Part 4 - The Application of Faith
Abiding in the Heavenly Dwelling Place of Christ
A second place that God has provided for the believer to dwell in is the spiritual dimension. To abide in Christ is to live in the "heavenly places" where Christ is, seated at the right hand of the Father. The believer is risen with Christ and seated with Christ in this place (Eph. 2:5-6). One element in the separation aspect of the sanctifying work of Christ is the separation of the believer into the heavenly places with Christ. Here, in Christ, the believer is to remain and abide.
The book of Colossians states, "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:1-3). Those in Christ are to seek the things which are above. They are to set their minds on things above. This is opposed to seeking the things of the earth, and setting one's mind on things of the earth.
Jesus taught how God would provide for His people, saying, "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt. 6:31-33). Instead of "first" seeking and living on an earthly and fleshly plane, the believer is to "first" and primarily live on a spiritual plane.
The spiritual realm is a place that only those who have been made alive in the spirit can dwell in. Apart from new life in Christ, a person is dead to the spiritual realm. The book of Romans states, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:5-6). Those who live according to the flesh are those who rely upon and abide in that which is fallen and separated from God. This is a place of death and alienation from God. Scripture continues: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:7-8).
Fellowship, prayer, and praise through the Spirit
New life in Christ in the spiritual realm is a place of life in the Holy Spirit. The book of Romans continues, "But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His" (Rom. 8:9). Life in Christ in the spiritual realm, a place of life in the Spirit, is not a place that the believer must attain to. It is a place that all believers are placed into by Christ at the time of regeneration. The call of God to the believer, and the exhortation of Scripture, is not to work to attain to this position but to avail that which has been provided by God. Christ has brought the believer into the spiritual realm, and He has provided the Holy Spirit by whom the believer can abide in this place. The exhortation of Scripture is this: "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25).
Paul wrote to the Galatians, "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). It is by the Spirit of God that the believer abides in the life of Christ in the spiritual realm. Christ Jesus set apart the believer from darkness into His light, and it is by the Spirit that the believer abides in that light of Christ. Likewise, Christ has set apart the believer from spiritual deadness into new life in the spiritual realm, and it is also by the Spirit of God that the believer abides in this place. It is in Christ that one has fellowship with Him and the Father. It is in Christ that one communes with God and engages in prayer. It is in Christ that one worships God, bowing down before Him in praise. This is the place of the spiritual realm, a place lived in by the Holy Spirit. It is the sanctifying work of Christ that has placed the believer here and made provision for the believer to abide here.
Those who are Christ's
The provision of God to "not fulfill the lust of the flesh" is the abiding
in the spiritual dimension. Jesus accomplished the work of redemption so
that a person can have a right relationship with God. This right
relationship entails walking in the Spirit where the regenerated spirit of man rules
over his soul and body through the Holy Spirit. This is one aspect of
abiding in Christ as the Life. To not abide in the life of Christ through the
Spirit is to give precedence to the fleshly plane, where the lusts of the
flesh will rule. Paul wrote to the Galatians, "But the fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are
Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live
in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22-25).