110.1 - The Living Christ, Our Strong Guide: As we have already noted, God's redemptive agenda not only requires the means of forgiveness and reconciliation for His creature, but also the means of real renewal. For that reason, it is impossible for a believer to experience the completion of God's redemptive work without experiencing the reality of the Spiritual merger with the Living Christ.
So, this Spiritual merger with the character essence of the Living Christ becomes an indispensable part of the redemptive process. The New Testament speaks of this transformation through Christ in such passages as 2 Corinthians, chapter 5. There the Bible says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
Peter, in his epistle, also refers to this marriage of natures in 2 Peter, chapter 1, where he says, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust".
Jesus also speaks of this mysterious communion which exists between the Savior and the truly devoted believer in John, chapter 14. He says, "If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you."
110.2 The Implications: Throughout the New Testament, this remedy for the human frailty is mentioned. Consider the implications of all of this for the believer.
In simple terms, it means that the believer is no longer consigned to past failures. Rather, the devout believer now enjoys the real possibility of a consistent, every day, reality-base righteousness born of the empowering character essence of the Living Savior now living within him or her.
110.3 - Explaining The Mechanism of the Connection: So, our personal transformation, in the real terms of our everyday life, truly becomes enabled at the point of this Spiritual merger with Christ. And, the mechanism of this phenomenon is easily understood through the use of an analogy drawn from the study of physical genetics.
Consider the DNA code of the physical body. This genetic message entirely defines our basic physical characteristics. And, it is there, in an infant, (mostly unexpressed) form from the very moment of our conception. But, this encoded genetic message only fully expresses itself with time. So, also, is the Spiritual process.
Through our Spiritual merger with Christ, we become mystically connected to what might aptly be described the "character DNA" of Christ. And through that Spiritual connection, His character code becomes replicated within our own character essence in that primordial, or, largely unexpressed form.
But, instantly, this new Christ-based character encoding does change our character potential and our developmental direction. And, ultimately, as in the physical process, this new character DNA, will entirely define (or, in the redemptive sense, entirely redefine) our mature character essence.
In the physical, the more basic element within DNA is the gene. Our new Christ-based character DNA, is also composed of a system of more basic elements. Very simply, those elements are the divine values.
And again, as in the physical, there will also be environmental impacts, challenges, and setbacks, etc. which occur in the character development process in Christ. Nevertheless, these struggles in no way discount the process. They are, in fact, an important part of it.
So, with time, this new and empowering "Christ code" within the core person of the believer will, indeed, find its mature expression. It will eventually bring him or her to the mature, God-pleasing character image of Christ. Paul describes that believer completion this way in Ephesians, chapter 4, where he says," ... unto a perfect [mature] man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ..." [Brackets added]
110.4 - Back To That Evil Twin: Now, about that evil, subconscious twin. At this point, we can expand the thought that we brought out earlier. The thought was that this lingering subconscious desire for self-determination must be overpowered and arrested.
The idea was that this subconscious essential sin value would never voluntarily unseat itself. So, the overpowering and removal from power of this sin value, on that most primary governing level of the heart, is exactly what the Living Christ does His character essence integrates with that of the believer through the Spiritual baptism.
Very simply then, it is the first mission of the Spiritual merger and the Living Christ to deal with this lingering subconscious mindset of self-determination within our core person. And, He does it handily through the Spiritual merger and the resultant sharing of the divine value system.
It works like this. As a natural outflow of the value sharing facet of the Spiritual merger the strong faith value of Christ enriches the more frail faith value of the believer. Thus, the faith of the believer is strengthened by the divine faith of the Savior.
The apostle, Paul, described this phenomenon this way in Galatians 2:16, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
And in that same chapter he wrote this, " I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
And, in a more general way, but still alluding to the same redemptive remedy, the apostle said this in Romans, chapter 5, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
So, as a result of the believer's now Christ-empowered faith value, that subconscious argument is immediately settled. This happens because this stronger, Christ-enriched faith value (God's will be done in my life), now operating within the believer, is easily able to establish itself as the now always dominant value on that most primary governing level of the believer's core person.
Thus, the subconscious sin-value of self-determination now loses that strategic ascendant position and thus its ability to dominate in the believer's subconscious. Now, the believer's new Christ-enriched faith value is always ascendant on both the conscious and subconscious level of his or her heart.
So, where before, the default subconscious motive was self-determination, now it is one of profound humility of influence before God. No more, as long as he or she wishes, will the believer be governed on that most primary governing level of their heart by the impulse for self-government.
As long as the believer chooses to do so, he or she is free, empowered by the Living Christ, to consistently choose Christ-Governance over his or her life, and to do so with the whole heart. And, this Christ-empowered freedom positions us to expell the sin motive on the more secondary levels of our heart and life - truly enabling us to very literally become a new and godly creature in Christ - both inside and out.
110.5 - But Note, It's Not Just Trying Harder or Learning More: As a final thought, for the reasons that we have just outlined, the spiritual maturity which the Living Christ brings to the believer can never be thought of as merely a growth process or expanded human effort or learning. As noted, the spiritual merger with Christ certainly initiates a personal growth process. But, to be clear, it is not merely a growth process - and never can be. A new creature in Christ is the function of an actual Spiritual integration with the living character essence of Christ, not simply trying harder, learning more, or living longer.
Again, Jesus was clear in John, chapter 15: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me." So, absent a personal merger with Jesus Christ, which brings the vitality of "the Vine," (His empowering character essence) the believer is left without any real possibility of reaching a "God-approvable" state of completion.
To be sure, human effort can, in some measure, make us wiser and enable us to live somewhat more consistently than if we did not try at all. But, such effort cannot bring us true Heart-oneness with God. Thus, it cannot enable the truly intimate communion of an actual oneness of heart. It cannot enable us to conquer the sin impulse in our subconscious. It cannot bring us to the empowering faith of Christ. And, it cannot bring the profound peace which flows only from an undivided heart.