Part 7 of 25
God’s Work Now Is “In Us”
No believer had a part in their redemption other than to receive it as a free gift. Our redemption was solely the work of God the Father in giving His Son Jesus on the cross to shed His blood and die “for us.” Jesus died “for us,” in our stead. Jesus alone procured our redemption. Now His righteousness is counted to us by our faith in His work “for us.”
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5 KJV)
For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV)
Now I want to look deeper into the work of the cross and its effect upon the inner life of our soul. It is one thing for Jesus to die “for us,” to pay for our sins, but quite another for believers to become renewed by the power of the indwelling resurrected life of the Jesus Christ. Our soul’s renewal is based upon our 1) seeing, 2) identifying with, and 3) trusting in the Lord’s work on the cross “as us.”
Considering the three parts of our being, 1) our human spirit was fully regenerated at the moment of our salvation by the deposit of the resurrected “spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” 2) but Paul says our souls still need to be “renewed” (Rom 12:2, 2Cor 4:16). 3) One day our corruptible physical body will be exchanged for an incorruptible body. Thus, God is still working today to “sanctify” believers in their “whole spirit and soul, and body” (see 1Thes 2:13).
There is an aspect of the cross that works “in us” by our having been “in Christ” when He died on the cross. Paul says every believer was “in Christ” when He died our death and when He rose from the dead. You see, it was our death that the Father was interested in when Christ died on the cross…as us.
Romans 6:3-4 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized (placed) into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth IN ME…
Now we in our daily lives need to identify with Jesus’ death as our Old Man’s death (Rom 6:6, 7:4). We also should identify with His resurrection as our resurrection to new life.
We are forever washed in His blood that secured the remission of our sins (Heb 9:22). We are fully saved, positionally, because we were “in Christ” at the cross. The Father now sees us as a finished work – seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:5-6 (KJV) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Notice the past tense in these verses; they indicate a past finished work. This is why Christ is now “sits” at the right hand of the Father (Matt 22:24). Christ’s work on our behalf is complete and immutable.
We did nothing to become saved, except to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and we can do nothing to lose our salvation. Salvation is to have become a partaker of Christ’s Spirit and He will never leave us. We have “the helmet of our salvation,” which is secured by faith in “the word of God” (Eph 4:16).
Being assured in our salvation and secure in Christ, we can keep our head about us. Thus, we can then proceed in the life-process that God has ordained for each of us to become “renewed” in our polluted soul. Paul says there is “much more” than “being reconciled to God by the death of His Son”; there is being “saved (sozo, renewed to completion) by His life.” Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, MUCH MORE, being reconciled, we SHALL BE SAVED (completed) BY HIS LIFE. Many Christians have stopped at reconciliation, never cooperating with the Lord in the process of renewal of their souls.
Every believer is saved already from perdition (judgment), but we are yet being saved (sozo, renewed to completion) in our soul. Our renewal to completion is a work that occurs in our soul by the flow of the life of Christ who already indwells our spirit. The key element in this renewal of soul is the power of the indwelling “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2a, 13). We have His life because we have been born of the Father’s Christ-seed that bears Christ’s unquenchable, limitless, resurrection life and nature (Heb 7:16b).
Paul says “ye are complete in Him (Christ)” (
2:10a). Then how can Paul say we still need to become renewed to completion? Yes, every Christian is complete from the moment of their salvation in “seed-form,” just as an acorn is perfect and complete in its seed form. Christ as the life-seed of God the Father (1Pet 1:23) indwells every believer’s human spirit. But Christ now needs to be released to renew our souls. Metaphorically, it is as though Christ is the life within the planted flower seed, and the soul is the seed’s shell covering or containing the life within the seed. The seed’s shell needs to be broken in order to release the life within the seed. Only then may the life of the seed be fully expressed in the full blossoming of the flower. Rain and light coming upon the planted seed causes pressure to build until the shell breaks and the life within is released. The pressure of the Christian’s life situations work in much the same way, to break our independent soul, that Christ’s life might flow through us. Col
After being saved, most of us have tried to be righteous through self-effort, but we fail. Every believer should eventually come to acknowledge there still is a problem. Though we’re complete positionally in Christ, we need to be changed inwardly, dispositionally, within our soul’s faculties of mind, emotion, and will, which were corrupted by the Adamic Sin infection in all men.
