A Light that Remains
This article is not one to be quickly read, then laid aside. Its light must be absorbed into one’s heart and mind. Then, when darkness comes, as it surely will upon every life, there will be a light that remains. It will be a light so eternal that no darkness of man or devil can overcome it. I know this light. It has shined in my own life, although there is more—yea, much more—waiting to shine in me. My desire is that we might come into this greater light together. Please walk with me and do all you can to bring others with us. The way is open to whosoever will.
IT WAS THE LORD JESUS HIMSELF WHO REVEALED TO PAUL that we were with Him in His crucifixion. We were with Him in His burial and His resurrection also. This became The Grand Theme for Paul in what we call Romans Truth. The Lord identified with us in our sin that He might bring us into an identification with Him in His triumph over sin. In a couple of articles back, we discovered that this sin in which we by nature became ensnared and which the Lord Jesus took on Himself was, in fact, The Sin. It entered the race through Adam.
Paul lays out a very clear statement regarding “The Sin” in Rom 5:12. This verse also connects us with the penalty of The Sin, which is death. In fact, we find in the Greek New Testament that it is, indeed, “the death.”
It is along what we call “The Romans Road” that we discover the steps we must take if we will find the triumph Christ Jesus won for us. Our first step is to admit that all have sinned (Rom 3:23). This includes every one of us. It finds confirmation over and again through the early chapters of Romans. Then, we discover and make it our confession that Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6). This leads us to confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and to believe in our heart that God hath raised Him from the dead (Rom 10:9). This brings us to the divine promise: thou shalt be saved.
As Paul’s revelation unfolds, we discover that Christ will take us with Him all the way to the Throne of His Kingdom. This becomes the backbone of his Epistle to the Ephesians. All of this is for us to know, then reckon upon it and yield ourselves to it. This will result in a powerful reality with us—in our everyday living as well as in the times of stress and difficulty that crowd us beyond what we can be or do by nature.
TO HELP LAY HOLD ON THE REVELATION CHRIST gave Paul, we are in process of studying several words the Apostle used as he wrote of the Lord’s triumph. Our present purpose is to gain an overview of the revelation released nearly 2000 years ago. The light and life of what came then continues for us today. I believe what Christ made known to Paul has as much relevance now as at any time since it was revealed to him. It is we who may be on the brink of the greatest attack from the enemy ever released on man. But, we who know Christ Jesus intimately may be on the brink of the greatest infusion of God’s power and light ever known. What joy, strength, wisdom and fulfillment await us with Him!
That the revelation given to Paul might grow as good seed in us, we want to become acquainted with the words he used. We will discover them as we proceed. Mark the passages where they occur in your Bible. Memorize them. Meditate on them. Become aware of the context of each statement. Let them become yours.
If some understanding eludes you for a while, pursue it. Eventually you can come to the point of living out of what Christ made known to Paul. You will find its light will go with you into your darkest hour.
The other night I found it difficult to sleep. My first thought was that I really needed the sleep I was missing. I also had a strange feeling I could not shake. It was something akin to worry or apprehension. Then, it came to me to meditate on the passages we are coming to know. Oh, what a profitable time that became of meditation and intercession!
In the words describing our identification with Christ, Paul took on a precise formula. We see this in his use of the Greek Preposition sun. He attached it to certain words to define what we share “together with” Christ. He was the first to write in this way about Who Christ is with us and who we are with Him. We will eventually see how he used the same formula to describe who we are with each other in Christ’s body.
You may have learned with me that sun means “together with.” It is distinct from other Greek words meaning “with” in that it describes being together with another in the same place. An illustration of this is drawing one line on top of another so we cannot tell there are two lines; unless we were there when they were drawn.
When we are willing to embrace what we share together with Christ, we soon learn that what Paul wrote is true. I’m so taken with how he used the with words that I’ve written of them in several articles. We are learning profound truth that will bring us into being overcomers for the days close upon us when the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ... (Rev 11:15).
Keep on remembering: . . . They which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17).
WE CAN SEE THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE WITH WORDS revealed in Romans and Ephesians. But we cannot take on all of them in one article, so presently we will proceed no further than what we find in Romans. The others can come later. We’re moving slowly with the hope and prayer that the revelation given Paul may lay hold on us.
While I’ve drunk from Ephesian’s fountain for years, I am convicted there is light from that Epistle yet waiting to shine in my soul. I wait for more of the reality of what I see there to find its translation into my life. Then I can write the better of it.
We will go back to what we saw of these words in the last article and proceed from there. There are eight sun words in Romans. Their importance is beyond human imagination. But pray that the Holy Spirit in us will take on each one of them and release their light and life in us.
