JESUS CHRIST is OUR WAY
BY: LLOYD ELLEFSON
Today we want to concentrate on the truth that JESUS CHRIST IS OUR WAY back to God. Since God is spirit, this way is spiritual. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” Before we can get rid of our sin problem and be released from our transgressions we have to become involved with God. Humanity is earthy, fleshly, and temporal, and does not understand spiritual realities. Jesus came as the way out of this dilemma! He came to bring us into God!
Many do not want to face their dilemma. They think they can improve themselves by making right choices, and by these choices grow into what God wants them to be. This is a delusion, an impossibility! The Christian message is one of death and resurrection! It is not one of self-improvement; it is not a perfecting of the flesh – the old man. The Adamic man always remains flesh; nothing good dwells in him.
Yet Jesus came in the likeness of sinful flesh! He lived under the law until He was thirty – the age when those of Aaronic descent became priests. Then, at the Jordan River He became the high priest of a new priesthood. Before that the law had been His teacher, and He was subject to it. It was the law that brought Him to the Jordan, for it brought Him to repentance – not from sin, but from who He was under the law in the flesh.
Repentance takes place inwardly. It deals with the source or root of sin! This is the earthy Adamic man, for he cannot understand the things of the Spirit. This man is Antichrist. To be Antichrist means to be against Christ, or to have something take the place of Christ. Everyone who doesn’t have Christ is obviously Antichrist and has substituted his own intellect, mind and reasoning ability for Christ. He wants to keep his soul, his sense of being, instead of embracing the life of Christ. Instead of hearing the Spirit, instead of laying his life down in death, instead of giving up his soul to embrace the way that Christ has demonstrated, he wants to retain and improve it in the hope that it will go to heaven some day! Since flesh and blood does not inherit the kingdom of God, even improved flesh is not eligible for inheritance!
The Father gives us to Christ. That is the only way we can get to belong to Christ. There are some things we inherit when we become identified with Christ. One of them is death; we have received His death to the old man and have been baptized into His death to sin. So our inheritance is an identification with Him – His death is our death, His resurrection is our resurrection, His Father is our Father and His body is our body! He was in this evil world the same as we are. Therefore we will experience the same things He did. Just as His message to this evil world was rejected, so will ours be rejected; as He was persecuted, we will be persecuted; as He could endure because of the joy that was set before Him, so can we!
A true Christian no longer has to struggle to obtain life because Christ is his life. Death has lost its power to keep him separated from the Father! As Jesus Christ was one with the Father, so we, as the corporate son in the only-begotten Son, are one with the Father. To be crucified to the world means to be crucified or dead to the rule that is in the world. And the world is crucified to us.
Before Christ was sent to this world, He was with the Father in the kingdom of God. He could only be manifested to us through the flesh. He took on this earthy image of God, but He didn’t let the body rule Him. He was ruled by the Spirit, fulfilling the way that we are to go. Our pilgrimage on the earth is the same as His.
Our new birth brings death to the old man. This is not a physical death, but a death to sin. Being crucified with Christ does not kill our physical body. Our physical bodies are only temporal tabernacles – they will pass away; there is no hope for them. However we can use this tabernacle, this body of flesh, as a witness of spiritual realities! The Spirit of God brings us a new sense of being, so the flesh is in subjection to the Spirit.
The world cannot understand that Christ is our righteousness, peace, joy and perfection. Therefore it will not appreciate this; in fact, it will hate it. Those who do not belong to Christ have a longing for perfection, so they look for it in the natural realm. This yearning is present because something within them is not satisfied. The old nature cannot satisfy the craving of our spirit. If Christ is our life, that yearning for perfection is satisfied, because He is our perfection! We no longer yearn for perfection for the natural man, for he is not our life any more. As we realize that we are sons of God we can now live by the Spirit! He is perfect in you and me!
Since Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, why do we look for His kingdom to be established on earth – in the visible realm? The invisible kingdom of God within us cannot be seen with physical eyes. It will always remain in the invisible realm. But the effect of the rule of that kingdom in us will be seen by people.
Today many grandiose ideas and imaginations about the kingdom of God and Christ’s appearing are floating around. For example, they say Christ will appear to the nations and everyone will fall under the spell of His presence, and that the manifested sons will deliver creation. I don’t think things will happen as predicted.
