DYING TO SELF – THE REAL TRUTH
BY: CHARLES W. WELLE
A STORY, A REMEMBRANCE
DYING COMES FROM THE CROSS AND IT IS NOT DYING TO SELF
Choices. Life is full of choices. Which choice do I make? When do I make the choice? Did I make the right choice? What are the ramifications of the choice made? Too many choices! In the plan of the ages laid out before the subplot of sin entered, Adam had a choice. Adam made that choice. Everything else is predicated on the previous choice. Everything.
The consequence of the first decision is found in all further decisions. The decision to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a choice within the eternal plan of God. That decision impacted all of creation. Paul brings this out in Romans five where he states: Romans 5:15, 17– “… For if through the offense of one, many be dead, …For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one …Therefore as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation”
One can deny the decision of Adam. One could say it was never made, and that the way life is here on earth – is the way life is. But the Scriptures declare that a Savior came to deliver us from this choice of Adam. Romans 5:15,17-18 states: “But not as the offense, so also is the free gift…much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many…much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)…even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
What was the choice that Adam made? There is a way that seems right to a man but it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12), and that is what Adam chose. The consequence is compounded over time and we see the evidence of decadence in the world. Many years ago when our children were teenagers, we went to see my college roommate. He and I were roommates for two years. He married a nice young lady that I dated before I met my Joyce. My children met her, and when we left their home my children made the following comment: “I am sure glad she is not my mom.” Choices determine the fruits produced. What if I had married her? Everything would have been different. A choice makes all the difference in the world.
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.“ (Genesis 2:8-9) You will spend your days eating (living) from one of these two trees. Some are governed by the principle of constantly choosing between good and evil from the tree of death. Others operate out of the principle of life, Christ, Who is the Tree of Life. Christ has always been within as John 1:9 brings out, but automatically because of Adam people choose the other tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Governments of the world operate on the principle of good and evil. Before they make a decision, they ask the question: “It is right or is it wrong?” Businesses operate on the same premise. In fact, most individuals operate the same way. There is no doubt that the worldly systems – economic, social, political, all operate from this principle: “Is it good or bad?”
Charles Sheldon, in his book, In His Steps, suggests that the Christian should ask the question: What would Jesus do? While the book’s concept is an effort to promote the faith and has sold millions of copies, the book still has the Christian act like the world. The book operates out of a right/wrong principle, which comes from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. “What would Jesus do?” Suggests a person must first stop and think and then act. The person must decide if the ‘thing’ to be done is correct. People as well as saints are always trying to do the right thing because they want to avoid evil. They carefully analyze each situation before a course of action is chosen. This is done to make sure the action is good, and they then will go ahead. But if we are in Christ there should be no such question to ask because all that we do is the nature of the Lord’s. But that assumes you know you are in Christ….
To act according to the standard of rejecting all that is bad and choosing only that which is good is not Christianity. Such decision making is based upon the Law which is the Old Testament, the old covenant, which Jesus removed. Christianity is based upon the principle of life – the tree of life. When you are faced with a decision, you do not ask the question, “Would it be right to do this?” rather you just be who you are in Christ, Giving no place to the thought that you are not in Christ.
There was a great man in Israel whose name was Uzziah. In 2 Chronicles 26 we read of how he served the Lord. Until. He only had one fault. He thought he was more powerful than what he was. He expanded the kingdom of Israel; he established the kingdom of Israel; he did great things. But one day he said he was going to the temple and offer a sacrifice. He thought he was as good as the priests. Eighty priests stopped him. They told Uzziah it was neither his right nor his position to do this but theirs. He felt it was within the scope of his authority as king. He was struck with leprosy. Leprosy is a type of sin. (Leviticus 13:3) You know what happened? He didn’t die right away. He died spiritually the moment he did that but he didn’t physically die immediately. It takes a while for sin to work, but the end result is death. (James 1:15) He tried to create righteousness out of himself even as the Law tries to create righteousness and can not.
