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The Christian Life

If Christ is in you, then the Christian life is not about striving to be something you are not. It is about becoming what you already are.

– Sweet & Viola, Jesus Manifesto, pg. 58


A New Vantage Point

Evening and Morning

Have you ever noticed the creation account in Genesis?  It was on my mind the other day and something stood out to me as I read it.  On each day, after God had created something and saw it to be good, it reads, “And there was evening and there was morning…” one day, a second day, etc., (NASB Genesis 1:5b, 1:8b).  Evening and morning.  It stood out to me that it doesn’t read, “And there was morning and there was evening…”

This caused me to think about the crucifixion account as well.  When Christ was crucified, on the day before the Sabbath as evening was approaching, the Jews went to Pilate and asked for the legs of the men they crucified to be broken so they would die and could then be taken down from the crosses so that their bodies could be taken away before the start of the Sabbath (see John 19:31-42).  I find it interesting to know that the Sabbath actually begins at sunset (evening).  It doesn’t begin as the sun rises (morning).  And so the days of Creation and the Sabbath are all described as beginning in the evening.  So the start of the day is actually what we consider to be the end of our day as we begin to prepare to lay down and rest.  Why is this significant?

In Our Flesh

In Ephesians 2 Pauls tells us that we were dead in our trespasses and sins, that we “…formerly walked according to the course of this world,” and that we “…formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath…” (Eph. 2:1-3 NASB).  In our flesh it is all about us working and doing, but we see that all of it is only according to the ways of the world and the lusts of our flesh and mind.  There is no life there.  It is all death.  In ourselves we toil and strive, but accomplish nothing but what was in our nature, wrath.  But then Paul tells us of something extraordinary.

Made Alive, Raised Up and Seated

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Eph. 2:4-9 NASB).

Did you catch it?

Most of us have missed a very important truth.  We see that  we have been made alive with Christ.  We see that we have been raised up with Christ.  But do we see that last part?  We were told to walk out this new life.  To try to be a good Christian by reading your bible, by praying, by witnessing, by doing good deeds.  We were then told to serve God.  To go and do things for God.  We were told to be workers in the kingdom of God.


We were seated.  We were seated.

What does it mean to be seated with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus?

For us to understand what it means to be seated with Him, we must first understand what it means for Him to be seated.  The author of Hebrews tells us that, “When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1:3b NASB) and “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.  For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:11-14 NASB)

Jesus sat down at the right hand of God, in heavenly places because His work was finished.  It was completed.  His one sacrifice, for all time, perfected, for all time, those who are sanctified.  He sat down because He ceased from His work.  He ceased from His work because it was finished.  In ceasing from His work He took His rest.  Just as when creation was completed God rested on the seventh day from all of His work, so Christ had completed His work and rested.

And so, we were seated, “with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:6 NASB).  Why were we seated with Him?  We were seated with Him because our work was finished. Our work?  Yes!  When we receive Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior something mysterious takes place.  Our old man, our flesh, with all of it’s efforts and works have been crucified with Christ and so they have ceased to be.  They are dead.  But what happens next is a glorious thing.  We are “made alive” with Christ, raised up with Him and seated with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.  We are made alive IN Christ.  So our old man, our old flesh no longer lives, but we live in Christ because we were raised with Him when He was raised, and the first thing that happens in this new life we live in Christ is that we are seated, meaning we were made or caused to sit down.  Why is this significant?

Our Position

Let’s look again at Ephesians 2:8 & 9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Eph. 2:4-9 NASB)

Because we are in Christ, when He was crucified, so we also were crucified.  When He was raised, so we also were raised.  When He sat down, so we also were seated.  Being seated in Christ shows that we are in a new life.  Our old life, working in the flesh, is done.  We now live in Christ, and the first position for us in this new life is a position of rest, being seated in Christ.  This is why the scriptures tell us that we were saved by grace through faith, and NOT of ourselves.  Our new life in Christ is NOT a result of our own works.  “Most Christians make the mistake of trying to walk in order to be able to sit, but that is a reversal of the true order.”  Life in Christ does not begin with doing.  It begins with resting.  “Let me repeat: No Christian experience begins with walking, but always with a definite sitting down.  The secret of deliverance from sin is not to do something but to rest on what God has done.” (Quotes from Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee, pgs. 2 & 10)

Christ wants us to grasp onto this awareness so much that He seated us with Him in the heavenly places, IN Himself to show us that there is no work for us to do to live this new life, His life.  He tells us from the very beginning, REST.  Rest, because He completed all of work.

