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As a true believer grows in grace, he grows more dependent on Christ. He grows in the knowledge of Christ and His many different roles and functions. The most important issue of Christianity is the roles and functions of Christ. A believer overcomes the world, the flesh and the devil only as he perceives and receives Christ in His different roles and functions. Listed below are some of these roles and functions and how they apply to the believer.
The believer must receive Christ as king so He can set up His kingdom over his whole being. If a person does not make Christ king, he remains an unrepentant sinner.
The believer must recognize Christ as his personal redeemer. Christ died on the cross and made it possible for us to be free from the curse of the law and to be free from the power and dominion of sin. He made it possible for us to have a relationship with God Himself.
He Himself is the only way of salvation. Works or faith is not the way. Christ becomes the salvation of the believer. Faith receives Christ and then works of faith result from having Him.
Christ Himself is the embodiment and essence of truth. A person can know the facts, teachings and doctrine concerning Christ without having the living source of truth. Many are deceived because they rest in their concepts, ideas, and facts of Christ. They never receive the truth to dwell within them.
THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.
Christ brings a person from death in sin, to a state of conformity to God's will. This resurrection is continuous. Christ quickens the believer's will through His life and brings the will into conformity to the will of God. Remember, this promise requires faith that receives Him in this way.
Christ will care for and watch over His sheep. They know His voice and follow Him. Each believer must know and confide in the Shepherd. The believer who receives Christ in this relation will be safe and protected by Christ the Shepherd.
THE KEEPER OF THE SOUL.
No believer can keep his own soul from sin and falling. It is Christ's continuous effective influence that keeps and preserves the soul from falling. The believer must cease from his own work, and from the expectation ever to keep himself, before he can receive Christ in this way. Christ abides in the believer by faith and will keep him from falling when received and depended on as such.
The believer's only strength is in Christ. It is only as the believer sees his true need and weakness can he take the strength he needs. A person will never receive Christ's strength while he thinks he is strong. Sometimes a person relies on a natural strength or talent within him. This talent is not sin, but becomes sin when one relies on it rather than Christ. Before a believer can receive Christ's strength, he must totally reject any strength he thinks he has. When we are truly weak, we can be strong in Him. Do you depend fully on Christ? Do you still think that in some things you can do a better job?
Christ is the believer's sanctification. He works in the believer to will and to do of His good pleasure.
STRENGTH OF OUR HEART.
Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and heart faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."
If you say your flesh or heart is weak, then this relation is for you. Let Christ be the strength of your heart. Remember you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
SURETY OF A BETTER COVENANT.
Heb. 7:22 "By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament." The problem under the old covenant or testament was that man broke the covenant. When the believer receives the benefits of the new covenant he will never break it because Christ pledges Himself and the Holy Spirit as his security. He guarantees that He will keep and prevent this one from breaking His covenant.
Deut. 30:6 "The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live."
Jer. 32:39-40 "I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from me."
Ezek. 36: 25-27 "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean, I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from your idols. Moreover I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances."
REDEMPTION OF THE SOUL.
Christ is the believer's present redemption. Before a person can receive Christ in this role he needs fully to understand that he has sold himself to be under the control of sin.
He also needs to know that he would be the voluntary but real slave of lust, appetite and desire except as Christ continually delivers him from its power. Christ does this by strengthening and confirming his will in resisting and overcoming the flesh.
Christ only can save us from all sin. If you practice any sin, then you have not received Christ as Savior. Do not be deceived. You cannot stay in sin and still be a Christian.
Christ is the believer's present justification. He pardons the believer and treats him as if he never sinned while he remains free from the bondage of sin. Remember God justifies no one in their sin.
THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH.
Christ Himself is the only true source of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. True faith never results from anything done by self. Faith is the working of God and the production of grace.
The believer can only find total satisfaction in Christ. When a person finds in Him all his desires and needs completely met, he will be at rest. This person has little temptation to go after lovers or try to find pleasure outside Christ
Christ is the believer's only true hope. Col. 1:27 "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles; which is Christ in you the hope of glory." The true believer has Christ truly present, living and reigning in him. A person has no hope of salvation without having Christ's presence within him. To hope simply in an outward Christ is to hope in vain. When a person sees Christ as his hope he will make no effort without Him. He will constantly lean upon and rest in Him.
Matt 11:28,29 "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest unto your souls."
Heb. 4:10 "For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his."
When a believer sees and receives Christ as his rest, he ceases from his own selfish work. These selfish works are anything done by self, from self, for self or of self. He will give up all his own selfish efforts and work. He no longer struggles and strives but is at rest in Christ. Do not be deceived for this is not a state of passive nothingness. When the believer is at rest he always actively performs works of faith motivated by love. If there are no true works, there is no faith.