Whatever is not of faith is not of God. (Romans 14:23) As Galatians 3:12 states: “And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them.” The person who lives by right and wrong (good and evil) is in the Law and not of the faith. When we assume like Uzziah that we have the right, we have eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When we walk in the nature of Christ, we do not seek to know whether the answer is right or wrong, but we go in the life of God. The principle of life is higher than the Law, and the Law cannot comprehend it nor understand it.
Perhaps you have read about Lucifer, who is Adam (not Satan). He was perfect (Ezekiel 28:12, Hebrew: whole) until iniquity (sin) was found in him. (Ezekiel 28:15) Uzziah is another type of Adam. Since he had leprosy, he could no longer be in the king’s palace. He was moved out of the palace into another location. Does this sound like Adam being moved from the garden but close to it? Uzziah died alone never to come into contact with his family nor children, for it would make them unclean too. He was a good king for 52 years, but iniquity was found in him. The Adamic nature is full of sin. It cannot enter in. It cannot be saved nor delivered.
Isaiah goes on to state in chapter 6 that when Uzziah died the Lord could be seen in the temple! While this is a true story about a king in Israel, it is a spiritual story for us. (Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:11) When you know that Adam is dead in you, the Lord will be seen in your temple. As long as you struggle with the understanding that God is not fully alive and Adam is not fully dead, the Lord cannot be seen in your temple.
If you are still in church order you are still in the church’s way. If to you Adam’s still very much alive and you are trying to purify him, shape him up, trying to do something to him, to make him well enough so he can live a little longer, you are denying the truth of Scripture. The real word of the Lord is that Adam’s dead. DEAD. He’s not here. He’s been removed. His heavens have been thrown down as soon as he tried to take the place. God killed him, as soon as he usurped authority. Just as Uzziah died immediately with leprosy but the fullness of it took time, the Hebrew in Genesis brings out “Adam dying died.” God killed him and Adam’s been dead lo! 1,000’s of years. Before the world was created, the Lord God (Christ of Genesis 1) was slain. (Revelation 13:8) Slain before there was sin. Sin does not exist in the eyes of God.
He manifested the removal of sin almost 2,000 years ago when Jesus physically revealed it to us. The church still didn’t believe it. Adam is dead. Now if Adam is dead, then who are you? The new creation man. You are not in Adam. Behold all things have passed away and all things have become new. You are a new creation in whom? In Christ Jesus.
His train fills the temple it states. The glory of God fills the temple. You who are the temple are filled with the glory of God because He, Jesus, removed Adam at the cross from your nature. Some will say that they “won’t be perfect until they get to heaven.” What do you do with the command of Jesus in Matthew 5:48 where He states we are to be perfect (Greek: mature)? It means in your lifetime. Or perhaps you have been taught “you have to sin a little every day.” Where do you find that in the Bible? Especially consider 1 John 5:18 where it states that He keeps you from the evil one and sin! We are alive in Him! Read it in the Amplified Bible!
The name of the servant of Elisha means “valley of vision.” The poor man just was not on the same level of understanding as Elisha. He followed his master, did his master’s bidding but never came to the understanding of his master. One time when his master did not charge for spiritually blessing someone, Gehazi ran after the person seeking financial compensation.
The realm of Pentecost seeks to receive. The feast of Pentecost seeks compensation on the natural plane. But Elisha was from the realm of Melchizedek, the feast of Tabernacles. Elisha gives freely without consideration, without cost because Elisha realizes that he ministers out of the fullness of God. Gehazi was in the valley of vision, not on the top of the mountain where the true vision is. There is leaven in Pentecost but not in Tabernacles, that third experience that follows Pentecost. Church order is Passover/Pentecost in actions. It does not minister the kingdom, which is Tabernacles.
Another time Gehazi sees Elisha surrounded by the enemy. He fears for his life. Elisha prays to God that Gehazi’s eyes would be open to see the true way of the Lord and the encompassing cloud that protects. Church order teaches the Law, and in the teaching of it there comes condemnation for sin. The Law seeks to preserve its life on the natural plane, but the realm of grace seeks to give its life to deliver people from the Law.
