SAVED BY HIS LIFE
Verse 10 says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
There is a book written by Major Ian Thomas on the “Saving Life of Christ.” I recommend it. It is printed by Zondervan and if you get the Clarion Classics addition it has combined two volumes written by Major Thomas, the other being, “The Mystery of Godliness.” Every Christian should have both these books.
I first obtained “The Saving Life of Christ” in about 1960 or 1961. I had never read anything that so enlightened me. The truth he sets forth in such simple language based on the clear teaching of the Scriptures thrilled me. I was at the time in a theological crisis over the truth of the filling of the Holy Spirit. I was taught the truth about the Holy Spirit in my home church and the school I went to. Thank the Lord for the good teaching I had there. But no school can teach you how to be filled and stay filled with the Holy Spirit. It just does not happen in school. Oh, they teach Pneumatology. And the doctrine needs to be taught. The filling of the Holy Spirit must be based on a clear understanding of Scripture. Otherwise you have what we have today, utter confusion, most of which has no Scriptural foundation whatsoever.
So when I read what Ian Thomas had to say about the resurrected Christ living in me and that faith is what relates what he is in me to every situation in life, I wept for joy and said this is it! This is the explanation I have been looking for. It is Scriptural all the way. He said the way you appropriated what he is in his resurrection life in you was to be a simple faith relationship. It is not a matter of praying for his incoming. If I have been reconciled to God by his death, I have also been regenerated by his Holy Spirit. If I have been regenerated by his Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit has taken up his abode in me by virtue of that act. You do not pray for someone to come in who is already in! Just imagine that you came to see me. You enter my home and for the next hour I keep saying “would you please come in and have a seat.” You would think that was a little odd! And after a while, you would become uncomfortable. How do you think the Holy Spirit feels when he has been in our lives since the New Birth, whenever that was, and we continue to beg him to come in? So by faith one is to simply thank him for the truth of his indwelling and begin by faith to relate everything to his resurrection presence within.
When I discovered that truth, I just simply got on my knees and thanked the Lord that he was there and had been there all the time. I can’t explain the joy I had when I did that. I was walking on the clouds. I was so filled with energy I had to go somewhere. I’ve even forgotten where I was going. It may have been to make a hospital call. As I drove my car down the road a little old lady, God bless her, drove out in front of me and was driving about ten miles an hour in a 45 mile an hour zone. I discovered that what I had experienced just ten minutes ago was not as simple as I thought! If that little old lady could have known what I was thinking she would probably have responded by pulling her car over to the side of the road and let me by out of fear for her life!! And I had just been “filled with the Holy Spirit!”
It is amazing what God allows to happen in our circumstances to let us know we have not arrived! I went back home like a whipped pup. I read what Ian Thomas said again and tried again. Something like that happened again. I put the book on the shelf and it stayed there for several years. I would see that book and want to take it down and read it again. But my disappointment was so great that I couldn’t bear to do it. I was not disappointed in the book. It was not the book’s fault! I just thought there was something wrong with me that put the truth he was proclaiming out of my reach. And I was right. There was something wrong with me. And I was wrong. It was not out of my reach.
My mistake was that I had not yet learned that the filling of the Holy Spirit does not change the flesh (John 6:63). I had believed the devil’s lie that the filling of the Holy Spirit made the flesh acceptable. Now when you believe that, you try to educate the flesh to act right. And I must say, with all honest Christians, it is a futile attempt. I continually sought the Holy Spirit to do away with the evil thoughts, evil tendencies and make the flesh obey God. I just couldn’t talk him in to doing that. But for years I never quit trying.
Then there is the problem of settling down and accepting the Old Sin Nature as something that one can’t control, so quit trying. Just keep it in check enough to be respectable. Romans seven was a real encouragement to me. I said, if Paul had such a struggle, then maybe I’m not too far off base. The Lord will finally deliver in the end!!! And that end was the rapture or resurrection to me.
But what about holiness now. What about godly living now. Now you have to understand, I was a fundamentalist. I still haven’t been to a movie in years (but for a different reason now). I didn’t smoke. My hair was short, off the collar and above the ears! I told women how to dress. I’m telling you I was a fundamentalist. But something kept eating at me. I preached all this and many of those to whom I preached practiced it. And as I watched their lives and mine, I realized that there were those in my congregation who did some of those things I preached against, that were more Spiritual than those of us who didn’t. I began to realize that the filling of the Holy Spirit was not God’s reward for our faithfulness but his gift to our weakness.
Oh how many times I have preached, “If you want God’s power, you will have to straighten out your life.” I would shout from the pulpit, “God will not fill a dirty vessel.” The Lord began to deal with me about that. I said, If a Christian can straighten out his life without the Holy Spirit (remember you are praying for his fullness and his power to come upon you), then there is power in the flesh too at least live good enough to be filled and stay filled with the Holy Spirit. I knew this was not true Biblically. This does not harmonize with the fact that man is so depraved by nature that absolutely nothing good can originate in the flesh that pleases God (Rom. 7:18).
In desperation I got Ian Thomas’ book back off the shelf. I also read the book “The Calvary Road” by Roy Hession. I learned the truth that I was reconciled to God by Christ’s death on the cross and that he was raised again to live his resurrection life in me. And that resurrection life would only save me from the present dominion of sin as I trusted him with every situation with which I was confronted. Finally I sat down in him in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6). The attempts of self improvement stopped. I experienced freedom in that truth. I was back now driving down the road and I was ready for the little old lady this time! I discovered that all my striving for holiness I had in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30). “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4). I discovered that you cannot be more right with God than the blood makes you. And as I walked in the Spirit and things arose that was about to cause the loss altitude, I simply confessed it as sin and was cleansed by the precious blood of Christ on the spot. Well, it has been different since that day. You ask, “Why did it take you so long?” For one thing, I wanted to do it myself. I only ask for help when I have exhausted every avenue of self help. God simply let me wear myself out. When I was completely exhausted and there was nothing left to try, I was ready to listen and believe. The day I did that something happened I can’t explain. If I did then you would try to get my experience instead of Jesus. Jesus is salvation and the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Col. 2:10).
Well, I started this meditation to explain Romans 5:10. As I began to write, it turned into a personal testimony.
May God bless you.