THE NECESSARY ORIENTATION
THE NECESSARY ORIENTATION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
God has stated that the Christian has died on the cross with Christ, has risen from the dead with Christ, and has ascended to the right hand of God with Christ. It is absolutely necessary the believer grasp and maintain this orientation to his own personality and to the life he is living if he would gain deliverance from sin, and if he would inherit the Kingdom of God.
Table of Contents
THE NECESSARY ORIENTATION
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3—NIV)
We know from the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans that upon being baptized in water we have become one with Jesus Christ in His crucifixion and one with Him in His resurrection.
Now we are told, in the above passage, that we have become one with Jesus Christ in His ascension to the right hand of God.
This is the necessary orientation to the Christian life if we are to be delivered from sin, and if we are to inherit the Kingdom of God.
We know our sins have been forgiven. There is no way we can prove this. We know it is true because God's Word says so. We may not feel that our sins have been forgiven. But we have faith that this is so and our faith affects the way in which we view our life.
We know the Lord Jesus is coming again. There is no way we can prove this. We know it is true because God's Word says so. We may not feel like He is coming again. But we have faith that this is so and our faith affects the way in which we view our life.
The same must be true of our crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension with the Lord Jesus. There is no way we can prove these facts are true. But we know they are true because God's Word says so. We may not feel that we have been crucified and resurrected with the Lord and have risen with Him to the right hand of God. But we are to have faith that this is so. If we continually reckon that we have been crucified with Christ, that we have been resurrected with Christ, and now we are with Christ at the right hand of God in Heaven, our life on earth will be profoundly affected. We will be able to gain victory over sin. We will inherit the Kingdom of God.
The reason believers find the rigors of discipleship difficult is they are not correctly oriented to the Christian life. They think God is saving their first personality and they are finding it difficult to reform their old nature. They are told they have to give up the world, quit their sinning, and relinquish their will to Christ. Their first personality very much objects to this and they are saddened.
The current Christian solution to the problem of worldliness, sin, and self-will is to cover it all with grace and tell the believer he is on his way to Heaven by mercy and grace.
This is not the Divine solution to worldliness, sin, and self-will. The Divine solution is for us to count the old nature crucified with Jesus. Then there is no problem giving up the world, or sin, or our self-will. Once we consent to go to the cross we already have given up everything. The war is over and there remains only the mopping-up procedures.
This is not to say the mopping-up procedures are always easy. Sometimes it seems our soul is being torn out of us. But the victory already is assured because we are crucified with Jesus.
Counting ourselves dead with Christ and raised with Christ does not mean we no longer have a desire to sin. Neither does it mean it does not matter if we sin. Counting ourselves dead with Christ is our orientation to the experiences through which the Holy Spirit continually is leading us. We know now how to regard worldliness, lust, and self-will. We have already given the victory to Jesus. Now it is a case of praying without ceasing as we keep dumping out the garbage of our old nature. We owe the old nature nothing that we should fulfill its desires! It already is dead because of sin and it will never be saved, never be brought back to life, never inherit the Kingdom of God.
As Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished!"
We understand, therefore, that we are living a dual life. We have a very real life here on the earth. Our physical body and brain are here. Our soul is operating through our body and continually deciding whether to give in to the flesh and carnal mind or to obey the Word of God.
We have another very real life. Our new life is Christ. Our new life will not appear on earth until Christ appears. Our new life is hidden with Christ in God.
Our new, born-again spiritual life is a firstfruits of our personality. Because the firstfruits is holy the remainder of our personality is holy. This does not mean our personality on earth does not sin or can never be lost. It means it has been set aside for God's purposes because the firstfruits has been accepted.
Many times during each day we choose to set our mind on the things above where our new life resides, or we choose to occupy ourselves with our flesh-and-blood life on the earth. This is the Christian's fight of faith.
If we, at any given point of decision, pray and seek the will of God, we add strength to our position in Heaven.
When we choose to live in the passions and appetites of our flesh and soul we sow corruption and death.
When we occupy ourselves with the things of the world, finding our pleasure, security, and survival in material things, not praying and seeking the mind of Christ continually, we are dead though we yet are alive in the flesh. We are not building up our new life in Heaven. We are not laying up treasures in Heaven.
When we yield to the appetites and passions of our flesh, whether adultery, fornication, pornography, profanity, rage, gossip, slander, witchcraft, drunkenness, covetousness, worldly entertainment, we are living in spiritual death.
