Reckon and Resist

The same principles which accompany the moral deadness of the unbeliever are found in the believer, weakening and hindering his resting in the Lord Jesus above, and his resultant walk here below*. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” It is true, the believer is not in the flesh (Rom 8:9), and through grace he can please the Father; yet the flesh is in him, and so far as it is unjudged* it will prove a sure and sad obstacle in the path of faith.

Hence there is not an evil in the unregenerate heart of man which the regenerate can afford to despise. The tendency, nay, the root of all, is in his own bosom, although as a believer baptized into Christ’s death, he is entitled to rely upon his crucifixion with Christ—the flesh “crucified with its affections and lusts.” This is his weapon. He has died, and he that thus died has been freed from the power and reign of sin. And having died, how shall we live any longer therein? But then, although in God’s estimate this is a fact, for He has identified the believer with the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, yet it is a fact which faith alone realizes and reckons upon*.

The experience of the believer is the constant, painful witness that the flesh is within, ever seeking to display its enmity to God; “for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Practically he finds that the old man is alive within and actively energetic toward evil, and that struggling with it is not the way to gain the victory*, because it is not God’s remedy for it, and therefore not the resource of faith. Such is not the way in which the Spirit, by the apostle Paul instructs us to deal with sin. For, after having said, “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God* in Christ Jesus our Lord,” he also adds, “let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

The faith that would reckon us dead to sin in our death with Christ, wherein the sentence of God was executed upon it, is the weapon which gives us practical freedom form its power in day-by-day experience. But if the believer is ignorant of this sword of Goliath which the divine armory supplies him, attempts to face the enemy with some puny instrument of his own, is it no wonder that he fails on the encounter? If, after being justified by faith, he puts himself under law as regards the daily path of Christian walk, is it strange that the offence again abounds, that the perverseness of the flesh is stirred afresh into activity, that the law is once more proved to be a ministry of condemnation?

No! It is the sense of grace, it is the sense of what the Father’s grace has done in uniting us to One who is raised from the dead, far above the claims of law and the effects of sin, into His own holy and blessed acceptance in the presence of the Father; it is this, kept bright and fresh before and in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which enables us to bring forth fruit unto God. “For sin,” says Paul, “shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under law, but grace.”

The unconverted, if he thinks at all about God and his soul, naturally and necessarily puts himself under law, and proves it to be a ministry of death. The tendency of the converted man is to do the same as regards his walk, if not as concerning his salvation; and so far as he slips aside into legalism, he is powerless for God, and certain to be immersed in worldliness. Granted that the old man would say, “Let us continue in sin that grace may abound”; still, the answer is not to throw away grace, which is the only spring of growth as well as justification. The grace of God not only brings us salvation, but teaches us that, “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12).

- Wm Kelly

Poster’s Opinion:

*”weakening and hindering his resting in the Lord Jesus above, and his resultant walk here below”: the walk of the believer is a separate issue to that of the salvation of the believer. At rebirth, the believer will be weak in “walking in the Spirit,” for this requires time in the Spirit’s teaching (through the Word of God) concerning it, but the believer’s salvation is completely secured (will never be more secure) and unaffected by the learning (which affects only growth in faith).

*”so far as it is unjudged”: the greatest vice of the sin nature (and Satan) is the subtleness of being unidentified and therefore unnoticed, due to the blinding of primary veil of the soul, which is pride. To every believer the Lord progressively reveals the source of our sin (old man), while simultaneously revealing His holiness (Rom 5:20), which is the primary means of His teachings to us concerning His holiness—through contrasting it with evil, for there must be a comparing of the two for identification and understanding (hence Satan’s reason for existence).

*”faith alone realizes and reckons upon”: reckoning does not effect a truth but rather establishes faith on a preexisting truth, thereby appropriating (putting into action; utilizing) its usage. Believers possess “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2Pet 1:3) at rebirth, and the goal in spiritual growth is to progressively appropriate them by faith—through reckoning, all by the Spirit of God using the life of Christ (Col 3:4).

*”struggling with it is not the way to gain the victory”: not the victory which Christ has already effected for believers in His expiation of His Cross, but the victory in the conscience, in reckoning on the Spirit’s opposition to the old man (Gal 5:17), which results in a conscience of guiltless peace, and a life which manifests God’s glory. The sinful nature (old man) is still on the Cross (Rom 6:6), which restrains it from dominating, but not from its testing (tempting)! For the believer, testing or tempting does not determine success in passing or failing (already effected by Christ), but always towards strengthening our faith; hence, everything is worked out together for our good (Rom 8:28).

*”Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God”: the believer is not only saved from something, but also for (unto) something.