Yesterday we talked about how God sees us in Christ, and that we’re identified with him permanently. But the Bible says a lot of things about me as a believer that I don’t see in my daily experience. In order to explain this discrepancy, I’m going to introduce you to a concept you might not be familiar with, but I assure you it’s thoroughly biblical.
It’s called position vs. condition, and this tension (not contradiction) is nowhere better found than in the verse for today's reading. As we read through the passages below, hopefully you'll see what I'm talking about. If something I say seems a little kooky, then read the passage that’s associated with it. Otherwise, read whatever you have time to absorb today. I realize that there’s a lot to go over here, and you’re busy people. But it’s very important that you and I agree that I'm making up absolutely none of this, that this is all completely and clearly based on what the Scriptures say. So here we go. . .
Your position in Christ has some of the following characteristics:
• As we saw yesterday, you’re crucified, buried, risen, and ascended with Christ.
• You’re dead to sin and alive to God. Sin has been done away with, once and for all.
• You’re an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ.
• You’re completely without sin, since you possess the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.
• You’re forgiven now and forever, and he’ll never bring those sins up again in terms of judgment. and condemnation.
• He’s with you always, every moment of every day, and he’ll never leave you nor forsake you.
• You belong to Christ.
• This determines your eternal home.
• This was all settled, once and for all, at the moment of salvation (or before, at the beginning of time).
• This is completely dependant on who Christ is and what he did (and is doing).
• It has nothing to do with your performance. Nothing you ever do or fail to do, now or in the future, will ever change anything that has to do with the above statements at all.
This is in contrast to your condition:
• You obviously still deal with sin. Once you think that you’ve got one under control, the Spirit brings another one to your attention that he wants to work on.
• Obviously you’re still living here on earth, not in heaven next to Jesus.
• Your condition can change on a moment-by-moment basis. You have to make the decision daily (or even more often) to do things God’s way instead of your own.
• He’s provided the resources you need (his word, prayer, the church, etc.) but you have to choose to avail yourself of them.
• Your condition (as we’re discussing it here) is (at least partially) dependant on your performance.
• This determines how abundant a life you’re going to lead. On this depends lots of things like your joy, your peace, your sense of fulfillment, and your sense of assurance of your position in Christ.
• If you aren’t doing things God’s way, then he’ll seem distant. The sense of his smiling presence won’t be there.
• If you’re not doing things God’s way, then as your Father, he can and will discipline you to get your attention. This can be as unpleasant as you make it, and it can be pretty harsh. It can include physical ailments, up to and including physical death.
• What’s at stake here? Not your eternal home but your eternal rewards.
So here’s how the two go together. For the position stuff, you have to take it on faith. You believe that Christ was crucified and rose from the dead, right? Well, the same Bible that tells you about that also tells you the things I listed as the first points. You might not feel like you’re dead to sin, but you have to trust God’s word that it’s true.
That's why I said that the one verse in Hebrews which is our main verse for the day encapsulates this concept perfectly. Talking about Christ, the author of Hebrews says that by one sacrifice (on the cross) he has perfected forever (position, past tense, a done deal already) those who are being made holy (something that's a process, a change, therefore your condition as I've used the term). If you say that your being made holy today somehow caused Christ to perfect you forever 2000 years ago, that makes no sense to me, unless you have a time machine stashed away somewhere. No, the only way that this verse makes sense is that the sign that he's already made you perfect forever--once and for all--is that you're currently in the process of being made holy.
And here’s the kicker: Your position will affect your condition. I’m not talking right now about commanding you to do anything. It’s a fact of the Bible, the same as Christ having risen from the dead. The fact that you’re dead to sin, etc. etc. will affect your daily life and how you behave. How? That’s tomorrow’s topic.
Lord Jesus, I'm absolutely blown away by what you’ve done for me and what your word says about what’s happened to me. I don’t always see it in my life, though. Please let me see it.