The Salvation of Jesus (3), the Path to Progress: “Knowing”

The Salvation of Jesus (3), the Path to Progress: “Knowing”
Unser Herr lebt, Issue 54, 2020
Gotthold Beck

In today's sermon, I would like to study the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 23, verses 33-43 and the Epistle to the Romans chapter 6, verse 1-11 and discuss the “knowing as the path to the progress.”

The purpose of the Lord God is for us to be transformed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus. When this is realized in us, we will be able to say just as Paul did, “I no longer live, but the Messiah lives in me (Galatians 2.20).”

The question, by the way, is how this can actually happen to us.

We have learned in the previous articles about two fundamental facts we absolutely need to know, which were, “sin of humans and the value of the Lord Jesus' blood” and “the value of the Cross of the Lord Jesus to our old man.” Without these facts, it is not possible for us to stand on a firm and unshakable foundation. These facts of grace are the foundation of our faith life.

We can see from the New Testament that there is a clear difference between the blood of the Lord Jesus and the Cross. The Epistle to the Romans, chapter 1, verse 1 to chapter 5, verse 11 can be summarized as follows: “what have we done?” “we have sinned,” “what is there for us to blot out our sins?” and “there is the blood of the Lord Jesus.” And it is stated that the consequence is our forgiveness. This can be seen clearly from the following two verses:

Whom God offered as a place where atonement by the Messiah’s blood would occur through faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because He had waited patiently to deal with sins committed in the past. (Romans 3:25)

Now that we have been justified by His blood, how much more will we be saved from wrath through Him! (Romans 5:9)

Then, the next part of the Epistle to the Romans, starting from verse 12 of chapter 5 to the end of chapter 8 can be summarized as; “what we are,” “we are sinners,” “what is the solution to this fact?” and “it is nothing but the Cross.” It is also explained that its consequence is our deliverance. It can be seen from the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 6, verse 6:

We know that our old natures were crucified with Him so that our sin-laden bodies might be rendered powerless and we might no longer be slaves to sin. (Romans 6:6)

Although, as we have seen, the 'blood' and the 'Cross' of Jesus are considered as two separate things, the work of the salvation of the Lord Jesus was one. In other words, there are two different sides to the salvation of Lord Jesus. And we need to experience each of these sides independently in order to make the salvation ours.

What is the purpose of the Lord God? I have already explained to you a number of times and let me say it to you again. It is God's will and purpose for us to be transformed into the likeness of His Son, Jesus. It was for this reason that the blood of the Lord Jesus had to be shed. For our own forgiveness and then after we are forgiven, for us to be transformed into His likeness, the blood of the Lord Jesus was shed and the Lord had to die on the Cross with us. This is an immovable fact that we all need to understand.

We have already learned these facts, but what are we like in real life? Are we actually being transformed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus? Are we actually living the life of victory that is promised to us? If not, what does it take for us to live such a life?

Let us learn from the Epistle to the Romans chapters 6-8 to find the answer to this question. I think that the answer has the following four aspects.

The first aspect is knowing. The expression “know” appeared three times in these chapters: as in “don’t you know?” in chapter 6 verse 3, and “we know” in verses 6 and 9.

Secondly, it is to reckon or to calculate. It is written in chapter 6, verse 11, “you must consider.” (The Greek word for this “to consider” means “to calculate.”)

The third aspect is to offer or to yield. Chapter 6, verses 12 and 14, clarifies to whom we should yield ourselves.

The fourth aspect is to walk by the Spirit. These chapters, centralized in chapter 8, verse 4, tell us what it is for us to walk according to the Holy Spirit.

We need to experience these four things in our daily lives. Until we experience these four things, we will continue to sin and be forgiven and sin again and then repeat the same thing; we will continue to live a life like riding on a carousel with a pious face.

How can we progress and move forward internally and spiritually? How can we continue to live a life of victory? Furthermore, what does it take for the likeness of the Lord Jesus to be formed in us?

Let us begin with the first aspect, “knowing.” In the following part, let us discuss the “knowing” from three questions about it. Firstly, what do we need to know? Secondly, in what way should we know that? And thirdly, why do we need to know? Now, let us take a look at these three points together.


1. What is it that We Absolutely Need to Know?

The answer to this question is that it is a “historical fact” that we have been crucified with the Lord Jesus.

This historical fact is clearly stated in the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 6, verses 1-11. When Jesus died, we too died in Jesus and with Jesus at the same moment, which means that death of Jesus was a death of our substitute. Those who have not seen this fact in the eyes of their hearts will not make spiritual progress.

Unless we realize that the Lord Jesus took our sin on His own body and became the full embodiment of our sin when He died on the Cross, we cannot be justified. In the same manner, if we fail to see in the eyes of our hearts the fact that we were crucified with the Lord and died, we cannot move forward. Not only with our sin, but with ourselves, Jesus took the Cross.

