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(“Dead to Sin”)


“How shall we that are dead to sin

 live any longer therein?”

(Romans 6:2)


God became a human being by taking the form of His son, Jesus (John 1:14).  Jesus had to become flesh because it takes a human to deliver the human race.  Animal sacrifices could never finally deliver the human,  for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats could take away sins. God declares that, “sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me” (Hebrews 10:5-6). His human body was the sinless vessel suited for the sacrificial work of reconciliation. “To wit, that God was in Christ Jesus, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (II Cor. 5:19)


The word “reconcile” means “to change from one state into another” or to exchange.  What needs to be exchanged?  Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born-again of God’s Spirit.  At Nicodemus’ birth he inherited a sinful spirit which had to be replaced by a holy and righteous Spirit. Without that Holy Spirit indwelling him, it was impossible for him to comprehend what Jesus was saying.  He could not learn the things of God without the Holy Spirit.  There had to be an exchange of spirits! The human vessel called Nicodemus wasn’t the problem. It was a fallen satanic nature that caused his blindness and sinfulness.  Nicodemus, as well as everyone born into the world must have an exchange take place in their spirit center. For only this spirit exchange can reconcile us back to God and produce in us the “new creation” (II Cor. 5:17) which is our new identity.

Through the fall, we were indwelt by a satanic nature which caused us to commit sin.  Romans 6:17 says that we were “slaves to sin” or in bondage to Mr. Sin.  This self centered sin spirit is so deep in our consciousness that it appears to be just naturally us.  Ephesians 2:1-3 gives us biblical clarity on our fallen condition:  “Wherein in times past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” This passage is saying that Satan expresses his sinful nature through us, deceiving us and making us think it is us.

Jesus told the Pharisees that they were “of their father the devil” because they expressed the devil’s lust through them as if it were them (John 8:44).  So in our fallen state we have inherited a satanic nature that enslaves us in our spirit’s center, and causes us to sin.

Through the redemptive work of the cross, God has provided a way for His children to be delivered from this satanic rule and brought back to Himself.  God sent His Son Jesus to take our place on the cross, vicariously becoming  what we were, so that we might become what He is. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he (Jesus) also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he (Jesus) might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them (us) who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14-15)


Now how did God through his Son Jesus accomplish this?  II Cor.5:21 gives us the key.  “For God hath made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”  Let us begin by looking at what the Bible calls “sin.” There are two grammatical uses for “sin”: one is “sins” (a verb), and the other is “sin” (a noun).   “Sins” are the action of the producer Sin.  The word “sin” in II Cor. 5:21 and many such verses throughout Romans is rendered a noun:  The Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament by Ethelbert W. Bullinger says, “Sin is not merely, however, the quality of an action, but a principle manifesting itself in the activity of the subject,  the ‘man of sin,’ II Thes. 2:3, the personal embodiment of sin.”

Therefore, "Sin" is a person (Satan) expressing himself through our humanity.  Then "sins" are the forms of manifestation that Sin takes, somewhat like root and fruit.  If a gardener had a weed in his garden, he would not go out daily and cut off the top (sins) of the weed, he would permanently eliminate the weed by cutting it out at the root (Sin). The cross has provided permanent deliverance to the sin problem. John the Baptist declares that Jesus, the lamb of God, takes away the sin (not sins) of the world” (John 1:29) and does it by “laying an ax to the root” (Matt. 3:10).  Now, how did God deliver mankind?

God made the human Jesus become sin,(2 Cor. 5:21) because only a perfect vessel could contain sin and vicariously die to it for others. It is a very strong thing to say that Jesus became sin, for it means that he took on Satan. The only way for God to deliver mankind was to become what we were and die to it.  For we know that in a death the spirit comes out of the body.  Likewise, the spirit of Satan came out of the human Jesus who represented all humanity. Jesus’ dead body was in the grave without a spirit for three days, signifying that it was completely dead. Then the Holy Spirit of God came into that dead body and raised Him from the dead.  And not only Him, for we were raised with Him as well (Romans 8:11).

This truth that Paul writes, as Peter says, “is hard to understand”(II Peter 3:16),  so let me reiterate:  Christ died as us. “He was made sin,” expressing as us the sin nature.  Therefore, in that death, out of our bodies went the false nature forever (Romans 6:6&10). Then Christ, in that risen body, representing us, raised us up with His own nature of Holiness. Christ replaced Satan as us!  To put it simply, Jesus was joined to Mr. Sin (Satan in us) in His death, that we might be joined to Mr. Righteousness (Jesus) in His resurrection.

