The Impossible is Possible in Him
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Tags: Christ in us Identity in Christ Identity in Christ Christ Through Us
Welcome to Life as God Intended. I'm Don Burzynski. And I'd like to have a conversation with you today. In fact, this is our final broadcast of a six-part series on the vitally important topic of your identity in Christ. So, I hope you've had the opportunity to listen to all the previous broadcasts. And if you haven't, I'm going to encourage you to do so. Start at the beginning and listen to them in the order that we presented them. Because I think you'll find that helpful. And so, in today's broadcast, we are kind of wrapping up where we left off last week, kind of a second part of the topic of the New Testament commands and your identity. And, as you remember, in that broadcast, we laid the groundwork for understanding what the Scriptures teaches on the all important matter of behavior and our identity in Christ.
And we began to explain in that discussion about these imperative commands in the New Testament. We said there were over a thousand of them in the New Testament and how those imperative commands are fulfilled by understanding the indicative mood. So, again, if you didn't listen to that broadcast, please do because we kind of explained that a little bit. And we learned that for a Christian to behave Christian, we must emphasize both what God has done in Christ and also man's response to God. So, there we see a beautiful illustration of God's Grace activity and our faith response. And for any of us to experience the Christ's life and experience God's behavior, through, or God's character, I should say, through our behavior, there's got to be both: God's Grace and our faith response. We also acknowledged that the greatest challenge in the Christian's life is to behave Christian. And I don't know if you've - I'm not asking you to critique other Christians - but I don't know if you've noticed that Christians really do struggle with behavior.
It's kind of a common thing. It's like, "wait a minute, you're a Christian? That doesn't look like Christian behavior". And that's because of the fact that really you and I, as Christians, I have, you know, we have an inability. We don't have the ability in and of ourselves to produce character. We derive character. And we don't have the ability to produce Christ's life character for sure. Anybody that tells you that, just take them back to Genesis Chapter 2 where the serpent suggested that you and I could be "like God", because that's where that lie came from. It came from Satan himself. So, therefore, when we consider keeping commandments, you know, our ability to keep the commandments, that's impossible. So, how are you and I supposed to do the impossible, especially remembering what Jesus had told us in John 15:5? Jesus said there that "apart from me, you can do nothing".
So, we see that the answer is always Christ. And since you are - and this is important - in spiritual union, if we don't understand that our identity is in union with Christ, then we're going to be out here attempting to do something that's not consistent with who we become spiritually. And so, we're in union with Christ. There is a spiritual union with Him, which is what determines our identity in the first place. And as a result of that spiritual union, the impossible is possible in Him. Isn't that awesome? The impossible is possible in Him. Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, "with people, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible". I love that.
So, Jesus obviously did not command anything. He didn't command us to do anything that He, Himself, is not willing to keep and perform in our identity in Him. So, He is the dynamic of His own demands. And if we lose sight of that, we essentially lose sight of what it means to behave as a Christian dependent on Christ as their life. Remember, your identity is a spiritual union. So, think of your participation with Christ as a union of doing. I like that, a union of doing. You're in union with Him, and He's the one that's wanting to live His life through you. So, He's the one that should be doing it. So, if you find yourself trying to do it, you might want to pause right there and back up and allow Him to initiate whatever it is He wants to do. As I mentioned, Jesus Christ is the dynamic of everything He asks you and I to do. He is the Dunamis. That's the Greek word for "the power". He is the enabling power. He is the energizing agent. He is the energizing God within the Christian that enables us to live out whatever He has commanded us to do.
So, now, all those thousand plus commands don't seem so impossible, because we are learning to rely on His supernatural power. In the new covenant of Grace, imperatives are always based on indicatives. And this is very important. The mood of command, which is what the imperative is, is accomplished by the mood of certainty, which is the indicative. So, the indicative is the mood of certainty or that which is active. So, the foundation for all Christian behavior is Christ. The fulfillment of all New Testament imperative verbs, or those commands we've been talking about, are fulfilled in the indicative of God's presence and sufficiency. So, it's not up to you to try to keep those commands. It's not up to you to try to live the Christian life. Christ does not ask anything of us that He is not willing to fulfill in us.
