There is a rather large disconnect in the Christ professing community regarding our standing “in Christ” and our current physical state of being here in this world. There are those, most in fact, who believe we should judge whether another is a “Christian” or not based upon his visible fruit. There are several verses which support such a view. Here is one.
Matthew 7:20… “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
As a student of Gods Word I must therefore ask the question, if a man today is saved by grace without works of any kind (this is the mechanism of salvation in this dispensation), how then would I know if he were saved or not by the fruit produced by his works? Or the manor of his living? The short answer is, I could not. The long answer follows…
If you have been following along with these posts in the order they were written, you are well aware that the words of Jesus above were spoken to men of Israel who were to be baptized WITH the Holy Spirit and given the supernatural ability to keep the commandments.
Ezekiel 36:27… “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements, and do them.”
We know that these same men must show endurance through the tribulation in their physical battle with anti-christ to gain the reward promised unto them; namely, Gods earthly Kingdom come from Heaven to earth.
Matthew 10:22… “And ye shall be hated of all men for my names sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
The world, especially Israel, will love the anti-christ and will hate passionately those who go against him and his one world order. Those who do go against him will eventually reap eternal life with Christ on earth. This has been the promise of God to believing Israel and those under them from the very beginning.
Examining the standing and state of these men, we see that God supernaturally alters their physical STATE of being via baptism WITH the Holy Spirit. God, with the new testament promise, gives these men the ability to follow the law perfectly. He enables them physically to be able to NOT sin. Such is the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophesy.
1 John 3:9… “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
Such is an incredible statement that no one alive today may lay claim to (even though many falsely do). But this was the reality in the early Acts period and will once again be the reality during that time when God is pouring out His just wrath upon this world of unrighteous people. In the above verse John is speaking to “little children”; the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14 who go forth and preach the everlasting gospel to every creature.
What is the everlasting gospel?
Revelation 14:7… “Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgement is come: and worship Him who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
If you continue reading the verses in Revelation 14 they go on to warn anyone who will listen, specifically NOT to take the mark of the beast, for once that mark is taken, all hope of salvation is lost. That man has chosen anti-christ, the false prophet and satan formally over God. There is no further hope for that man.
What does this have to do with standing and state? Quite a lot I believe. The physical STATE of these people during this time period is made (present tense) perfect, in order for them to be able to endure the punishing wrath of God. This is why they are given such seemingly strange supernatural powers as they had in the early Acts period.
Mark 16:17-18… “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Why, for instance, are they to be able to drink any deadly thing and live? There is a very good reason. A great star falls from heaven during the great tribulation…
Revelation 8:10-11… “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many died because of the waters, because they were made bitter.”
The Hebrew believers will be able to drink such poisoned water and live! They shall also be able to lay hands on those who are made sick and heal them.
Their spiritual STANDING (as opposed to their physical state of being) is TO BE made (future tense) perfect; that is, will be made perfect (sins altogether blotted out) AFTER the wrath is concluded and Christ is seated on His rightful earthly throne. During this time in which they are “enduring till the end” their spiritual standing is incomplete. Christ does not yet sit on the throne. They have not yet fully and faithfully endured to completion that task set before them, their baptism with fire.
Acts 3:19-21… “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
The time of the restitution of all things is that time after the great tribulations conclusion. After Jacob’s trouble when the desert shall once again bloom as the original garden of God; where the lion shall lay down with the lamb and perfect peace and harmony will once again exist between God, His chosen and those Gentile nations who choose to bless them. Only after they endure till the end will their collective sin be blotted out, and all Israel shall finally be “saved” (Rom 11:26). Their spiritual standing once again made perfect after the faithful endurance of the wrath of God.
(Aside: Any man self identifying as a Jew can today be saved by grace through the faith of Christ just like any other man. No human alive today need go through Gods wrath. Unfortunately, many will.)
This is so very different from the way God deals with us today. Gods plan of salvation for the world via Israel (Gen 12:1-3); after Israel failed to accept her Messiah, was postponed in favor of the mystery kept secret since the world began and revealed to Paul. Israel had fallen and God’s formal declaration of free grace to all men everywhere (without the need to bless fallen Israel) had begun. Today, as we know, men are saved by grace through faith in the finished cross-work of Christ. Trusting that He died for our sin and was raised again for our justification.
Ephesians 1:13-14… “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation (1 Cor 15:1-4): in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”
We are not baptized physically with the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit “seals” us as Gods own. We are His purchased possession, bought with the blood of Christ. We are NOT appointed unto wrath.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10… “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.”
We have been delivered from this present evil world. We have only to endure each other (itself clearly not an easy task); we are not to endure the wrath of God. It was already poured out on His Son on our behalf.
Gal 1:4-5… “Who gave Himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
There is no need whatsoever for God to alter our STATE of being in this present evil world because we have been delivered from the wrath that is to come! There is no need of supernatural physical empowerment. God is extending grace and not wrath to the world. Our state, much unlike the state of the early Acts Jewish believers, is one of imperfection and weakness. When Paul, also supernaturally empowered, nearing the end of his ministry, asked God for a supernatural healing, what was Gods answer? No more signs and wonders…
2 Corinthians 12:9… “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Such is so backward to the vast majorities way of thinking! Christ, the Holy Spirit nor God alters our physical abilities in any way, shape or form in this dispensation. Religious people are crazy, deluded and/or not possessed of the correct spirit to think such is so. There is no need. Because… grace! Not wrath. In our human frailty, God’s manifest wisdom and overcoming strength is to shine through to a world in darkness. The miracle today is that a sinner like me can be saved at all by doing absolutely nothing! The world mostly ignores the greatest miracle of all.
Our physical state is hopeless until the time of the redemption of the purchased possession. We are the purchased possession.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20… “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Our physical redemption takes place at the translation of the church the body of Christ (what most call the rapture). When, as with the Jewish believers baptized WITH the Holy Spirit, our physical bodies shall be changed and we shall go to be with the Lord “in the air”, not here on earth!
1 Cor 15:52-53… “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17… “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Our physical STATE shall then be made perfect! This is a future occurrence, which leaves only the present spiritual standing of the saved man to examine.
We currently exist in sinful bodies and cannot do the things we wish we could. (I wish I had the ability not to sin, don’t you?) There is a battle which rages in the saved man, one which needs reckoning if he is to live a risen life in this world, a life risen with his Lord and Savior, the life our Lord and Savior died to give us.
Galatians 5:17… “For the flesh lusteth after against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
The mechanism by which we are to live lays in the knowledge and full understanding of the spiritual standing we have been placed in, by way of Christ’s atoning death, burial and resurrection. As Christ has been made alive so to must we reckon ourselves made alive in the same way, not physically (yet – rapture) but spiritually so. God says to us today, through our Apostle Paul, that our standing is NOW made perfect in the eyes of the Lord. That, while we currently exist in sinful flesh, God no longer recognizes our physical state but only our spiritual standing in His Son, whom He made to BE sin for us and then killed on the cross. How amazing! We are crucified with Christ nevertheless we live!
Galatians 2:20… “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
While Israel must wait for her atonement (at-one-ment); enduring faithfully to the end of the great tribulation keeping the commandments, we have NOW received such in our present fallen state! As Christ is one with the Father, so too have we been made one with the Father spiritually.
Romans 5:10-11… “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have NOW received the atonement.”
Romans 6:11, 14… “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Sin no longer has dominion over us. How is this possible? God has made us into something new spiritually, not physically. Something which was not prophesied since the beginning of the world but kept secret. The new creature, whose great commission is…
2 Cor 5:17-21… “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
The “great commission” preaching the Kingdom “at hand” was postponed over 2,000 years ago in favor of the preaching of grace and peace; the reconciling of the world to God by way of the cross! How many who profess Christ miss this?
Believing Israel’s physical STATE was (in early Acts) and will be once again (during the great tribulation) made supernaturally perfect. This “Kingdom program” was interrupted by that which God kept secret… the dispensation of grace we find ourselves in today. Their spiritual STANDING will be made perfect at the tribulations end, after they have endured through the wrath of God faithfully to the end.
