Oneness With Christ
Then there is the secondary meaning: "That which belongs to God must be like God." We must be holy for He is holy. God, the holy Father; God, the holy Son; and God, the Holy Spirit indwell the Christian. Is not that reason enough why we should be sanctified? Wholly set apart unto God? Made holy even as God Himself is holy?
But is sanctification that results in holiness of life the standard of the present day Church? Do we hear much about such a standard as this in the Church today? Has each of us as a Christian taken a godly standard? Far from it! On the contrary, we often find a lowered standard of life even among God's people. Someone who taught a Bible class asked for a definition of sin. One person in the class said, "That is very difficult to give today, because what we called sin twenty-five years ago we do not call sin today." Alas, that is only too true! There are Christian women wearing clothes today that seventy-five years ago would have been considered indecent. A minister's wife spoke to an unsaved woman asking her to accept Christ as her Saviour. The woman replied, "I do not wish to become a Christian; but if I were one, I would never appear in the house of God with such clothes as you wear." This lowered standard of life is the reason for the condition of the Church today.
We find also a mixed standard in the Church. There are people who are militantly orthodox in belief who are equally heterodox in conduct. I know one Christian woman who would not go to hear the pastor of her church preach. She would go to the Sunday school and then go home, because he was so modernistic. But she sent her little daughter to a dancing school. I know another woman who believes in the truth of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and she has a certain standard for her life. She will not go to the movies and she will not dance, but she smokes. The mixed standards among even orthodox Christians is another reason for the lack of holiness and power in the present day Church.
So we must turn to the Word and to the Lord to get our standard of what the Christian life is in the purpose of God. Let us listen to the words of our Lord in His last conversation with His disciples before His crucifixion:
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
The close, intimate nature of the Christian's relationship to Christ is revealed in the words "I am the vine, ye are the branches." Within this relationship a three fold standard of life is revealed.
"Ye in me" - Oneness in Christ.
"I in you" - Likeness to Christ.
"Much fruit" - Fullness of Christ
We are to have three messages and they are to be on this three-fold theme: oneness with Christ through positional sanctification, likeness to Christ through progressive sanctification, and fullness in Christ through personal sanctification.
Oneness With Christ Through Positional Sanctification
"He that abideth in me" (John 15:5).
That little word "in" is the biggest little word in all the Bible. Usually our first concern in our Christian experience is what we are. But where we are is of paramount importance, because where we are determines what we are. "Ye in me" precedes "I in you." The branch must be in the vine before it can bear fruit. Then, where are you today, my friend?
The Bible shows us just two positions in which any human being can be. One is the position of the sinner, the other is that of the saint. To become a Christian we have to pass out of one position into the other. These two positions are radically different.
Christ - Church - Spirit
satan - world - flesh
Scripture reveals with crystal clearness these two trinities, which we will now study together for a moment.
satan: satan has a kingdom. Christ says so. In one passage recording the words of our Lord, the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of satan are put in exact antithesis to each other. satan is the head of a real kingdom that was set up against the real Kingdom of God. He is a traitor purposing to take God's place in the governmental affairs of the universe and in the worship of human hearts. He is the "prince of this world" and the "god of this age." He is the enemy of Christ and the adversary of the Christian.
The world: the world is he antithesis of the Church. The best definition of the Church is that given to us in the Epistle to the Ephesians where it is revealed as the Body of Christ. Then what is the world? It is the body of satan. It is human society without Christ. It is unregenerated mankind in captivity to and under the control of satan.
"The whole world lieth in the evil one" (1 John 5:19).
The position of the world is clearly stated. It is in satan.
(continued with # 3 - "The Flesh")