Grace brings an end to the sin nature. Grace leads to repentance and life. Once one repents, life begins and death has been removed. But every Sunday, the saved person hears a sermon on the need to repent (call for salvation) or to fight the devil (call for the need of the Baptism of the Spirit). Yet, if one enters into Tabernacles and follows the pattern of Christ, one can state as Christ did “the ruler of this world is coming and he has nothing in Me.“ (John 14:30) We must come to the knowledge of Him that has to destroy the first temple in order that the second can be established. (Hebrews 9:8, 10:9) The Adamic thinking has to go. There is leaven, i.e. leprosy, in Pentecost. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8) When I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, I remembered that my Baptist friends said it was of the devil. But the Holy Spirit led me into new truth and many scriptures that I had interpreted one way now had a new light. The old heaven was destroyed so the next could be established. So it is when we come to Tabernacles experientially. The old heaven is removed, that is to say, we realize that Adam doesn’t exist anymore, and that we have believed a lie. Only then are we able to grow in the nature of who we are.
2 Corinthians 5:1-6, 15-1: I have heard many a preacher use the verses 1-6 at a funeral service, but the chapter has nothing to do with a funeral, a natural death. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Verse six states: “…while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.” This is not talking about our physical flesh and God in heaven. It is talking about making our “life” comfortable in the things of the flesh, living in the outer man and being absent from God. How so? Because we do not live in the inner man, the new creation man. Whenever we would live after the lusts of the flesh, we are absent from God. Whenever we measure someone to a standard, we live after the Law, which judges the flesh. This means we do not live in the realm of grace that Jesus came to establish. As Galatians states in 5:4: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
Just as we have known the historical Jesus, even as the disciples had known the physical Jesus, we must no longer know Him after the flesh. (verse 16) We must only know Him after the Spirit. From personal experience I can state that I struggled seeing everyone in Christ. I could see their “faults.” But it was only when I came to the end of myself that I could see them in Christ because I saw myself in Christ. What a struggle it was to do that until I removed the first tabernacle (Adam) by recognizing that God is and Adam is not. As a side note a friend once said to me: “America has its astronauts, Russia has its cosmonauts but God has His was nots.” God’s “was nots” are those who are alive in Christ. There was not anything of them left.
Verse 17 states that: “If any man be in Christ.” The actual Greek is “Since any man is in Christ.” There is a substantial difference here. “Since” expresses an after-the-fact statement. It is a conclusion. We are in Christ whether we believe it or not. God never saw you as a sinner before you were saved, He only saw you as one in Him. One is. God is not the God of Moses. Moses gave us the Law. Moses never knew God personally. Moses struck the rock twice, signifying that he did not know God, because if Moses did know God’s way through a personal relationship with God he would not have done it. But God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God had a personal relationship with each of them and they walked with Him. Colossians 3:10 states: “…put on the new man who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created Him.” Since we are a new creation we are to grow in Him. As we focus on who we are, we are changed from glory to glory. The man that I see in the mirror is Christ, not Adam. Focus on Adam and you believe in a lie. Focus on Him and you grow in life. Be absent from the body and you are in the presence of the Lord! Leave the outer man and make your home in the inner man.
It sounds like we are dead, so what is this “dying to self stuff?”
Many have heard and many have been taught that “dying to self” is part of the Christian experience. The idea is that a Christian must die to his old nature and must crucify the flesh every day. For over thirty years, I have heard it preached and I even preached such until 1993. It is with this in mind that, the following is written. Be prayerful and study as a Berean to see if the following be true.
Before salvation, that is, before one comes to the personal knowledge and experience of Jesus Christ as their Lord rather than as a historical figure, all are slaves to the passions of their flesh. They are “lovers of their own selves.“ (2 Timothy 3:2) Their desires and cravings are all selfish and seek to bless their flesh with the things of the world. Unregenerate people cannot help it but are driven towards it because they love only themselves.
