Friday, October 6, 2017

“Swans, Revisited"

"Swans, Revisited"  
     It sometimes seems that believers are still the same fleshly, carnal people we were before we trusted the Lord Jesus Christ.  Certainly, we can act like it, as did the Corinthians: "Whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal?" (I Corinthians 3:3).  However

    "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you" (Romans 8:9).

    Born again believers are spiritual in our innermost being, an unchanging reality and gift of grace as bestowed upon us through indwelling and enlivening Holy Spirit.  We can nevertheless walk as if we remain the sons and daughters of Adam, and thus dominated by our earthly humanity.  As we have illustrated in these messages over the years, we are swans who can still think, speak, act, and relate as if we remained ugly ducklings.  Thus, Paul calls us to realize and affirm the "newness of life" we received in Christ, along with newness of identity and being (Romans 6:4).

    "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.  Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).
    "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2).
    "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
    "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11).
    "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him" (Colossians 3:8-10).
    "Ye are the temple of the living God" (II Corinthians 6:16).

     These and other New Testament passages unequivocally proclaim truths that characterize the being of every born again believer in the Lord Jesus.  Just as our new birth is a gift of grace, so is our new and spiritual personhood.  We are not who we once were if we have trusted the Lord Jesus.  We can still act like the slave to sin we once were, and sometimes do.  But nothing changes the fact of the liberated "new creature" we are in Christ.  This constitutes a most blessed truth, namely, that God not only forgives us when we believe.  He also changes us at the deepest level of our existence.  However, the truth also greatly challenges us by removing every excuse for sin.  Never is there a time when unbelief and disobedience are necessary or inevitable in those who are "alive unto God."  We still live in a fleshly humanity that makes such waywardness possible, but never excusable.  

    "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh" (Romans 8:10-12).

    The Lord Jesus was tortured to death and forsaken by God and man in order to birth and reconstitute who we are in Him.  "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).  Blessed truth for swans indeed, but challenging also as we realize our calling to avail ourselves of the grace that enables us to live in faith and faithfulness.  Too much was sacrificed for us to flounder as ugly ducklings who fail to realize who and what we are in Christ.  Thus, the New Testament commands and demands that we affirm Truths to be true that do not always seem, feel, or appear to be factual and actual.  They abide nonetheless:  "His truth endureth" (Psalm 100:5).   Herein we stand in Christ, and herein we gaze into the mirror of God's Word, discovering ourselves to be His swans and walking accordingly…

"Beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
(II Corinthians 3:18)
"Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light."
(Ephesians 5:8)

Weekly Memory Verse 
    "When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek." 
(Psalm 27:8

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