[b]Be Rooted And Grounded In What God Has Done For Us "IN CHRIST" - Zac Poonen[/b]
Our salvation began in God's mind. It was He Who "chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world" (Eph.1:4). We love Him because He first loved us (1 Jn.4:19). In Ephesians, Paul describes first of all what God has done for us (Chapters 1 to 3). Only then does he proceed to describe what we must do for God (Chapters 4 to 6). In evangelical circles, the phrase "accepting Christ" is very commonly used. Although the New Testament does speak about "Christ IN us" (Col.1:27; Eph.3:17), it speaks much more about OUR BEING IN CHRIST. Accepting Christ is what WE do, whereas placing us in Christ is what GOD does. It is not surprising therefore that a man-centred theology places much more emphasis on what we do rather than on what God does. If we want our Christian life to be strong, we must first of all be rooted and grounded in what God has done for us IN CHRIST.
To illustrate what it means to be "in Christ", consider a piece of paper placed inside a book. If the book is posted to Bombay, the paper also goes to Bombay. Similarly, since we were placed in Christ before the foundation of the world, when Christ was crucified on Calvary's hill, we were crucified in Him too. When He was buried, we were buried in Him. And when He was raised, we were raised in Him. When He ascended, we ascended in Him. And where He is now, we are - IN HIM.Only if we believe this truth of God's Word, can we experience it - not otherwise. "According to your faith be it unto you", is a law of God. It is something like God having put millions of rupees in our bank account and then giving us blank cheque-leaves signed with Jesus' Name on them (2 Cor.1:20). All we have to do now is fill in the amount and go to the bank and claim our inheritance - in Jesus' Name.
The good news of the gospel centres primarily around what God has done for us in our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of what Christ has done for us, we can have a foretaste of heaven in our hearts right now. Heaven is a place of perfect peace and perfect joy. No-one is ever gloomy or depressed or sour or bitter in heaven. No-one is fearful in heaven, because there is no problem that God cannot solve. The gospel message is that we can enter into that heavenly life now itself. Why is heaven such a wonderful place? Basically because no-one does his own will in heaven. Everyone does the will of God. This is why Jesus taught us to pray: "Our Father Who art in heaven. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". When that is our sincere prayer, the atmosphere of heaven will pervade every part of our hearts too.
Those who pray that prayer will eagerly seek to find God's will - as a husband or a wife, as a father or a mother, or as a brother or a sister in the church. And they will want to do God's will in its entirety. To such believers, the will of God will not be a burden, but a joy and a delight. They will never be depressed or gloomy or fearful, for they know that they can never face a problem that God cannot solve. When Jesus said, "I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him Who sent Me" (Jn.6:38), He was saying that He had come to earth to bring the atmosphere of heaven to earth. And throughout His life on earth, He demonstrated what it was to live with the atmosphere of heaven ruling His life. Wherever Jesus went He was a blessing to others. This is the life that He now wants to give us too. But in order to enter into this life, we must first understand what God did for us in Christ on the cross. Our life is like a building. The foundation is what God does for us, and the superstructure is what we do for God. No building can be strong without a strong foundation. Herein lies the reason for failure in the lives of many Christians: Without being gripped first with what God has done for them in Christ, they have stepped out seeking to do things for God. The end result is always depression and frustration.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon