The incident on the road to Emmaus has always captured the interest of believers. The record is given in Mark 16:12 and Luke 24:13-35. On my part, I had always wanted to know the depth and detail that Jesus shared with the two disciples. The record intrigued me in Luke 24:27, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” If only I could have been there; what a tremendous knowledge of the Old Testament I would have!
However, I have now been able to place this incident in its right context in relation to the Church of today. No doubt a record of that conversation would be wonderful to have, but it would be overshadowed by another section of God’s Word. To believers in the Church age, the revelation given to Paul of our identification with Christ is far greater.
I often sang the old negro spiritual, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Now I would sing, “I was there when they crucified my Lord! I was there when God raised Him from the dead!”
Ephesians 2:10 is a tremendous verse of Scripture and is the logical place to start our discussion. “For we are his workmanship…” Concerning believers, there is no such thing as a self-made man. We are His workmanship. Anything we are, anything that counts, anything that will help us manifest the more than abundant life is due to the fact that we are His workmanship. Do you think He is satisfied with His workmanship? Why yes — it is God’s workmanship. He doesn’t need a quality control department, because His work is perfect every time. We are His workmanship, and He is satisfied with His work in us.
However, most believers today think that God is not satisfied with His workmanship. They may not say it that plainly, but their actions clearly reveal this concept. Christians are willing to listen to preachers if they tell them what they need to do, or what they ought to be. But when we boldly tell them what they are in Christ, we are called heretics; we are over–emphasising; we are Biblical literalists. I would rather believe what God says than what people think He says. When you know the emphasis that the Bible gives, you can tell people what they are in Christ and what Christ is in them, and that covers every need mankind has ever had or will have. Our need is to see what the Word of God says about us, not what we think about ourselves. God says “we are His workmanship”.
The Greek word for “workmanship” is poiema, from which we transliterate the word “poem”. It has been suggested that the word means a “masterpiece”. “For we are His masterpiece…”; not just something that He has worked on, but the crowning piece of work that He produced. It is something that reflects the greatness of the One who did the workmanship. The Word says that you and I are masterpieces.
Remember, the greatness of what I am is because Christ died and rose from the dead. Without Him I can do nothing, but with Him I can do all things, with Him I will never fail. I am what God says I am because of what God did for me in Jesus upon the cross of Calvary. In God’s sight, from His point of view, we were identified with Christ at that time. Our lives were linked up with His life when He made salvation a reality.
The revelation from God to Paul in Galatians 2:20 states: “I am crucified with Christ.. ” The phrase should be in the past tense, as given in many recent translations: “I have been crucified with Christ…” When Christ was crucified, spiritually I was there. I was crucified with, together with, Christ. The same truth is stated in Romans 6:6, “Knowing this, that our old man is [was] crucified with him.”
This matter of identification is sometimes difficult to comprehend, but we will see the greatness of it as we work through the events of that time. It is a great spiritual truth that in God’s sight, when Christ was crucified, I was crucified with Him. When He was nailed to the cross, I was identified with Him in what was happening. I was crucified with Him when God in Christ reconciled the world unto Himself (II Corinthians 5:19).
In Romans 6:8 we read that we died with Him: “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” Notice verse 5: “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” Also verse 7: “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” We died with Him. When Christ died upon the cross, I was identified with Him at that moment of time. His dying for sin was not for Himself, it was for all who would believe. We were identified together with Him.
Further information concerning this truth is found in I Peter 2:24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins…” We were tied up with Him in His death. II Timothy 2:11 says it plainly: “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him…” So not only were we crucified with Christ but we died with Christ also.
In Romans 6:4 it states that we were buried with Him: “Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death…” “Therefore we were buried with him by His baptism into death” is a more understandable translation. We were identified with Him in all those tremendous things He was doing on behalf of all who would believe in Him. In Colossians 2:12 it states the same truth: “Buried with him in [His] baptism…”
In Colossians 2:13 we find the next step in our identification with Christ: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened [made alive] together with him…” The fact that Christ died, the major emphasis of most Christian churches, is not enough. I Corinthians chapter 15 was written to tell us that death was not sufficient; there had to be a resurrection. If Christ died and was not raised, verses 17-19 state that you are yet in your sins and are of all men most miserable. We were crucified with Him, we died with Him, we were buried with Him, and thank God we were also made alive together with Him.
“We were quickened [made alive] together with Him”, and in that quickening I was identified with Him. We read this also in Ephesians 2:5, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ…” He quickened us or made us alive together with Christ — it is past tense, a completed act. When did He do it? When He made Christ alive, when He quickened Christ. At that time we were identified with Him. Notice also I Corinthians 15:21-22, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” In His quickening, you and I were identified with Him. There is one more tremendous step we need to consider.
Ephesians contains the highest revelation ever given to man. It is no surprise to discover the final step of our identification with Him exclusively recorded in this epistle. Ephesians 2:6 reads: “…and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” We are right now seated together in heavenly places in Him. When God accepted the work of Jesus Christ, He accepted it as being that which was necessary to redeem mankind. The Word tells us that God gave Him seating at His own right hand, in Ephesians 1:20: “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” He gave Christ seating at His own right hand, indicating the completeness of the work that God had done for us in Christ. This great truth is followed by the outstanding truth that we are seated together with Him (Ephesians 2:6).
Not only was I identified in His crucifixion, in His death, in His burial, in His quickening, but right now I am identified with Him in His seating at the right hand of the Father. That is why I can boldly stand up and say that I am what God says I am. This is a wonderful position, and we need to constantly remind ourselves of its greatness.
If we see ourselves seated together with Him, we will start looking at things from God’s viewpoint instead of from our own earthly viewpoint. This will make a lot of difference in the joy and exuberance of our life. Either we will feel like we are walking on air or we will feel like we are wearing heavy boots covered in thick mud. Those jumbo jets look unattractive and immovable when they are on the ground, but when they are in the air they are wonderful and graceful. That is what they are made for — to fly. Believers are just like that. Unfortunately, too many believers are pushing a wheelbarrow in a muddy barnyard laden with everybody’s burdens, instead of seeing themselves seated in heavenly places in Christ.
In Romans 8:14 we see what God says we are: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. ” I am a son of God; I belong to the family. God says I am His son. There are still Christians who become hostile every time a believer has the boldness to say he or she is a child of God. And all you have done is to say what the Word says, for you are part of the family.
Verses 15-16 state: “For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption [sonship], whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” No ifs, ands, buts, or maybes; it clearly says that we are the children of God. Verse 17 reads: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” Our life is lined up with the life of Christ. We are joint-heirs with Christ. That means we will come into our inheritance at the same time. We are the children of God — we are what God says we are.
Now this truth of identification places some responsibility upon my shoulders. My future life on earth will depend upon how I act on the basis of what I am. The believer has the right to live like a son of God, because that is what he is according to the Word, and that is what he will always be. The problem is that the normal Christian life seems abnormal to many Christians. The normal Christian life is a life of power and victory; it is a life of knowing who you are, what you can do, and enjoying everything that God has made available. To far too many Christians this seems to be the abnormal Christian life. “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:31,32,37).
I can boldly say, “I am what God says I am.” Let us believe the simplicity of the Word, what God did for us, how we are identified with Christ. Knowing this, we can stand with head held high in the face of any circumstance, for we know that we are sons and daughters of God with power.
Copyright © 1998 Peter Wade. The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated, is from the King James Version. This article appears on the site: https://www.peterwade.com/
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