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Risen with Christ

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
December 23, 2020 7:00 am

Risen with Christ

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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December 23, 2020 7:00 am

If you had to sum up the entire concept of salvation in just one word, which word would you choose? In another message from his series through Ephesians, Dr. James Boice explains the deep truth of this theological doctrine by focusing on the word unity.

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If you had to sum up the entire concept of salvation in just one word which word would you choose in this message from his series in Ephesians Dr. James Boyce tackles the deep truth of this theological doctrine by focusing on the word unity.

Thanks for joining us for the Bible study hour this week to discover how our unity with Christ makes all the difference in this life and the next. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly. We learn in Scripture that as believers we are risen with Christ, but what does that really mean and how does this concept actually impact our lives today. Let's listen together is Dr. Boyce answers these important questions as he works through Ephesians 2 verses four through seven. Have you ever coined a word because no existing English word seemed adequate for the thing you wanted to describe some people have done this about 230 years ago in 1754 to be exact, Horace Walpole coined the word serendipity. He described it as the faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident I had to look at my 12 volume Oxford English dictionary to find that word because even 200 years later it's still not in the shorter Webster's collegiate dictionary, see North about Parkinson coined a word in Gela Titus. He described it as induced inferiority. The disease seen in those who intentionally attempt little and achieve nothing. There's a lot of that going around these days. While the apostle Paul coined words from time to time I begin this way because in the second chapter of Ephesians in the verses were studying verses four through seven, and particularly in verses five and six, we find three such coined words.

Apostle Paul had been writing of our condition and sin before God's work of saving us through Jesus Christ and he had described it rightly in these strong categorical terms, saying that we were dead in trespasses and sins.

We were enslaved to our sins, even in that deceased state and that because of our condition. We were under the wrath of God being objects of his wrath and introduced the great change. That is, as a result of what God is… God is that God has made us alive when we were formerly dead. God is emancipated us when we were formerly enslaved God has brought us out of that condition, which we are objects of his wrath, and instead is made as object is of his kindness and mercy and great love. What works there possibly be adequate to describe how that great change came about. This is something absolutely no in human history. Anticipated perhaps in the Old Testament, but on known unexperienced until the coming of Jesus Christ. I was Paul in his time with the vocabulary available to him to describe adequately what God has done in Christ in order to save such fallen men and women well apparently no adequate words existed, and so Paul invented three of them as I indicated what he did was take the Greek preface soon, which means with or together with NP combined it with three words that are used elsewhere to describe what God did to Jesus Christ himself after his crucifixion. First word was to make alive. Second word was to raise up, and the third word was to sit down in the sense that God seated him at his right hand in heaven.

Paul took those and combine them and he came up with three words. The first of which means to make alive together with the second of which means to raise up together with and the third means to sit down together with our translation goes like this, but because of his great love for us.

God it was rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. It's by grace you been saved and God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Taken together these three new words are one of the strongest statements in the entire New Testament of that great doctrine of the mystical union of the believer through faith with the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore something that really needs to be studied carefully as great doctrine are union with Jesus Christ is prominent throughout the New Testament. As with many of the New Testament documents it ties its seeds in the teaching of Jesus Christ himself, especially in some of the metaphors Jesus used to describe the relationship of those who believe on him with himself. The obvious one probably the most significant is Jesus parable or metaphor of the blind and the branches south there joined together.

Jesus said remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit of itself must remain in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me, I am the vine, you are the branches of a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.

Jesus taught the same truth by other metaphors that had to do with our eating him as we would eat bread door or drinking from him as we would drink wine or water.

That's the symbolism that's involved in the Lord's supper. Lord also spoke of our rejection by the world in these terms. He said he listens to you listens to me and he who rejects you rejects main one is talking about.

There is this union, which in this teaching was so intense that it's possible to say that we are rejected.

The person rejecting us actually is rejecting Jesus Christ himself and his great prayer for his disciples just before his crucifixion recorded in John 17 Jesus develop this explicitly, that I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you and me only apostle Paul developed this and to some extent even strengthened it in his writings. At times Ephesians 2 of the chapter were studying. He coined words to describe the nature of this great union. At other times he uses simpler language. He speaks of our being in him or in Christ are in Christ Jesus. People who count this sort of thing say that this is a prominent idea in his writings that these phrases occur hundred and 64 times in the epistles that we have by the apostle Paul. By using these phrases, Paul teaches that we were chosen in him before the creation of the world that we were redeemed in him that we were justified in him we were sanctified in him we were enriched in every way and all of that by virtue of this mystical union of the believer with Christ. Apostle Paul expressed this personally in Galatians 220, when he said I have been crucified with Christ by no longer live, but Christ lives in me life.

I live in the body I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. This doctrine is so prominent in the New Testament the one commentator has called it the heart of Paul's religion. John Murray said union with Christ is the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation or the W. Pink wrote the subject of spiritual union is the most important, the most profound and yet the most blessed of any that is set forth in sacred Scripture. Pink was always inclined to strong statements. Unfortunately, he also noticed that sad to say, there is hardly any doctrine which is now more generally neglected and I agree with them. At that point C to talk about the prominence of this teaching in Scripture is not to say we understand it. Many people don't and that's probably why it's neglected as a matter of fact it's hard for most people to feel that when they come to expressions like this and find Paul speaking of our being made alive together with Christ or raised up together with Christ or being seated together with Christ in the heavenly places in God's right hand. What we really are doing is just playing with words as well. In what sense am I made alive in Jesus Christ's how can it be said that I have actually been seated with him raised up together with him in the heavenly realms weather are two basic ways in which this is spoken of in theology. The first way of describing this mystical union is what is called a federal or covenantal union as to say it is a case of the Lord Jesus Christ representing us technically in the same way Adam first man represented us technically in Eden before the fall the chief text in the New Testament to develop.

This is Romans five verses 12 through 21, where we are said in that passage to have been in Adam originally, so that Adam was our representative and God saw us as being in him, to the extent that whatever Adam did, necessarily, would affect us if Adam had been able to stand in righteousness and virtue and not fall we would be understood to have student him but if he felt we would be understood to have fallen in Adam this is what happened. Adam did fall, God counted us as having fallen in heaven.

As a result of that is all says and that important passage Adams penalty, which was the penalty of death passed upon the race.

Paul frequently proves the point of the universality of sin in this representative character of Adam's work by pointing out that all time even infants who have not consciously committed any sin other words, he says, God has judged the whole race in Adam as he was our covenantal or federal head. By contrast, same thing is true in terms of our relationship to Jesus Christ. When were joined to him by saving faith. God sees us as united to Christ, so his righteousness becomes our righteousness. His work in a certain sense, becomes our work. Everything that we can be said of Jesus Christ in terms of his work in providing salvation for us to be said of us as well. He was justified. So we are justified.

He was sanctified, so we are sanctified. So on reason.

This way of talking about our union with Christ is called federalism is that it's drawn from the situation of a individual who is a member of a particular country and under its federal government in a certain sense, what happens to the country happens to him and he's affected by the decision that other members of that particular country make what the government does or does not do affects him and so on. That's reason it's called federalism the great important way of talking about this in the New Testament, and others.

A second way and the second way of talking about it is far more significant us in understanding what Paul is doing here versus technical.

You see, it has to do with our technical position in Christ. The second, as opposed to being federal or covenantal is called vital or experiential. This is speaking of the kind of thing that actually happens in Austin practical terms because of this relationship is obviously what Paul is talking about here because he's not talking about any mere technical position that we have in Jesus Christ, but rather of that which actually affects what we are and how we operate in this world price illustration of the vine and the branches which I referred to earlier is one of the chief text and understanding our union. In this way Christ talked about the branches being united in the vine.

He wasn't talking about a mere technical matter. He was so I know if you're united to me then the strength of the mind. My strength will flow through you know it is a result of that to be effective in prayer and you will be able to bear much fruit. I was in that way that the apostle Paul is thinking when he says that we have been made alive in Christ we have been raised up together with Christ and we are made to sit down with God in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, look at each of those and explain what I believe they may. The first is easiest understand the fact that we have been made alive with Christ even when we were dead in trespasses and sins.

