Dear God and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways. Help us to understand and apprehend all that you have created us to be by the working of your Spirit within us. May we truly be crucified with our Bridegroom Jesus, so that we no longer live but that He lives in us by the Holy Spirit. As we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, may we be transformed into a new body by the renewing of our mind, into the body of the Bride which is the body of Christ.
The reason I’m teaching this series “The Gospel According to the Bride”, is the same as with all things that we teach in Call2Come. Our mandate is to help prepare the Bride, and our vision is for the Bride to get ready and that she will call upon her Bridegroom to Come in agreement with the Spirit as in Rev 22:17. Indeed, it is important to note that a key part of our teaching is how calling upon Jesus to come isn’t the end of our preparation journey, but the beginning of it, because for the Bride to get ready, she must position herself into her Bridal identity and that means agreeing with the Holy Spirit who has always been saying “Come”.
So far, we have been looking at what it means to be in Christ. Being in Christ is the result of baptism. And when I talk of baptism I am talking of the spiritual immersion and inclusion into Christ, for which we do have the outward physical act of water baptism, but it is the spiritual dynamic that is our focus here. Through the Eternal Spirit we are able to be incorporated into Christ, and the necessity is that we are included in Him before His crucifixion, death and burial, so that we can, in some way, participate in His crucifixion, death and burial, and actually make it our own. For the reality is that we do need to die. I need to die. My old adamic nature, and this body of sin, in which I still dwell whilst I wait to clothed with my heavenly form, needs to be continually crucified with Christ, so that I, like Paul, can confess “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live but Christ who lives in me”. Gal 2:20 Notice how Paul declares with a tone of triumph, “I no longer live, but Christ who lives in me”. O how we need to enter into this reality, that we should no longer live, but the life we live to be an outworking of Christ’s life in us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Because in this exchange, our selfishness is crucified, our pride put to death, our ideas, thoughts, plans and ambitions are all surrendered at the Cross, and instead the resurrection power of His life now living and working through every member of His Body, His Bride. If it is truly Christ who lives in me, then the life that I am now living is the life of the Bride. For the Bride is the life which is in Christ and in which you and I are to participate. I will say that again, the life which is in Christ, and in which you and I are to participate is the life of the Bride. We are not saved as individuals to become members of a church on some street, we are saved corporately as a spiritual body which is His Bride. Where then is the place for strife and division, fracture and denominationalism? Is Christ divided? Does His life in us lead us to independence and separatism? Or to oneness and the expression of a corporate body who in love are preferring one another? Resurrection life is Bridal life, because it’s His life, and the life He gives is for His Bride.
When the bride sees her bridegroom upon the Cross, she must see herself there also with him crucified together. The bride upon the Cross! The corporate mind, the bridal thought is that she must be in Christ totally and existentially. She must identify herself with the Cross, to be crucified with her bridegroom. For she is not a bride until she has been crucified with Christ, for until she has been crucified with him, she cannot be raised with Him. This raises a fundamental question: How is it that we can be crucified with Christ? Paul gives us the answer here, as we read in our key text from Rom 6, this time looking at verse 11 “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” Notice Paul’s instruction, that we should reckon ourselves. What does it mean to reckon? One use of the word reckoning is as an accounting term, in which a calculation is made, and the sum credit or debit is applied to an account. In this sense it can be used to “settle accounts”. It is in the reckoning that we apply what is true to our account. Reckoning is a process of calculation or reasoning and deduction. To come to a conclusion or judgement about something once the facts of the case have been presented and considered. In this sense we are in gross debt because of sin, and we acknowledge this debt and apply the debt and sentencing to ourselves. I should point out of course, that this ability to reckon sin, is only because of the grace of God, and not initiated by us. It is by His sovereign grace, through the inner working of the Holy Spirit in which we are able to comprehend our condition, for “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God, it does not submit to God’s laws, nor can it do so” Rom 8:7 So in reckoning we must apply what is true to our account, and that we agree with the Holy Spirit’s conviction and revelation of truth, and consciously apply this truth, declaring to our old adamic nature that it is dead to sin, and therefore will not be given the freedom to rule us any longer, for he who has died has been freed from sin, and instead through belief in the heart and confession of the mouth, we declare that we are made alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord, amen!
To be clear, this reckoning is not a mental persuasion or mystic feat of the mind in some sort or mental transcendence, but it is the application and appropriation of truth into the inner man. Such a reckoning requires that the vehicle by which meaningful transformation can take place remains present, available and retains its power. This is the nature of the Cross. The enduring and eternal work of God. At that time, Jesus completely triumphed over sin, death and all the power of the enemy, and never needs to be repeated. I am not suggesting that we travel back in time to the time and place of Jesus crucifixion, that would be foolish to suggest and impossible in the natural realm. How is it then, that the Cross remains present and available today? For as I have mentioned, this consideration of being crucified with Christ is not a mental persuasion or thought process only, but in a very real sense a literal participation in what Jesus accomplished upon the Cross 2000 years ago. In answer to that question, the natural or visible realm exists within the framework of linear time and three-dimensional space. When Jesus was crucified it was located and visible in the natural realm at a particular time and place, 2000 years ago at Golgotha, and in the natural realm we cannot go back. But that would be looking at the Cross as something that only took place in the natural or visible realm, but the Cross was much more! The Cross was an enduring work of God. Though Jesus crucifixion was visible or manifest in the natural realm and therefore can be located in time and space, the Cross is an eternal reality, because God is eternal. What was visible was only that which occurred in the physical realm, and it needed to happen in the physical realm because that’s where we were held captive by sin, in the fallen state, physical yes, but spiritually dead in trespasses and sin. But the Cross did not only happen in the physical visible realm but also in the spiritual realm, and in the Eternal dimension of God. God’s Word is eternal Isa 40:8, 1 Pet 1:23, Ps 119:89 and his works are eternal. As the writer in Ecclesiastes 3:14 says, “everything that God does endures for ever, nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it.” And Peter writes “A day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” 2 Pet 3:8. There is no direct and linear correlation between eternity time and our time or between the natural visible realm and the spiritual realm. What God does endures forever, and nothing can be taken or added to it. The Cross remains today, hallelujah! Yes, Jesus died on the Cross and rose again, but in the eternal realm the Cross has just happened, and will remain in the eternal present until the new dispensation.
Therefore, the Cross remains as powerful and existent today as it did back then. It is by faith that we may access and appropriate the realities of the unseen realm. By faith given as a gift from God that we may indeed consider ourselves crucified with Christ. But not for punishment but for the One New Man, for the Bride to rise up with resurrection life and power.
Until next time, may you know His resurrection life in you, the life of the Bride