By Oscar M. Baker
We are taking up this subject in five (5) steps or degrees. Five is the number of GRACE. (See Number in Scripture by E. W. Bullinger).
1. "For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him" (2 Tim. 2:11). Just as faith was counted for righteousness, with Abraham (Gen. 15:6), so here one can be reckoned dead with Christ, dying when He died. And likewise we should reckon ourselves dead to sin (not that sin, or the old nature is dead, for it can rise up and smite us when least expected.)
2. "Even when we were dead in sins, (God) hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" (Eph. 2:5). This makes us alive . We can comprehend spiritual things. When He was quickened or made alive, we were reckoned as having been identified with Him.
3. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand ofGod" (Col. 3:1). Having resurrection life here and now, we should walk according to it. We are not to seek the advantages and pleasures of this world, but to walk as if we were in heavenly places as far as affections are concerned. We must reckon ourselves dead to the things of the flesh and the world. There is a goal, and it is in heavenly places, not here on earth.
4. "And had raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6). The word sit here means to be enthroned with. And since He is sitting with His Father in His throne, so then we are identified with Christ as he is enthroned with the Father. This is reckoning. The realization comes in the future, in resurrection.
5. "When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:4). Here is the realization. The others are steps and are just reckoning. But the goal is reached in glory. Appear means to shine forth, manifestation in glorious surroundings.
Now note the contrasts in dispensation. In the dispensation of promise, the believer is crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). And he is buried with Him (Rom. 6:4). These steps are not mentioned in the dispensation of the mystery.
In the former dispensation there was reconciliation of the believer (2 Cor. 5:19). But in this one there is the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile, the both reconciled to God (Eph. 2:14-16).
In the former there were the Jewish ordinances to be observed (by Jews only) but in the latter, such things are put away (Col. 2:16,17).
Now the reader should go through Ephesians and Colossians, which are revealing the mystery, and note every word and phrase, forgetting the things that are behind, and pressing on to the things before and realizing the great standing of the believer before God. But above all, not that the hope is in the heavenly places, not in any earthly kingdom.
(Reprinted from Truth For Today, Vol. 37, No. 4)