When we decide to pursue our own career, not placing our body on the altar of God in order to prove God's will for our life, we are living in spiritual death. To not find and do the will of God while we are alive in the world is to miss the whole purpose for our existence.
Each day we are strengthening our life in Christ at the right hand of God, laying up rich rewards that will be given to us when the Lord appears, or we are sowing corruption and death, the corruption and death we shall receive when the Lord appears.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (Ephesians 3:16—NIV)
Make no mistake! We indeed shall reap what we are sowing. Grace and mercy operate now as we are fighting to keep our mind in the heavenlies with Christ. They will not operate in the Day of Resurrection so as to minimize or negate the perfect functioning of the immutable Kingdom law of sowing and reaping.
Removing sin from people is a major aspect of the Divine salvation. It is God's will that His Church be a moral light in the world, that people may behold the righteous works of the Christians and glorify God.
Because our teaching is confusing concerning the Divine plan of removing sin from God's Church, the believers in numerous instances exhibit most or all of the sins found in the world. The Christian churches in America are filled with the works of the flesh the Apostle Paul spoke against.
Do you not know the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10)
For I am afraid when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. (II Corinthians 12:20)
It appears the church in Corinth was similar to the churches in America in our day.
Because the moral light has gone out of the churches in America the unsaved people are descending into a cesspool.
Because of the alleged behavior of the President, Americans are taking a new look at moral issues. The country is divided, some saying it is a person's own business how he behaves morally while others are quite upset that perverse sexual behavior should be regarded as acceptable
In my opinion, the condition of the secular realm in America in 1998 is due in great part to the ignorance of the Christian churches concerning God's salvation. Salvation is being viewed as a ticket to Heaven, an escape from the world, instead of the power of God to not only forgive but also destroy the sinful nature from us.
The Son of God was not revealed in order to forgive the sins of the world. What good would that do? Jesus Christ was revealed for the purpose of destroying Satan and all his works from the earth. When the Lord returns He will establish His Kingdom on the earth and then God's will shall be done here.
Those whose life He is shall appear with Him and help set up the Kingdom.
Because the Christians are not performing the good works they have been chosen to do, the world has no moral light.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10—NIV)
We have been saved and raised to the right hand of God that we may be delivered from sin and able to live righteous lives in the sight of the people around us. This is the true witness of God, that which proceeds from the saving power of Christ in us.
America has had much Gospel preaching. Multitudes have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. But the testimony of righteous behavior, the true testimony of the Person, will, way, and eternal purpose of God in Christ, is sadly, sadly lacking. The believers are jumping up and down in a childish manner next to their pews in the hope of being removed from the earth. God would rather have them enter His program of deliverance from sin that they may serve as His witness to the nations.
One of the main reasons there is so little deliverance from sin in the churches of our day is that the believers are not oriented correctly to their position in Christ. They have been told over and over again that their sins are forgiven. They believe this. They have been told over and over again that the Lord will return to the earth. They believe this.
But they have not been told over and over that they have been crucified with Christ, resurrected with Christ, and have been raised to the right hand of God. They do not realize this is true. Therefore they find Bible teaching too hard.
They should have been told when they were baptized in water that they were entering the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. They should have been told when they came up out of the water that they now have been resurrected with Christ and raised to the right hand of God in Heaven. This is what it means to be born again.
Usually they are not told this. Even if they are, they are not told it again and again and again, Sunday after Sunday, until they accept their position by faith.
What they are told again and again and again, Sunday after Sunday, is their sins are all covered by grace and soon they are going to leave this wicked world and go home to be with Jesus. This is what they believe but it is not scriptural.
Consequently the American Christians of today, in numerous instances, do not grow in the strength and power of Christ. They see no need to do so. Why should they trouble themselves to mature to the stature of the fullness of Christ when they are just about to fly home where everything will be taken care of? The current unscriptural traditions have destroyed the moral strength of the believers.
Every time the congregation is told their sins have been forgiven and the Lord is coming again they should be told they have been crucified with Christ, resurrected with Christ, and now are at the right hand of God in Heaven. They are to set their minds in Heaven constantly.
When they do this, what is the next step? Let's see what Paul say is the expected and necessary behavior that must result from putting our attention where Christ and we are at the right hand of God in Heaven.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:4-10—NIV)
What are we to do when we realize our new born-again spiritual life is hidden with Christ in God?