Jesus came as a manifested Son and was rejected by the world! The people wanted the miracles, but they did not want Christ; they did not want His understanding of God and of Himself. He showed us the way to get rid of this evil, corrupt world; He showed us how to be delivered from this evil generation – for it is Antichrist.
As the pattern Son, Jesus demonstrated the way we should go. He went in the spirit of repentance to be baptized. John recognized the higher standing Jesus had, so he didn’t want to baptize Him. But Jesus said He needed to fulfill all righteousness. What did He mean by that?
First of all He had to fulfill the righteousness of the law for it is a ministration of death. He repented of that righteousness. He didn’t need to get any sins washed away, for He didn’t have any. The man of sin is the Antichrist; he is the lawless man – the natural, earthy, Adamic sense of being that is resident in this body. He can only be destroyed by death and resurrection. That is good news, because real deliverance is possible. Nothing short of death and resurrection can bring this about.
We can only find life in the Son of God! Our physical birth brought us into the death of Adam. We were dead in our transgressions and sins. To get out of this death, we have to die to sin, and be resurrected into life. Resurrection brings a conclusion to death. There is no other way! Emotions, tears, good works, etc., cannot bring us into life. Receiving the life of God has nothing to do with the physical body; it takes place in our inner being.
In Rom. 6:3 Paul said, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” Jesus went into the water and was baptized into death; then He came out of the water in the newness of life, just as we do. Death precedes resurrection. No one would willingly enter into death, without having the hope that through death a new birth would come into being – a new generation of spirit! Those who are baptized in the hope that they will go to heaven some day, have not gone through death and resurrection. They will continue to think of themselves as being sinners and in the old man. Jesus was baptized to demonstrate God’s provision for us! The way back to the Father is through death and resurrection!
People usually think of resurrection in connection with the physical body instead of a resurrection out of our death in transgressions and sins. They forget that we are the body of Christ. When this tabernacle is dissolved we have a building of God; we have something to live in! We are living in the body of Christ now! The religious systems have always put spiritual realities into the future. The reasonings of God fill us with an assurance that God is doing something now; He’s changing us now! Those who have not entered into Christ’s death keep looking for a day when there will be a manifestation of a greater anointing. Since Christ is the anointing, and He does not change, His anointing does not change. However, there can be a greater manifestation of that anointing.
Jumping up and down, yelling and screaming, as some tele-evangelists do, is not a sign of a greater anointing. I often wonder why they do that. I don’t think that our Lord – who always dwelt in the rest that is in God – ever went through those antics.
Resurrection is just as sure as anything else in the scriptures. We have been resurrected together with Him. He is our resurrection and our life! His body is spiritual and therefore in the unseen realm – in the unseen spiritual kingdom of God.
After Jesus had passed through repentance and the death to sin in water baptism, He received the anointing of the Spirit. After He prayed, the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove – the symbol of peace. After the flood, the dove came back to Noah, carrying in its beak an olive leaf. This symbolized peace. The floods of guilt and evil that have been plaguing humanity are now done away with!
Everything that happened to Jesus is a pattern for us, and is an attainable experience for everyone who is called of God. Those who have been chosen in Christ, will hear the message of the law, and will receive a realization of life through faith. We are not blown to and fro by every ill wind because we are not anchored in the flesh but in Christ! We are secure; we are part of His body; we are living in the holy of holies!
The body of Christ does not consist of sinners hoping to go to heaven some day. The body of Christ consists only of the things of Christ – nothing else! It is only He – His eternal sense of being, His endless life, His purity, innocence and guiltlessness. This is what the body of Christ and the mind of Christ consists of. Christ is, just as God is. He became to us wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, redemption, knowledge and life. He is not giving us these things, but we are taken into Him and thus we become one with what He is! This is the gospel, the good news, folks!
People’s appreciation of truth or lack of truth, does not change truth! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He didn’t change when He came into the flesh, He didn’t change when He died, He didn’t change when His physical body came out of the grave, He didn’t change when He came back in the Spirit, and He is never going to change! Jesus is the pattern Son. You don’t need a pattern unless you are going to use it. So God is making us according to the pattern He has given us!
