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Heavenly Citizenship

Christianity isn’t the “old man improvement society” but is of a life (nature) which has never before existed in mankind, and is established and maintained by the One who “created” it. It, like faith, brings believers along in the “walk in the Spirit,” and instructs and leads them (via the Word) unfailingly to “grow up into Him (Christ) in all things” (Eph 4:15). The present difficulty is not so much as understanding these truths but in knowing the reliance in their unceasing “work” in us. The very thing that separated us from God (old nature) is one of the elements continually being used to bring us to God and to grow in His Son!

Heavenly Citizenship

Paul, the Father’s chief exponent of Christianity, wrote, “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Mark this, “I—no longer I—but Christ.” The old “I” – “crucified.” The new “I” – Christ (“who is our life” – Col 3:4 via the “new nature” which is “after the image of Him that created him” - Col 3:4, 10—NC). “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” (Gal 2:19, 20).

This, and only this, is Christianity. It is not “the old man,” the first man, becoming religious, even though the religion be the profession of the doctrines, and adopting of the ordinances of Christianity. No, it is the death and burial of the old man—the old I—and being recreated in the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ. Every true believer is a new man in Him. He has passed completely out of the old-creation standing, the old estate of sin and death, guilt and condemnation; and he has passed into the new-creation standing, the new estate of life and righteousness in the Last Adam, the Head of the new creation.

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (Gal 6:15). There is immense power in all the realm of truth. It sets forth Christianity in striking contrast to every form of religiousness under the sun. Take Judaism or any other ism that ever was known or that now exists in this world, and what do you find it to be? Is it not invariably something designed for the testing, or experimenting or the improvement, or advancement of the first man? Unquestionably!

But Christianity is something totally new—heavenly, spiritual and divine. It is based upon the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, in which the first Adam came to his end, where sin was put away, judgment borne, the old man crucified and put out of the Father’s sight forever, so far as all believers are concerned. The Cross closes, for faith, the history of the first man. “I have been crucified with Christ . . . and risen with Christ.” Christianity begins, as it were, from the open tomb of the Second Man, to pursue its bright career upward to eternal glory. “All things are of God”—hence there can be nothing of man (e.g. concerning godly sources which come only from God. Source from Him—evidence of it from the believer—NC)!

Such is the position and unalterable standing of the feeblest believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is absolutely no other standing for any Christian. I must either be in the first man or in the Second. There is no third man, for the Second Man is the Last Adam. There is no middle ground. I am either in Christ, or I am in my sins. But if I am in Him, I am as He is before the Father. “As He is so are we, in this world.” He does not say, “As He was” but “as He is.” That is, the Christian is viewed by the Father as one with His Son—the second Man, in whom He delights. We do not speak of His deity, of course, which is incommunicable.

That blessed One stood in the believer’s stead—bore his sins, died his death, paid his penalty, represented him in every respect; took all his guilt, all his liabilities, all that pertained to him as a man in Adam, stood as his substitute, in all the verity and reality of that word, and having divinely met his case, and borne his judgment, He rose from among the dead, and is now the Head, the Representative, and the only true definition of the believer before the Father. The truths that we have just quoted from Galatians are a most vivid and condensed statement of it, and if we turn to Romans Six, we will see further evidence of it.

Consider these specific statements in the first half of the chapter: “We that have died”—“We are buried with Him—“Like as Christ was raised . . . even so we also”—“Our old man was crucified with Him”—Dead with Christ”—“Dead indeed unto sin.” Do we really understand such utterances? Have we entered into their real force and meaning” Do we, in very deed, perceive their application to ourselves? These are searching questions for the heart, and needful. The real doctrine of Romans Six is but little apprehended by most believers. There are many who profess to believe in the atoning virtue of the death of the Savior, but who do not see aught therein beyond the forgiveness of their sin.

They do not see the crucifixion, death and burial of the old man—the condemnation of sin—the entire setting aside in death of the old system of things belonging to their first Adam position—in a word, their perfect identification with a dead and risen Lord Jesus Christ. Hence it is that we press this grand and all-important line of truth upon the attention of the believer. It lies as the vary base of all true Christianity, and forms an integral part of the truth of the Gospel.

Now to consider further evidence on this point, Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Wherefore, if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances after commandments and doctrines of men (as such), touch not, taste not and handle not?” Thus it is that human ordinances speak to us, telling us not to touch this, not to taste that, not to handle the other, as if there could possibly be any divine principle involved in such things—“which all are to perish with the using”; and “which have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body—not in any honor—to the satisfying of the flesh. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your mind (contemplate mostly—NC) on things that are above, not on things on the earth. For ye have died and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 2:20-23).

Here again, let us inquire how far we enter into the true force, meaning and application of such words as these—“Why as though living in the world?” etc. Are you living in the world or living in heaven—which? The true believe is one who has died out of this present evil world at the Cross. He has no more to do with it (concerning our spiritual source—NC) than the Lord Jesus on high. “Like as Christ . . . even so we.” The believer is dead to the law—dead to sin—dead to the world; alive in the Lord Jesus—alive in the Father—alive in the new creation. He belongs to heaven now. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who once were far off are made nigh by the Blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13).

The believer is enrolled as a citizen of heaven. He is a heavenly man walking on the earth, fulfilling all the responsibilities which belong to the varied relationships in which the hand of his Father has placed him, and in which the Word of God most fully recognizes him, and amply guides him, such as husband, father, child, servant, etc. The believer is not a monk, an ascetic, or a hermit. He is a heavenly, spiritual man, in the world, but not of it. He is like a foreigner, so far as his residence here is concerned. He is in the body, as to the fact of his condition; but not in the flesh as to the principle of his position: he is a man in Christ.

- C H Mackintosh

Excerpt from MJS devotional for May 15:

Throughout time and eternity the God of circumstances has every situation planned for our good and for His glory (Rom. 8:28, 29). That is all that should matter to us. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee” “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God” (Ps. 76:10; 2 Cor. 4:15).” - MJS

“What the other person said or did to you was undoubtedly wrong and cannot be justified. Nor did he do it at God’s direction; but God permitted him to do it for some wise reason which will yet prove to have been abundantly worthwhile for you. By the time that action reached you it had become the will of God for you, since to a yielded believer there are no second causes.” – O. S.
None But The Hungry Heart

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