How did you obtain the forgiveness of your sin? First of all, you acknowledged the fact that the Lord Jesus bore your sin on His own body and died a sacrificial death on your behalf on the Cross. You then, realized that the blood of Jesus cleanses every single one of your sins. When, you found out this way, that the Lord Jesus bore the entire debt of your sin on His own body and died on the Cross, what did you do about it?

Did you pray then, “Please come to me. Please die for my sin”? Instead, you must have prayed, “Lord Jesus, I thank you for your having already accomplished all things for me.” For it is a fact that has been done in the remote past that Jesus has already finished all things on behalf of you on the Cross.

Now, what do we have to do for the 'deliverance' from our sins? Just like for the forgiveness of your sins, it is not necessary for us to pray and ask for it. The work of our salvation, that is to say, the “work of the forgiveness of our sin and our deliverance” has been already completed as a fact. Therefore, all we need to do is to recognize that fact and be thankful for that fact.

The Lord God had placed us in Christ. Therefore, when Jesus died on the Cross, we died with Him. For it is a definite fact, there is no need for us to pray anymore saying, “Jesus, I am such an evil person. Please crucify me.” When you realized that your sin has been already forgiven, you no longer prayed, “please come and forgive my sins.” In the same way, it is not necessary to pray, “Jesus, please put my old self on the cross.”

The forgiveness of our sin has already been accomplished by His Blood and the deliverance from our self has been completed by the Cross. This is a fact that has occurred in the past. All you can do is to thank the Lord Jesus for being crucified on your behalf and having led you to your death.

My dear brothers and sisters, let us give sincere thanks to the Lord and walk in the light of this amazing fact. When we do, what is written in Psalm 106, verse 12 will truly happen to us. It is written, “Then believed they his words. They sang his praise.”

If somebody asks us, “do you believe that the Lord Jesus has died on the Cross already?” we would answer without hesitation, “of course, I do.” But why do we believe so? We believe it because it is clearly stated in the Bible, which consists of the Word of God. It is declared in the Bible, the Word of God, that the Lord did not just die for our sins, but He died with us.

It is written in the Epistle to the Romans chapter 5, verse 8, “Christ died for us.” Christ died for me, for you. This is the fact that can never be shaken.

Furthermore, it is written the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 6, verse 6, that “our old man is crucified with Christ,” and in verse 8, “we have died with Christ.” This too, is the fact that nobody can deny. Why did we have to “be crucified with Christ?” And when was the day that we were crucified? Was that yesterday? Is it today? Or will it be tomorrow?

The Word of God states that “we have died with Christ.” It was exactly at the same time as Jesus died two thousand years ago that we were crucified and died, which is the historical fact.

Why do you believe that Jesus died on the Cross? Is it because you feel that way? No, I do not believe that you have ever felt it in your mind. You believe it because it is written so in the Bible, the Word of God.

As it is stated in the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 23, verses 33-43, two malefactors were crucified with the Lord Jesus, one on the right hand side and the other on the left. You cannot feel this fact in your heart. But you believe it. You believe it because it is written in the Bible, which is made of the Word of God.

You believe that Jesus was put on the Cross, He died and that the two malefactors were crucified with Him. However, do you really believe that you too have been crucified?

Those two malefactors were crucified each on their own cross. And they each died at different times than Jesus. However, you were put to the same cross as Jesus and died at the exact same moment as Him. How can this fact be realized?

It can be realized because the Lord Jesus Himself has said so. This knowledge has nothing to do with what we feel. Regardless of whether we feel it or not, it is a historical fact. It is also a fact that when the Lord Jesus died on the cross, the two malefactors died on the cross too. And we died on the Cross in the same way. It is also an immovable fact.

We died. The dice of destiny has been cast. And it is written the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 6 verse 7, “he that is dead is freed from sin.” This is the gospel to all believers, isn't it?

No matter how strong we intend to be, no matter how hard we struggle and try, we cannot experience the crucifixion by ourselves. There is no other way for us to be crucified than to receive by faith, the work that has already been accomplished.

In what way, were you saved? How did you become a believer? Was it by reading the Bible? Or, were you saved by praying, attending church, or by donating money? Never. There was a time when you discovered the work that the Lord Jesus has accomplished on behalf of you and then you accepted that work of salvation into your heart and thanked it. At that time, you felt joy, peace and hope rising in your heart.

Brothers and sisters, I want you to always remember this. I want you to remember that reaching the salvation and the holiness of the Lord, in other words, your “forgiveness and deliverance” are on the same foundation. In the same way, as you were forgiven for your sin, you can be delivered from your sin. God's method of deliverance is totally different from the one that men use.