So, all we can do, and frankly all we should do, is to respond by faith to His Grace activity in us. Let me give you some Scriptural examples of this, because the Scriptures are full of them. I'm just giving you a sampling. Paul's admonition to quote, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," Philippians 2:12, is an imperative. The indicative statement is found in the next verse. "God is at work in you both to will and to work His good pleasure." So there you have the imperative and you have the indicative. Another example, "do not worry about anything". That's the imperative of Philippians 4:6. The following indicative is in Verse 13, "I can do all things through"; who? "Through Christ who strengthens me."
Paul said in 1 Thessalonians, "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Abstain from every form of evil." Every one of those are imperatives. But then he concludes the chapter in Verse 24 by stating, "Faithful is He who calls you and He will bring it to pass." That is the foundational indicative. I like to say, God who calls you to it will also do it. What about "love one another", John 13:34. That was Jesus' command. The ability for such obedient behavior is the indicative that "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts," by who? "By the Holy Spirit who has been given to us," Romans 5:5. The imperative is "be strong in the Lord," Ephesians 6:10. But our ability to do so is the indicative, as Paul says, "in the strength of God's might," Ephesians 6:10. So, what we're seeing here is that every Scriptural admonition is fulfilled by Jesus, Himself.
Even the the Scriptural admonition to forgive, "forgive those that have offended you", is dependent on the indwelling presence of the forgiver, Jesus Christ, who indwells you. For Paul says in Ephesians Chapter 4 in Verse 32, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other," now, watch it, "just as God in Christ also has forgiven you". Romans 12:1, Paul gives a command. He says, "I urge you, therefore, brethren" and "I command you, therefore, brethren". But, notice how it's accomplished. "By the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship."
So, in each one of these examples, we see that the imperatives are always based on the indicatives of God's Grace in Christ and are never commands for self-produced behavioral works of righteousness. If you find yourself doing that, that's a work of the flesh. That is not a work of Grace.
So, many of the imperative verbs demand action. And that cannot possibly be interpreted as a work on our part. It should, however, be seen only as a faith choice for us to participate with Jesus as our life. We are called to walk by faith, allowing the Living Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, to manifest His life in and through our behavior. In other words, Christ will be and do whatever He desires to uniquely be and do in each of us as we simply participate with Him. Behaving as a Christian that you have become is the birthright of your identity in Christ.
Thanks for watching today. And if you have any questions, I'd be happy to engage with you. Please give us a thumbs up for the video. And until next time, enjoy life as God intended.
Many may have never heard this before, but it is impossible for Christians to produce righteous behavior. This explains why keeping the New Testament commands appears to be unattainable, unreasonable and even impossible. So how on earth is one to achieve the impossible?
This question of despair only arises when we lose sight of who the source of our ability to will and to do is. Remember, Jesus said, “Apart from ME you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Since we are in spiritual-union with Christ, which determines our identity, the impossible is made possible through Him. Matthew 19:26 says, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” The answer is always Christ!
Jesus does not require that we fulfill any command that He is not willing to perform through our identity in Him. Our identity is a spiritual-union, so think of participating with Christ as a union of doing. He is the dynamic and power of all of His own demands, which enables us to live-out what He has commanded us to do. The foundation for all Christian behavior is Christ and can only be accomplished by God’s presence and sufficiency. Christ does not ask anything of us that He is not willing to fulfill in us. All we can do, or should do is respond by faith to His grace ability.
We are called to walk by faith, allowing the living Lord Jesus Christ to manifest His life in and through our behavior. In other words, Christ will be and do what he desires to uniquely be and do in each of us as we simply participate with Him. Behaving as the Christian we have become is the birthright of our identity in Christ.