Basket of Figs

Published 2002-01

Bud Powell

Trinity Covenant RCUS, Colorado Springs


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Living in Christ

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I 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 

Paul is speaking historically, with a subjective application.  It was a historical fact that Christ’s death was in the place of every one of His people.  This is the very heart of the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation.  To be saved a person must agree with the verdict of God the Father at the Cross.  Sin is an outrageous offense against the righteousness of God, deserving of the wrath of God.  This is the beginning of faith, the fear of the Lord, and the vindication of His word.

Because saving faith is the work of the Holy Spirit, we are united to Jesus Christ in His resurrected life.  Being united with Jesus Christ, we live in Him in two ways:  He governs us by the Spirit and makes us partakers of His righteousness.  The latter is justification; the first is regeneration.  The new life that we have in Christ is one of faith, according to the Apostle.  Because faith is by the word of God and not of the flesh, this life is a “secret hidden from the senses of man,” according to Calvin.

The touchstone of faith is the Scriptures.  Our faith is not validated by experience, by emotion, by answers to prayers, by providences, or by any human reasoning or philosophies.  The operative question is, “Is what I call faith that which is described in the Bible?”

“Search the scriptures,” Jesus said,  “for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” --John 5:39  The men of Israel thought they had eternal life because they read the Scriptures, but they read for the wrong reasons and did not know that the Scriptures are about Jesus Christ.  It is interesting that Jesus did not direct them away from the Scriptures to some experience or some drum beating, but to the Scriptures which they misused and corrupted.  

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.   And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  I John 5:10-12

The life is in Jesus Christ and it is not optional whether we believe the record that God has given of His Son.  We do not believe in Jesus Christ if we do not believe the record that God gave of His Son.  What?  Is God a liar when He says that He makes His Son an offering for sin?  What?  Is God a deceiver when He tells us that our righteousnesses are as filthy rags and that we must be clothed in the righteousness of Christ?  Does the way to salvation begin with making God a liar?

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