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OUR IDENTIFICATION WITH CHRIST

IN OUR LAST LESSON we studied the steps whereby our Redemption was wrought for us in Christ from the time of His Crucifixion to His Resurrection. When Christ ascended into Heaven, with His own blood He had obtained eternal redemption for us upon the basis of His substitutionary death and resurrection on our behalf. Hebrews 9:12, “But with His own blood entered in once for all into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrews 10:12-14, “But He when He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever sat down on the right hand of God; henceforth expecting till His enemies be made the footstool of His feet. For by one offering He had perfected forever them that are sanctified.”
When Christ sat down at the Father’s right hand, man had been perfectly redeemed because he had been legally identified with Christ in His Redemptive work. We saw in our last lesson that man’s spiritual death was due to the fact that he had been legally identified with Adam in the fall. Now we shall study the steps in man’s identification with Christ, whereby he became legally redeemed from spiritual death.

There are six steps.

I WAS CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST

Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ.” The King James Version erroneously translated this verse as, “I am crucified.”
Romans 6:6, “Knowing this that our old man was crucified with him that the body of sin might be destroyed, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin.”

Romans 4:25 gives this to us, “Who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” He was delivered up on the account of our trespasses. On the cross, God made Him to become sin for us. It was our spiritual death and our trespasses that He bore. He became Identified with us on the cross. He was our Substitute.

I DIED WITH CHRIST

Romans 6:5, “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death” ; and Romans 6:8, “But if we died with Christ.” As He died we died with Him. Christ would not have died physically if He had not first had our spiritual death laid upon His Spirit. So there followed as a result of our identification with Him in crucifixion, the death of His body which had then become mortal, “subject to death,” as had Adam’s when he died spiritually. We died with Him. As His spirit left His physical body and went into Hell we were identified with Him. There may arise in the minds of some a question concerning the meaning of the words of Christ spoken to the thief while He was upon the Cross. Some may ask, “What did the Master mean when He said to the thief on the cross, `Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise’?” A better translation punctuates it as follows: “I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” He did not say, “I will be with you in Paradise today,” but, “I am telling you today, I will meet you in Paradise.” Jesus could not go to Paradise until He had paid the penalty of the Old Covenant transgressions that were blood-covered.

I WAS BURIED WITH CHRIST

Romans 6:4, “We were buried therefore with Him through Baptism into death” ; and Colossians 2:12, “Having been buried with him in baptism.” Baptism is a type of our burial with Christ; His body lay in the tomb, but His spirit suffered in Hell as He paid the penalty that was due man. He could adequately pay man’s penalty and meet the demands of Justice because He had been identified with man. The penalty He paid was not His, but man’s with whom He had been made one. In the mind of God, it was you and I there in that place of torment, bearing the judgment that was due us. On the basis of this identification the man who receives the Redemptive work of Christ need not go to Hell but goes free, while the man who refuses Christ’s redemption on his behalf must go there. When the penalty of man’s high treason was paid, man was freed from his bondage to Satan. In Romans 6:1-11, in which we have given to us our identification with Christ in crucifixion, death and burial, we have the following facts revealed: The body of sin, or the body of spiritual death, was destroyed (Romans 6:6). Man was released from spiritual death (Romans 6:7 Revised Version footnotes) because he died in Christ and adequately paid his penalty. When the penalty had been paid, man stood before God justified or declared righteous. We are glad that we know the meaning of the word “righteousness.” Socrates, called the father of philosophy, taught that one, before he could speak intelligently on any subject, must be able to define the terms he used. The word, “Righteousness” means “the ability of man to stand in the presence of God as free from sin and condemnation as though there had never been any spiritual death within his spirit.” When God could declare man righteous and legally freed from spiritual death, He had the right to impart life, His own nature, to the spirit of man. So, after Christ had been declared righteous in His spirit, because our penalty was paid, He was made alive. The identification of man and Christ that had been complete upon the cross, continues and the next step is:

I WAS MADE ALIVE WITH CHRIST

Colossians 2:13, “And you being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you did He make alive together with Him”; and Ephesians 2:5, “Even when we were dead through our trespasses made us alive together with Christ.” When God raised Christ from the dead, He said, “Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee” (Hebrews 1:5 and Acts 13:33). He was the firstborn from the dead. He was the first man to be born out of spiritual death into Eternal Life. He was the first man over whom the dominion of death was broken. Romans 6:9-10, “Death no more hath dominion over Him, for the death that He died, He died unto sin once.” When He was identified with us on the Cross, Death had dominion over Him, but when He paid our penalty, the dominion was broken. He was released. He died unto sin and He was begotten of God in the realm of life. Romans 8:29, “For whom He foreknew He also fore-ordained to be conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the firstborn of many brethren.”
The “many brethren” were legally identified with Him in His Birth out of death into Life, but He was the first one to vitally experience it, the first-born. In legally being made alive with Christ, we were conformed to His Image. The word “conform” means to make exactly like. It means to be made according to a certain pattern. In His being made sin in Crucifixion, He had been conformed to our image of spiritual death. When He was made alive, we were made alive with Him. With Him we are conformed to the Image of this first-born. All that He is we become. That is why we are joint-heirs with Him. We were legally born out of death into Life with Him.