While people struggle to be delivered from their sin by restraining this sin with their efforts and overcoming them, the measure God uses is to cast away the old man from them. Many believers are saddened by their weakness. They wish that they should be stronger and struggle, but they always fail. They even try harder with all their might, believing that they need to be delivered from their sin by their own strength, but they end up realizing the power of their sin deep in themselves. They also become acutely aware of their own helplessness against the power of their sin. Such experience of failure often steers us in the wrong direction.

It is often the power that we seek on such occasions. We reckon that somehow, we need to gain more strength to overcome our sin. We hope that if only we could be stronger, if only this weakness in my character could be made stronger, which just causes us great distress. However, this way of self-pitying is not God's way of deliverance.

The Lord God's way of liberating us is not to ever strengthen us. It is actually to weaken us day by day. The Lord God accomplishes our deliverance from the power of sin. It is done not by strengthening our old man, but actually by killing the work of our old man. If you understand this, you will no longer strive in your own strength.

2 How Should We Know it?

Now, as the second question, in what way should we learn this historical fact? The answer is by the revelation.

The first step of Christians' life should begin with a knowledge given by the revelation. This knowledge by revelation is of a completely different nature than other teachings or head knowledge of what they call truths. When the eyes of our hearts are opened, and we understand what we received in Christ, we have made this knowledge of revelation our own. This is what the Spirit does for us.

How do you know that your sin has been forgiven? Where did this knowledge come from? Did someone tell you about it in church? No, absolutely not. This knowledge was given to us from above by the Lord Jesus Himself through the revelation. Of course, we can find some description regarding the forgiveness of our sin in the Scripture. However, it is not until the Father of Glory, the Lord God Himself sends the spirit of wisdom and revelation to the person, that this fact gets connected with their faith as the personal knowledge of the reader. Then and only then, will you be able to comprehend this historical fact. This is how the Word God written in the Bible needs to become a word living in you.

The forgiveness of our sins could be obtained by revelation. The same is true for deliverance from the power of sin. If you open the eyes of your heart wide and discover the fact that you are already dead in Jesus Christ, you will experience the amazing deliverance from the power of sin.

The Epistle to the Romans, chapter 6, verse 6 says, “our old man is crucified with Christ.” You can memorize these Word of God. But it is not enough. We need to know the fact described in this Word of God, “I was crucified with Christ” through revelation. We may not be able to feel it, understand it, or realize it right away. Still, we know it. We may not be able to comprehend it clearly in our minds, but our being saved, our being crucified with the Lord Jesus has become our own experience unknowingly. It is because we were made known about it by revelation.

When you know by revelation, the fact that you have been crucified with the Lord Jesus, that knowledge instantly becomes the deepest truth in you, which can never be moved by anything.

There are so many Christians who seem to be living victorious lives. If you ask them how they can live that way, their answers would be different for each. Many people use their favorite verses just in order to justify what they have experienced. I must say that this is a horrible tragedy. What kind of special experience people have gone through or what particular teachings have they learned that are not so important. What is important is whether each person has seen the Lord Jesus, the work that the Lord Jesus has accomplished in the eyes of their hearts.

If the experience and testimony of that person is apart from the Lord Jesus, and it does not have much to do with Jesus, then it is just useless. It was this point that Paul emphasized in the Epistle to Romans, chapter 6, verse 6, when he wrote, that we “have been crucified with Christ.”

Have you heard about the battle of faith of Hudson Taylor, the great man of faith, who preached the gospel in China? He once sincerely sought a life in which the Life of the Lord Jesus flows out abundantly from within him. However, he had no clue as to how he could jump into Jesus. He tried very hard, but to no avail.

Suddenly, however, the day of deliverance came. One day, the eyes of his heart were opened by the Holy Spirit, who made him recognize that he had already died with the Lord in Jesus Christ, he has been buried with the Lord, he has risen with the Lord and that he is now allowed to sit in heavenly place with the Lord (Ephesians 2:6).

The Lord God spoke these things to Hudson Taylor in His Word. As a result, he realized that God was the One who knew all things that he did not even have a clue of, which made him determine to reckon his faith firmly and step forward by the Word of God. From this moment on, he was able to enter into an amazing life of faith.

The Lord is the vine and he is the branch. He is a part of the vine. He found out that he has been so since he did not even know it and it was not what just happened to him at that time. He has learned that it is so pointless to ask, “please make a branch of the vine.”

For example, it is meaningless and unimaginable for someone who is already in a room to wish desperately and struggle to enter that room. In the same way, if the eyes of your hearts are opened by revelation and you realize that you are already in the Lord Jesus, you will stop struggling to get into Jesus.

The more we know of the Word of God by revelation, the less we pray for ourselves and the more we will thank the Lord. Why do we pray about ourselves so much? It is because the eyes of our hearts have not been truly opened to what the Lord has accomplished already.

