The Old

September 26th, 2012

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

1 Corinthians 15:3 NASB

Now, we have seen, Christ came to satisfy the righteous requirement of the law for us, and, in completely fulfilling it in His own flesh, we, in our belief in His work, are baptized into His work, His death, burial, and resurrection.

There is, however, a working out of the process of our faith.  As Paul called those who were new to the faith “babes”, and “carnal”  (1 Corinthians 3:1), he also wrote to the Galatians, who were yet learning, of how he was in great labor of prayer until Christ was formed within them.

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

Colossians 1:24

The labor of the Gospel has not ended with the finished works of the cross.  Rather, even as the written Gospels themselves indicate, the cross is the beginning, and the account ends with what we call “The Great Commission” (Mark 16:15-18).  But, rather, like throughout all the church age, the work of the Gospel is accomplished through prayer (with fasting), fellowshipping together, the teaching of the Word, and through proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes (Acts 2:42).

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

1 John 3:2-3

The Kingdom of Heaven, while different than the earthly, natural realm, must be pursued.  It must be sought after, cleaved to, and desired above all else.

Through the Apostolic writings, we see that the working out of this mystery included the exhortations to the believers to purify themselves.  Yes, it is a “done deal” through the blood and the atoning work of the cross, and, yes, the efficacy of the working of that resolution is through the faith in the “finished product” of Calvary, but, the New Testament is replete with commands towards Holiness, Purity, and righteousness.

You see, the difference is in how it is done, not in whether it is done at all.  The law thoroughly proved that man cannot live perfectly through his own efforts.  It demonstrated, to all of creation, the weakness of the flesh, and the inability to maintain a holy life.  Yet, to put to death by the Spirit the misdeeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13).  Again, to put off the old man, be renewed in the Spirit of our minds, and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:22-24), is not the work of man, per se, but is something we are enabled to do by the power of Christ living inside of us!

It is precisely that this is commanded by the Apostles, and taught (Ephesians 4:22), and the fact that this is so strongly contrasted with both attempting to finish in the flesh (Galatians 3:3) and resorting to the commons practices of earthly existence, such as, Do not handle, taste, or touch (Colossians 2:21), that there is a difference.  Yet, reading elsewhere in Paul’s letters, we also recognize that this difference is not immediately recognizable, for it is completely unknown to the un-reborn (1 Corinthians 2:14), and, perhaps, as we grow from a babe in Christ to having that Christ formed in us, it becomes more discernable.  Which is, in fact, the testimony of some.  As it it written, “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” (Proverbs 4:18 NAS).

So,we understand that there is this small gate, which is Christ and His Salvation, and also, this narrow road, sanctification (Matthew 7:14).  The way is called faith, and, while it is called Grace, it must be followed in love.

And, this path is the perfect path, again, not by human efforts, but through the growing realization of this one thing, Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).  For, in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).

So, we have this path, which is His Spirit.  We have this knowing by His anointing.  We see thing by faith, and we live by it, rather than faith.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

This is the common life of the believer, then.  As, in the Old Covenant, it had never entered into man’s mind the glories, the mysteries, the majesties that God had prepared, now, first through the Apostles and the Scriptures, and ultimately to us personally, they are revealed to us by the Spirit of God Himself, even as it is written, the Spirit shall guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

Again, elsewhere it says, they shall all be taught by God (Isaiah 54:13, John 6:45). Surely, the greatest place for and role of a teacher is to bring the student to where they can learn from the true Teacher Himself.  This will always be the ultimate goal of any true ministry in the church, even as Paul wrote of the various giftings of individuals to the church, that they are given “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13).  For, the role of the teacher is to bring people into unity of faith and knowledge, unto perfection, which is to live like Christ.

All true growth in Christ will always involve seeking.  For, even as a married couple of sixty years still must pursue each other, God still desires to be desired.