Over the past three weeks, Derek has been showing us how the concept of identification is the key that opens up for us a full understanding of the purpose of the death of Jesus and so enables us to enter into all that He obtained for us through His death.
It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week, sharing with you Keys to Successful Living which God has placed in my hand through many years of personal experience and Christian ministry.
This week I’m going to continue, and complete, my special theme for the Easter season that I’ve been unfolding for you over the past three weeks.
But first, let me say thank you to those of you who’ve been writing to me. Before I finish this talk, we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So please take time to write, even if it’s only a brief personal note.
Now back to our theme: Identification.
Over the past three weeks I’ve been showing you how this concept of identification is the key that opens up for us a full understanding of the purpose of the death of Jesus and so enables us to enter into all that He obtained for us through His death.
The New Testament consistently emphasizes that the death of Jesus was no accident. For example, speaking to the people of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit had descended and a crowd had gathered to find out what was taking place, Peter referred the crowd to Jesus. He spoke about His ministry, His life and His death. And in Acts chapter 2, verse 23 he said this of Jesus:
“This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” (NIV)
You see the phrase there, “God’s set purpose and foreknowledge,”, the death of Jesus was no accident. It was the fulfillment of the set purpose of God. What was God’s set purpose in the death of Jesus? This is what we have been dealing with over the past three weeks. Let me recapitulate briefly at the beginning of this week the ground that we have covered over the past three weeks.
The essence of what I’ve been saying is that the death of Jesus represented a divinely ordained exchange, the expression of God’s infinite grace and mercy to the human race. By this exchange God made to meet together upon Jesus, on the cross, the rebellion of the whole human race, and then the punishment for the rebellion of the whole human race and all the evil consequences of that rebellion. So that when Jesus died on the cross He exhausted the curse of rebellion. He took upon Himself the whole evil inheritance. And as the last Adam, He put an end to that inheritance. When He died He made it possible for that inheritance to be terminated and for those who believed, to be released from that evil inheritance.
Now the other side of the identification is that through the death of Jesus, God has opened the way for you and me as believers to enter into all that Jesus entered into after death. Summed up briefly, that is burial, resurrection and ascension. The way is open for us to follow Him into all that. Just as He was first identified with us in our sin and all it’s consequences, so we are to be identified with Him in His resurrection and all its consequences. That’s the second side of the coin, the opposite side of the exchange.
Let me briefly recapitulate this theme of identification in its two aspects. First of all, the identification of Jesus with us in our sin, our desperate need. There are seven specific aspects of this identification that we touched on in the previous two weeks and I will briefly enumerate them.
First, Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven. Punishment came upon Him, forgiveness is offered to us.
Second, Jesus was made sin as the sin offering that we might have His righteousness. He took our sinfulness that we might have His righteousness.
Third, Jesus was made a curse that we might receive the blessing. As Paul says in Galatians 3:13 and 14: “The Law says cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.” When Jesus hung on the cross it was the outward visible evidence that He was taking the curse of the broken law. He took the curse that we might have the blessing.
Fourth, Jesus was wounded, physically, that we might be healed, physically. “With His wounds,” the Scripture says, “we are healed.”
Fifth, Jesus became poor that we might be rich. On the cross He exhausted the poverty curse. The poverty curse is summed up in hungry, thirsty, naked and in want of all things. And on the cross Jesus exhausted that curse; He was hungry, He was thirsty, He was naked, He was in want of all things, that we might in return enter into the abundance that was His by right.
Sixth, Jesus was rejected that we might be accepted. On the cross, in those last awful moments, He cried out to His Father and His Father did not answer His cry. He was left alone, rejected by men, forsaken by God. But He bore our rejection that we might have His acceptance. The scripture says, “God has made us accepted in the Beloved.”
Seventh, and last, He tasted our death that we might have His life.
And then our identification with Jesus, very briefly, in four successive phases.
First, we are buried with Him in baptism. That’s the meaning of baptism. We share Jesus’ death. And then the expression of death, the evidence of death, burial by baptism. So we are buried with Him by baptism.
Second, we’re made alive with Him. Just as He was made alive, we enter into that new life.
Third, we are resurrected with Him. We come forth out of the tomb into a totally new life. We’ve passed from death into life.
Fourth, this is something so many people overlook, we are seated with Him, we’re enthroned with Him. He takes all the way up to the throne with Him and seats us there to share with Him His authority and His rule, both in this age and throughout the endless ages that are to follow.
I’ve been saying that we followed Jesus through death and burial; first into resurrection, and then into ascension. Through resurrection the way has opened up for us to represent Jesus on earth just as He represented the Father. After He appeared after resurrection to His disciples, He breathed on them His own divine resurrection life. Then He said, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” That’s a breathtaking statement. But it means that just as Jesus represented the Father on earth, so in turn through His resurrection life imparted to us, we are to represent Him on earth. I pointed out three important aspects of the relationship between Jesus and the Father. First, Jesus did not speak His own words. He spoke the words that the Father gave Him. Second, it was the Father in Jesus that did the miraculous works. And third, seeing Jesus was equivalent to seeing the Father. So when Jesus says, “As My Father sent Me, so I am sending you,” we have to apply those aspects of the relationship to our relationship with Jesus. And that means that we are not to speak the words of our own thinking, but we’re to speak the words that Jesus gives us. It’s not we who are to do the work, but Jesus dwelling in us who’s to do the work. And seeing us becomes equivalent to seeing Jesus. All that we enter into through identification with Jesus in His resurrection.
But beyond that there is ascension. Not only are we resurrected, we are ascended. We’re enthroned. And through our enthronement, we share the two great ministries of Jesus on the throne as king and priest. We become a kingdom of priests. We share with Him the ruling of the universe. In Psalm 110 it says, “The scepter of His strength or authority will go forth out of Zion.” And in Hebrews 12 it says, “We have come to the heavenly Zion.”
So as we pray, as we are sharing Jesus’ authority and life with Him there on the throne, through our prayers as priests, the rod of His authority goes out over the nations of the earth to bring them into subjection to the will of God. So we become a kingdom of priests. As kings we rule. As priests we offer the sacrifice of intercessions. And so through our prayer life we rule the universe with Jesus.
Now, of course, as I’ve outlined them today, these are tremendous truths. They stretch our power to believe and comprehend. That is true for everyone of us. We could never have devised such a gospel. But you remember Paul said the gospel he preached was not devised by men. It wasn’t on a human level. It originated with God. It’s on a divine level. Every time we bring the gospel down to a human level, we misrepresent it. These truths are tremendous, they’re hard to believe, hard to comprehend, but they’re real, and they really work in daily living.
And this is going to be the theme of my talks now through the rest of this week. I’m going to be explaining to you in practical, simple language how you can make these glorious truths work in your own daily living. How you can enter into the resurrection life of Jesus. And how moving even beyond His resurrection life you can be seated with Him on the throne and learn to rule the universe with Him through your prayers.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be dealing with the two great barriers that keep us from entering into all that Jesus attained for us by His death.