Our soul’s mind is polluted by the Adamic Sin infection within our flesh bodies (Rom 7:17-24). Our soul is led by our mindset, which needs to become renewed. Paul calls the fallen independent mindset of man “the mind of the flesh,” saying it is “at enmity with (opposed to) God” (Rom 5:7 KJV).
Romans 8:5-8 (AMP) For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit. 6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin (noun, Sin nature), both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. 7 [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot. 8 So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him.
Paul says we need to let Jesus’ attitude or mindset become our mindset. Philippians 2:5 (NIV) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: What was Jesus’ mindset? Jesus attitude was that He trusted and relied upon the Father unto death. Though He is God, Jesus did not exert His self to act independent of the Father (John 5:19).
Well-meaning self-effort of Christians applied according to “the mind of the flesh” is absolutely impotent; making them unable to live out the Christian life. Thus our corrupted soul’s mind needs to be renewed. Romans 12:2b (KJV) …be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…
But how is our mind and mindset to be changed? Genuine change in our soul’s mindset comes about only through the work of the Father’s hand, working through “all” of the situations and circumstances of our lives, which are “working…for the good.”
Romans 8:28-29 And we know that ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate TO BE CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Only the Lord can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. God is working by using “ALL things” that occur in our lives.
Today, under “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2), God’s relationship with His own is as a literal loving Father of His Spirit-birthed children. His work is deep within, deeper than our mind. He as Father placed His Spirit “seed…which is Jesus Christ” (Gal 3:16, 1Peter 1:23) into the womb of each believer’s human spirit, birthing them to new life.
We can rely upon our loving Father because He is also omniscient (all-knowing) and sovereign. He is over all things in the lives of His beloved offspring. He works “all things” according to His will, grace, and mercy. He is at work in the believer’s life working “all things…for the (eternal) good” (Rom 8:28) of each one of His children, who are “predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29). Only the Father loves, cares, and knows what is best and necessary for each of His children, for them to come to maturity. It is only by the continued work of His hand that the believer may be “conformed to the image of His Son.” While we are involved in the “working out of our salvation” (Philip 2:12), Paul tells us how that inward “salvation” (sozo) or “completion” occurs. It occurs by the work of God within us.
“[Not in your own strength] for it is God who is all the while effectually at work IN YOU [energizing and creating IN YOU the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” (Philippians 2:13 AMP)
Salvation of our soul is not from salvation from judgment; that was finished at the cross. It is a salvation from our old fallen self. Thus, God’s concern today is not so much for the believer’s outer deliverance from trials; rather, He is at work through the instrumentality of our trials in order to bring about an inward metamorphosis in our soul. Each trial is instrumental in our learning to let go of self-reliance, to trust Him and His loving hand in our lives.
Each trial is an opportunity for the mortification of our flesh (Rom 8:13) and its mindset of self-reliance. He is at work through each trial, that we might become “conformed to the image of His Son” as the “first born of many brethren” (Rom 9:29b). Paul writes, Galatians 4:19 …I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. This word “formed” is from the Greek word “morphoo,” meaning “shaped.” The Lord is at work forming Christ in our soul, such that we would become the expression of His life that flows from within our spirit.
Every believer needs to become reformed in their soul’s mind, emotion and will, so as to become pliable to the Lord – making them fit for His use. Though our soul is not of physical material, it needs to be reshaped in its mindset, such that Christ may become expressed in and through our soul’s faculties of mind, emotion and will. Metaphorically, the formation of a shape out of pliable clay is more easily accomplished than with stone because clay may be shaped more readily than rigid stone. The renewal or reformation of a Christian’s soul is a somewhat painful process, whether we are as clay or as stone in the Lord’s hands. For those of us who are as stone in the Lord’s hand, we require chipping that occurs by the many difficult situation in life that the Lord uses to push us to let go of our self-interest and our self-reliance, to trust Him as our all.The work of renewing our soul to its proper mindset belongs to God our Father. No clay or stone has ever reformed itself – likewise, our reshaping requires the intervention of God’s caring hand in our lives. We must be made to be as pliable to the Lord within us as a rubber glove is to the living hand. Thus, God’s first work in the renewal process is to make us pliable, often by our coming to face seemingly insurmountable situations of life. Only by His work may our soul-self become reformed to His image. Paul calls this reformation being “renewed” in soul, which is also referred to as our “inner” or “inward man.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 … the inward (soul) man is renewed day by day