“But God commends His love towards us…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8 states. Revelation 13:8 states that Christ was slain from before the foundation of the world. God loved us before we were created, before we were sinners and even while we were yet sinners. While yet we loved ourselves selfishly, God loved us and through His Son Jesus Christ died for us. He did not just die but He died and went through death (Hebrews 2:14), for the life of God is far superior than the death of the flesh. We were bound in the flesh and slaves of it. 1 Timothy 1:9 states: “Knowing this that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers…” The Law condemns sin and brings the judgment. For the wages of sin is death. But Christ loved us from the beginning while we were yet sinners.
“For in that He died, He died unto sin once…” Romans 6:10 states. Jesus died once. He died once never to die again, never having to defeat death again. What death did He defeat? What did He conquer that would never have to be conquered again? The sin nature. The “lover of self” nature. Jesus destroyed it once and for all. When? Then. It has been gone for over 2,000 years at least. “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed that henceforth we should not serve sin.” So states Romans 6:6.
When we came to our salvation, our old nature (old man) was crucified with Him. It no longer exists. The King James doesn’t explain thoroughly, but other translations show clearly that it is in the past tense, a completed action. In reality it no longer existed since He was crucified from before the foundation of the world, but we must experience that truth within us. There is nothing that we have to do to become holy. He who is Holy makes us holy, otherwise it would be self-effort (the Law, good/evil), the very state that we lived in before we were saved. Selfish effort makes for religion, for it is the lover of self that sets yourself up as your own god. But when we come to Christ, the selfish nature has been removed.
Yet, Christians often feel condemned and even think that the selfish nature still exists. Why is that? Since He died for us, do we have to die? The answer is no. He once and for all removed the man of sin. Yet, we still have to die, but the death we must experience is not as it has been taught! We don’t have to die to self because the old nature was removed. Yet, we feel condemned. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us,” Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:15. We cannot be condemned because of Who Christ is, because of what He did for us, and because of who we are in Him.
It is only if we believe a lie that we are condemned! The lie is that Adam is alive in us. Consider what Paul stated to the Colossians in 3:9 “Lie not to one another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds….” If one reads further to verse 11 we see that a new creation person does not see any other person as uncircumcised, circumcised, Greek, Jew, etc. Why not, because just as Jesus saw us saved before while we were yet sinners, we see people with His eyes.
Now, the old ruts, the residue of the Adamic thinking, cling to us like extra glue. We must “purge out therefore the old leaven” as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:7. This is accomplished by not focusing on it but rather by giving it “no place” within us. The victory is wrought by keeping our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith. We produce life as we behold Him who is life. We cannot look back at the dead nature because it hinders us from focusing on who we are in Him. Again Paul writes to us in Ephesians 4:22 “That ye put off the former conversation of the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts…” He goes on to say this can be done by wearing the armor of God.
In fact, if we come into right identification with Christ, “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.“ (Galatians 5:24) Note the passions have been crucified with Him. They no longer exist except as a deception to us when we identify with the old nature. Since we have died and have been buried with Him, we are also alive in the resurrection with Him. Life in the resurrection has no place for lusts since we are in Christ. Read 1 John 3:9, 5:17-18. Those born of God do not practice sin and cannot because God keeps them. How do we crucify the flesh? We crucify the flesh by remaining in Him. When we stay within the hedge that God has placed around us, the Law is not in effect. It is only when we go out from grace that the Law works.
Christians still have problems with these lusts, and it is because they have not fully realized the victory in Christ that is already accomplished. Think back on your salvation day. Did you feel clean, whole, pure? The answer is yes. Then what happened? No one taught you the truth when the temptation came. The church taught you at that point that you were forgiven of your past sins and would continue to sin and it should be expected. While it is true that we have an advocate if we do sin as a child of God (1 John 2:1), we are to exercise our senses to determine the correct way of life. (Hebrews 5:14) Let me quote Cassirer’s New Testament in Galatians 5:24 which states it this way: “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed that lower nature, with its passions and appetites, to a cross.” The Greek expresses the thought that the lower nature has been removed, finished, done away with. It has been nailed to the cross. When did we have the passions? Romans 7:5 states: “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.” We had the passions when we were in Adam and living under the Law which is a type and shadow of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We are now in Christ! Therefore we need to purge these things. How? Read on.
If there is a problem it is because we “have forgotten that one was purged from his old sins” as 2 Peter 1:9 states. We forgot what was accomplished at the cross when we were saved. We forgot the cleanliness that we felt, the purity of the experience. When He cleanses us we are clean! Glory to God! We need to walk in the truth of the new man in Christ Jesus, no longer knowing anyone after the flesh – even ourselves.
“In Jesus God deals with us, takes death to Himself and thus makes it a creative divine act. This removes sin and death, and from it springs life. The goal is already reached with Christ’s death…” so states the author of Bromiley’s abridged Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. God makes death life! The dying in our body is the dying we experience in identification with Jesus, not dying that we need personally to go through. The death we experience in the Christian life is to reveal the life of Christ. The cross working in our life is the very life of God!
The scriptures are obviously clear that Adam is dead, our old nature is dead. And yet we find that there is a dying going on within us. In the early 1970’s when I first heard the call of sonship in my walk with God, I was taught by leaders of the time that we must die to self. I accepted their word. It seemed correct and there seemed to be scriptures to support it. Some assumed that Adam still existed in the saint. They had believed such because they were taught, and so it goes. But God is bringing to light the truth.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:10 that we “always bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” Serious consideration must be given to this verse as well as 2 Corinthians 6:9 which reads: “As unknown, and yet known; as dying, and behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed…” It is Christ who is dying in us and we are identifying with Him! We are experiencing the very thing that He experienced. He groaned under the duress of the Law and the flesh’s desires as He was crucified. We are identified with Him in this. (Romans 6:1-7) It is only as we identify with His death working in us that the Life of Christ is also made manifest.
But it goes even further than that. Paul writes in Colossians 1:24 the following, first in the Amplified Bible and then Cassirer’s New Testament. “Even now I rejoice in the midst of my sufferings on your behalf. And in my own person I am making up whatever is lacking and remains to be completed [on our part] of Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body which is the church.” Or “And so it is that I rejoice in the sufferings I am undergoing in your behalf, as I fill up, in this rail body of mine, whatever may still be lacking in respect of Christ’s afflictions as yet to be endured for the sake of His body the Church.” We must experience what remains to be completed on our part of Christ’s afflictions! What we go through is the manifestation of Christ. Sonship is when He is revealed. Our identity is when He is manifested. What we make up for what is lacking in the body of Christ allows those who have not had it all worked out in them to enter in with us into His glorious nature.
Those who “desire to make a fair show in the flesh, constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ” (Galatians 6:12) The Law seeks to bring us back into bondage because it is easier for the followers of the Law to do so than it is for sacrificing themselves and revealing the life of God through grace living. Those who make grace of no effect through the Law do so because it seems easier to walk the Law than walk the life of grace. If the Law livers can cause you to fall from your walk of faith, they have made of no effect the grace of God. This is why Paul contended with Peter when he, having eaten with the Gentiles, withdrew and ate with the Jewish Christians who kept the Law. Fortunately, Peter later came to the understanding of grace.
A STORY, A REMEMBRANCE
The Graveyard is not a place to be. Think back when you were a youth and it was a cold night and the fall festival, Halloween was going on. You were sacred to death of the graveyard – ghosts, goblins, etc. Whether the fear of the graveyard is truly ghosts or a real subliminal fear of death would be hard to be determined. But the graveyard was a scary place.
When I was in college the graveyard was close to the college. No one would go there at night – it was cold, damp and scary. Even the police would not go because they did not expect anyone to be there. Thus, the fraternities and others would go to have parties in the graveyard. Many booze bottles were left there among many other things. Not a good story which I know, but fortunately this Christian man did not go.
Darkness and the things of the night go hand in hand with the graveyard. Even in the day the graveyard does not lose its nightly luster for it subtly suggests the night to us in the brightest of daylight. The graveyard casts its shadow during the day and comes alive with the sun of the night in the light of shadows. This macabre scene resonates in the mind of the individual child and stays with the child even during adulthood. The fear of the graveyard is the fear of the end of life.
If you saw a man during the day sitting in the graveyard on a folding chair, would you go visit him there? I doubt it. You would probably keep on driving by or walking down the sidewalk. You might wonder if he were sane. Might even think he was insane. You probably would try to stay away from such a person for fear of contamination by this “strange” person. Who would visit such a man?
Some might feel there was a person with a mental problem sitting there and would probably contact the state and have a state hospital ambulance show up with strait jackets. The white clothed interns would jacket the person and perhaps use some drugs to “stabilize” the person. Silently, the person would be led away never to be seen again in public. No one would know what happened to the person.
Yet, had he sat on his front yard porch, this man would have been accepted within the community. Whether old or young, sane or insane, poor or rich, city or country person, this person would have been considered normal, acceptable by society if he sat on his front porch. The location was the key to the end of the person. The problem is that the person is the same whether on the porch or in the graveyard.
What have we to do with Adam? He is dead isn’t he? There is no life in him, is there? We see Adam in a religious way and stay away (graveyard). But when we go home, we set him on our porch, dress him up, make him feel comfortable, but he is still dead. Why do we play with dead things? He will smell up the whole house! Let us not do this.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Amplified Bible: Examine and test and evaluate your ownselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves, [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know (thoroughly by an ever increasing experience) that Jesus Christ is in you?
We are tried to see if Christ is known in us! We are tried to see if we are able to be conformed completely in His Image. (Romans 8:29) We are tried in order that we might know who we are in Him so that the world might see the Father. Let me state clearly here, that we can never fully become Him because the more we enter into His nature, I have found that my God gets BIGGER. Bound in the body, He is a limited expression, but the fullness of all He is, is seen through us. I have found my identity in Him for the same reason that Jesus found His identity in the Father – that the Father might be seen and glorified. So the trial is to help us examine ourselves, evaluate ourselves, see if we have the right identity and are able to manifest who He is.
“Prove yourself” it states. Who is proving? You are. What are you proving? That you are in His nature, living it, walking it, talking it. Note the order – living, walking and talking. People who follow the Law are prone to talk it and not walk it or live it. But grace establishes you in the life so that the result is you do live it, walk it and talk it. Talking is the final testimony, not the first.
DYING COMES FROM THE CROSS AND IT IS NOT DYING TO SELF
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me” Luke 9:23 states. Matthew says “deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” We must deny Adam, that Adamic nature. He is a lie. The cross of Christ is the “dying” that we must go through. But praise be to God that we can and are well able and equipped to bear the cross of Christ, because our identity is in Him. Adam couldn’t take dying because his nature is always trying and doing everything to live longer! It is only the Christ nature that seeks to die for the sake of others.
Identity with Christ is a very deep thing. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the Law; for by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16) The word “justify” in the Greek has within it the meaning of “union with.” Place that word “union” in the above verse wherever “justify or justified” is used. When you are brought into union with Christ, the Law cannot condemn you for your walk is justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24) Secondly, consider that we are justified by “the” faith of Christ, not our “own” faith. We have no faith outside of Christ. Paul writes in Galatians 2:20 that he lives by “the faith” of the Son of God. We do not live by any faith but God’s. Any faith that we would think we would have would be Adamic and it cannot produce life. I have heard many preachers state that we must have “faith” but neither you nor I can have faith outside of Christ.
Imagine. Close your eyes and imagine what the future of the world holds when the body of Christ has enough spiritual saints to “complete the afflictions of Christ” for their sake. (Colossians 1:24) Do you know the depths of union with Christ so that you can stand in the gap for your brothers and sisters in Christ that the body of Christ might be complete? Or are you so caught up in who you are as a “son of God” and the depth of your understanding that you feel deeper than others? The story of Paul’s end at Rome is fitting here (whether true or not it is not known). When the soldiers came to take him to be beheaded, he broke free from the soldiers and ran to the block. He is supposed to have stated: “You can’t take my life, I give it.” What identity with Christ! What a life of grace to bring in others! So let us bear about the dying of Christ in our body that the Lord of glory might be seen.
I am sure that you remember the biblical story of Simon the Cyrene. Here was a Jewish man that came to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Passover, as was customary for the Jews to do. Some say he was black and from Africa. I do not know. But what is important is that he was a spiritual man seeking to fulfill the glory of the Law. 2 Corinthians 3:7-8 “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?” But as he stands in the crowd and sees Christ carrying the cross beam of the cross with his back bleeding from the whipping and the crown of thorns on His head symbolic of the thistles that Adam was to till out of the ground since he left Eden, Simon was plucked from the crowd by the Roman soldiers.
Simon carried the cross. How did He carry the cross? By following Christ who led the way! How easy it was to carry the cross because he saw what Jesus had suffered. Simon continually beheld Christ in front of him and was strengthened by the power of the life that overcame whippings, beatings, no sleep, thorns, spittle, etc.
Many years ago when my son was going away to college, I rejoiced that he was becoming a man and never would be the boy that he was when he was home. But I was a little melancholy that this time of change was here. I was feeling sorry for myself when I heard the Lord speak, and everything fell into proper perspective. He tenderly asked if it was hard for me to “lose my son” in his going away. I said yes. Then, He asked me a question. He asked if I thought it was hard for Him to separate from His Son and send His Son to earth to die for us. When I beheld Jesus, the cross of losing my son was not even a cross! So, you and I like Simon must behold Him and His walk to the cross so that the cross that we bear will be of ease.
Dying will not be a problem when we behold the Life of our elder brother. Destiny caused Simon to be chosen. God has called us to “fill up the afflictions of Christ” even as Simon did. Scripture declares that as we carry the cross we must die daily. Who is dying? None other but Christ in us and thereby us since our life is hid with God in Christ. This is the glory that will be seen: A people conformed to His image that resides in Life and all that they do is glorify Him because there is no self in them. The dying that they bear about in their body is Christ so that Life might be worked in creation until all the earth is filled with His glory.
The life that we “now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.“ (Galatians 2:20) We are not dying to self, rather we live to reveal the death of Christ working in us! We reveal the death of Christ working in us so that Life might be given to those in need. This is the difference between the ministration of grace and the kingdom of God and the ministration of death and the Law.
Romans 7:1-4 states an interesting story. While we have a tape on that verse, let me briefly state the truth that is found there in. A woman can remarry when her husband is dead the Law states. I could never understand why this Old Testament Law was quoted when Paul was talking about the struggle with the flesh in Romans 7. Then I realized Paul was trying to share a spiritual truth that the old man, the first husband, Adam was dead. We are free to marry another – Christ. The church, the bride, is to marry Christ. The church has to stop having sex with a corpse (necrophilia); that is, the church must stop trying to produce life in the fallen nature, which is dead. The church has to stop talking to the dead (necromancy) – Adam is not alive and cannot respond (we have 2 tapes: Stop Talking to the Dead and Adam is Dead).
The truth is that once one accepts Christ as their Savior, the old fallen nature does not exist. God asked Adam who told him that he was naked. God asked that because God saw Adam complete in Himself, one with God. It was Adam’s soul (Eve) who was deceived into believing that he was not in union with God.
The first century Church under the leadership of the 12 created a faith full of fire. They did not preach the Law and sin. They preached the good news – life in Christ because sin was removed through Christ. It caused the world to change. Calendars were changed based upon Christ! Think of it. Time changed. It was no longer based upon man’s concept but all time was recognized as Christ’s! What a movement! The church stagnates and dies today because it preaches the Law and death.
But we preach Christ who is the good news of grace and life.
DYING to SELF – THE REAL TRUTH [Charles W. Weller] 1