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GOD’S SECRET PLAN UNFOLDS
The Cross Canceled Satan’s Claims
In these studies at the present time we’re dealing with the theme which we have entitled: Jesus the Last Adam. Our theme is that Jesus came to earth as the representative of the Adamic race to become our kinsman redeemer. To take our nature, and by taking our nature, to redeem us. That he became a true descendant of Adam, and that on the cross the entire evil inheritance due to the Adamic race came upon Jesus. The key verse, Isaiah 53:6, the Lord made to meet together upon him the iniquity of us all. Where the word iniquity denotes rebellion and all its evil consequences.
We have been seeing various aspects of this exchange that took place on the cross where Jesus took the evil that was due to us that we, in return, might receive the good that was his by eternal right. We have so far seen seven aspects of this exchange which I will mention briefly and then move on into an eighth aspect that I want to deal with in this study.
First of all, Jesus was punished for our sins that we might have peace, reconciliation and forgiveness. He was wounded physically with our sicknesses and our pains that we might be healed physically. God made his soul to be sin, he became the sin offering that we, in return, might be made the righteousness of God in him. God made him sick with our sickfulness that we might be made whole with his health. He was made a curse with the curse of the broken law, that we might receive the blessing that is due to his obedience. He became poor that we, through his poverty, might be rich. And in the last study we entered rather fully into the statement that by the grace of God he tasted death for every man, for every individual of the human race, Jesus tasted death in all its phases. We traced three successive phases: spiritually when he became identified with our sin, he was cut off from fellowship and union with God. He forfeited the spiritual life that he had through the union with the Father.
Secondly, on the cross, he endured physical death. His spirit was separated from his body, his body was then laid aside in the tomb but saw no corruption.
Thirdly he endured banishment from God’s presence into Hades or Sheol, descended in spirit into Hades and there endured the ultimate wrath of Almighty God in the spiritual realm upon all the wickedness and rebelliousness of the human race. And having endured that he was made alive in the spirit, proclaimed the good news of deliverance to the righteous believers, and made a proclamation of his authority I believe to the unrighteous believers, and was resurrected, raised up physically from the dead. And as a result of this we can have life in three successive phases. Right now we can have the union with God in the spirit that brings spiritual life. Paul says he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. We can have physical life in a measure in the sense that we can have divine resurrection life working in our mortal bodies. And in due course at the resurrection we will receive immortal, incorruptible bodies.
And thirdly, the climax of redemption, we can have eternal fellowship with God and with one another in the presence of Almighty God.
Now I would like to go on to an eighth aspect of this exchange which is found there in your outline. The reference given in your outline at the top of the sheet there is Romans 6:6. We’ll read that and this will bring out the aspect of exchange that we want to deal with. In Romans 6:6, the King James Version says this:
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, [that is, with Christ] that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”(KJV)
In a few moments I’ll try to improve a little on that translation, but let me point out that the exchange that we are now dealing with is between the old man and the new man. The old man died in Christ on the cross, that by exchange, the new man might live in us now. So bear this in mind. The exchange that we’re dealing with is between the old man and the new man. This is a theme that runs through the New Testament but is very little dealt with in many sections of the church today. The contrast and the relationship between the old man that died on the cross and the new man that is brought forth through the resurrection of Jesus.
Let me now try to modify the translation of Romans 6 a little to make it just a little more clear and a little more literal. Romans 6:6, knowing this that our old man was crucified with him, it’s a simple past tense, it’s not a perfect tense. In other words, it’s a historical event that actually took place at a given moment in time. I think it tremendously strengthens our faith when we view it this way. It is something that actually did happen. It is true whether we believe it or not, it’s true whether we know it or not. But when we know it and believe it, it’s going to have a tremendous effect on our lives. Our old man was crucified with him that the body of sin might be destroyed. Many modern translations will say annulled. I prefer to say rendered ineffective. Put out of action. “That henceforth, we should not be slaves of sin.” This is just a little clearer translation. The slavery of sin is terminated in our lives when we realize that the old man died and that now there is a new man living in us. But if we do not realize this, believe it and act upon it, there is no full escape from the slavery of sin. This is the way out of the bondage, or slavery, of sin. And you will find that believers that do not know this and do not believe this never fully escape from the bondage of sin. As a matter of fact, my experience is with professing Christians of many different backgrounds, most Christians expect to go on sinning. And do you know what happens? It happens unto them according to their faith. That’s exactly what happens.
For instance, let me say this. I was brought up in the Anglican church in Britain, no matter what I did all through the week, I knew that by the rituals of my church, I was going to be there on Sunday morning confessing to God that I had erred and strayed from his ways like a lost sheep. I had done those things which I had not ought to have done, and left undone those things which I ought to have done. And there was no health in me. So no matter how I conducted myself through the week, I was bound to be there confessing that I had committed sins at the end of the week. The result was of course that I had plenty of sins to confess. But this is not scriptural. The scripture does not say that at the end of every seven days we’re going to have a certain number of sins that we have to confess. The scripture says there is a way of escape from the slavery of sin. But if we don’t know what the scripture says and if we don’t believe it, we shall not experience the escape. There is no other way of escape from the bondage of sin but this, the divinely appointed way, which comes through knowledge of the scripture and knowledge of what happened to Jesus on the cross, in this respect, of the old man and the new man.
Now let’s look at what the scripture says about the old man. This means the Adamic nature which every one of us has received by inheritance from Adam. And I think there are two words that probably best describe this nature. The one is rebellious, and the other is corrupt. We are all by nature rebels. And we are all by nature spiritually and physically corrupt. This is a fact about every descendant of Adam. Now this phrase the old man is one of various phrases that Paul uses in his writings and I’d like to give you some of the others which all refer basically to the same thing. Paul also uses the body, the body of sin, the body of the sins of the flesh and the flesh.
Now in many passages of his writings where we read these words we cannot understand the literal physical body, it would make no sense. He’s not referring to the physical body but he’s referring to that nature that came into the world with us when we came in with our physical body. That’s the connection. Now he uses this alternate phrase here in Romans 6:6, he says that our old man was crucified with him that the body of sin might be rendered of no effect. That doesn’t mean that we become physically paralyzed and unable to use our bodies. That’s obvious. It is not referring to the physical body but it is referring to that nature which is so closely associated with the physical body because the two came into the world simultaneously. One with the other. In Romans 8:10 he refers simply to the body. He said:
“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin...”(KJV)
Obviously it doesn’t mean that every time a person receives Christ he dies physically, that would be ridiculous. It means this old nature is dead when Christ comes in. And then in Colossians 2:12 he uses the most elaborate of all phrases, Colossians 2:11, he says: “putting off the body of the sins of the flesh”. He gives us everything there. The body of the sins of the flesh. Sometimes he calls it the body, sometimes the body of sin, sometimes the body of the sins of the flesh. But it all refers to one and the same thing.
Now the other phrase that he also uses in this special significance is the flesh. And if you want a passage for that, turn to Galatians 5 and you could read from verse 17 through verse 24. We don’t need to read all the verses, but just let’s notice what Paul says there and a built in contrast and conflict between the flesh; the old Adamic nature and the spirit; the nature that represents the will and mind of God. And we have to see there is a total, unchangeable opposition. It cannot be changed. And God doesn’t even set out to change it. He says in verse 17 of Galatians 5:
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, [the desires of the flesh are in opposition to the desires of the Spirit] and the Spirit against the flesh. [The desires of the Spirit are opposite to those of the flesh.] And these are contrary one to the other. [We have to see this. The spiritual nature of God is contrary to the old Adamic nature. Now then in verse 19:] The works of the flesh are manifest, [they’re very obvious] which are these: adultery, fornication [and so on, a very unpleasant list that we do not need to read in detail. Verse 22:] The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace [the exact opposite. And then notice verse 24 which is a very interesting verse:] They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (KJV)
Now this is a mark of belonging to Christ and it’s a very important mark. They that are Christ’s. It doesn’t say Baptists or Episcopalians or Pentecostals. God doesn’t deal with people by denominational labels. The mark of belonging to Christ is that we have crucified the flesh, the old Adamic, rebellious, corrupt nature.
Now notice in Romans 6:6 it says it was done by God. Our old man was crucified. But in Galatians 5:24 the responsibility is placed on you and me. We have crucified the flesh. This is typical of all God’s provisions. As far as God is concerned, it was finished when Christ died. But as far as your and my experience is concerned, we have to translate God’s provision on the cross into practical experience in our own lives. And that’s of course, where the problems arise. There’s no problem in God’s provision, the problem is in transferring God’s provision into my personal experience. And here a responsibility is placed upon me to crucify my flesh. Notice please, not just with the lusts, but with the affections. The moods, the whims, the little silly sympathies that you feel that are not Godly, the fits of depression and self-pity that are not lusts but are just as deadly and just as much of the enemy.
You see, many Christians would say oh, greed is a sin, adultery is a sin. But you see, being moody, being depressed, being fearful, they’re just as much the works of the flesh as adultery and fornication. And we’ll never really get the victory if we don’t identify them. And there comes a time when you have got to put the nails of the cross through your moodiness, through your self-pity, through your desire to be admired, thought well of, because when Jesus hung on the cross no one admired him. And no one thought well of him. Believe me. It was the end of all pride and all religious righteousness. It was a total death. And here’s where the nails still hurt a little. It is when we come to these areas of our life. And there is a process, it’s all done in Christ. Scripture says by one offering has he perfected forever [that’s finished] them that are being sanctified. There’s a process of being sanctified that’s being worked out in us on the basis of what he has done. He’ll never have to do more. It’s all provided. But we have to appropriate it. And that is a painful process.
I remember, if I may interject a word of personal testimony, when I was newly saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit in the British Army, the British Army, in the providence of God, sent me to the wilderness. The North African desert. And I spent three years after conversion in deserts. And I tell you, I mean deserts. Real literal sandy howling wastes. There’s something about a desert, I can read the experiences of the children of Israel in the desert with a real sympathy and understanding. I’ve lain in sand, ate sand, drank sand, washed in sand and had it blown in my eyes and my ears until you couldn’t see the color of my skin. And I’ve seen it hot in the day and bitterly cold at night. I’ve lain there without any shelter but a blanket. Now this is just by way of personal experience. But while I was out there in the year 1941 or ’42 I hadn’t learned then that murmuring was a sin. And I had three blankets as a matter of fact, which—four blankets, which every British soldier was issued four blankets. Now I had one blanket which I prized above all others. It was a horse blanket. It wasn’t exactly particularly refined and delicate, but it was twice as big as any other blanket and still counted as one blanket. I tell you, of all my possessions in the desert, apart from my Bible, my horse blanket was my most cherished. How I got it I really don’t recall. And I remember one night I was lying there with my back on the sand, wrapped in these blankets, and thinking God, why do you have to put me in this wilderness? I’m too good for a place like this. And as I lay on my back stretched out, an extraordinary thing happened. My arms were stretched out horizontal to my body exactly in the posture of a person crucified. And somehow this blanket got so entwined around me that I could not move. And God said, there you are, you’re on the cross. And I was. I was literally crucified in the attitude. A few days later I was wrapped in the same blanket again in the same situation. This time I had my hands down by my side and the blankets were rolled around me and I couldn’t get my arms free. And God said, you’re buried, too, rolled up in the blanket and buried. So I learned these truths in a very vivid way. But I’ll tell you, it’s one thing to learn them intellectually, it’s another thing to prove them experientially.
It took me about three years to stop murmuring about the desert. And when I finished murmuring about the desert you know what happened? I got out of the desert. And when I got out of the desert, I was sorry to leave, I’ll tell you that. There’s another story I can’t go into, but I cried when I left the desert because I had fallen in love with the people that lived there. But that’s another story. The more you murmur, I’ll tell you this, the longer you’ll stay in the desert. You know what the Bible says in Psalm 68? The rebellious shall dwell in a dry land. That’s where the rebellious belong.
Well, coming back to this. It has happened on the cross. Our old man was crucified. Now we work it out. We crucify our flesh. And just when you think, wonderful, I’m finished with it. You know what happens? Another area is revealed by the Holy Spirit. You haven’t dealt with that area yet. But praise God, it pays to go through with the Lord. It works out in the long run.
Now let’s look in Ephesians 2 for a moment and see what the scripture says there about this old nature of ours. Ephesians 2:2–3:
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [that’s Satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (KJV)
Notice that Satan is able to work as a spirit in us so long as we are the children of disobedience. As long as there is any area of disobedience within us, that’s the area upon which Satan is entitled to exert his influence. And no matter what you do, you can shout at him, you can cry to God, you can fast. But Satan has a legal right to exert his influence upon any area of rebellion and disobedience within us. The only way to prevent his influence is to cut off the rebellion and disobedience. Verse 3:
“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind...” (KJV)
Notice the mind is just as much alienated from God as the flesh. Romans 8 says the carnal mind is enmity against God. And we’re by nature the children of wrath. Now that word, by nature, is used in Galatians 2:15 if you want to turn there for a moment. Exactly the same phrase is used. Galatians 2:15, Paul is talking to Peter as two Jews, and he says, “we who are Jews by nature and not sinners of the Gentiles.” That’s the thing you can comment on quite a long time, about the attitude of the Jews to the Gentiles. But Paul says to Peter, you and I are Jews buddy. By birth, we didn’t get converted, we’re not proselytized, we didn’t come in from the heathen, we’re Jews by nature, by birth. And exactly the same word is used in Ephesians 2:3, we are all by nature the children of wrath. By our very birth, we were born with a rebellious nature. And that’s the root of our problem. It’s the rebellious nature.
Now you say, well, does God punish me for my rebellious nature? No. God punishes you for your rebellious acts. But your rebellious acts are the result of yielding to your rebellious nature. You see, God is perfectly just, nobody is punished for their nature. People are all punished for their acts. The judgment of God in every scripture that deals with judgment is of works, not of nature. So we are responsible for letting that nature cause us to commit those acts. I just mention that by way of comment, that what we’re dealing with now is this nature which is the root. And I would like to show you further on in Ephesians what Paul says again. Now he uses the word old man. That is the nature. Ephesians 4:22, Paul says—we have to read from verse 20 to get the context.
“But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him...” (KJV)
Now some people haven’t heard him. And particularly in this respect there are many Christians that haven’t heard him and have been taught by him. And I’ve heard somebody say I’ve sat under teaching for two years and I’m not ready. But it’s one thing to sit under teaching and it’s another thing to be taught. Some people listen but never hear, and some people are taught but never learn. Because there’s got to be an inner attitude before a person can hear and be taught.
“If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation [in relation to your former way of life, you put off] the old man.”(KJV)
The metaphor is from clothing. You take off one set of clothing and in verse 24 you’ll see, you put on another set to replace it. This is the exchange. The old set of clothing goes, the new set of clothing is put on. What is the old set of clothing? It’s the old man. How is he described? He’s corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. The key word about the old man is the word corrupt. And it’s the lust of deceit. Because he was deceived, lust rose up in him and lust corrupted his nature. That’s the order of events and it refers back to the temptation where Adam and Eve were deceived, obeyed the devil’s deception and lie, and out of the deception and lie, through obeying it was brought forth lust. Perverted desires which corrupted them each. And that’s the background of the old man. He’s the product, actually, of the devil’s lie believed and acted upon. And the result is corruption. Now that’s the nature that God has dealt with on the cross in Jesus Christ.
Now I’d like you to turn to two passages in Matthew that also relate to this truth. Matthew 3:10. These are words spoken by John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus and as the one who came to introduce the gospel. Matthew 3:10:
“And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (KJV)
This is the nature of the gospel dispensation. It’s the most radical, and in a sense, the most ruthless of all God’s dealings. God is not now chopping off branches. He is not even hewing down the trunk, the axe is laid to the very root, the very origin and source of the whole evil corrupt life in the Adamic race is to be dealt with in the gospel dispensation. This is the message of the one who came to introduce it. And notice, every tree which doesn’t bring forth good fruit is to be hewn down and cast into the fire. Some people will make their boast: “Well, brother, I don’t do anything bad.” That’s not going to get you by. What the question is: Do you do anything good? The fruitless tree is going to be cut down just as much as the tree which brings forth bad fruit. The only tree which will be left standing is the tree that brings forth good fruit.
And then in Matthew 7:18 we have this statement about a corrupt tree. There are many different applications of it but the principle applies all through. Matthew 7:18:
“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (KJV)
Now there are two impossibilities. One is that a good tree shall bring forth evil fruit. The other is that a corrupt tree shall bring forth good fruit. It cannot happen. And the old nature is a corrupt tree. Therefore, it cannot bring forth good fruit. It is no good trying to look for or expect good fruit from the old nature because it cannot happen. Therefore, what is God’s remedy for the old nature? It’s very simple. It’s the axe, at the root, cut it down. Or put it in another language, God doesn’t improve the old man, he doesn’t reform the old man, he doesn’t make him religious, he doesn’t send him to church or Sunday School. You know what he does? He executes him. The only remedy for the old man is execution. Now the message of God’s grace is the execution is already taken place. It happened when Jesus died on the cross. Our old man was executed. Hung up on the gibbet, displayed in all its corruption, abomination and put to death. And every person that wants to live above sin has to grasp this fact and act on it.
You’ll find the 6th chapter of Romans, which is the one that presents this statement, our old man was crucified with him, goes on to say sin shall not have dominion over you. But only when you grasp Romans 6:6 can you move on into the place where it is possible for you to live not under the dominion of sin.
Now let’s look a little more fully at the exchange that is to take place. The old man was crucified that the new man might be brought forth. Let’s look a little at what the scripture says about the new man. This is a tremendous study, I don’t want to go into it in great detail but Ephesians 4:24, the alternative. We’ve dealt with Ephesians 4:22, putting off the old man. Ephesians 4:24, that ye put on the new man. Now the new man is described, and I would like to read it this way: “Who, after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Now more literally, who in accordance with God’s plan or God’s standards, or God’s thinking, or God’s purpose, whatever way you’d like to understand it, in accordance with God, was created in righteousness and holiness of truth. In other words, righteousness and holiness, which are the product of the truth. You see, the old man was the product of the devil’s lie, he was the product of deception. But the new man is the product of the truth of God’s word concerning Jesus Christ. The truth received by faith into our hearts brings forth a new man and that brings forth righteousness and holiness. So the new man was created in accordance with God’s standards, purpose, whatever you like to say, in righteousness and holiness which are the products of the truth.
And then we turn to Colossians 3 and we see there what Paul has to say about this exchange. Colossians 3:10. 3:9 deals with the old man.
“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.” (KJV)
You’ll notice the most distinctive single feature of the old man is the thing they’re told not to do there, it’s what? Lying. Because he’s the product of deception. His whole nature is deception and corruption. He’s the product of the serpent. And I challenge anyone, no one has ever seen a straight snake. There isn’t such a thing. And the old man is just as crooked as the snake that brought him into being. There is no truth in him. He’s crooked to the core. When he tries to be straight, he’s the most crooked.
“Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds.” (KJV)
His deeds being primarily lying. You see, the thing about lying is if you’re going to commit any other sin, sooner or later you’ll have to join lying to it to cover up the other sins. So if you keep from lying, you have to live right. There’s no alternative. Now then, what about the new man. Colossians 3:10:
“And have put on the new man, [now the King James says] which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (KJV)
I’ll give it a little more literally, which is being renewed. You see, Ephesians 4:22 says he was created, that’s God’s side. But our appropriation is progressive, which is being renewed into the acknowledging of the creator. To reproduce the creator’s image. I don’t know whether I can say that again because it just slipped out but I’ll try and say it. The new man is being renewed into the knowledge or acknowledging of the creator. So that the creator’s image is restored in him. You see, it’s undoing the work of the fall. Because before the fall Adam had the creator’s image perfect in him. This is the nature of the new man. Now this new man summed up in three words is this. Christ in you. Turning to Colossians 1, reading from verse 25 through 27, Paul is talking about the gospel, he says:
“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you to fulfill the word of God [or to fully preach the word of God. Now then he speaks about the nature of this word that he has to present] Even the mystery [or secret] which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his [God’s] saints.” (KJV)
The gospel contains God’s secret which all previous ages and generations were not permitted to know, but which is now revealed to you and me. This is the climax of all God’s dealings and it’s a secret that he kept hidden until the gospel. Now what is the secret? It’s stated in verse 27:
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery [secret] among the Gentiles; [what is it? Very simple.] Christ in you.” (KJV)
That’s the climax, that’s the secret. That God was going to bring forth a race of people who would have Christ in them. And the new man therefore, is Christ reproduced in you and me from the seed of the word of God. Let’s look a little more fully at this. Galatians 2:20. Galatians 2:20. Paul deals with this truth in relation to his own personal testimony experience.
“I am crucified with Christ...” (KJV)
Notice there are three phases to this, to being crucified. There’s what God did, our old man was crucified. There’s what we do, Galatians 5:24; they that have Christ have crucified the flesh, and there’s our confession. Galatians 2:20; I am crucified with Christ. Believe with the heart, confess with the mouth.
I remember years back how I had to struggle to come to the place where I had enough courage to say I am crucified with Christ. I thought, what will happen? All hell will break loose, all my worst habits will immediately reassert themselves. And sure enough, they did. But then I learned to hold onto my confession. I am crucified with Christ. If you take a new step forward in God, and all hell breaks loose, praise the Lord for it. It’s a sure sign you’re getting somewhere. Because the devil doesn’t bother to oppose you if you’re going down a side alley. But if you’re moving forward in God, then he’ll turn loose all his artillery against you. And when the shells are bursting all around you just say praise the Lord.
Like the story about the editor of a small town newspaper that started a very personal personal column, was sitting in his office one day with a man whom he was interviewing. And a great big brick came crashing through the window and the editor said I knew that personal column of ours was going to be a success. So, when the devil’s brick comes crashing through the window, don’t get disturbed. It just means you’ve hit him where it hurts. And one thing we have to do in relation to every provision of Christ on the cross is make the right confession. I’m cleansed by his blood, I’m healed by his stripes, I am crucified with him. It’s not I who live now. Well then who lives? Let’s read on.
“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me...” (KJV)
This is the exchange, the old man died, the new man is Christ in you, Christ living in me.
“The life which I now live in the flesh, [notice it is not for eternity, this is for here and now. The life that I am now living, with my family, in my home, with all my problems, with all my opposition, with all the misunderstanding and temptations and trials that befall me, I am living not by my own faith, but] by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” (KJV)
Notice again the substitutionary act. He died in my place. My old man was crucified in him that he as the new man might live in me.
Let’s look at a few other scriptures about this new man and we have to move on. We’ve already, I think, seen Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10 and 11. We could turn back to Colossians 3:11 because it contains the same truth again. Colossians 3:10 says you put on the new man who is being renewed into the acknowledging of the creator so that the creator’s likeness is reproduced in him. Verse 11:
“Where [that is, in the new man] there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: [all the old things that divided whether they be race or religion or class or language have been broken down] but Christ is all, and in all.” (KJV)
The old man is totally dead. The new man has come alive and the new man is totally Christ. Christ in you. How is this new man produced? Peter tells us, 1Peter 1:23, speaking to people that have experienced the new birth he says:
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (KJV)
In the Bible, this principle is established. Every birth proceeds from a seed. The new birth proceeds from a divine seed. What is the divine seed? It’s the seed of the word of God received by faith into your heart. And it’s an incorruptible seed. Another great principle of the Bible is that as is the seed, so is the life that comes from it. So if the seed is corruptible, as it is in natural generation, the life it produces is corruptible. But if the seed is incorruptible, then the life that comes forth from it cannot be corruptible. Like must produce like in generation. So we are born again of an incorruptible seed, what kind of life do we have? What kind of nature? An incorruptible nature. What is that nature? It’s the new man. What is the new man? It’s Christ in you. How does Christ come? He comes out of the seed of the word of God, the gospel preached and received in the heart by faith.
Let us look also at the 1st epistle of John, just two or three passages which we will not ever understand correctly if we do not appreciate the fact that these do not refer to an individual, but to a nature. And I think you’ll agree with me if you read them. They cannot refer to Brother Jones or Sister Smith. What they refer to is the new man in Brother Jones or in Sister Smith. 1John 3:9:
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin...”(KJV)
Now if that meant that when I’m born again I don’t commit sin, I would have to say then I’m not born again. Because I’ll have to confess reluctantly that since I was born again, I have committed sin. But it isn’t talking about Mr. Prince, nor Mary Jones, it’s talking about what was born in me out of the incorruptible seed of the word of God. A nature. And this is made very clear by the following words.
“For his seed [God’s seed] remaineth in him [the born again believer]; and he [the nature that is born out of that seed] cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (KJV)
The incorruptible cannot become corrupt. It’s an incorruptible seed, it produces an incorruptible nature. This does not mean that I as a born again believer cannot sin. It depends on which nature controls me. But as long as the nature that is born in me by the new birth controls me, then I cannot sin. Because that nature is incapable of sinning. You say, well, how come? Well that nature is Christ. It is Christ in me. And we would all acknowledge that Christ is incapable of sinning. So there is born into us by the new birth through the seed of the word of God this nature which the scripture calls the new man which is the very nature of Christ and it’s as incorruptible as the seed from which it is produced. See, I’ll read those words again. You’ll see how exactly they apply. For whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin. Not a person, but a nature. What nature? The new man. For his seed, God’s seed, remaineth in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God.
Surely no person would suggest that it could be said of any born again believer such as you and me, as human persons, that we cannot sin. To me, that would be ridiculous. But it is absolutely true that the nature born into us cannot sin. It is incapable of sinning. Now this is very important to realize because only as we cultivate and yield to that nature, that we come into this life of victory over sin.
Turn now to 1 John 5, and we see that the same nature is spoken of but is called whatsoever. Not whosoever but whatsoever, which proves that it’s not an individual person but a nature.
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.” (KJV)
What is born of God cannot be defeated. There is nothing in the universe that can defeat that which is born of God. Now it’s so important for you to see that you’ve got something in you that is unsinkable, incorruptible, undefeatable. And if you’ll only reckon with that thing, it will prove itself. Don’t reckon with the old nature, don’t reckon with your own abilities, don’t reckon with your bad habits, and your problems. Because they’ll sink you. But inside you there is something unsinkable, incorruptible and undefeatable. Born of God.
And then 1John 5:18, the same truth is brought out again.
“We know [unfortunately, a majority of Christians don’t know, that’s the problem.] We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not.” (KJV)
That’s it. It’s as simple as that.
“But he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, [this nature has got to keep itself. You understand? It’s got to be cultivated.] and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (KJV)
That is a tremendous statement. Satan cannot touch the new nature. It’s inviable. But his legitimate prey is the old nature. Because dust shall be the serpent’s meat, God said. You and I in our old nature are made out of dust. Satan has a God given right to feed on the old man, but he cannot touch the new man. It’s inviable. It’s outside his reach. It’s beyond the cross. And where the cross comes, Satan’s authority terminates. This is the contrast between the old and the new. This is the exchange. This is the exchange that applies to living right now in victory. It depends on the understanding of this truth. Our old man was crucified, that the new man might live in me.
But, I have to do something. I have to put off the old man. God doesn’t do that. I have to put on the new man and I have to crucify my flesh. I’ve got to stick the nails through those nasty habits. Through those weaknesses, through those things that I have so long tolerated which I would call sin in others but call weakness in myself. Call a spade a spade and not an agricultural implement and you’re beginning to get somewhere with God. I used to say to people when I was preaching deliverance, call that problem by the same name you’d call it in your husband and you’ve called it by the right name. Then put the nails through it. If it’s just a legitimate weakness, it’s a shame to crucify it. See, this is why we’ve got to face facts and think straight.
Now, let’s quickly summarize the exchange that we’ve dealt with. I think this is our third or is it our fourth study on this subject. I don’t recall and I want to briefly recapitulate. You’ll find it put there in front of your eyes on the outline. And you’ll see eight aspects on the left hand side, what was born by Christ as our substitute of evil, and on the right hand side what is offered to the believer of good from God to replace the evil that Christ bore. We’ll just go down it quickly.
Number one, Christ bore the punishment for our sinful acts, that we in return might have peace. That is, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Number two, Christ bore our sicknesses and our pains that we might be physically healed.
Number three, Christ was made guilt, or sin, for us that we might be made righteous with his righteousness.
Number four, Christ was made sick with our sickfulness, I prefer to use that word, that we might be made whole with his health.
Number five, Christ was made a curse with the curse of the broken law that we might receive the blessing due to his perfect obedience.
Number six, Christ was made poor with our poverty that we might be rich with his wealth.
Number seven, Jesus endured death in all three successive phases that we might have life in the corresponding three successive phases.
And number eight, our old man was executed that the new man might be brought to life in his place. This is a summary of the exchange that took place on the cross.
Now in closing this study, I want to point out to you how this has changed Satan’s position both in relation to God and in relation to us. This is most important to understand. I think I will read what I have there, the heading is “Satan’s Position Changed by the Cross”. And then I’ll read the outline there because I don’t think I can say it more clearly than that.