Jesus performed and fulfilled all the things that God had chosen to reveal to the Old Testament prophets. They did not understand everything they wrote, but they were faithful in recording God’s message to them. When Jesus fulfilled the promises of God, He was manifesting God. He represented God, He demonstrated God, He testified of God! People thought Jesus was born of Mary and Joseph, so they criticized Him for calling God His Father. They couldn’t believe that He was God’s Son! Although Paul wrote that we are no longer to see Jesus according to the flesh – as a physical person – many still do!
Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” How did He fulfill them? He fulfilled what they were saying about Him! When we become joined to Christ and are brought into Him, we identify with Him and understand that Christ is our life. Everything is fulfilled in Christ. When we are walking in Christ, we are walking in the fulfillment of what the law and the prophets were prophesying. When Christ comes to us, all these things begin to be fulfilled in us, because Christ is in us. This excludes all fulfillment in the physical realm. His spiritual body is the continuing manifestation of Christ in the earth!
Most Christians do not identify with this, because they think that God has to do more before prophecy can be fulfilled. Many think Christ’s spiritual body will be manifested after Jesus Christ returns to the earth physically. They still think of Him in a physical way. They do not understand that we have become new creatures through death and resurrection! We need to understand that the gifts, healings, blessings, and our sins forgiven without becoming new in Christ, do not produce a change in us. That is not the gospel, for the gospel brings change!
We cannot circumvent the law, for it brings us to repentance; neither can we circumvent death and burial, for it precedes our resurrection in Christ. We who have experienced repentance, death and resurrection, understand that this is a level of faith we are in; it is our being. Therefore we do not look for resurrection to happen in the future. It has already been accomplished in us by the Christ who is our life! Sad to say, many of those who have eaten of our bread and drunk of our spirit, have still turned to other tables for their food and drink. The unenlightened man will always judge the spiritual man, because he cannot understand spiritual realities. His sense of being cannot understand life.
The Holy Spirit in the elect has already withstood all temptations, because the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us. This Spirit has always overcome, and He always will. He does the overcoming in us! He overcomes the ignorance, the opposition, and the reasoning of the man of sin.
God is life, and there is no other life! We no longer look at the images. The veil between the holy and the holiest in the tabernacle had images of cherubim woven into it. That veil has been torn and those images have disappeared! Access to the holiest has been secured for us by the blood of Jesus Christ! His blood represents His soul or sense of being. Life is not in the blood; life is not in the soul; life is in the Spirit! However our sense of life is in the soul! That is why we are redeemed by the soul of Christ. It is His blood, His soul, His sense of being that redeems us from who we were, what we were and who we thought we were. It brings us into reality, and reality dwells only in the Spirit of truth! His soul brings truth to us in the way Christ intended – that is, by bringing us Christ!
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12) We have to get rid of our natural ideas of life, darkness and death. Death is separation from God. When we are separated from God in our consciousness, we are in darkness and death while we are living on earth! Jesus Christ is the light, the illumination, the understanding of what life really is in God.
Before we could receive and testify of that life, a way into the presence of God had to be provided for us. And Christ is that way! Jesus came out of an earthy identification into a heavenly one at His baptism. There the heavens were opened to Him, and He heard the Father speak in a new way – not through the law but to His spirit. He heard God say, “This is My beloved Son.”
This happened after He experienced death to His own will. His ministry came as a result of laying down His own will, and only doing the will of the Father! The very lowest point of this death came in Gethsemane. There He subjected Himself to the will of God in the face of the most cruel torture and humiliation by humanity. He did this for us, not for Himself. He went through death and identification with the flesh for us.
Jesus Christ’s experience at the Jordan River brought the light of heaven to Him, and He began to walk in the newness of life! He now heard the Spirit in a new way, and began to fulfill His calling of being the high priest of a new priesthood – one that gives endless life. This is the fulfillment of what the priesthood of Melchizedek symbolized. The same Spirit who enabled Christ, enables us to become partakers of His spiritual experiences. These do not take place in the physical realm, nor in our old sense of being – the ego of the old life. That sense of being has to be laid down in favor of a better one. This is difficult for us because we like to cling to the known. However once we are convinced that we will receive a better one, it will be easier to relinquish the old. This new sense of being is the same sense of being Jesus received at the Jordan.
Jesus Christ has made a way for us into the presence of God! This way takes us from death into life – from an earthy existence into a spiritual existence. It takes place while we are in our physical body. This pathway does not exist in the seen realm and therefore the average person does not find it. Even many Christians are unaware of it.
