“Thus Says the Lord”

There can be no complete knowledge of the Father’s “acceptance” until there is complete understanding concerning its eternal aspect. Though all believer’s possess “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pe 1:3), they can walk consciously only in accordance to what their understanding is concerning that which pertains to the permanency of His acceptance. There cannot be a true moment’s peace known apart from life’s trials until the uncertainty concerning the unbroken continuity of union with God is finally revealed by Him in the mind and heart.


“Thus Says the Lord”

There is a great growth truth doctrinally unfolded in 2 Corinthians 5:17—“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” It is not the old nature pardoned, but set aside in death, and a new creation introduced. “All things are become new; and all things are of God.” All of God, hence nothing of man.

Now this gives immense relief to the heart. Indeed, we question if any soul can enter into the full liberty of the Gospel* until he lays hold, in some measure of the truth of the “new creation.” There may be a looking to the Savior for pardon, a hope of getting to heaven at last, a measure of reliance on the goodness and mercy of God—there may be all this, and yet no just sense of the meaning of “everlasting life,” no happy consciousness of being “a new creation”—no understanding of the grand fact that the old Adam life has been crucified, the old position in which we stood in Adam done away in the Father’s sight and His reckoning.

But it is likely that some may be at a loss to know what is meant by such terms as “the old Adam nature”—“the old condition”—“the flesh”—“the old man,” etc. Such expressions are used in Scripture in numerous places. For example, in Romans six we read, “Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed (nullified), that henceforth we should not serve sin” (v 6).

Now what does the Apostle Paul mean by the “old man”? He means man as in the Adamic life which we inherited from our first parents. What does he mean by “the body of sin”? He means the whole system or condition in which we stood in our unregenerate, un-renewed, unconverted standing and state. The old Adam, then, is declared to be crucified—the old position of sin is said to be destroyed by the Lord Jesus’ death unto sin. Hence believer is privileged to know the he—his sinful, guilty self—is looked upon by God as completely set aside in death. Before God he is dead and buried.

It is not merely that our sines are forgiven, our debts paid, our guilt atoned for; but the man in the life and nature that committed the sins, contracted the debts and incurred the guilt, is put forever out of the Father’s site. It is not His way to forgive us our sins and yet leave us in the same relations in which we committed them. No, He has in His marvelous grace and vast purpose, condemned and abolished forever, for the believer, the old Adam relationship. We are declared, by the voice of Scripture, to be “crucified,” “dead,” “buried,” “risen” and “ascended” with Christ. Our Father tells us we are so, and we are to “reckon” ourselves to be so. It is a matter of faith in the facts, and not of feeling.

If I look at myself from my standpoint, or judge by my feelings, I shall never, can never understand this truth. Why? Because I feel myself to be just the same sinful creature as ever. I feel there is sin in me; that in my flesh there dwells no good thing; that my old nature is in nowise changed or improved; that it has the same evil tendencies as ever, and if not mortified and kept in the place of death by the gracious energy of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:13—NC), it will break out in its true character.

It is just here that so many believers are perplexed and troubled. They are looking at themselves, and reasoning upon what they see and feel, instead of resting in the truth of the Word, and reckoning themselves to be what the Father tells then they are. They find it difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile what they feel in themselves with what they read in the Word of God—to make their inward self-consciousness harmonize with the Father’s revelation in Scripture.

We must remember that faith takes God at His Word. I believe what He says because He says it. Hence, if He tells me that my old man was crucified, that He no longer sees me in the old Adam position, but positioned anew in the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ, I am to believe, like a little child, what He tells me, and walk in the faith of it from day to day. If I look in at myself for evidences of the truth of what my Father says, it is not faith at all. Abraham “considered not his own body, now dead, when he was about an hundred years old; neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb; he staggered not at the promise of God though unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom 4:19, 20).

Ponder this! You may say you cannot understand how your sinful self can be considered dead while you feel its working’s, its heaving’s, its tendency’s, continually within you. God’s eternal Word declares, that if your heart believes in the Savior, then is all this true of you, namely, you have eternal life; you are justified from all things*; you are a new creature; old things are passed away; all things are become new; and all things are of God. In a word, you are “in Christ,” and “as He is, so are we in this world” (1 Jhn 4:17).

Is not this a great deal more that the mere pardoning of your sins, that canceling of your debts, of the salvation of your soul from judgment? Assuredly it is! Suppose we were to ask on what authority you believe in the forgiveness of your sins. Is it because you feel, realize or understand it so? Nay; but because it is written, “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). Well, then, upon precisely the same authority you are to believe (reckon) that your “old man” has been crucified, that “you are not in the flesh,” not in the old creation, not in the old Adam relationship; but that, on the contrary, you are viewed by your Father as actually in the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ—that He looks upon you as He looks upon His Beloved Son.

True it is—alas, how true!—the flesh is in you, and you are still here, as to the fact of your condition, in the old world, which is under judgment. But then, hear what your Lord says when speaking about you to His Father: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jhn 17:16).

Hence, therefore, if you will just bow to your Father’s Word, if you will reason not about what you see in yourself (good or bad—NC), and feel in yourself, and think of yourself, but simply believe what He says, you will enter into the blessed peace and liberty flowing from the fact that you are not in the flesh, but under grace; not of the world, but of God. You have passed clear off the old ground which you occupied as a child of nature and a member of the first Adam, and you have taken your new position on the new heavenly ground as a child of God and a member of the Body and Church of Christ.

- C H Mackintosh

Poster’s Opinion:
* “enter into the full liberty of the Gospel”: Regeneration secures full liberty concerning freedom from the guilt and condemnation of sin, and the remaining liberty concerns the walk in an unbroken conscience in the truth of it.

* “you have eternal life; you are justified from all things”: Though presently and completely established in eternal life, and justified from all evils, believers require a timespan in learning to manifest this in their “walk after the Spirit,” which includes their “manner of conversation.”

I believe one of the primary issues with God concerning these things (Phil 2:13) is centered, not on the “works” (His pleasure) but on the “desire,” which He “works in you,” and as this is continuously seen in us we are encouraged in our fellowship with Him. The awareness of this ever-present desire benefits believers, as the “doing” benefits others. Here we find the saving of that which is “from,” and the saving of that which is “to”; from death and unto life!

Miles J Stanford Devotional: Excerpt for 11/16 – “Early in our Christian life the general conception is that God is a wonderful Helper. Later, as we experience failure, we come to know full well that if anything is going to be accomplished in and through us, He must do it all . . .”