The believer needs the teaching of God. He does this by listening to God and learning from Him. This learning does not come about by human reasoning or knowledge. There are many people who know much about the Bible and teachings of Christ, but have never received teaching from God. Many who read the Bible form their own opinions and theories but never receive enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. One must be willing to receive God's teaching and then to actually perform His will.
Reading, studying and hearing about God are far different from receiving God's teachings. The Holy Spirit will reveal Christ to you if you do not resist or quench Him. The Holy Spirit offers to lead you into all truth but only on the condition of your faith and confidence will He. Are you just an educated sinner or do you receive fresh insight from the Holy Spirit daily? Do you listen to God or to your own reasonings and flesh?
Jesus Christ is the believer's personal counselor. Do you consult with Christ in the daily affairs that concern you? If you have a problem, do you go and rely on Him for the answer? Many people run here and there, trying to get help. The Church itself has turned away from Christ to worldly psychology in trying to help people. Very few turn to and rely totally on Christ. People are given formulas and plans to follow that only confirm their selfishness. There is nothing wrong with receiving some good Christian counsel while the Holy Spirit is allowed and leaned on to give enlightenment.
Be very careful in this area, there are many who claim to be Christian psychologists who rely on human understanding and worldly psychology. They do not rely and depend on the Holy Spirit. In fact many of them are not born again. Although they use the Bible, the methods and principles they use only will take you away from Christ instead of bringing you closer to Him. Psychology cannot help you to become more Christlike. It will only confirm and strengthen your selfishness.
ALL IN ALL.
Before the believer can see and understand Christ as his all, he must see there is no spiritual good within himself at all. He must realize that in his flesh dwells no good thing. He must see that he has no life, unction, power or spirituality in himself. Some self conceited sinners stop here. They understand that they can do nothing of spiritual worth. They neglect the real issue and do not stand in Christ and abide in Him.
Christ is the true and only source of righteousness for the believer. He does not impute nor paste His righteousness over the believer. He imparts His holiness, righteousness and love as he reigns over him. The believer is obedient and conformed to God's will. The believer is not passive in holiness. He must work with Christ to produce holiness. A person who is passive will never experience this righteousness because holiness does not just happen. Remember, you are not a true Christian if you do not personally practice righteousness.
THE BREAD OF LIFE.
John 6:35 "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." Do you eat this bread of life daily or do you try to fill yourself with the pleasures of the world or self-righteous works?
Christ saves the believer by becoming his salvation. This salvation only results from a real union of the believer and Christ.
THE TRUE VINE.
John 15:1-8 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples."
Christ is the vine and we are the branches. Do you know Christ as your only source of continual nourishment and life? Much fruit is the real evidence of this union and fruitlessness is the proof of no union. If a person separates himself from Christ, he has no spiritual life at all. Christ is the inducing cause of a believer's obedience.
Remember, no one sins while he properly abides in Christ. Many people hold this role only in theory while they are fruitless, lifeless, loveless, faithless, powerless and completely useless in the work of God. One must cleave to Christ by faith. Man's will can never be passive or inactive. If it does not cleave to Christ, it will cleave to something else.
PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS.
Only in the atonement of Christ can a person see the holiness and love of God expressed concerning his personal crime and guilt of sin. When looking at the cross, one needs to recognize his sin deserves the wrath and curse of God forever. This is a condition of his forgiveness. He must see why sin is so hateful in the sight of God and hate it for the same reasons. Do you know why God can justly send you to hell? Do you hate sin or just hate its consequences?
You can see that true Christianity comes about by Jesus Christ's actual presence within the believer.
Listed below are some titles of other roles and functions of Christ. Please take the time to consider how these apply to you.
THE TRUE GOD
THE TRUE LIGHT
CHRIST OUR SHIELD
PRINCE OF PEACE
CAPTAIN OF SALVATION
PURIFIER AND REFINER
ALPHA AND OMEGA
SOURCE OF LOVE
I am sure you can think of many other titles for Christ and how they apply to you. Do not forget that self must be put off before Christ can be put on in any area. Faith is an essential condition to receive Christ in any of these roles.
None of these are automatic. You must take an active role co-working with God to experience the results. Multitudes of people are deceived. They claim to be Christians but only know Christ in theory and in concept. They know nothing when it comes to experiencing Christ's power in overcoming sin. They never practice holiness and righteousness. It is one thing to know the roles and relations of Christ and quite another to experience the results through Christ. Do you have just theories and opinions about Christ or are you experiencing Him in His relations to you?
Remember unbelief is the foundation of all sin. A person must first give that up and believe God. Take Him at His word and believe that He means just what He says. Take hold of the promise that God has for you and refuse to let go until you experience the results.