Paul here is thinking of our condition before God's great work of salvation, and has he has done in the first verse of the chapter and repeats later on. Here in verse five indicates that spiritually speaking that position that we had back then was analogous to the condition of the dead man. What's characteristic of someone was died as number one with her unconscious. What's around the number two in activity number three the physical decay.

Now he says that is true spiritually. The individual who is dead in his trespasses and sins, is not conscious of God only might use the word God really doesn't operate as if God exists and nobody just a name to him. The individual who is dead in trespasses and sins is inactive so far as doing anything for God is concerned only because all sorts of things that flow out of his sin and carnal nature, but nothing that is related to God and the spiritual in that sense.

And thirdly, is subject to moral decay gets worse and worse hardened in his sin as Pharaoh was hardened in his sin way back in the Old Testament now says Paul got us changed all that God has entered the lives of those who have believed and has transformed them so the people they were there made alive and now they are aware of God worked to spiritual things. Now they begin to function in spiritual ways.

Striving after godly behavior and instead of being in a state of moral decay. They actually are growing in righteousness as they try to obey God's laws under Martin Lloyd Jones in his commentary says that what is really involved here is what he calls a new disposition is not a question of new faculties. Personal becomes so Christian doesn't receive a new brain is the same brain he had before. He doesn't receive a new level of intelligence. He has the same kind of intelligence he had before and so on.

For all his other faculties. What is different, says Jones in his right at that point is a new disposition before all these faculties were there but they were used by the individual for himself in the practice of sin. Now, honestly, something fundamentally new in his personality has a new disposition where these things are concerned now is willing to use these faculties to serve God in advance because of God's kingdom say well how does that happen.

We can explain how it happens is what Nicodemus wanted to know Nicodemus and how can these things be.

Jesus said looked like the wind, the wind blows wherever it wants to. You hear it you see its effects. But you don't know where it comes from and you don't know where it's going. So it is with everyone, was born of the spirit just supernatural.

This is what God does. But it's a great reality and apart from this there is no true Christianity. Christianity is not mere doctrines. Christianity is an even mere forgiveness or the feeling that perhaps maybe someday God will forgive you because after all he's a gracious God. Christianity is Christ. Christ in the believer. Christianity is a change. Paul says elsewhere Christ in you the hope of glory person who has been united with Christ by faith who has been made alive together with Christ is thereafter never going to die God again is never going to settle back into his sins and transgressions which he was dead formerly second false new words is raised up together with Christ. This one's a bit harder. Understand sometimes that word raised up his use of the resurrection. It's not so used here it's used here in that sense of what we normally mean when we talk about the essential is raised up in the heavenly places. It's what happened to Christ after his crucifixion and resurrection.

He was with his disciples for 40 days and then he was taken up from them into heaven. That is the way in which Paul is speaking of the word here. He says that we because were united to him actually been taken up with Christ in those heavenly realms.

I say that's a bit harder to understand, say, how is it that we are taken up with Christ in the heavenly realms.

Well, in the sense when we talk about our being made alive in Christ, what were really talking about is God's gift to us new life we have new life. When we talk about our being raised up together with Christ in the heavenly realms. What we are talking about is a new environment, a new way of looking at things new outlook on the world is not merely that we have the new character of Jesus Christ within environment.

So now we no longer look at this world as if it were the sum total of all things, so that the only things that exist so far as we're concerned the things we can touch and see, hear and smell all that, but rather we have a spiritual orientation. We recognize spiritual values, spiritual throws, the existence of God in God's kingdom and that is the framework in which we now begin to live and operate other words, when we talk about the heavenly realms here were talking about the kingdom of God as opposed to the kingdoms of this world which we see the kingdom of Satan which is opposed to God's kingdom. We are members of that kingdom and we understand ourselves to be such a therefore to be God's representatives in this world. Charles Hodge, in his commentary thoughts about this and he says it's a question of having a spiritual home. That's where were lifted up to heaven. That's our homes world is not our home heavens are home. Therefore, wherever we go like ambassadors for the kingdom. We represented in the midst of an alien culture. Watch what whimsically that we belong to the heavenly city week laying on this earth. He says we may be in the suburbs of the heavenly city but nevertheless he says were members of that heavenly city and we have to act like it when Paul uses this third word. This third invention of his saying that we have been seated with him.

