11. What is the normal Christian Life?

Only the Lord Jesus is the Christ in a Christian, not us. The normal Christian Life is not a Changed life but an Exchanged one!

Just who or what is a normal Christian? Many there are who lay claim to the name, but the name does not lay claim to them. The very meaning of the word Christ-'ian' means to be 'of' Christ. The word 'Christian' really means to name a person after the life he is 'born of'. An eagle is named an eagle because it was born of eagle parents and consequently has the life of an eagle. Now in exactly the same manner is a Christian named a Christian. A Christian is born out of Christ and consequently has the life of Christ. The presence of the Life determines a person's real name, not the person. Imagine a goat calling itself an eagle when it has not even wings with which to fly. Many Christians are like that; they have ascribed the name of Christ to themselves but they do not have a new Spirit with which to live the Life.

The presence or absence of the Christ Life denotes those who are Christian from those who say they are, but are not. In God's eyes, a person is named according to the life principle within him. Today God makes only two distinctions, those who are of Christ, and those who are not. Our behaviour or conduct has nothing whatever to do with our name. We are not named after our behaviour, we are named after our Saviour. God is the one who gives us our new name, not us. It is what God calls us that counts, not what we call ourselves. It is a question of birth, not a question of conduct. It is a question of origin and source, not a question of how good I have been or how much I have done for God. God looks at the source or life principal within. God looks at the heart of a person to determine what he is, not at the outward acts or elsewhere.

The principle of life in a person is their spirit. A non-Christian has a spirit that does not know God. A non-Christian's spirit is of the genealogy and heritage of Adam who acquired the nature of a sinner, thus separating himself from God before he was able to be made Holy, that is whole, perfected and complete. Adam was created by God as a living soul or natural man made in God's image and likeness, but he lacked completion to be as God is, both inwardly and outwardly. Inward is image or character and relates to exactly what we are by birth. Outward is likeness or nature and relates exactly to our behaviour or to the way we do things. God's character is Holiness and His nature is Righteousness. Adam, as a natural man, was created naked and innocent. His spirit lacked the clothing of God's Life, yet his nature was innocent or neutral. He was neither Holy nor Righteous, but innocent and naked. An innocent nature and a void spirit is no guarantee against disobedience, deception and sin. Adam was not created with God's heart, this was something he would have to choose for himself.

Adam's will was first to be tested by Satan at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, before God could qualify him for completion in directing him to the tree of Eternal Life. Both these trees stood in the centre of the garden and both these trees were good, but God's will was that Adam was not to eat of the tree of knowledge because in the day he did he would surely die. Adam chose to obey Eve and eat knowledge, striking immediate independence from God and causing his innocent nature to be the partaker of sin. Adam tragically choose the tree of knowledge in preference to the tree of Life. In that moment his spirit lost its reality of God and he became alienated and afraid of God. His fear was not based on his logic but a product of his newly acquired nature of sin. His fear was from within himself, because he had now gained the nature of a sinner by complying with the serpent to disobey God.

The sin nature always fears God, and trembles at the sound of His name. Adam loved Eve more than God. Satan deceived Eve through her mind but Adam was not deceived. He chose to disobey as a result of the capture of his emotion. Satan got Eve through her mind and Adam through his feelings for Eve. So it was that Adam was named a sinner. Adam was created a living soul, and it was his soul that exalted itself and dragged his spirit down to be in submission to his will. Adam chose by the act of his will. The will, as the faculty of volition, is located in our soul and has precedence over our spirit. Our will is that which represents us. We are basically what we will to be inwardly. Adam and Eve had become self-made representatives for man and for woman. They had chosen independence from God in preference to dependence on Him. They now considered themselves as their number one priority.

