Friday, April 1, 2011

Christ in You: Prophet, Priest, King

"There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness" (Prov. 30:12).

There is a paradigm that exists in today's evangelicalism that amounts to a corruption of the doctrine of “justification by faith alone.” The advocates of this corruption do not permit in their thinking that this doctrinal corruption they promote creates in the objects of their evangelism a faith that is disingenuous, insincere, and spurious. They refuse to acknowledge the difference between true and insincere believers, which the Bible speaks to loudly and clearly:

”Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 Cor. 13:5; NKJV)

And though the church today is full of those who think they are believers based on a prior experience and give no biblical proof in their lives of true salvation in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the purveyors of this paradigm offer little more than a faith based on a mental assent, an intellectual grasp of some gospel history, to the detriment of souls.

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 14:12; KJV).

In the simplest of terms, mere professing believers want a salvation in Jesus Christ to save them from hell but they do not want all of Christ. They want assurance they will be saved from hellfire and brimstone but they don't want what comes with the real deal: Lordship. They want the mercy of Christ but not His dominion and rule in their lives. Another way of saying it is that this paradigm offers a salvation from the consequences of sin but not from sin's dominion. The problem is that if one is “in Christ and Christ is in them,” the Bible says this of the true believer:

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:12-14)

In the context of Romans 6, earlier in the text, Paul writes that those who are in Christ by faith alone are “baptized into the likeness of Christ's death and resurrection” and therefore cannot continue to have sin reigning in his or her life.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1-4; NKJV)

A true believer does not continue in sin but rather walks in newness of life. A true and genuine faith wants Christ not only as Savior but also as the One who rules his or her life so that he or she walks in newness of life, showing the fruit of repentance in daily life.

What I am saying here is that if someone professes to be a Christian, there can be no continuance in sin in the life of that professor.

The verses contained in Romans 6 have often been called the “Identification Truths.” What this means is that among many wonderful and marvelous things that happen at the moment God regenerates us, makes us alive together in Christ, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the likeness of Christ's death and resurrection. The death Christ died He died to sin once for all, the Romans 6 text says, but the resurrection life He lives He lives to God. It is in both of those acts, death and resurrection, into which we have been baptized or identified that we too might be free from sin's consequence and rule. Christ's death to sin is our death to sin. Christ's resurrection becomes our resurrection. His death and resurrection bought for us freedom from the penalty of sin, death (hell), and freedom from sin's evil rule in our lives.

Someone who professes Christ and yet has sin ruling over his or her life betrays the person’s profession of faith. This person cannot be a Christian.

The sickening implication of this is that churches are full to overflowing with those who want fire insurance from eternal burning in hell and yet they don't want the rule of Christ in their lives. They come to church each week for an emotional experience or to do their Christian duty of once a week church attendance and then live like the rest of the world Monday through Saturday. These are shallow and empty professions of faith that do not save.

The problem boils down to this: The massive doctrinal corruption that has infected Evangelicalism is that the message preached in churches today is how one can “receive Christ” with no mentioning of sin, freedom from its dominion, and that you must, as Romans 6 teaches, by virtue of your baptism into the likeness of Christ's death and resurrection, walk in newness of life with sin having no dominion over you.

When one receives Christ, Christ enters that person's life as Prophet, Priest, and King.

When Christ is received as Prophet in the believer's life, He is absolute prudence, He is the supreme instructor in all spiritual things, and He is the ultimate advocate in the believer's life.

When Christ is received as Priest, He is received as the One who offered himself as the atonement for the penalty of sin and lives forever to make intercession for us as our Eternal Great High Priest.

When Christ is received as King, He is received as the One who is the Sovereign Ruler in and through that true believer's life.

It is impossible to call oneself a Christian if one has not received Christ in His completeness. This false salvation paradigm wants to offer sinners Christ as the mediator that bridges the unrighteous gap between God the Father and sinful man. But, as that Mediator between God and man, Christ is Prophet, Priest, and King.

It is all three or it is nothing at all.