When the world put the Lord Jesus to death, the sentence of death was put on all that is in it; but we have complete deliverance out of it. The Lord Jesus took me down into death on the Cross. In Him I came out the other side, as dead to the flesh and the world*. I have got a new position where He is. Where do I get my life from (Col 3:4)? The Lord Jesus in heaven! I am “accepted in the Beloved.”
Death must be written on all, that only the Lord Jesus may be manifested. How wonderful to be called to walk through the world, and be the epistle of the Lord Jesus Christ (2Cor 3:3)! We are chosen to manifest the character, ways, spirit and temper of the Lord Jesus—“that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2Cor 4:11). I am placed before my Father in all the perfectness of the Lord Jesus Himself; and He, in all His perfectness, is placed before me. Do you shrink from this? I do not ask, do you realize it? Paul would say, “Not as though I have already attained.”
If I cannot say, “to me to live is Christ,” as my object, my eye is not single. Paul could say, “This one thing I do . . .” He had no other object; he reckoned all else but refuse. It did not cost him much to give that up. If the Lord Jesus has such a place in our hearts the rest is easy (Mat 11:30—NC), though such a life passes us through trials and exercises*. If we reckon ourselves dead and risen*, we get a free, open channel between us and heaven for divine consolation to flow. As a child of God, my place is in the Lord Jesus, and there is no end to my blessing.
The Cross has settled my place in the old Adam. Will you be before God in the “day of Judgment” to answer for what you have done, or have you believed the fact that the Lord Jesus has come into this world, and taken the whole question up for you, and set you before the Father in virtue of what He has done, instead of what you have done—good or bad?
He disciplines us that we may be separated from the reign of sin, and find everything in the Lord Jesus, and Him everything to us—our all in all. But He begins the lesson with the assurance, I love you perfectly. I bring you into the desert to learn what I am, and what you are; but it is as those I have brought to Myself! He gives us a place with the Lord Jesus, but then He shows us what He is and what we are. The discipline of the way teaches this; but if He, in His love, strikes the furrows in the heart, it is that He may sow the seed which shall ripen in glory.
Are you content to be in the wilderness with nothing but the manna? Or are you saying, “We see nothing but this light food? If we want it for our journey, we shall find it every morning, and find it adequate; but if we want to settle down, it will never satisfy us. Are you content to have the flesh crucified*? Have you so tasted the love of the dying Lord Jesus, and His risen glory, as to wish for nothing else? He creates a void in order to fill it with Himself.
We learn to prove His love in the wilderness, in a way we never can in heaven: our very need brings it out to us. This world is a terrible house to live in, but an excellent school to learn in. May the Lord give the distinct consciousness that we are redeemed out of the place of sin and condemnation, and that we have a position above with our Father! That is peace and rest; then we shall have the joy of fellowship. We are as white as snow (Isa 1:18)—we are “accepted in the beloved” (Eph 1:6).
- Wm Kelly
*”the flesh and the world”: the sinful nature and those who are ruled by it, which has always consisted of the general populous of mankind (Mat 7:13, 14)—hence the often scriptural phrase, “the world” (i.e. John 15:18, 19; Jam 4:4; 1John 4:5).
*”trials and exercises”: which are always for the Christian’s good, because regardless the situation (excluding willful sin, which indicates absence of rebirth), God not only foreknows all occurrences but ensures they benefit the believer (Rom 8:28). Hence the command, “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1, 27).
*”reckon ourselves dead and risen”: Even if we do not consider (reckon) this so, we are still “dead and risen” with Him. The reckoning does not bring about this truth but provides mental strength and peace within our faith when reckoning. To reckon on something is to realize it and therefore walk in it.
*”the flesh crucified”: not the physical but the spiritual flesh (old man; sinful nature – Greek “sarx”, definition IV: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G4561&t=KJV
). In the NT when “flesh” is in reference to the physical body it is identified as being “mortal,” (Rom 8:11; 1Cor 15:53, 54; 2Cor 4:11); “vile body” (Phl 3:21), etc.