Dead and Risen With Christ

I begin by stating that no one is in power for Christ here who does not come from Him at the other side of Jordan.

I do not mean that each one really knows all that is involved in having crossed over, that is, that they have so fully entered into what it is to have died with Christ experimentally, that they are severed from everything in this scene by His death; but I say that when we are established in grace, and are not only in peace with God but in deliverance, knowing that we are in Christ before Him, "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus" making me "free from the law of sin and death," we begin to realize that this world is a wilderness, and that our life is not here.

Now this is a great moment in our history. Nothing here can conduce to our life in Christ: it is only by the Spirit we can enjoy it, or enjoy Him where He is. 1 admit it is very faintly and feebly we do so as a rule, but if it is so precious and valuable when we know it even a little, how much more so when we know it in its fulness. At any rate I think it is of deep moment that each of us should experience that we have died to things here, and that we are alive to His things in His life. There is no other road to heaven but through the wilderness, and when we have learned by the Spirit of God dwelling in us that He is our life in the sphere where He now is, it is our joy and strength to taste even a little that things here are closed to us; but being severed by association with Himself from a scene where He is not, we enter a scene where everything is according to Him, and though we have to resume the links here, we do so as knowing something of the scene beyond, which is properly ours through His grace.

First, as is typified in the Red Sea, we are freed from the judgment of God on us, and rejoice in the Saviour raised from the dead. Then we begin our journey according to God's appointment. There is nothing for us in the wilderness but Marah and manna; Marah - bitter water. We are free of the judgment of death, but we have to accept death, we are still in the mortal body, the body of death, and we have to learn in our connection with this world that we have no living link with it; but death becomes sweet to us because Christ has gone through it, and as we are dependent on Him, we receive of His grace, and walk here according to His pleasure. But often it is a long and painful exercise before we learn (as in Numbers 21) that all is ruin here and in us also, but that as risen with Christ our life is with Him outside of it all, and the Holy Ghost is in us; then the one thought is not how to get on in the world which has become to us the wilderness, but how to live with Christ outside it. We learn, as in the Epistle to the Colossians, that we have "died with Christ from the rudiments of the world," the reproach of Egypt is rolled off "in putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" - then, as risen with Him, we are over Jordan; and a new scene, the sphere of His life, opens before us, it is then we know Him as Head, and are able to carry out His pleasure in relation to His interests here. We do not enjoy union till we know Him as Head, hence, as I said at the beginning, no one is in power until he knows that he is over Jordan with Christ: he has to return here, for he has to work here, but he gets his support and his direction from the Lord where He is.

Now, as we are in service for the Lord, we find it is only as we walk practically "bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus," that the life of Jesus is manifested here. God, in His discipline, allows trials to help to cut us off from attractions here, that we might be efficient servants for Him. "We who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." This is more our daily path here; our enjoyment with Christ over Jordan is in the Spirit; the former is more connected with our walk.

The Lord give us all to realize more the blessedness of being with Him where He is! We lose nothing by being severed from present things, which only the mortal man could enjoy, for we are brought into the things which Christ enjoys, which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." J. B. Stoney.