A New Vantage Point

I believe this is why the scriptures read, “And there was evening and there was morning…” and why the Sabbath begins at sunset (evening) and doesn’t end until sunset (evening) the next day.  The Lord has given us a daily reminder that our life in Him comes at no effort of our own, but it comes as we rest in Him.  The days are intended to start with rest in Him, not with busyness or service, but with rest.  This is why we lay down to rest in the evening.  A reminder to us to start our life in Him with rest.  Consider how our daily perspectives will transform if we begin to live in the awareness that with each evening as we prepare to lay down to rest, we are actually beginning a new day in Him, in stillness, in quiet, in peace, and in rest.

Related Posts

Root Before Fruit by Milt Rodriguez

Why I Gave Up Trying To Live The Christian Life by Frank Viola



Guest Blogger: Seth Roach, “Why We Struggle – A Fresh Perspective”

I would like to introduce you to Seth Roach, one of the brothers in the church here in Gainesville. In “Why We Struggle – A Fresh Perspective,” Seth captured the reality and essence of Romans 12:2 that drove me to start re:Think. He was gracious enough to let me share it in it’s entirety here. Not only does it embody the essence of re:Think, but I believe it is vital to being a follower of Jesus. I encourage you to read it, or visit Seth’s blog, Straight Plow, and read through the comment thread as well.


The World’s system lies in the hand of the evil one and all people have been indoctrinated by it from birth. Your identity, your worth, your status, etc., is measured by standards set by this world. By necessity there must be a death to that old life, that old estimation of who you are and a birth of new life springing forth of the true reality of your identity in Christ.

Christ Displaces the Enemies Hold
Struggle both spiritually and mentally are not simply a matter of the enemy bombarding your mind trying to bring you down, discourage you, make you feel like a failure, telling you, look what you have done with your life, you have wasted it or look at these people and their accomplishments comparing yourself with others.

The inward struggle you’re facing is a result of a conflict. Your mind has mindsets already built in that are strongholds of the enemy. These mindsets have been built there as you have grown up and are encouraged by the world system which is under the sway of the evil one. These strongholds support the independent self life that Christ has put to death on the cross.

As Christ comes in and begins to shake all that up, breaking in with the truth of who you are in Him. As He displaces the enemies hold (mindsets) bringing in the truth of Himself you begin being transformed by the renewing of your mind. This is the process of becoming who you already are, waking up to the reality of who you are in Christ. Putting off the old man and putting on the new man, Christ Jesus. See Ephesians 4:22-24, “Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (ESV)

A New Perspective
A new perspective that I now see from having learned that when you feel the struggle it may seem like you are really under attack and perhaps you are but in reality Christ is overthrowing the enemyís stronghold in your mind. Christ is bringing victory into reality in your life. This is when the enemy does all he can to maintain his hold. This is not the time to give in or give up it is the time to press in more resolute to your Lord looking to Him, trusting Him being encouraged that He has done it. At this point to trust in your feelings and emotions or rely on the old estimations comparing yourself with others will only be playing into the enemies hand.

The struggle is important to go through. You will know your Lord in a much more intimate and real way as you pass through this struggle. The battle is already won. Christ has already defeated the enemy. You have already been translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Embrace Christ and the reality of who you are in Him and go through the struggle. Shrug the feeling that the enemy is really trying to overtake you but instead realize that your mind was already under the influence of the enemy and the world system but now Christ is setting you free as you are conformed into His image.

The enemy is losing ground in you and is mad trying to get you to let go of the truth of Christ. This struggle is necessary for you to go through and it is a positive thing. You must cling to the truth even if you donít feel like it. Remember your faith is not based on feeling but in who He is. 2 Cor. 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. (ESV)

Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind
Paul states in Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

This appeal from Paul is for us individually and as a corporate body to respond to in faith. It is vital to apply in order that the life of Christ may be lived in and through you within the community of the saints and as you read the rest of Romans 12 and beyond you will see what the fruit of doing so looks like.

A Final Exhortation
When we make a resolute presentation of our lives continually to Christ as a living sacrifice not being conformed to the pattern of this world, that includes the estimation of yourself, success, power, money, material possessions, past mistakes, age and accomplishments and lack thereof, etc., and begin to be transformed by the renewing of our minds according to the realization of Christ, the revelation of Christ in you and in you all as the community of believers we will see the ever growing expression of the glorious Christ in and through us. That is why this is called a walk of faith because we cannot trust ourselves and the Lord is showing us that He is all in all.

The enemy is defeated and the only place he has ground in us is when we either lose sight of the truth and begin relying on the old man again or have an area of our heart that is not submitted to the Lordship of Christ. Either way the Lord is merciful and faithful to work in us both to will and do His good pleasure. Turn to Him now, Call on His name and thank Him that He has placed you inside of Himself and that you can safely rest in His arms trusting in Him fully.


You can find the full post and comment thread at Seth’s blog, Straight Plow.

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