We are to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature.
We are to put to death sexual immorality.
We are to put to death impurity.
We are to put to death lust.
We are to put to death evil desires.
We are to put to death greed, which is idolatry.
We are to rid ourselves of anger.
We are to rid ourselves of rage.
We are to rid ourselves of malice.
We are to rid ourselves of slander.
We are to rid ourselves of filthy language from our lips.
We are to cease lying to each other, since you have taken off our old self with its practices.
We are to put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
We are to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature. We are to rid ourselves of them. We are to put off the old self and put on the new self. We are to stop lying.
Do you see any indication whatever, in the above passage, that Christ will do this for us without any effort on our part? Do you see any indication whatever that God sees us through Christ so it does not matter whether we do these things or not?
Do you see any indication whatever in the above passage or its context that we will be saved and go to Heaven by grace even though we ignore the Apostle?
Do you see any indication whatever that it is impossible for us to obey these commands?
If you do not, then please realize Christian teaching is way off base. If we Christians throughout the present century had obeyed these commandments I do not believe we would have the present moral chaos in the government.
But God's people are not going to get busy and obey Christ and His Apostles until the preachers flee from the present unprofitable traditions and return to God's Word.
How do we put these sins to death, get rid of them, put off the old self and put on the new?
The first step is to embrace the one correct orientation to the Christian life, that we have been crucified with Christ, that we have been resurrected with Christ, and that we now are at God's right hand in Heaven. Our eternal life is hidden with Christ in God.
Having gotten down on our knees and stayed long enough to really accept this orientation, we now are ready to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He deals with the worldliness, sin, and self-will in our life.
Are we willing to turn our back on the things of the world and spend time with God each day, now that we realize we are crucified with Christ and risen with Christ? It is easy to do when we keep our attention on things above.
Are we willing to turn our back on that adulterous affair, our desire to burn with lust, to rage, swear, slander, gossip? Much easier when we realize we have already placed all of these on the cross with Jesus Christ.
Are we willing to cease planning our future apart from God? Will the young person go to God first before committing to marriage, and then obey God no matter how it hurts? Entirely possible if we see our earthly life hanging on the cross and our new, born-again life in Heaven with Jesus Christ.
God is ready to clean up His churches today. Only those believers who correctly orient themselves to their position in Christ will be able to obey the Spirit of God as He deals with our worldliness, lust, and self-will. The remainder may hop up and down next to their pews like the priests of Baal, but they may lose their salvation in the days to come because of the moral horrors that will abound on every hand.
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (I Corinthians 15:50—NIV)
Do you see what the above verse is saying? It is telling us that our present flesh-and-blood personality is not going to inherit the Kingdom of God.
Before we can understand Paul we must look carefully at the expression "cannot inherit the kingdom of God."
One reason we have difficulty understanding the New Testament is our tradition that our goal is to go to Heaven. The truth is, as we have pointed out, we already are in Heaven at the right hand of God. We start our discipleship in Heaven as high as we ever can go. We already have our crown. The issue is to lay hold on that which we already have, to maintain and strengthen it.
No, our goal is not to go to Heaven. Our goal is to inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
This goal appears several times in the Scripture.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29—NIV)
"Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34—NIV)
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12—NIV)
And into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, (I Peter 1:4—NIV)
Inherit. Inherit. Inheritance. Inheritance.
By the same token, when Paul speaks of the consequence of sowing to our earthly life rather than our heavenly life he refers to not inheriting the Kingdom of God.
Nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:10
And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21—NIV)
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5—NIV)
Now, we could say that inheriting the Kingdom of God and going to Heaven are the same thing. I don't believe they are. If Paul meant that if we lived according to our fleshly desires we would not go to Heaven, then I believe this is what he would have said—at least one time! But Paul never at any time said if we sinned we would not go to Heaven. Neither did the Lord Jesus or any of the other Apostles of the Lamb. We made up this expression.
So why are we not preaching what the Bible says?
There is a big difference mentally when thinking of going to Heaven or inheriting the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is our new life which is hidden in Christ in God. This is what the Kingdom is. It is within us, so to speak, and yet already raised to the right hand of God.
None of this is true of Heaven. None of the parables of the Lord Jesus are about Heaven or going to Heaven. The parables are about the Kingdom of God.