The blood of Christ covers the product of sin, which are sins; while the body death replaces the producer of sin.   Romans 5:10 says that “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.”  When we were hopeless sinners and enemies to God we were saved by His death.  But now as helpless saints we shall be saved daily by His resurrected life, in us and as us.

There was a great exchange of spirits!  That is why the mystery of the Gospel is “Christ in you” the only hope of glory (Col. 1:27).  Now through the cross, we are Christ in our unique human forms.  


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“Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest”

(Hebrews 2:17).


Hebrews 5:8 says, “Jesus learned obedience by the things that He suffered.”  Learning is the process of evolving illumination combined with experiences. When Jesus left heaven and took on human limitation, He left his all-knowing God consciousness behind.  Philippians 2:6-9 says, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man.  And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”   We may ask, “But wasn't He unlimited in His operation as the second person of the Trinity--He could walk on water and raise the dead?”  Yes, God operated through Him and He was God, but He was God in human form or “in the flesh,” John 1:14.   God had to so identify with man, that He had to be just like us.  He had to feel like we do and think like we do in order to completely know Himself as a man.


As a child, Jesus grew up just like all the other Hebrew children.  I think He was just as surprised as the Scribes were when He knew and understood the scriptures and spoke with great wisdom and authority in the temple at the age of twelve.  Then when He told his mother, “I am about my Father's business,” He certainly didn't have the same confidence as His later declaration of “I am the way, the truth and the life.” There was an evolution in the consciousness of Jesus, just as there is in ours. 

I wonder about those early thirty years when He was hidden to the world.  I wonder if He thought to himself, “Is carpentry all that I am going to be doing? Is this what it means to be God's son?; or even “Am I really God's son?”  I think that when He began to hear about John the Baptist, He went out to hear him in wonderment and curiosity.  Probably as Jesus began to listen to John,  He was pierced in His heart by the Spirit.  That is why He made His way down to the place where John was baptizing.  As He came into the water that day, He was humbled beyond words as His and John's spirits leaped together with recognition. Then the complete Godhead met in total agreement and confirmed Him as the beloved Son of God.  He finally knew without any shadow of doubt who He really was.

Yet even the Son of God could not live on revelation alone.  He had to know how He would operate as God's son in human form, and that meant testing.  That is why the Spirit drove him into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.   He had to learn the one crucial lesson concerning His humanity. And that lesson had to be learned through suffering. Jesus learned that His humanity had no power of its own and was totally helpless in and of itself.  Satan taunted Him to perform, while Jesus waited in weakness for the Spirit to answer Satan's demands.  “The Captain of our salvation was made perfect by the things that He suffered” (Heb. 2:10).  He learned the meaning of functioning as man and God in perfect union as one, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord” (Zech. 4:6).  Then, after the temptations were over, His humanity was anointed by the Spirit of God, fully equipping Him for His ministry.  (See the chapter entitled “The Temptations of Christ.”)

I find it interesting that in the Gospel of John, between chapters 4 and 14, Jesus is constantly hammering at the same point, “I can of my own self do nothing” (John 5:19&30).  He reiterates it 36 times in one form or another through these chapters.  This could have been over a period of two years.  I know myself that when the Lord gives me revelation on a point, I usually repeat it everywhere I go and as often as given opportunity.  Each time I say it, it gets stronger and more clear.  I think that Jesus experienced the very same thing.  In John 14:9, He was so settled in the function of His humanity that He emphatically said: “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”  He had learned that the human self had no power of its own, but was indwelt by the power of another, who was His life.  The perfect nothing containing and expressing the perfect all. 

As Jesus knew the secret of who He was and how He operated as a God-Man, He could share that same secret with His disciples.  He first taught and foretold of the indwelling Spirit in John 14.  Then, in John 15 He gave them an example of functioning union relationship:  “I am the vine, you are the branch; without me you can do nothing, for the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine.”  A branch has no life of its own and abides by receiving its life from the vine. Jesus knew that the disciples would not understand what He meant until later, after they had received the Holy Spirit. Then He, the Holy Spirit, would reveal all things unto them.

Finally, by the time He was ready to go to the cross, He was in great faith as He prayed for the oneness that was yet to come--first in His disciples and then in future generations. “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected in unity” (John 17:21&23).  Christ paid a great price to bring this fullness to His Body.


This was the evolving process that caused Jesus to know who He was and how He functioned as a divine person living in a human body.  I John 2:12-14 tells us that there is the same evolutionary process in us: Little Children know their sins are forgiven; Young men find their true identity and learn how to function as a Spirit person above Satan's assaults; while Fathers co-operate in the redeeming work of the Spirit according to God's eternal purposes.





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“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”

(Romans 5:10).

There is a section in the book of John that really catches my attention.  It is where Jesus says, “I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Also there is the passage from the Ephesian epistle: “To know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God” (3:19). These two passages challenge us as Christians to know total deliverance and total fulfillment in our lives today.   Yet, if we are really honest, most of the Christian world would have to say that this is only an aspiration which can never be attained right here and right now. For we mistakenly think that total deliverance and total fulfillment are only really attainable in our future heavenly home. 

Why did Jesus promise fulfillment if it is only a carrot on a stick designed to tease us?  The one thing we all know about God's nature is that “He cannot lie” (Titus 1:2). So, if Jesus promised it, then total satisfaction is available to us today.  That is why Paul prays for us in the Ephesian epistle: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his call, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”  Paul is saying that we have an inheritance in Christ that we haven't even seen let alone entered into.

What we don't realize is that there are two deliverances available to us through the Cross of Christ.  We Christians understand the first deliverance from our past sins through faith in the blood of Christ;  we realize the forgiveness of our past sins; we know our future is secure; and we confidently look to heaven as our eternal home. This gives us peace concerning our past and assurance for our future, but what about our present tense experience?   Can't we all agree that most of us live a roller coaster life of trying and failing, falling far short of what Jesus promised in John 6:35 (never thirsting, never hungering)?


What does total deliverance mean? I believe the Gospel is much deeper and broader than most Christians realize. We have heard only half of the Gospel, the provision of the precious blood. Never do we hear that there is deliverance in the precious body of Christ.  I often hear Christians singing “there is power, power, wonder working power, in the blood of the Lamb,” but I have never heard anyone say or sing, “there is wonder working power in the body of the Lamb.”  But there is!

Jesus brings out both aspects of the gospel when He makes this provocative statement in John 6:53-57:  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whosoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eats me, even he shall live (daily) by me.”

We know that eating and drinking are metaphors for faith. Faith is receiving what is available to us and what we take, like food, takes and becomes us. God is satisfied when we take by faith (drink) the blood of His Son because “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.”  Without our receiving that provision we are still in our sins.

But why are we Christians so dissatisfied in our daily lives?  I believe it is because we have never entered into the second deliverance provided for us by the body death and resurrection of Christ.  “Except you eat my flesh, you will have no life in you.”  Eating His flesh means that we take the provision of His bodily death and resurrection as our present tense deliverance.  The blood of Christ satisfies God and the body of Christ satisfies us. When God and man are both satisfied, then we will never hunger or thirst again.

What are the available provisions in the “Blood and Body”of Christ? These two aspects of the gospel are symbolized in the Lord’s supper:  the wine and the bread. The Blood of Christ, symbolized by the wine, is offered to guilty and hopeless sinners as a provision for our sins.  Jesus Christ took our sins on Himself and bore the full death penalty.  This sacrificial offering totally satisfied God’s justice, thereby setting us free from sin.  Then, by the miracle of the resurrection, Jesus was raised from the dead for our justification, thereby giving us eternal life.  The blood gives us peace with God, the forgiveness from our past sins, and security for our future destiny.

Secondly, the Body of Christ symbolized by the bread, is offered to helpless saints as our present tense deliverance.  The deeper element of the gospel is that Jesus became the very nature of sin which is Satan expressing himself as us (II Cor. 5:21).  Jesus became sin and then died to it. In his resurrection we are made one with his righteousness.  There is a nature exchange, thereby exchanging our consciousness from a separated striving-self-sufficient consciousness, which is the nature and mind of Satan, to Christ’s own life as us.  Christ didn’t come to improve us, He came to replace us.

The Cross (body death) exchanges sin’s nature of self-centeredness with Christ’s nature of "other love." It exchanges sin’s consciousness of separation with Christ's own mind of oneness.  And finally, it exchanges sin's operation of striving self-effort with Christ's own operation of faith, causing us to know oneness with Christ.

Let us look deeper into the full meaning of the Body of Christ.  We can begin by asking the question, What is the Body of Christ?  The Body of Christ is His humanity or his human-ness.  My good friend Linda Bunting says, “The Jews deny Jesus’ divinity, while we Christians deny His humanity.” We know that the Bible says that He was God in the flesh, but to most people that means an all-knowing consciousness without weakness and human limitations.  Somehow, we think that weakness and humanity are sinful and wrong in themselves, therefore denying Jesus' humanity the same way we deny our own.  We must look deeper into the life of Christ to know that when God became flesh, He became as weak and as capable of human frailties, emotions, and desires as we are. He truly became like us.


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