The work of Christ on the cross has made it possible for members of the Adamic race to receive righteousness. And to enter into fellowship and favor with God. I want you to notice that the basic requirement is righteousness. When I was giving a study some time back on the Charismatic gifts, I pointed out that the first specific charisma, or charismatic gift, referred to in the New Testament is the gift of righteousness. That’s the basis of everything. That’s in Romans 5. The gift of righteousness. We must start there. If we are not assured that we are righteous, we will always live lives that are partly under a shadow. It’s the assurance of righteousness that is the basis of all God’s dealings with us. Who’s righteousness? Christ’s righteousness. This brings us into fellowship and favor with God. We have the very fellowship Jesus had, which he was denied for our sakes. We have the same favor that Jesus had. We are accepted in the beloved. I meet literally scores of people whose problem is they feel rejected. I’m sure there must be some in this room. It is such a common problem. Their parents didn’t understand them, didn’t treat them right, their husband didn’t appreciate them, something. They go through life feeling rejected. It’s one of the most miserable of all feelings. And I found the remedy is to realize that you’re accepted in Christ. God wants you, friend. He doesn’t just tolerate you, he wants you. A lot of Christians act as if God were just tolerating them. You know, there’s no way to grieve a parent’s heart more than to act as if your parent just tolerates you. Parents love to feel that their children respond to their love. And God loves the same. We please him when we accept righteousness, when we accept our place, when we don’t come like beggars any longer. When we don’t act as if we’re half condemned and half ashamed. Because all that is finished. And that’s the basis of everything.
Now, I’m going to go on reading. For those who accept this fact of righteousness, Satan has been deprived of his great weapon against God and man. Because Satan’s stronghold was that he got the Adamic race identified with him in his rebellion and in his guilt. Therefore, any judgment that God was to bring against Satan and his angels, had to be administered to the Adamic race or God’s justice would have been compromised. So Satan in a sense was using us as a shield to ward off God’s judgment upon him because he could say to God: God, all right. I know I’m headed for the lake of fire, that’s my destination. I realize that clearly, much more clearly than some preachers. But don’t forget God, this Adamic race down here, they joined with me in rebellion, they’re under the same guilt and condemnation that I am. When you send us, just remember God, you’ve got to send them. See, that’s the basis. And so you’ll find actually that the great thing that Satan does more than any other one thing is to do what? Seek to prove you guilty. And you’ll never overcome him till you seek to prove yourself righteous. When you have established your righteousness by faith, Satan is a defeated foe. Why did Jesus as a human being, I know he was divine, but as a human being walk the world in total victory? Because he never had any consciousness of guilt. And I’ll tell you, the thing that’s got to be eradicated is this guilt consciousness. And the problem with most religions, now I’m talking about Christian religion, it’s designed to leave us feeling guilty. You consider the majority of hymns that are sung in the professing Christian church, their main emphasis is on sin. As a matter of fact, the majority of professing Christians would feel embarrassed to declare themselves totally righteous. They’d consider it presumption and conceit and pride. But it isn’t. It’s faith.
Now, going on with my reading. Without compromising his justice, God is now free to punish Satan and his angels, but to forgive descendants of Adam who repent and put their faith in Christ. This is where the division is made. Now, for those who have accepted Christ’s righteousness, God is not obligated to deal with us as he is going to deal very definitely with the devil and his angels. Here is the dividing line. Where is it? The cross. Now notice what Jesus says in the light of this concerning the cross. Turn to John 12:31. Jesus was here speaking about his death on the cross which was to take place in a few days, and this is how he describes it. You look in the context of the chapter and you’ll see he is speaking about corn of wheat falling into the ground and dying. It’s his death on the cross. Then he says in relation to his death on the cross, John 12:31:
“Now is the judgment of this world, [this age, this present setup] now shall the prince of this world [that’s Satan] be cast out.” (KJV)
Where? At the cross. Why was Satan cast out at the cross? Because the judgment due to this world came upon Jesus. The question of justice was settled. God’s justice was satisfied. He could thereafter offer grace and pardon without compromising his justice. So at the cross, the judgment of this world came upon Jesus and because it came upon Jesus, the prince of this world, the one who had dominated the world from the fall up to that moment, was cast out. And I cannot emphasize anything more strongly than this. It’s at the cross that Satan’s territory and authority and claims are totally terminated. When you grasp that fact you don’t have to live under his shadow, you don’t have to live under his fear, you don’t have to live under his authority, you’re in a territory that he cannot enter. The cross is the dividing line. Satan cannot pass the cross. He cannot get over it, he cannot get under it, he cannot get round it, he cannot get through it. It’s God’s great stop sign and it says here’s where you end. And if only we believers, you and I, could really grasp and live in this fact, Satan would hear us. In fact, as a matter of fact, he does hear us already. I don’t think we know how much the devil is scared of us. I discovered it every now and then.
Let me look at two other scriptures that speak the same message. Colossians 2:15, I want to read from verse 13 through 15 and I have to go rather quickly now. This all speaks about what God has done at the cross and the person who is the subject of this is not Christ but God the Father. It is what God the Father has done through Christ. There are three things stated.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened [or made alive] together with him, [on the basis of what three things. First of all,] having forgiven you all trespasses...” (KJV)
Every single wrong act you ever committed has been forgiven. That’s number one. Number two, he blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us. He abrogated, annulled and canceled the law. We do not live under the law, it’s not the standard of righteousness. As long as we were attempting to live by the law, we were continually transgressors for our failure to do so. The second great thing that God did at the cross was to take the law out of the way. The law terminated with the death of Jesus. Ye are dead to the law, Paul says, by the death of Christ. It is the end of the law. And that had to be because as long as we live under the law, we live under condemnation. Paul says in Romans 6:14:
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (KJV)
You cannot be under the law and under grace at the same time. If you’re under the law, you’re not under grace. If you’re under grace, you are not under the law. The law terminated at the cross. Jesus paid the final penalty and set us free. And when you die and the law has exacted the death penalty, the law has got nothing more to say to you. I through the law am dead to the law, Paul says in Galatians 2:19, therefore Christ is now living in me, Galatians 2:20.
The third fact, stated in Colossians 2:15, God spoiled, stripped principalities and powers, that’s Satan angelic rebellious kingdom in the heavenlies, he made a show of them, he put them to an open shame and he triumphed over them in the cross. He led them in subjection and defeat behind him. Remember that in a Roman trial, which Paul has in mind, the victorious general brought back to the capitol city of Rome was placed in a chariot led by two white horses and led through the streets of Rome while all the populous stood on the sidewalks and applauded and clapped and gave him the honor. And behind his chariot was led all the nations, rulers, commanders whom he had defeated. They were led in chains behind the chariot. They were made an open show of and the scripture says God in Christ through the cross is now leading Satan and his principalities and powers in chains behind the chariot. He’s made an open show of them. They’re unarmed and they’re subject to Jesus Christ. This was achieved by the cross. And the particular point I wish to emphasize is Satan was stripped of his weapons. If you look at some of the modern translations I think the Revised Standard Version says God disarmed him. That’s the translation of Colossians 2:15. His weapons were taken away from him. What is his primary weapon? Condemnation, accusation. The continual claim that you and I are guilty. If you read on to Revelation 12 you’ll find that as long as he’s tolerated in the heavenlies, he will accuse us day and night before the throne of God. And it is our business, not God’s business, to silence him. God has made it possible, we have to do it.
Look at Luke 11:21 and 22, and we come to the end of this study. This again relates to what God has done through Christ to the devil through the cross. Luke 11:21 and 22:
“When a strong man armed [that’s Satan] keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he [that’s Jesus] shall come upon him and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” (KJV)
That happened on the cross. Satan was the strongman armed, he had his kingdom under his control, no one could do anything against him till the stronger, Jesus, came. Jesus did three things. He defeated Satan. Secondly, he took away all his weapons, his grounds of accusation against the human race. And thirdly, he divided the spoils. All the blessings that Satan had stolen from Adam Jesus reopened to the human race. Our innocence, our peace of mind, our health, our prosperity, every good thing that God endowed Adam with that Satan stole from him Jesus has reopened to us and made available once to us again. He’s divided the goods that the oppressor so long held in perfect security because there was no one strong enough to come against him, defeat him, take his armor and divide his goods. But on the cross, Jesus did that.
Now I want to reemphasize this. He defeated Satan, he took from him his armor, he disarmed him and then he restored the blessings which Satan had stolen from us, the Adamic race. If you want another reference to that quickly, Psalm 69:4. Just one brief glimpse. This is another Messianic psalm, it presents the sufferings of Jesus through the lips of David. And you’ll notice that there are various quotations that Jesus actually applied to himself. Psalm 69:4:
“They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of thine head, [Jesus applied those words to himself.] they that would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully, are mighty, [this was on the cross. Now notice the conclusion] then I restored that which I took not away.” (KJV)
That happened on the cross. Isn’t that good? Satan took it away, Jesus gave it back. How? By defeating him, taking away his armor and distributing, it’s such a vivid phrase in Greek, distributing his goods. He says to the church, come on friends, come in and take. Everything you’ve lost is here waiting for you. He can’t stop you, he’s defeated, he has no more weapons. See, that’s why we’ve got to understand. We don’t need to be afraid of the devil, he has to be afraid of us. He has no weapons, we have the weapons. You read Ephesians 6:12 you’ll find the weapons belong to us.
How is that changed by the cross? Now let’s just draw the two conclusions that we must understand from what I’ve been teaching you. They’re stated there at the bottom of your outline. Two consequences follow from this. First, Satan will unceasingly strive to keep us in a state of condemnation. This is his main thrust, to get us in some way feeling guilty, unworthy, unaccepted, incapable. And he’ll do it by continuous accusation. And he has a very strong motive. Because as long as we don’t accept the righteousness, his time of judgment is postponed. He’s got a very strong selfish motive for this.
Secondly, we can overcome Satan only insofar as we accept God’s righteousness by faith.