Jesus was born of Mary and declared Himself to be the Son of Man. This is mentioned at least 30 times in Matthew alone. Although He was the Son of God, everything that happened to Him, happened to Him as the Son of Man. He said that the Son of Man came down from heaven, the Son of Man would be given into the hands of men, the Son of Man would be abused and crucified, the Son of Man would be raised from the dead, and the Son of Man would come again. All these things happened to Him as the Son of Man! We need to understand that the Son of Man is not the Adamic man; He is another man – the new man!
At the present time we are the manifestation of God on the earth. Although we came out of Adam, we have been birthed into a new man – into Christ. God has given us the same Spirit He gave to Jesus. He has also given us the same ministry He gave Jesus – the ministry of reconciling people to God! Since it has already been given to us, we know it is a present possession, so we do not have to wait to receive it at some future time. Although that may be hard for us to believe, that is what Paul taught in the scriptures. We are to continue Christ’s mission on earth!
The Father is always present in the Spirit of His Son. But we can only receive our spiritual inheritance by following the way of Jesus Christ. This means participating in His death and resurrection, hearing the Spirit, and walking in obedience to what He tells us.
But people do not want this cathartic remedy. They would rather have God interfere in their lives and the lives of others supernaturally, and stop the evils that are being perpetrated. They would rather try to improve themselves, for they believe they are basically good. They want God to help them and bless them without going through death and resurrection. But we are called to die! Repentance from the old man spells death to that man, for it brings us into an identification with Christ’s death to fleshly desires. We are then raised up by the coming of the Holy Spirit; He immerses us into the body of Christ – into His body of light and understanding!
As we grow in understanding we realize what crucifixion means. Christ’s crucifixion did not come at the Jordan; it came after the Holy Spirit came upon Him, and He testified about the unseen spiritual realities of God, and confessed that God was His Father. This confession brought about His crucifixion.
To be crucified together with Christ, we must have His life in us! His life has already passed through the ignorance and rejection of human nature! It brings us the realization that rejection, physical death, etc., cannot take away our life. Being crucified with Christ happens after we have gone the pathway Jesus trod. He passed from the death symbolized by His baptism, to life in the Holy Spirit. That is the way we must also go! Just as Jesus heard the voice of God tell Him that He was His Son, so we must hear God tell us that we are His sons. As we bear testimony to that, people will reject us and crucify us in spirit.
The true essence of everything that happened at the cross is unseen and spiritual in the eyes of God. However humanity, with its limited reasoning power, has perverted it. People have called His death a substitution instead of an identification. They say that somehow the blood has legally wiped away their sin, yet they still maintain that they are sinners who are constantly sinning. They do not realize that they have been put into the new man, and have passed from death into life. They still think of themselves as being outside of the kingdom. This sense of being keeps them under the rulership of their carnal mind, human reasoning and imagination. Our imaginations are the easiest to obtain, and the easiest to retain.
The simplicity of the gospel is awesome! The fruit of the law is repentance, for the law shows us our inability to fulfill it and thus brings us to repentance. Coming to Christ is the fruit of repentance! At that point we receive the Holy Spirit. It’s as simple as that.
After the Holy Spirit had been poured out, Peter got up and gave the first anointed message by man to mankind. (Acts 2) He, along with the rest of the disciples, had received the same Spirit that was in Jesus. Peter began to preach by saying that the things they had just experienced were the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. He said, “This is that” which Joel had prophesied. The moon turning to blood, and the man’s restoration were included in this fulfillment. The coming of the Holy Spirit would bring the fulfillment of these things!
The people “were pierced to the heart” by what Peter said. This was not a matter of the intellect but of the heart! They asked, “What shall we do?” Peter declared that they first had to repent. Repentance is generally associated with feeling sorry for all the sins we have committed. But only feeling sorry for our wrongdoing does not stop us from sinning. We’ve all experienced the uselessness of New Year’s resolutions! The Greek word used here is METANOEO, and it means to receive another mind. (Young’s Concordance) Our natural mind only knows the government of flesh and law. We need another mind – a mind that can receive the government of the Holy Spirit! When Jesus was baptized He repented of the law government He had been under for 30 years.
Let’s continue to look at Peter’s teaching. He said that after they had repented, they needed to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.