Due to his sunken spirit, Adam could now only detect his self and his physical need. He now would have to rely on his mind and his emotion for his life. His mind would develop his life according to knowledge and together with his emotion they would form a substitute for the intuition and guidance of his spirit. He was no longer considered by God to be a 'living' soul but a fleshly or 'self' one, cut off and separated from God by a nature of sin and a dead spirit. Today, every person is born into the world with this life of the flesh that Adam bequeathed to us. The sin nature is not a question of behaviour but of birth. We don't need to sin to be named as sinners, we are born into the world with the nature of sin. We do not become sinners because we commit sins, rather do we commit sins because we are born with a nature that sins. One who really knows the nature of natural man should not be so surprised when he sees man sin. Sin is the natural nature of man that he is born with. Man sins spontaneously and without effort. Sin is the one thing that man does well and without question.

Becoming a sinner is not an attainment we arrive at by committing our first sin. We come into the World with the law of sin in our heart, and by understanding that, we should not be so surprised when we sin. Sin is a product of a sin-bent nature. The only place to change man is not in his behaviour, but in his heart. Out of our hearts proceed the thoughts and the actions that defile and condemn us. Many try to eradicate their sins by all sorts of resolutions and self imposed rules, but these cannot change the life, only a new birth can achieve that. Many who call themselves Christians try to attain to the elusive, so-called Christian standard, by obeying as many of the Holy Commandments as they can. This may well change their outward appearance, but in no way does it alter their heart. The first commandment always brings everybody undone.

God deems man so beyond repair that He necessitates a new spirit. The receiving of a new spirit is essential prior to receiving God's Life in the person of His Holy Spirit. The only new spirit that God has formed for man to receive is that which has come forth out of the death of His son. The only new spirit that man can receive is the Life that Jesus gave to the world at the cross. He who has the Son of God has the opportunity to have the Life of God. The Life of God on earth today is only to be found in those who have the spirit of Christ. Paul stated very clearly that if we did not have the spirit of Christ then we were none of His. There is a gulf of separation between those who claim to be Christian and those that really are. Those who are Christians are those whom God identifies in Christ. Those who are not, but call themselves Christians anyway, are those whom God does not identify in Christ. They have never come to the cross and surrendered their lives. They have elected to come in by some other way. There is only one way to be identified in Christ and that is by having your life identified in His death on the cross.

If you have accepted the death of the Lord Jesus as being your death then God identifies you in Christ. The reason is simple. There is no way that Jesus could die your death for you, unless He first had included you in His life. For Him to have included you in His life, it required you to have chosen and accepted Him to have died and paid the price of all your sin. God so loved the World that he gave the World the Life of His Son. Love is not a thought or a feeling, it's an act of the will. Jesus loved us enough to die for us. We love Him when we obey Him and the only way we can obey Him is to accept Him, and the only way we can accept Him is to accept His death for our life. This requires an act of our will. Those who have never surrendered their will at the cross cannot be identified in Him. Our will stands for us. Our will represents all that we are.

What we are today, we are, as a result of an act of our will. We are either 'of self' or we are 'of Christ'. Many say they Love the Lord Jesus, but here again it is not what we feel or think that counts, it is what we know from an act of our will. Many are Christian in mind and feeling only, yet they experience no reality because they don't know, because they have never chosen to surrender their self will. Reality comes not by thought in our head or feeling in our heart, but by an act of our will. Both God and Satan are after our will. God's way is to demonstrate His love for us by sending His Son to die for us that we might choose to have His life in us. Satan's way is to demonstrate his hate for the Lord Jesus by coercing our will to love the World and the things that are of the World, so that its impact upon us will manifest his evil character and sin nature. This allows him to oppress us even to his ultimate aim of possession. Both oppression and possession take place in man's soul initially, and are references to the state of our will in terms of freedom or bondage.