Our physical STATE here in this present evil world will remain imperfect until the rapture when we shall all be changed into perfect celestial beings. When the dispensation of grace is finished and wrath is once more at hand. Our spiritual STANDING is NOW made perfect in the eyes of a Holy and Just God by faith and trust in the cross of Christ.
We are freed to live our lives unto God without fear or guilt in what our flesh is capable of, and will likely do, before we are either translated out of this world or die in it.
Romans 8:1… “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
No condemnation. God is not punishing sinful flesh today. He punished sinful flesh by making Christ to be sin for us and then killing sin on the cross as the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23).
Romans 6:6-11… “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
We are far more than “born again”. We are resurrected with Christ and made alive unto God! Paul knew that his flesh would fail him. I know my flesh will fail me. You, reader, ought to know your flesh will fail (has failed) you. Though these words can be a bit hard to follow, Paul explains: that which he knows he should do, he doesn’t. Rather, he does what he knows he should not do. However, understanding his perfect standing in the Lord, he realizes that it is not him that does these evil things, it is his sinful flesh which does. Since he (spiritual Paul) is crucified with Christ, these flesh issues (physical Paul) no longer matter. They have been dealt with by the cross.
Romans 7:15-20… “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
Paul is telling us our flesh is hopelessly corrupt. No good thing dwells in it. God has not altered our flesh (not yet).
Romans 7:24-25… “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
God does not cause us to do or be “good”. We are to study to shew ourselves approved unto God (2 Tim 2:15) that we would let His Word dwell richly within us. It is only through the knowledge of what He accomplished on our behalf that we are empowered to walk in the Spirit. Studying His Word IS walking in the Spirit. Minding the things of God enables us to put off the things of the old man and to walk in the newness of life Christ died to provide us.
Colossians 3:16… “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Our physical state is fatally flawed. Our standing is made as perfect as the One which died on our behalf. Isn’t it about time we began to act like unto that which we have been made? Again…
Colossians 3:16… “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Galatians 5:16, 25… “This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
If we are trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross, we ARE “in the Spirit” no matter how we walk. Why then walk according to the Spirit? Because the works of the flesh are ugly and will not inherit the things of God; we have been made so much more. These are the works of our sinful flesh:
Galatians 5:19-21… “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Praise God that even though we still exist in these bodies of flesh; even though our flesh still takes perverse pleasure in doing these things (that’s what the flesh is – just look honestly at the world in and around you); that God made Christ to BE these things for us and killed them dead on the cross!
1 Corinthians 6:11… “And such WERE some of you: but ye are washed, ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
How WERE we these things? We were once unsaved. By trusting in what Christ did for us, we are now washed, sanctified and justified! APART FROM OUR FLESH. The fruit of the Spirit, NOT OUR UGLY FLESHY FRUIT (as listed above), is beautiful. These are the fruits of the Spirit (not of our “saved” flesh)…
Galatians 5:22-24… “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
The saved mans flesh is crucified, thank God! Walking in the Spirit, (which is) being saved and allowing the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly; the above fruits of the Spirit will simply begin to manifest themselves in and through our lives without our even trying. For when “we” try, it is “we” (our flesh) that will fail. When “we” (our flesh) gets out of the way and allows what we’ve learned through salvation and Bible study to work through us, it is the fruit of the Spirit Himself that will be made manifest to the world through us. This is what God means when He says that it is his will that all men should be saved and then to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:3-4). We cannot get to the whole truth without salvation first.
Know for an absolute fact that we (our flesh) is our biggest problem… We (our flesh) is not capable of “good works”. To focus on the flesh is to focus on that which is already crucified. It cost God His Son to do it so this should hardly be overlooked. To be known by “our” fruit is to be known by the works of the flesh, in which dwells no good thing. We should not want to be known by “our” fruit! Far better indeed to be known by the Spirits fruit as we learn to reckon ourselves to be dead indeed, that the Spirit then is capable of working through (in spite of) us! Let it be so Lord…
During the great tribulation, Hebrew believers will know one another by their physical fruits as they knew one another in early Acts. They were, and will be once again, physically empowered to produce good works through the supernatural physical baptism WITH the Holy Spirit they had and will have yet again.