- ·1—Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with Him (sunthápto—“we are placed together in the same grave 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(a new kind) of life.
Our baptism is our confession that we have died to our old life to rise to a newness of life together with Christ. Newness is from the Greek kaínos. It is a newness like something never known before. The life to which God brings us in Christ is not a replication of the life anyone of us can know or receive by inheritance. Being a child of a Christian parent cannot bring us into it. We all revert to being descendents only of the first man Adam. It is when we put this off, and reckon the old man dead, that we can come into an intimacy with the last Adam, Jesus, Who for us was made a quickening (“life giving”) Spirit (I Cor 15:45).
What we see here is becoming ours to know, both by faith as well as by experience. When it is settled in us, no one of man or demon can take it from us. Nor can the experiences of our natural life, however harsh or negative, crowd it from us.
- ·2—Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together (sumphúto—“if we have been closely entwined with, or united with” Hi) in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.
As we consider this verse in the Original, the latter part should read “we shall be also of the resurrection.” This is amazing. The words “in the likeness of His” do not occur in the Letter Paul sent to the Romans. They were put there by our translators. Could it be that Paul perceived our baptism as a symbolic identification with Christ in His death and burial, but that the likeness stops there? The resurrection goes beyond a likeness to become a reality with us. Paul made the fine statement of Rom 5:17 that bears this out…They which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ. This new kind of life begins with us as soon as we open ourselves to the indwelling life of Christ. It is everlasting life. It carries with it a quality that is ours to know now, only to be enhanced in the eternities.
- ·3—Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man (the inward person in each of us who are descendants of Adam) is crucified with Him (went with Him into His death on the cross), that the body of (the) sin might be destroyed (rendered powerless), that henceforth we should not serve (the) sin.
This means that we should no longer be under bondage to The Sin, the inward principle that has dragged us all down since our Father Adam sinned. The Sin he embraced was released upon his whole race. This is why the Lord Jesus went to the cross. God made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor 5:21).
We are following on to know this righteousness. Many, even in their trying to serve the Lord, still admit defeat. But, we do not give up. The revelation Christ gave to Paul for us retains its might.
LET US MOVE ON NOW TO ROM 8. This is one of the most powerful and intriguing chapters in all of Paul’s writings. We can read and study it for a lifetime, never ceasing to draw life and light from it. In this chapter Paul makes use of some more “together with” words. They are ready to direct us further into the reality of what is ours with Christ.
- ·4—Rom 8:16 The Spirit Itself beareth witness with (summarturéo, testifies together with) our spirit, that we are the children of God.
The word children in this verse is from the Greek téknon, the root of which is a word meaning “to give birth.” Thus, the reference is to those who have been born into a family. We know this has taken place when we have become new creations. While the “together with” word in this passage does not relate to our identification with Christ Jesus directly, it does point to a work of the Holy Spirit with our human spirit. He, the Holy Spirit, testifies together with our human spirit that we have been born into the family of God.
To increase our enjoyment and to solidify our assurance, the Holy Spirit confirms that we are in the family of God by His indwelling presence with us. Jesus promised His Spirit would come and abide with us (Jn 14:16). So, I guess we should say that this passage does point to our identification with Jesus. Exactly! Precisely! It is His Spirit that is bearing witness with our spirit. What a union! It is His very life in us—living in us, moving in us and through us—making Himself known.
- ·5,·6 and ·7—Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with (sugkleronómos, sharing in the same inheritance together with) Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him (sumpáscho, endure corresponding suffering together with), that we may be also glorified together (sundoxázo, made to be a partaker with Him in the dignity of His Kingdom.)
Look and see the above word sundoxázo. While we see the prefix sun (“together with”) on it, we take note of the latter part of the word, doxázo. It carries with it a meaning pertaining to government. While often translated with reference to the glory of Christ, it also carries with it the meaning of a dignitary in government. We are carried into the government of His Kingdom where we share with Him in the dignity of His high office. Ephesians carries us forward in the revelation of this high truth. Oh, what a wonder awaits us there!
What the three marvelous words in the above verse convey is more than our natural minds may comprehend. But they excite us and lay hold on us. They draw us on in our joining with Christ. They lead us to see that before this age comes to its consummation, we may indeed be made to suffer with Him. But, strengthening us for this is our union with Him, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame (thinking little of the shame), and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God (Heb 12:2). Ephesians Truth takes us there.
THERE IS ONE MORE “TOGETHER WITH” WORD in Romans. While viewing all the words, we become aware of the wealth of revelation truth into which we are moving. Our purpose here is to gain an overview of what we share with Christ. We may spend the rest of our lives living out of what we are finding.
- ·8—Rom 8:29 For whom He (that is, God) did foreknow, He also did predestinate (He made it His prior intention for us) to be conformed to the image of (summórphos, to have the same nature and appearance as) His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren.
God designed us to be like Jesus. To find what we shall be like in His eternal Kingdom, we study to know all we can of Him. Pictures of His imaginary likeness put aside, we are to bear a likeness of what He is in His real person. He made this statement to His disciples, Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (Mt 11:29). To be conformed to His image, we first learn of His meekness and lowliness. Reading all of Mt 11:29, we find this leaves us with rest in our souls.
We need seek no further glory than His glory for this present time. The glory that is ours with Him is left for the Father to bestow on us whenever He glorifies His Firstborn. When we glorify Jesus, we share in His glory. We shall know His glory in its fullness when every knee of all mankind—even our own—bows before Him.
Paul gave some wonderful instruction in Phil 2:5 with regard to our being like Christ Jesus. He said, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Certainly this whole passage waits for us to explore in depth, but there is one thing for us to see presently. When the Apostle said, Let this mind be in you, he used a Greek term meaning, “Let this frame of mind be in you.” (You may have become aware of this word, prhónema, in our article, The Frame Work of the Inner Man.) God is reaching for the inner working of our persons as He points us to the same frame of mind that was in Christ Jesus. Although He was God’s Firstborn Son, He emptied Himself and took upon Him the form of a servant, that is, doúlos, a “bond slave.” Thus, we begin to see—somewhat—of the form we are to share with Him.
Oh, sweet Jesus! A bond slave give his all, even his will, over to his master.
FOR THE PRESENT, LET ME LEAVE YOU AT THIS POINT of discovering Paul’s “together with” words. We expect to see others from Ephesians in our next article. I now want to share with you a time when what we are seeing began to take hold of me. It was a strange and funny beginning, but the life of it has remained with me and has gone with me around the world. I’ve written of this before, but I take you there again because it remains as a substance of reality in my spirit. It was the beginning of my learning that what we know in word can be translated into life, deed and relationship.
All of what we lay out here carries with it the possibility of reality. We have begun discovering it, but the discovery goes on. I want you to come with me in it. I think we have hardly begun—but we have begun!
What I tell happened to me on a dusty road over forty years ago. I was young then. Now I am blessed with more maturity than I sometimes like, but I am still learning. Day by day I have to sit before my Teacher and let Him bring His truth over into my living. I hope you know what I mean.
I had come, rather marvelously, to some understanding that when the Lord Jesus died, I died. My central passage in seeing this was Rom 6:11. A dear woman once told me that if she had to give up all of the Bible but one chapter, she would keep Rom 6. She went on to say that if she could keep but one verse, it would be Rom 6:11. I was preaching vociferously in those days, knowing little but preaching much. Rom 6 had meant little more to me than a good passage to read whenever I baptized someone. But after the conversation with that dear sister, it took on more meaning. I preached from Rom 6 wherever I went: You must be crucified with Christ!
After hearing me, one young man came to me and said, “Brother Corley I appreciate what you are preaching. I’m not dead yet, but I sure am sick!”
About the same time, that beloved sister came to me again. She also said she was glad to hear what I was preaching, but she was waiting for the other half. I asked what other half. She said, “You know we weren’t just crucified with Christ, we were also raised up with Him.”
Not long after then, a friend came to me and suggested that we go and visit a former classmate to witness to him about the Holy Spirit. I was happy to go and certainly wanted to take my new 1959 Chevrolet station wagon. We left the pavement and went for most of our journey over dusty “wash board” roads. I could see the dust billowing in my new vehicle. My front door began to squeak. I knew the car would never be the same again. To make matters worse, my friend didn’t mind at all that my car was being ruined. He started reading to me from a book by Hudson Taylor on the Song of Solomon. I cared for none of that. I was fuming for what was happening to my car.
Suddenly, through the dust and rattle, the Lord spoke to me. “What have you been preaching?” As suddenly, I knew. I confessed in my own heart what I had begun to know from Rom 6. The brother with me didn’t know what was happening, but my life was changed that day.
It was then I began to know I don’t have to take the trip alone. I don’t have to preach the sermon alone. I don’t have to face the darkness of pain, suffering, loneliness or the fear of failure by myself. I’m still learning, but, oh, I have begun! And so have you. The wonders of His grace are abounding. He is with us and we are with Him. He is our life—and we are His life.
We will follow on with Romans Truth in the accompanying “prayer starters.” Let us let the Word find its translation into our lives. God’s Spirit will help.
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