That is with God in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

He carries this even a stage further. I think this is the most interesting of all the terms, this matter of being seated as a significant symbol in Scripture we remember when we begin to think about it that that throne next to God in which the Lord Jesus Christ us. Seated is precisely that throne and therefore symbolizes rule that we are seated with him. God's right hand in his throne.

That means we exercise even now something of God's rule. Notice of this is not in the future tense doesn't say one day we will rain though. There's a sense in which that is true also but it says God is already seated us with Christ in the heavenly realm, so is a sense in which where we are. We represent Christ and his authority. We rule with him. Even now I think two of the hundred and 10th Psalm verse one, in which God is speaking to the son, and says, sit down at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool lacked see that song which is quoted again and again throughout the New Testament symbolizes a victory already accomplished it symbolizes security impermanence and joy. All of those things and that is also hours of were seated next to God with Christ in the heavenly realms. Again, let me say I don't think that that is particularly what Paul had in mind as he coined the word here. Let me tell you what I do think he had in mind and would like this you remember in John's gospel that beautiful description of the Last Supper.

The upper room at how John who was there that it's occasion explains what Jesus had been saying and how Jesus at one point in the midst of that last meal with his disciples together, said one of you will betray me. When Jesus said that one of you will betray me. Simon Peter who is their motion to John who we are told, was seated next to Jesus Christ motion to him in the motion meant find out who it is I want to know who it is. So John speaking of himself says he that is the beloved disciple, John the son of Zebedee, leaned back picture of intimacy leaned back in asked Jesus more. Who is it, Jesus replied quietly. It's only John heard it's the one who when I have dipped this morsel of bread in addition handed to him.

He's the one that will betray me and he did that he dipped the bread he handed it to Judas Iscariot, Thomas John, the beloved disciple became recipients of that revelation, I will picture in mind reads versus like this. God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus say I think that's what Paul had in mind Paul speaking here of a roller victory. Your drafts though all of those things are involved in the image and he could very well have spelled them out. What Paul is talking about is that place of intimacy, revelation of the very side of God the father Almighty notice. As I said this is not something future. This is something he speaks about now.

The Greek uses the Aris tensing something that's already happened. Even now we are seated next to God.

Even now, God unburden us his heart to his people. Even now, God shares in the most intimate way with us.

So I asked these questions. The first is this. Have you been made alive in Christ. This is the essence of Christianity. Christianity is not a mere doctrine. Christianity is not a mere sense of forgiveness.

Christianity is no life. The life of Jesus Christ within it been made alive in him. That's not true. If you do not have what Martin Lloyd Jones calls a new disposition that don't rest until you do seek God until you find that new life.

It's God's gift gives it as we study the word and his Holy Spirit ministers in our heart. Without that everything is lost that new life everything is gained. It's the greatest of all life stranger. Secondly, I ask have you been raised up together in heavenly places with Christ. That is you live now in the new environment. Do you see things differently before, well you look at the world and you thought that's all there was. You were here to get as much out of it is you cannot you see things spiritually you're willing to let the world and its treasures pass away in order that you might gain the far greater treasures are laid up for your soul you know that you know that you're a member of God's kingdom.

Are you willing to live in the light of the kingdom and operate by the kingdom's laws. Finally, have you been seated with Christ in the heavenly realms. Next to God the father. Do you know that position of intimacy does God reveal himself to you as you study his word. That is a place of far greater intimacy than the garden as expressed in that him by Austin Miles which nevertheless expresses the right trues the chorus of that hymn says he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own and the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known. See, that's the privilege we have not in the garden. On earth, but in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, the one who has known the voice of God and that kind of an intimate setting could no longer live for yourself or indulge in sins and transgressions as he or she did formally, the one who is known that will live for God in Christ. Even now I was prior father. We would ask that if there are those listening is undoubtedly there, or who have heard these things, but never experienced the reality of new life in Christ. New environment orientation and intimacy with you, which should not exist before they might find that this hour through your grace the power of your spirit so I be transformed being brought out of darkness to light out of death into life and made useful servants. Members of your heavenly kingdom for Jesus.

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