26 Feb 2014 by Tony Dibble-
The Christian is responsible for his own actions. Yet, he must remain in Christ and be subjected to GOD’s direction. How is the Christian to organise his life in such a context? Andrew Murray’s “Abide in Christ” is one of the many books that treats this subject in perspective.
In Rom 7: 18 St Paul says that “in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing.” St John said of Christ that “in Him is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin” (1 John 3: 5& 6).
Sin has NOT been put out totally. Sin is waiting to reappear at the slightest opportunity granted to it. Though we are dead to self, the self is not yet dead—it is there, waiting to be revived and ever-ready to feed on sin. We, no doubt, have been transformed by the renewing of our minds since we have ceased to be conformed to the world (Rom 12:2). We have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to help us pray, and to sanctify our life completely (Rom 8:26; 1 Cor 6:19; John 16:13).
However, temptation from Satan is always present. We therefore need to be certain that we have the correct spiritual relationship in Christ in order to sustain ourselves. We must always look completely towards Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith, without any slackening. This will rightfully take away our own stress in keeping ourselves spiritually afloat.
Christ has complete authority over all things (Matt 28:18) and has the power that goes with it. Without Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). In Christ, we can do all things as He is our strength, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (Phil 4:13; 1 Cor 1:30). Not that He gives us these things, but that He IS these things as we ABIDE in Him.
Whilst we know that Christ’s death has terminated the bill for the price and the power of sin, we may somewhat negligently, fail to exercise complete faith in the total power of Christ. An unnoticeable element of doubt may also be there because the self is exerting its revival, telling us what to do on our own steam–and the devil is the ally of self. We need to be constantly alert and know that Christ works in us mightily and that in His strength, we overcome temptation from the power of sin. We should take a very serious view about exercising our total faith in Christ.
We must remember that we are nothing but the dust of the earth (Gen 3:19; Ecc 3:20). Therefore, we cannot rely on our own strength to live, without sinning. We must instead depend on the power of Christ to subdue all things to Himself (1 Cor 15:27), including and especially, our own potential for collapsing back into sin. In this way, all our thoughts and actions would be done in Christ. The life we then live, is the life wherein Christ lives in us (Gal 2: 20).
We must trust Christ to work in us, to direct us by His own power and to do, according to his own good pleasure (Phil 2:13). This requires putting off the flesh and walking according to the new nature of Christ (Eph 4:24).
The Christian must be extremely careful that in his salvation he finds it TOTALLY in Christ—not with the ‘help’ of Christ, but completely in Christ. Anything short of this is a hidden and dangerous reliance on himself. A partial dependence on Christ is no dependence at all. Christ is not second-class to qualify as a back-up influence or a power to be shared in our bodies, souls, minds and, spirits. Christ must be in control, and FULL CONTROL at that.
The correct and spiritual way is to accept ourselves as dead to our own efforts to save ourselves. This is not a psychological orientation: it is consistent with Romans 6:11. Christ paid the full price of sin. This is ‘spiritual accounting’. Sin is the debit: Christ’s death the credit. This is what ‘reckon’ or ‘consider’ (the word in verse 11) means. It is a fact. It is not wishful thinking away of the hold that sin could have on us. Sin in effect, has no power unless we give it the slightest consent. We therefore are to do nothing except to receive Christ, every moment of the day. We are to allow Him COMPLETELY, to live and work in us, in EVERYTHING that we think, or do.
The failure to realise this is possibly the one reason why Christians may sometimes fall away. They love Christ but have failed to take Him in completely: the devil has convinced them that Christ is a ‘helper’, a back-up. Their own self is then revived and gradually takes back the control in their lives. Christ wants the TOTAL PERSON—He will not settle for anything less, ‘helper’ or whatever.
References for pictures