So what does it mean to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ? People are generally baptized by immersing or burying them in water or by having water sprinkled on them, with the pronouncement that they are being baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To do something in someone’s name, means to do it in the nature and attitude of that person. So our repentance must correspond to the same nature and attitude Christ had when He went into the Jordan River. There He was willing to lay down His life and all His own ideas for the things of God! Jesus heard what the law was saying; He heard more than the dos and don’ts; He heard that the righteousness of the law can only be fulfilled by laying aside all our own ideas so that we can be led by the Spirit! Thus He fulfilled all righteousness – the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of God!
Peter then said that they would receive the remission of sins. Some translations read FORGIVENESS instead of REMISSION. Various Greek words are translated FORGIVE in English, and each word has a slightly different meaning. The Greek word used in this verse is APHESIS. It means a sending away. Do you realize that when sins are sent away, they are no more! This remission or forgiveness of our sins cleanses us from the guilt-consciousness generated by the law, so that we can embrace the Holy Spirit. So to repent and receive the forgiveness or remission of our sins includes having our sins sent away and receiving a new mind! If we only want our debtors to be gracious to us so they won’t count our deeds against us, we will not be changed. We’ll live in constant cycles of sinning and receiving forgiveness, because we will still be living in the old man, and he always remains a sinner. In that state there is no real realization of having a new nature and of being a new creature in Christ!
Since that which is born of God cannot sin, forgiveness is not needed for the new man. Christ is not the minister of sin. God forbid! Jesus said, “Satan comes and he has nothing in Me.” Satan did not find any point of contact in Jesus. When Christ is our life, Satan won’t find a point of contact in us either. If he can’t, we will be victorious in every attempt that is made to seduce us.
Even as Jesus had to hear the message of the law so that He could embrace the Holy Spirit, so do we! The purpose of the baptism of repentance is to put away our old man. After we receive the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit comes on the new man. This is exactly what happened to Jesus. He did not, in the sense of the Adamic man, receive the Holy Spirit until He had submitted to the death that is symbolized in repentance and water baptism. When He came out of the Jordan, He received the anointing of the Spirit! After that His new life and testimony and witness of God began to unfold on the earth!
This is the pattern, the way everyone who is called of God and chosen in Christ, has to go. This is a spiritual way and therefore in the unseen realm. It does not happen in the physical realm; it does not change our outward appearance, but it changes us! Christ’s experience at the Jordan did not change His outward appearance; outwardly the same Jesus who went to the Jordan, later left it. But inside of Him something had changed – and something has to change in us too. This change takes place within us, in our being, in the realization that is in our spirit.
Those whom God has called, have repented because the law proved that they could not meet its requirements. Then they came forth in newness of life. Life takes us out of our old concept of being sinners in Adam, and brings us the realization that we are new creatures in Christ Jesus! We are sons of God, members of the only-begotten corporate Son of God!
This testimony will be rejected by those who do not believe that we are new creatures in Christ. The suffering that stems from this rejection does not consist of toothaches, heartaches, headaches, cancer, etc., for Christ did not suffer any of these things. To suffer together with Christ is to suffer because of our testimony of sonship, of being sons in the earth and being misunderstood.
Jesus suffered a lot of rejection! He was betrayed by one of His disciples and denied by another disciple. He was rejected by the ruling hierarchy in Israel – by the Pharisees, scribes, lawyers, and priesthood! They taught and urged the people to reject Him. So the people rejected Him, and called for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus. Pilate, the Roman governor, tried to wash his hands of the judgment against Jesus, but because he feared the people, he condemned Jesus and signed the death warrant!
This is a picture of what the true sons of God can expect to experience. When Jesus suffered and died, no one took His cause, no one identified with Him, no one was willing to lay down his life for Him! He trod the winepress of God alone! Those who are in Christ have the same mission He had; they have the same Spirit and identity with God. Humanity has not changed. It still has the same attitude toward Jesus Christ as it had when Jesus walked on this earth in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Adamic man has not changed!
These realities are always present! God takes us out of the Adamic man and puts us into the new man – into Jesus Christ! In Him we live and walk in the same testimony He had.
May the Spirit reveal the heart of this message to you.
God bless you! Amen.
JESUS CHRIST is OUR WAY [Lloyd Ellefson] 1