Identification Truths

 

Identification truths
In this article, we will explore the Identification Truths (ITs) by focusing primarily on the first eleven verses of Romans chapter 6. The article entitled "Identification History' (See side bar) should be read as a backdrop for this article. 
 
In the History article mentioned above, Stanford explains that the evolution of the Gospel message – during the last century -suffered dramatically; and during this period of time, the Gospel changed such that the message became a less-than-complete biblical story. The results ?? 
 
By 1950 there were only two movements in the entire country that maintained the entire Gospel, complete with the Identification Truths (ITs) intact. Almost all institutional churches in America were preaching and teaching a woefully deficient Gospel. That is still true today, in 2010.
 
As we continue to probe this vital subject as recorded in the Word, it will become clear: the ITs are strategically located throughout the New Testament. And we also learn a very helpful truth: the ITs are most concisely unfolded in Romans 6. 
 
In Romans 6, the apostle Paul is teaching – for the first time in this powerful epistle – about the believer’s UNION WITH CHRIST and his resulting IDENTITY with Christ
 
To begin, I will make an overview comment about Romans 6:1-14. Said most simply, when one becomes a true believer and is born again, he IDENTIFIES with Christ's DEATH, BURIAL, and RESURRECTION. When one is born again he is BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST. Hence the New Testament scriptures are filled with the phrase, "IN CHRIST"
 
As we examine the Identification Truths, we will discover that they involve several things that happen to every believer when he is given a NEW POSITION: a position in the heavenlies. (As we unravel these truths we will discover wonderful good news that will thrill our hearts.
 
The Word is extremely clear. The converted believer is UNITED WITH CHRIST through His crucifixion, His burial, and His resurrection. The converted believer has been given a NEWLIFE; the OLD SELF has died, and the believer has been given a POSITION in the heavenlies
 
Now, I call your attention to the fact that I've carefully hi-lighted some important words and phrases. Take note of these, because they will become a significant part of your growing "Christ in you" life.
 
Looking at Romans 6
Romans 6 has been masterfully analyzed by John Stott in his book, "Men Made New" (IVP). And in this lucid explanation of the first 11 verses of Romans 6. He writes about the CRUCIFIXION OF SELF and the RESURRECTION TO NEWLIFE.
Rather than labor through this powerful passage, I will simply include an 8 point summary of Romans 6:1-14 in which Stott unfolds this passage. Please open your bible and read his words with one eye on the scriptures as you meditate on what he is teaching..
 
1.We died to sin. This is the foundation fact of Paul's thesis. How
   can we live in what we have died to? (vs2)                           
2.The way in which we have died to sin is that our baptism
    united us with Christ
in his death (vs 3).
 3.Having shared in Christ's death, God wants us also to share in
    his resurrection life.
 (vs 4-5)
 4.Our former self was crucified with Christ in order that we
    might be freed from sin's slavery (vs 6-7)
 5.Both the death and the resurrection of Jesus were decisive
    events:
he died to sin once for all, but he lives continuously
    into God (vs 8-10).
 6. We must realize that we are now what Christ is, namely 'dead
     to 
sin but alive to God' (vs 11).
 7. Being alive from death, we must offer our bodies to God as
     instruments of righteousness (Vs 12-13).
 8. Sin shall not be our master, because our position has
     radically
changed from being 'under law' to being
     'under grace'. Grace does not encourage sin; it outlaws
      it (vs 14).
 
Because the message of this section of scripture explains so concisely what happens to the believer when he in baptized into Christ, we need to read and reread these 14 verses along with Stott's teaching; and, we need to do it until the complete message makes convicting sense to us.
 
Stott's point 4 says it so clearly that it needs little further comment.  What we do need to probe is what is meant by the "former self". And! We need to fully understand what he means in point 3, when he says we "share in his resurrection".
 
What was crucified when we died with Christ?
In the interest of brevity, I will jump (without resorting to scripture) to explain who the "former self" is. The former self is the unregenerate man, the believer – as he was before his conversion. Scripture uses several different words to describe this "self". He is the "old man". He is the "old Adam". He is the unregenerate person and His life is under the reign of the "enemy in the camp" (as Ian Thomas mentioned in our previous article). The “enemy” produces the "old nature" or the "flesh".
 
Although it is the "old self" that died on the cross, unfortunately the "old nature" did not die: in fact the "old nature" is very much alive in all of us who now possess eternal life.
 
Differentiating the biblical terms
I once heard John Stott, at ParkStreetChurch in Boston, speak to this subject of the old and new man of the believer. I will never forget his powerful illustration, which follows.
 
Stott used the marriage setting as a back drop. Then he used the before-and-after-results of marriage of the wife as the setting. With a minimum of words he explained the life-changing difference for every woman as she transitions the being-single life to the being-married life.
 
I'll use my wife, Nancy, to paint Stott's word picture.
Before we were married she was Nancy Moulton.   BUT! When we got married she became Nancy Moulton Gerry. Now note! After our wedding, there was then no more unmarried Nancy Moulton
 
But note this as well!!! Even though Nancy was a New Woman after the wedding, none-the less, the person Nancy was no different after … in terms of her personna . Her OLD NATURE was unchanged despite the fact that she received a NEW NATURE when she became a NEW WOMAN. After she was married she possessed an Old Nature and a New Nature.
 
This illustration does a good job of explaining the difference between the Old Man and the New Man and the Old Nature and the New Nature. The old man is crucified and a new CREATION (II Co5:17) or New Man is born. And!!! This New Man has a New Nature – the indwelling Christ – but he also continues to have the Old Nature or sinful self.
 
As we go on in our study, what we have discussed at this point regarding the Identification Truths will become more and more significant in helping us begin to appropriate the experiential nature of the "Christ in you" life.