In Romans 6:11, He tells us that we are to reckon ourselves dead unto sin and alive unto God in as much reality as Christ is dead unto sin and alive unto God. The reason for it lies in the fact we were together born again, made alive legally. A man, vitally receiving this Life of God, is actually born out of death into life when he personally accepts Jesus Christ as his Saviour. Our identification with Christ in His death and resurrection in reality means this. It is as though Adam had gone to Hell, suffered the judgment that was due him and had been released, freed from the bondage of spiritual death, legally acquitted from his crime of high treason, and given the right to receive Eternal Life and walk in fellowship with God.
If Adam could have done this, the human race that had been identified with him in his spiritual death would never have been under the dominion of death, but Adam could not do this. God in His great love wherewith He loved us, sent His Son to do it. In Adam, all humanity died spiritually, and as a basis of identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, all humanity legally has been made alive. I Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die; so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”

The man or woman who has accepted Christ as Saviour and Lord may walk in fellowship with the Father and as free from Satan’s dominion as though Adam had never sinned or been spiritually dead. At the New Birth a man passes from the authority of Satan into the Lordship of Christ. Colossians 1:13, “Who delivered us out of the authority of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His Love.”
This is because when Christ was released from death into Life, man was really released with Him. All that Christ did was not for Himself, but for man.
After Christ had been released from Satan’s authority, the next step was to put off from Himself the forces of Satan. The Word tells us, in Ephesians 1:20-23, that when God raised Christ from the dead that He raised Him far above “all other government, and authority, and power, and dominion and every title of sovereignty used either in this Age or the Age to come.”

I WAS RAISED WITH CHRIST

Ephesians 2:6, “And raised us up with Him.” Our battle in this world is with the principalities and powers and world rulers of this darkness, with the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the high places. Ephesians 6:12, “For ours is not a conflict with mere flesh and blood, but with the despotisms, the empires, the forces that control and „govern this dark world, and the spiritual hosts of evil arrayed against us in the heavenly warfare” (Weymouth). These are the rulers that Christ disarmed and displayed as His conquests in the very throne room of Satan.
Colossians 2:15, “And the hostile princes and rulers He shook off from Himself and boldly displayed as His conquests when He triumphed over them” (Weymouth). Hebrews 2:14, “That through death He might bring to nought Him that had the authority of death, that is, the devil.” Another version of the Greek reads, “He rendered powerless him that held the dominion of death, that is, the devil.” We were identified with Christ in this victory over Satan. It is only because of our identification with Him that He was thus triumphing over Satan. He always was greater than Satan.
It was because of His Identification with us that as a man He must meet Satan in his own dominion and conquer him. He went there as our Substitute representative. His victory was our victory. When He stripped Satan of his authority, it was as though we had done it. After Jesus’ Justification, Satan no longer had dominion over Him. Our identification with Christ makes us as free as Jesus is.

I WAS SEATED WITH CHRIST

After Christ’s spirit had been freed from Hell, He entered His body, raising it to immortality. Acts 2:31, “He foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was He left in Hell nor did His flesh see corruption.” Before His Ascension to sit down at the Father’s right hand, He appeared to His disciples, telling them that all authority in Heaven and earth had been given unto Him. Matthew 28:18, “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.” As a man, He possessed authority over the world rulers of this spiritual darkness. With that authority, He sat down at the Father’s right hand. It was for us. Acts 2:34-35, “For David ascended not into the heavens; but he saith himself: The Lord said unto my Lord,
Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet.” In Hebrews 1:13, we have a song of praise, addressed to the Son, in which the Father said: “Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet.”

Hebrews 10:13 tells us that He is waiting for His enemies to be made the footstool of His feet. Let us study this in connection with Ephesians 1:20-23: “Which he wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and made Him to sit at His right hand in the heavenly places far above all rule and authority, and power, and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come; and He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him, that filleth all in all.” He legally put all things under His feet (that is, under His body, the Church) in His Resurrection, and He is waiting today for those enemies of His (man’s enemies, Satan, sin, sickness) to be vitally put under His feet. We are seated with Him. (Ephesians 2:6, “And made us to sit with Him in the Heavenly places.”) He is waiting for us in His Name to vitally take what legally is ours and in His Name put every enemy of ours under our feet that we might reign as kings with Him. Read and study very carefully Romans 5:17. The identification of man and Christ has destroyed the work of Satan in humanity through man’s identification with Adam.

IDENTIFIED
In crucifixion on the Cross
With Jesus Christ identified, In death for man’s eternal loss
With Jesus Christ identified.
In burial ‘neath the cursed ground
With Jesus Christ identified,
In hell’s deep dungeons where He’s found
With Jesus Christ identified.
In resurrection might and power
With Jesus Christ identified, At God’s right hand this very hour
With Jesus Christ identified.
-E. W. Kenyon
The Basic Bible Course

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