Identification of the believer with Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension

When we identify with the death of Christ we should first know why he had to die. First the Bible says the wages of sin is death. Sin is simply missing the mark or falling short of perfection. Sin has consequences ultimately death. From the time Adam and Eve sinned, there has been a substitutional sacrifice of an innocent subject that would atone for sin and reconcile them back to God, (see Genesis chapter 3), God killed innocent animals to cover Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:21. When God gave Moses the Old Testament He incorporated sacrifices for sin too. Yet the sacrifices were only temporary and not able to take away the penalty of their transgressions forever.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (Hebrews 10:4-11 KJV)

There is only one eternal sacrifice that could be made and that is Jesus Christ Who was “made sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He is our propitiation, (the only sacrifice that would appease God’s wrath for all mankind’s sin), “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10 KJV). He is also the reason we can have peace with God “having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him” (Colossians 1:20 KJV).

The book of Hebrews in chapters 9 and 10 tell us that the blood of animals was not sufficient to cleanse us from sin eternally, but Jesus Christ’s sacrifice did it once and for all. Christ’s sacrifice even purges the conscience of the believer. (see Appendix Note 1)[i] (Hebrews 9:11-14; 25-28; 10:2,10, 12-14,18; 9;9; 10:2,22).

Seeing that Christ died for our sin, we have been bought with the price of innocent blood. “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men” “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 7:23; 6:20 KJV).

We are no longer to live the rest of our lives as men or after the desires of the flesh but unto the will of God. When we live for God we are no longer servants of men but have become the servant even a bond slave to God in our body and spirit to bring glory to Him.

Romans chapter 6 gives us the analogy and a picture of being dead with Christ, and also a picture of being raised from the dead or resurrected with Him.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:1-11 KJV)

Galatians 2:20 gives us another picture of death and life. We are to be crucified with Christ. Dead to our old nature yet living through Christ by faith.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 KJV)

We are to be dead to sin as Christ was crucified to the cross at Calvary, we are to nail our sins to that cross; to bury them with Christ in His borrowed tomb; and to bury them in our baptism as if when we went under the water our sins stayed beneath the water and were buried. In each one of these pictures we either come off the cross or come out of the tomb or come up from the water leaving our sins behind and are transformed to live in the newness of life with and through Jesus Christ our Saviour and Sanctifier.

When we identify ourselves with the death of Jesus Christ we can see that we must mortify our old nature and live to our new nature in Christ Jesus. The benefits of His death are many for by His blood we are washed, forgiven, justified and sanctified. We have an everlasting covenant, we can draw near to God, and we have eternal redemption and peace.

On the other hand, we are to be raised from the dead in the likeness of His resurrection to live with Him and death will not have dominion over us anymore.

Jesus became the first fruit from the resurrection from the dead to be the head of the church with the preeminence over all things, (Colossians 1:15,18 1 Corinthians 15:20,21). The resurrection is well documented in the gospels. Jesus told His disciples He would rise again on the third day (Matthew 16:21; Mark 9.31; Luke 9:22). His resurrection was proclaimed by angels in Matthew 21:2-7; Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-7John 20:11-13 and witnessed by His disciples Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John20 & 20; and Acts 1:1-10. The apostles and His disciples preached the death, burial, resurrection and ascension.[ii]

Jesus had a body that was flesh and bone and He ate food, Luke 24:36-43. He had no physical limitation. He appeared to His apostles “when the doors were shut” and even “vanished out of their sight” when He sat down to eat with Cleopas after their journey to Emmaus, (John 20:19,26; Luke 24:31).

Christ resurrection gave Him an immortal body that had supernatural abilities which I believe we will have when we see Him. 1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Although we don’t know exactly what our resurrected bodies will be like, we do know they will be a glorified body Philippians 3:21 and we can see that it will be flesh and bones (Luke 24:39) and even possibly without blood as 1 Corinthians 15:50 says, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” We also find in 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 that we will be changed in a twinkling of an eye and put off our earthy corruptible bodies for incorruptible heavenly bodies. Which is better described in verses 35-50, in which God gives us a body as He pleases as every body in the flesh differs, so also in the resurrection of the dead. We are sown a natural body and raised a spiritual body and as we have borne the earthy image we will also bear the heavenly image. Certainly we will be raised in the glory and power and image of our Saviour and Sanctifier Jesus Christ the first born of the resurrection.

 Note 1 Identification of the believer with Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? {spot: or, fault} (Hebrews 9:11-14 KJV)

Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:25-28 KJV)

For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. (Hebrews 10:2 KJV)

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 KJV)

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:12-14 KJV)

Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:18 KJV)

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; (Hebrews 9:9 KJV)

For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. {would…: or, they would have ceased to be offered, because, etc.} (Hebrews 10:2 KJV)

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22 KJV)

 J Statement on Sanctification from the CMA manual

“The New Testament declares Jesus Christ to be the believer’s sanctifier. This teaching derives from four interconnected events: Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and ascension.

The Son of God condescended to take on human nature so that “both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family” (Hebrews 2:11). As a human person subject to temptation and sin, Jesus became the first person to live a totally holy life (2 Corinthians 5:21). Then, His perfect life was offered up to God in death as a perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 2:17, 18; 9:13, 14, 28). Christ not only died, He rose again to restore humanity to fullness of life (John 10:10). Finally, He ascended to the Father where He is “Head over everything for the Church, which is his body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:22-23).

Out of His finished work, Christ has made His Gracious Holy Spirit available to us, and the Holy Spirit applies the work of Christ to our lives. Christ Himself, then, is our Sanctifier and our sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30).”


 

[1] Note 1 Identification of the believer with Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? {spot: or, fault} (Hebrews 9:11-14 KJV)

Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:25-28 KJV)

For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. (Hebrews 10:2 KJV)

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 KJV)

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:12-14 KJV)

Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:18 KJV)

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; (Hebrews 9:9 KJV)

For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. {would…: or, they would have ceased to be offered, because, etc.} (Hebrews 10:2 KJV)

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22 KJV)

 

[1] J Statement on Sanctification from the CMA manual

“The New Testament declares Jesus Christ to be the believer’s sanctifier. This teaching derives from four interconnected events: Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and ascension.

The Son of God condescended to take on human nature so that “both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family” (Hebrews 2:11). As a human person subject to temptation and sin, Jesus became the first person to live a totally holy life (2 Corinthians 5:21). Then, His perfect life was offered up to God in death as a perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 2:17, 18; 9:13, 14, 28). Christ not only died, He rose again to restore humanity to fullness of life (John 10:10). Finally, He ascended to the Father where He is “Head over everything for the Church, which is his body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:22-23).

Out of His finished work, Christ has made His Gracious Holy Spirit available to us, and the Holy Spirit applies the work of Christ to our lives. Christ Himself, then, is our Sanctifier and our sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30).”

 

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