by Mike Ratliff
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4 ESV)
The debate over Lordship Salvation is more than unfortunate, but, as in all controversies in the Church, God uses them to, in multi-faceted ways, to accomplish His will. Through the controversy, those who stand firm against the attacks by going to the Word of God and via their defenses against the continual battles in the Truth War, the sheep are edified while the enemies of the cross are identified and are even further separated from the flock in order that they may do as little harm as possible. Some of these battles never seem to end. God has allowed some of these to rage for hundreds of years in various forms. After all, our enemy never really comes up with anything new, just a different slant here and there on his same old arguments, “Hath God said….” In the case of the battle over Lordship Salvation, those who reject it are really being very inconsistent in their theology because they are focusing everything from the perspective of man rather than from the perspective of God. However, to put things in the correct perspective, as one theologian has said, “When Christ comes into your life, your life changes. God’s Word everywhere declares that a change is automatic when someone truly believes.”
In last night’s post, Quicken Together With, we looked at passages that described God taking us who were once dead in trespasses and sins and making us alive together with Christ. In this post, we will look at what comes next. Not only did God make us spiritually alive in Christ, he also raised us up together from moral death to a new and blessed life devoted to God. The Bible knows nothing of Christians believing and then going back into a life of sin, rejecting the Lordship of Christ.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)
Carefully read the passage above. The part in bold is v6. Here is v6 from the ESV, “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,”
Here is v6 from the NA27 text, “καὶ συνήγειρεν καὶ συνεκάθισεν ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,”
Here is my translation of v6 from the NA27 text, “And He raised us with Him and seated us with Him in the Heavenlies in Christ Jesus,”
The phrase “He raised us with Him” is a translation of the verb συνήγειρεν, which is the Aorist, Indicative, Active form of συνεγείρω or sunegeirō. As stated above, this is defined as, “to raise up together from moral death to a new and blessed life devoted to God.” Another definition I like is, “to raise up with Christ by spiritual resemblance of His resurrection. ” All of that to say, “Those truly in Christ are no longer on the level of sin.” Christ has raised all of us up to a “new level” or a “new potential.” God has not raised us up so we will live like we are still dead in trespasses and sin. Does this mean we will live perfect, sinless lives? Not in this life, but for now, we are dead to sin and we are capable of no longer living in sin.
What marks those who are attaining victory over sin in their lives now as opposed to those who struggle mightily with habitual sin? Even though all of us truly in Christ are alive in Him and have been raised up together with Him to walk in newness of life now, if we still cling to the things of this world then what we are actually doing is remaining bound up in grave clothes like Lazarus after Jesus called him forth from the tomb. He had been dead, but now he was alive, but he was still bound up in the evidences of death. Jesus commanded that they unbind him and let him go. When Christians try to hang on to the values, purposes, and goals of the world they are clinging to those grave clothes.
To be victorious in this life now is available to all in Christ. If we will take up our Crosses, deny ourselves, and follow Jesus daily then our values will be marked by Christ’s values. What the world values is fading away and is worthless compared to what awaits those who overcome this world.
Soli Deo Gloria!