If we preached what the Bible states maybe the Christian people would be delivered from sin, and maybe our country would not be in the tragic condition of today.
I think the Lord has told me He is going to restore righteous government in America in answer to our prayers. But He added that our nation will be punished severely because of the sin that is so widespread, such as the murder of babies that have come to birth only to be butchered. Believe me, their blood is crying to God from the ground—every one of them! And God is hearing!
I think we are going to be hit hard—very hard! It is time to repent. Can you say Amen?
Perhaps a hint of the Kingdom, of what we are going to inherit, is found in the following verse.
He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7—NIV)
"Will inherit all this." All what? Probably all that has been described, starting in the first verse of Chapter Twenty-one
So the overcomers, the sons of God, those who choose their life in Heaven rather than their life on earth, will inherit a new sky, a new earth, the new Jerusalem, nations of people to govern and bless. How marvelous! How utterly, stupendously marvelous!
You know what the best part is? It is that God is not making all new things but all things new.
This means everything we have known and loved on the earth that is worthy of being preserved for eternity, that will bring untroubled joy, will die and be raised again in Jesus Christ.
What a world, what an inheritance we have to look forward to!
Now why will we lose all this if we choose to live in the flesh?
It is because all of this inheritance would be totally ruined if one member of the sons of God, of the governing priesthood, were to be worldly, or lustful, or self-willed. One sinner found among the elect, as in the case of Achan, would introduce chaos into Paradise.
No, the believers who inherit the Kingdom will be those, and only those, who have overcome the old fleshly nature and have chosen to build their life in Heaven in Jesus Christ. Only these can be trusted to maintain Paradise once it has been regained.
Make sense to you?
Each of us Christians is choosing today, and each day following, what he will inherit in the Day of Resurrection. If we prove ourselves worthy of the Kingdom by refusing to yield to our old nature and by embracing our new life in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will inherit indescribable glory in the Day of Jesus Christ.
If we put our trust in the current grace-Heaven-rapture error, not giving diligence to putting away the sins of the flesh, getting rid of the old life, we will inherit corruption and death in the Day of Christ. We certainly shall inherit corruption and death.
It is not a case of our being punished by not being permitted to experience the glory of the new world, it is rather that we have destroyed our inheritance by not obeying the Apostle. We chose to live in the flesh and we have gained corruption and death as a result—not as a punishment but as a result. We have reaped what we have sown, not as a punishment but as the natural consequence of sowing the seeds of corruption and death.
This is why mercy and grace will have nothing to do with what we inherit. If you sow weeds you are going to reap weeds. The gardener may love you but you are going to reap weeds rather than flowers. Do you see the point?
It is true that on top of this there will be punishments, as we see in the parable of the foolish virgins and the parable of the talents. There will be some whom the Lord will drive from His Presence even though they have wrought miracles in His name.
But even in these instances the punishments are consequences of how we have behaved, aren't they. It isn't that God hates us, it is that we have judged ourselves unworthy of His Kingdom and have acted accordingly.
God opens His great hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing, the Bible tells us. And so it is. If we love the holy ways of Jesus Christ, then this is what we will inherit. If we love the filth and uproar of Satan and his ways, then this is what we have chosen. This is what we will inherit.
The greatest lie ever told is the current teaching that Jesus Christ came to bring those who choose to revel in the ways of Satan into the pure Paradise of God, on the basis of "accepting Christ." Not only would Paradise be destroyed, but those Satan-lovers would be in agony as the blazing light of God, His saints and His angels, laid bare the deceit and corruption in their hearts. They would be in terrible agony as the holy fire of God's Person began to incinerate the core of their personalities.
No, this is the basic lie of Christianity today.
Paul advised us that we all shall be revealed before the Judgment Seat of Christ that we may receive what we have practiced in the world. This is the Word of God. It shall never be changed though it is challenged thousands of times each Sunday in the Christian churches.
We have been crucified with Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
We have been raised from the dead with Him that we might walk in newness of life.
We have ascended with Him to the right hand of God.
Now He is our life. When He appears we shall appear with Him to bring justice and deliverance to those of the nations whom God judges worthy of eternal life in His Kingdom.
Let us joyously embrace this necessary orientation that we may follow the Holy Spirit as He leads us to total deliverance from our sins and self-will. Let us press, press, press, toward the mark, which is the inheriting of all that our loving Father in Heaven has promised us through Jesus Christ.