Part 4 - The Application of Faith
Reckoning Members to be of Christ
A third area of reckoning, where faith is to be applied, is that of the believer's position in the body of Christ. Jesus Christ is represented on earth by his people, the church. They are considered to be the body of Christ, for He dwells in them and works through them. