Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The significance of a prefix (2)

Our salvation begins and ends with the work of Christ, made real to us by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The New Testament calls this being in Christ.  It’s both a personal and church experience.
PHILIPPIANS 3:10  I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

The important little word.  The prefix co- tells us a lot.  It’s definite and active.  In Greek it’s sym.  We’re introduced to its meaning in our baptism (see Romans 6:3-8; Colossians 2:11-13).  But there’s lots more beyond.

1. Crucified with Him: Romans 6:6, Galatians 2:20.
2. Died with Christ:  Romans 6:8, 2 Timothy 2:11.
3. Buried with Him:  Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12.
4. Made Alive with Him:  Ephesians 2:5, Colossians 2:13.
5. Raised with Him:  Ephesians 2:6, Colossians 2:12, 3:1.
6. Living with Him:  Romans 6:8; 2 Timothy 2:11.
7. Seated with Him:  Ephesians 2:6.
8. (Enduring and) Reigning with Him:  2 Timothy 2:12.

GALATIANS 3:26  You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female,

In a fix.  Paul explains how the Jewish law relates to the gospel of Christ.  He majors on a co- word (in fact, repeated): declares…a prisoner, and locked up.  It means all mankind from every religion, culture and ethnic mix is in the same fix.  We feel increasing failure as we aim for goodness.  Every well-intentioned motive and action just leaves us more messed up.  We can’t reach salvation until faith in Christ breaks through. 
GALATIANS 3:21  Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God?  Absolutely not!  For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.  22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.  23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.  24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

In labour.  In the middle of the Romans “crucified… dead… living… with Christ” text is the important clue how it all works.  We share birth or generation with Christ (6:5) that takes us from death to resurrection.
ROMANS 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him

Growth.  Having got across the point that this is a new life, Paul unpacks the results (8:16,17).  The Spirit co-testifies with us, we are co-heirs, we suffer together, and will share His glory.  Christ has pioneered it all.
ROMANS 8:15  you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."  16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Body growth.  Union with Christ by the Spirit leads us to the body of which He is head.  Absolutely.
EPHESIANS 4:15  speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.COLOSSIANS 2:17  the reality, however, is found in Christ.    19 from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

Summary.  As well as becoming like Christ (Philippians 3:10) we now have more co- words to focus on.
9. Locked up as prisoners: Galatians 2:22, 23.
10. Generated with Him:  Romans 6:5.
11. The Spirit’s witness:  Romans 8:16.
12. Co-Heirs with Christ:  Romans 8:17, Ephesians 3:6.
13. Sharing His suffering: Romans 8:17.
14. Sharing His glory:  Romans 8:17.
15. Joined/fitted into the body whose Head is Christ:  Ephesians 2:21, 4:16.
16. Held together:  Ephesians 4:16, Colossians 2:2, 19.
17. Bound in (for growth):  Colossians 2:19.

Application.  The dynasty and destiny of Adam is ended, and humanity’s life-spring must become Christ.
* Describe your experience of being locked-up in the frustration of trying to live a good life outside of Christ.
* Have you fully discarded all the marks and influence of your first birth to start again and rise with Christ?
* Is some notional “relationship with Christ” salvation?  Or the gritty working out of loyalty in the Body’s life?

All quotations are from the New International Version

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