Here is another example. This believer is very much stressed, reflecting his own spiritual condition. As this person looks around and sees the admirable life of other believers that is filled with victory, he wonders why his life is not like theirs and he thinks that he may not even be a believer. There, two other believers show up. They take pity on that person and try to convince him to talk to him for a couple of hours, “You can do nothing apart from Jesus. You do neither get anything nor experience anything apart from Jesus,” but to no avail. This distressed believer tells them: “I need to pray more and more.” Then, the two believers say, “Jesus has already prepared and provided all things for you. We do not need to pray and ask for anything anymore, do we?” Then, this distressed believer reply, “Jesus has not given me all things yet. If Jesus has given me all things already, I can never be so irritable and still be of such a weak personality. I need to pray harder and harder.” The two insist, “do you believe that, if you seek and pray, you will receive all things you prayed for?” This afflicted believer is compelled to confess, “unfortunately, I must say that I have not received anything.” Then the two say, “we have never made any effort for our own salvation. In the same way, it takes no effort from us to come to holiness.”

Then, the third brother comes in and picks up a thermos bottle in there as he asks a question to this distressed brother. “You know, what would you think if this thermos bottle begins to pray desperately to turn itself into a thermos bottle?” “Oh, it is just ridiculous. It is already a thermos bottle.” “You are so right. But you have been doing the same ridiculous thing as that thermos bottle until now. The Lord God has placed you inside Christ since the eternity past, and you have gone through death, you have been raised with Christ and now you are living in the new life, the life of victory. Therefore, there is no need for you to pray and ask for yourself 'please crucify me with the Lord and let me live the life of victory.' The Lord is telling you that your old self is already dead and you have eternal life. It is a pointless prayer to pray and seek desperately for what you have already received. It is no longer necessary.... The Lord has done it already. The only thing necessary for you to do is to fix the eyes of your heart to this fact. You do not need to struggle very hard to make your old self die. Nor wait patiently until it dies, for you are already dead. All you need to do is to look with the eyes of your heart at what the Lord has done for you and offer up a sincere prayer of gratitude for it. You only need to say, 'God, I thank you. You took up someone like me, placed me in Christ and have given me all things with Christ. I thank You from the bottom of my heart.'”

This way, when this third brother finished speaking about the secret of living the life of victory, the Lord had mercy on this distressed brother and gave him a light from above. Then, this man began to live a life according to His will.

3 Why Do We Need to Know this Fact?

Now, this is the final question. What is the reason that we need to know this fact by revelation? The answer is because, in order for all kinds of problems in our lives to be led to a fundamental solution, the Cross is absolutely necessary. Let us discuss this point briefly.

Suppose that today, the Japanese government makes a statement that the harm of alcohol is a horrible threat to civilian life and enacts a law to prohibit all kinds of alcohol. And then, police officers go around all stores and bars to confiscate alcohols. Would this really stop the people from drinking? No, it won't. That is not enough. It is meaningless unless all factories that make liquors are shut down.

We are all so stubborn in nature. Here, our deed may be likened to goods called 'liquor.' Jesus has shed His blood on the Cross and has forgiven our sin. He made a crackdown of these goods, so to speak. However, the Lord is not satisfied with that. He wants to eliminate, not only the goods, but also all the factories. The Lord believes that He needs to take care of all sinners.

Because the Blood of the Lord Jesus was just perfect and sufficient, we receive the forgiveness of our sins without our own effort. In the same way, we can be delivered from the power of sin without using our strength. When the Lord Jesus accomplished the perfect salvation, He cared a lot, not only about the goods, that is to say, the sin but also about the factories, that is to say, the sinners themselves.

The Blood of the Lord Jesus sanctifies us from each and every one of our sins. Furthermore, when He died on the Cross, He also put on the Cross our sinful nature that was inherited from the first man, Adam. May we see this historical fact, the fact about God by revelation. When we do, all our problems will be solved from the ground up as the ice thaws. To conclude this article, let us read again from chapter 6 of the Epistle to the Romans:

We know that our old natures were crucified with Him so that our sin-laden bodies might be rendered powerless and we might no longer be slaves to sin. (Romans 6:6)

It is written, “we know.” Do we truly know that our old natures have been crucified with Christ? Have you realized it by revelation? Or, in fact, do you not know it yet? It is written in verse 3:

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into union with the Messiah Jesus were baptized into His death? (Romans 6:3)

When we were baptized into union with Christ Jesus, it was actually the testimony that we were baptized into His Death.

May the Lord Jesus open the eyes of our heart and let us see this fact.

The Japanese recording of this sermon is available in the “Brother Beck's archived files” section in our Robanoko Server.

In the next discussion, we are planning to post the continuing sermon, 'The Path to Progress: “Reckoning."'