#15 Resting In Christ
With this message on the rest we have in Christ, we begin our study of Sanctification, as found in Romans 6-8.
Life begins with regeneration.
The whole process begins with regeneration, that is, being born again through faith in Christ’s provision for our sins: through His crucifixion, death and bodily resurrection from the dead. John 3:3-7 and I Peter 1:23 speak of this new birth.
II Corinthians5:17 speaks of the miraculous change that occurs when we trust Christ as Saviour. The change is so radical that it is like being born all over again as a new person, even though we are still the same soul and body.
A good example of this new birth was Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee who hated Christians and devoted his life to persecuting and killing them. When He met Christ on the road to Damascus, he was so radically changed that God changed his name from Saul to Paul. Paul was that fire brand for Christ who went throughout the Roman Empire winning people to Christ and building and strengthening churches and writing most of the New Testament.
It’s not that we become perfect in this life. I John 1:5-10 warns us that if we think we have arrived at perfection, we are deceiving ourselves; nevertheless, we have a desire to be like Jesus, which desire we will attain the moment we are in Heaven, I John 3:1-3 assures us. There is a definite, unmistakable change.
Our intimate relationship with Christ
Jesus pictures in John 15 that this new relationship we enjoy with Christ in this world is as intimate as grape branches in union with the grape vine, which union enables us to bear the Fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-25. Being a Christian is not our struggle to try to be like Jesus. Rather, it is described as a life of resting in Jesus in Matthew 11:29-30 and Hebrews 4:9-11.
Wade Robinson wrote about it in his song, “I Am His and He Is Mine” We often sing it in church.
Loved with everlasting love,
Led by grace that love to know;
Spirit breathing from above,
Thou hast taught me, it is so!
Oh, this full and perfect peace!
Oh, this transport all divine!
In a love which cannot cease,
I am His and He is mine.
Heaven above is softer blue.
Earth around is sweeter green.
Something lives in every hue,
Christless eyes have never seen.
Birds with gladder songs o’er-flow,
Flowers with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know,
I am His and He is mine.
Things that once were wild alarms
Cannot now disturb my rest,
Closed in everlasting arms,
Pillowed on the loving breast.
Oh, to be forever here,
Doubts and care and self resign,
While He whispers in my ear.
I Am His and He is mine.
His forever, only His;
Who the Lord and me shall part?
Ah with what a rest of bliss,
Christ can fill the loving heart!
Heaven and earth may fade and flee,
First born light in gloom decline;
But while God and I shall be,
I am His and He is mine.
This almost sounds like a love song between a husband and wife, but it beautifully pictures the intimacy between Christ and us. His Church.
Israel’s distant relationship with God
Before Jesus came and died on the cross for our sins, the relationship with God was distant for Israel. Israel could not approach God directly; only through the temple and the priesthood and animal sacrifices for sin.
When Moses approached God at a burning bush, He was ordered to take off his sandals in Exodus 3:1-6.
Later when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, Israel was ordered in Exodus 19:16-25 to not come near to the mountain. upon pain of death.
Only the priests could enter the temple. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies within the temple and that but once a year. Those who would disobey would be instantly killed.
Israel’s relationship with God was distant, to say the least. The Gentiles had even less relationship with God. They were strangers to God and to His Covenant with Israel, Ephesians 2:12 reminds us.
When Jesus died on the cross, something huge happened.
Ephesians 3:1-11 describes what happened. Through the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross, a brand new Body was inaugurated. The spiritual Body of Christ was born, The Church! It was neither Jew or gentile, but it was a new Body, composed of regenerated Jews and gentiles.
The Sacred and the Secular
For the Christian, life is not divided into the sacred and the secular. We don’t sing our sacred music with an affected, unnatural pious, holy tone of voice and then throughout the rest of the week sing our secular songs with our normal voices.
Worship of God is not a sacred segment of our life, an emotion we seek to work up. Worship is initiated by our understanding of Biblical Truth concerning Christ. Worship can result in deep emotion; but more than that, it results in a changed life that brings glory to God.
For the Christian, all of life is sacred every day of the week, whether we are at church or at school or at work; whether we are playing a basket ball game or watching it on television, or visiting with friends and neighbors, whether we are eating and drinking or being intimate with our spouse.
Our life ought to be a constant fragrance of worship, Philippians4:18 tells us. Everything we do is sacred and ought to be done for the glory of God and the furtherance of the Gospel. That’s the truth of I Corinthians 10:31. If God is not glorified in our conversation and actions, we ought not do it.
The Doctrine of Sanctification
Romans 6:3-10 teaches us a simple three point doctrine of sanctification. It’s summed up in three key words: Know, Reckon and Yield. Let’s look at them.
What is it that we are to KNOW concerning the truth of our identification with Adam and Christ?
1. As Adam fell into sin in the Garden of Eden, we, his descendants, are all identified with Him in that fall. We inherited a sinful nature from our first father and we sin because we are sinners. With our sin we have inherited the curse which is death. As Adam died for his sins, so we who have inherited Adam’s sinful nature have inherited death with him. See I Corinthians 15:21-22
2. As Jesus was buried after His death, so we who are in Christ, were buried with Him
3. As Christ, the Second Adam, rose from the dead; so when we put our trust in Him, we have resurrection power to live victoriously over sin presently and one day we who are in Christ, shall rise from the dead to live with Him free from the presence of sin forever.
We are taught in I Corinthians 12:13 this wonderful truth. Baptism is primarily a picture of this spiritual truth that we were crucified in the person of Christ, we were buried with Him and we arose from the dead with Him to walk a new life of freedom and victory over sin. Read Romans 6:3-5 on this.
You and I as believers in Christ have resurrection life within us just as a caterpillar has the resurrection life of a butterfly within it. Galatians 2:20 teaches us of this crucified life which we live daily, while at the same time, experiencing His resurrection power over sin.
Paul’s desire, as expressed in his testimony in Philippians 3:10 ought to be our desire and testimony. Understand that we do not attain it perfectly in this life, but it is our constant desire and longing.
Knowing these truths about victory over sin, we reckon them or count them to be true. We live in the light of this truth.
If a poor man knows that $100,000. has been deposited into his bank account by a wealthy benefactor, he must reckon or count that fact to be true, before he will go to the bank and withdraw what he needs to live. Otherwise, he continues in his life of financial poverty.
When I am tempted to sin, I must remember the truth that I was crucified in the person of Christ. I was buried with Him and rose again with Him and I must reckon on those facts to be true and count on them to walk in victory over sin.
Upon knowing and reckoning these truths of victory to be true, I can yield to the control of the indwelling Holy Spirit and He will enable me to live a life of victory. That’s the truth of Romans 6:13.
No Christian who desires victory over sin with all his heart, need be denied victory That’s the promise of Romans 6:14.
This three-fold truth of knowing, reckoning and yielding is the opposite of self struggle which can only bring spiritual exhaustion and defeat.
Again, I remind you that this victorious, Christian life is a life of rest, rather than a life of struggle. Having said all of this, let me remind you that none of us live a victorious life over sin perfectly. If we think we do, we are deceiving ourselves
I John 5:11-13 reminds us. But that does not give us permission to just give in to our fleshly, sinful natures and willingly choose to sin.
I repeat that the victorious Christian life is a life of rest. rather than a life of struggle. Read again the wonderful truths concerning our rest in Christ, as found in Matthew 11:28-30 and Hebrews 4:9-11.
Though we are confronted with our sinful nature daily, by resting in our relationship with Christ, we can find daily victory. That rest does not give us permission to just give in to our fleshly desires and willingly choose to sin. Hebrews 3:7-19 gives serious warning to such Christians. To those Christians who willingly choose to live under the control of their sinful, flesh nature, there are serious consequences. Not a loss of salvation; but a loss of the presence, power, joy and blessing God has available for you.
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