20).
The question always asked when people first hear this is, "What about sin?" I do not say that now, having received Christ, I cannot and do not sin. I can and regretfully do. I agree with the Apostle John on this (1 John 1:8-10). What I do say is that by faith I agree with Paul when he says to "walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16).
Sin Must Stem from Unbelief
When I am not believing in faith that I am "complete in Him" (Col. 2:10) and that in Him I live and move and have my being (Act 17:28), I am not believing what God says about me. That unbelief is sin (Rom. 14:23). By that deliberate yet deceived choice not to believe God, sin then operated me from the outside through my members (Rom. 7). I have fallen for Satan’s lie that I am a needy, lacking, etc. person and thereby have agreed with Satan’s deception that I am somehow "independent" of Christ who lives His life out through and as me.
As I believe that lie, Satan’s way for me is to be for myself (as he is) and not for others (as Christ is), and therefore I grasp, I envy, I take, I lie, etc. By confession (1 John 1:9), I am again cleansed and I take His forgiveness.
How does Satan work this deception? He knows he has been cast out of me forever, but that he can still gain a foothold in my members if he can induce unbelief in me. So he doesn’t identify himself to me as the one still wanting to control me, because he knows I am a child of God, and I know it (1 John 5:19). He knows, then, that I won’t believe him if he exposes himself to me, so he masquerades as "just me."
Satan tells me:
"That is just the way you are."
"That is just the kind of person you are."
"You are certainly entitled to that opinion."
"You are certainly entitled to that thing."
Thus, I have agreed with Satan that I am a "just me" and not joined to the Lord, and I have fallen for his great trick! I have believed that I am an independent self! By my own choice I have chosen to believe his lie, and sin (Satan) therefore begins to operate in my members, even though I am a Christian. I’m not being operated from within by any "human" nature, and certainly not by Christ, but I’m experiencing sin operating through my members (body and soul). (Read Romans 7).
I pick up on Satan’s lie and believe it, and thereafter Satan translates that wrong believing into action, with him being the operator or doer of it. It looks like me and feels like me, but it is actually Satan operating methe reverse of the wonder by which I normally live: Christ as me!
What Is Temptation?
I have learned that temptation is not evil and that to experience temptation is not to experience sin. There is a difference between temptation and sin. Christ, the most tempted self in the world, spent 40 days and 40 nights answering Satan’s question, "Who are you?" and the following challenge that if He was who He said He was, then He would perform some miracle (Mt. 4). Each time the temptation came, Christ’s answer was to the effect, "I am who I say that I am."
The big question was and is, "Who do you say you are?" I answer, "I am the _____ (fill in your name) form of Jesus Christ, who lives His life out, through and as me" (Gal. 2:20).
I know the temptation is to believe that I am not who He says that I am: joined to Him as one spirit–full and complete and needing nothing. This is the real temptation.
It may be said that this isn’t accepting responsibility for our actions. From the "age of accountability" forward, human responsibility is based on a choice. And freedom of choice is not simply something with which God chose to endow the human race; freedom finds its source and root in the very being of God himself, who freely and eternally "chose" to be a self-for-others. Man’s freedom is part and parcel of him from the act of creation, as he was made in the image of his Creator.
The unbeliever after the age of accountability lives from his own choice to have Satan as his operator. When I received Christ, I made the eternal choice to have Christ become my operator. The Lawgiver in me is also the Lawkeeper in and through me. When I am tempted, the real (and only) temptation to me is to disbelieve that Christ is my operator. My believing that He is my operator is my choice.
So, responsible? Of course every human is responsible for, not his acts per se, but his choice of operator. All lesser choices are willed and done through me (See Phil. 2:13) by my operator.
If man were not responsible for his choice, only Satan would experience hell, not the unbelievers who are his tools. But Jesus Himself warned of persons who would end in hell if they chose to reject the Light (John 3:18). I know that I am responsible for my choice of operator and therefore for the consequences of that choice.
"Be Ye Perfect"
I know what it means to "be ye therefore perfect" (Mt. 5:48), as we are instructed by Christ Himself to be! I simply take it by faith that the real me–my spirit self joined to the Lord, resulting in one spirit–is in fact Him "being perfect" (1 Cor. 6:17).
What I have so briefly capsulized is life changing and total. I know there are those who, like me, have found living under "ought’s" and "should’s" impossible. The law is not of faith (Gal. 3:12). I seek to ease the tension within the Church where so many labor under the burden of repeated instruction and admonitions to be more Christlike!
How do you "honor your father and mother"? What appears to be honor to some is not honor to others. How do you rear a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? Does anyone really think that he, in his own power, does that? If you think you do, you lie and the truth is not in you (Gal. 6:3). If you think that Christ does the honoring and rearing, so do I and I say so.
Do any of you who read this actually believe that you, on your own, satisfy the Biblical standards? Certainly not. Surely, all glory is given to God. Then why is it surprising that I also give the glory to God saying it is His life being lived out through me, as me? There never was nor ever will be a "me," just myself, independent from and operating on my own, and not being operated from within by Satan initially and by Christ subsequently.
Life Really Works!
Thank you for this opportunity to present this thumbnail sketch of what I know. What I know works! I no longer live in the defeat and delusion of Romans 7, but instead live in the day-to-day reality of Romans 8. I agree with Paul:
14. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
15. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
16. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy and upon the Israel of God.
17. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.