A normal Christian can have Jesus in his heart yet be in bondage to Satan with his mind and feelings. Holiness perfection is not obtainable until we are with the Lord Jesus. To be a normal Christian, one must have his own personal revelation of God's Word, revealed to him personally by the Lord Jesus operating in the person of His Holy Spirit. What the Lord Jesus reveals constitutes to be all that he knows in his heart. Revelation is given to us by His Holy Spirit and always confirmed by the written Word. The things of God become as plain and clear as the nose on our face. Only what we know in our heart counts. Our sum total of knowing in our heart is our faith. What we know in our heart is solid, un-moveable - If it is real and it is of God. A normal Christian walks by faith, but all our faith is preceded by revelation. We see before we walk. We follow after the leading given in our intuition by walking, we walk after the Spirit has led. We walk with our will, not our spirit. To see where we are to walk, we must have our eyes opened and have light.

The big problem with most Christians today is not with their lack of faith, but with their lack of eyesight. We must have spiritual eyes to see spiritual reality. Our spiritual eyes must be opened to see and apprehend all that the Lord Jesus is to us, and as a consequence of that, also see and apprehend what we are in Him. If He has died for us and given us His Life, then we are the end result of what He is and all that He has achieved for us. We are His Body. Our identification in Him has to be much deeper than a wishy washy mental acquiescence. Let us see how this works out in practice by an illustration. When somebody offers us a chocolate it is usually wrapped in paper which hides its content. When we take off the covering, the content is revealed, and we see a delicious chocolate. Now the chocolate cannot be identified with us until it is in us, that is we accept it, eat it and digest it. Only when it is digested, can we accurately say that the chocolate is now a part of us and we are a part of the chocolate. That is what it is for the chocolate to be identified with us realistically. The two have become one. In just the same way do we need God's Word to become a part of us.

The Lord Jesus said that unless you eat of Me, you have no life in you. We need the Lord Jesus to cause the truth of God's Word to become alive in us. This He does by revealing Himself more and more to us by revelation. He reveals Himself in our spirit, not to our head. Yet we must prove by the mind all we have had revealed, to make sure it agrees with the written Word, lest we be led astray or deceived. Knowing is the function of our spirit, understanding is the task for our mind. What we really know is only that which He has revealed personally to us; all else is just mental theory, vapour, and subject to evaporation. When God gives us His Word, He gives us His living Word in our hearts. This Word is not dead to us as in letter, but living because it is a Person who is alive in us. The Lord Jesus is the Living Word of God in us.

All Christians have the Lord Jesus living in them, but few there are who really know Him by revelation so as to be identified in Him. Our degree of knowing Him is the sum total of our revelation of Him. The Holy Spirit reveals not himself to us; He reveals the Lord Jesus. When we have a need, no matter what it is, God has only one answer and that is that He has given us His Son to be that for us. God is not a chemist dispensing out portions of patience and joy here, and portions of peace and love over there. No never !! He has given us Christ to be our one for all for us, in place of us and on our behalf. Christ is my patience, my peace,my righteousness,my Holiness,my joy, my victory and anything else that I might ever require or have need of. God will answer all our questions in one way only and that is by revealing more of His Son to us and more of what His Son has achieved for us. Jesus is my provider, my healer, my protector, my whole armour of God, He is my everything.

If you are a Christian and you have Jesus then God has given Him to you to be your life and to be your all. You don't need love or patience or joy etc. as separate commodities of God's grace. Rather you need revelation, to see that Jesus is already your love, Jesus is your patience, Jesus is your joy. Jesus is your life. Jesus is Lord of our lives when we obey God by allowing the Life of Christ to be expressed through us, in place of us. This is not a changed life but an exchanged life!.. and how different it is from that of some who claim the name but retain their self life and try to use their will power to change their life to be more Christ like. If you know you are a real Christian then you are born again at the cross by exchange, not by you trying to change.

If you think you are a Christian by change and not by exchange, then self, and not Christ, is still your life. You need to go to the cross and surrender your life by committing your will to Him and exchange your life for His Life. The normal Christian is a transacted and transformed person, who has the love of God filling his heart, to the extent that out of this love he loves God with all his heart, and is found to be in obedience to the first commandment.



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