The Daily Word of Righteousness

The Vision of the New Covenant, #14

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:2)

Remember, we are dealing with a work of restoration completed in vision from the creation of the world. It is true that God sees us perfect in Christ.

But we must keep two facts in mind. First of all, Paul is not stating that we are not sinning. In many other passages he warns the saints about the penalties of continuing in sin. Rather, Paul is balancing his teaching in the earlier chapters of Romans. He is reminding us that we renounced sin when we were baptized in water and have taken our place with the crucified and resurrected Jesus. Therefore to continue to sin is to contradict all we have professed.

Paul then warns us in the last two verses of the sixth chapter that if we do not choose to serve righteousness we will die. God has given to us the gift of eternal life—eternal life that is the fruit of choosing to serve righteousness. We are to recognize that God sees us as being dead with Christ and resurrected with Christ. We then are to choose to live in this eternal fact.

Regarding ourselves as dead with Christ and risen with Christ is the all-important mental position we must assume if we are to make a success of the Christian discipleship. Having taken that mental stance we now are to abide in Christ at all times, cooperating with the Spirit of God until our death to sin and resurrection to life are brought from the realm of vision to the realm of reality.

Death and resurrection in the Lord Jesus are precisely what the new covenant is all about. The theory of it is subtle enough to invite interpretations that are nearly correct. But any variation is enough to cause emptiness and confusion in the experience of the believer as he seeks to gain his inheritance in the Lord.

The transition from sanctification by Divine vision and ordinance to actual sanctification, which is one aspect of fulfilling the vision of restoration, is taking place now. It appears that the opportunity is here now to cast off the chains of sin, by the authority of the blood of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. "Lazarus" has been raised by the voice of Christ and now it is time to unwind the graveclothes. The "scapegoat," Christ, is ready to bear out of the camp of God's Israel not only the guilt of sin but the sinful behavior itself.

The finishing touches of sanctification will be added to us when Jesus returns from Heaven, including the redemption of our mortal body. After that we shall, no doubt, continue to grow in God's image for the endless ages to come.

There are certain aspects of redemption that are to take place now or at least to begin now, as we demonstrate our complete dedication to Christ. Perhaps this especially is true in the preparation of the kings and priests of the Kingdom of God.

Fulfilling the vision by claiming "I am perfect now no matter how it appears" is more incomplete than incorrect. This concept is a necessary factor in the fight against discouragement. It becomes an incorrect approach when it is static, when there is not a daily pressing forward from the assumed state to actual godliness of behavior.

The bulk of Paul's writings have to do with the practical steps of transition from the envisioned state to the material state rather than with just the envisioned state.

To be continued.