Thursday, December 14, 2017

In all ages, even back to Eden and the first sacrifice, the believer has been identified with Christ in some respects. And quite often this identification is known as a baptism. So the sacrificer leaned on the victim, showing his dependence on it as a substitute and looking forward to the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. All sacrifice looked forward to Him.

During Acts, Paul especially speaks of baptism into Christ. Romans 6:3-4 is a good example;

1. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? (We were there at Calvary)

2. Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: (Burial a proof of death)

3. 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. (New creation)

Here are 3 stages of identification in these 2 verses; death, burial, resurrection.

Remember that this is a dry baptism, no water involved, for it is not a ceremonial washing.

Now the above baptism was in force during the time the kingdom was being re-offered to the Jews (and a few Gentiles). His ascension was known, but no identification with that was ever dreamed of. They had the hope of the kingdom of heaven here on the earth. It was to be realized at the last trump, the coming of the Lord for His people to see and be with Him on earth.

But when the dispensation of the mystery was made known after Paul's last sermon to the Jews at Acts 28:28, there was a further identification made known, a better standing for those that would believe the good news of the mystery.

The baptism of Romans 6:3-4 has not been discarded. It is still basic. Colossians 2:12 tells that. But in Ephesians 2:5-6 we find the experience of those who have gone on into The Mystery;

l. Hath quickened us together with Christ.

2. And hath raised us up together.

3. Hath made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Enthroned with Him)

This 3-fold identification with Him is in connection with His ascension. This was not the experience of Israel and their kingdom which is to come here on the earth with their Messiah, sitting on the throne of His father, David.

The hope of those seated with Christ in the heavenlies is to be manifested with Him there (Colossians 3:4). This is far above the clouds of heaven and the sound of the trumpet. And it is a prior hope, the coronation of the King of kings and Lord of lords before His unveiling here on the earth. It is the place of citizenship.

Those who have this hope are exhorted to put their affection on things above where Christ sitteth, not on things of the world (not even the kingdom of heaven).

This then is the STANDING of the members of the church which is the body of Christ. And some day it will be their STATE.

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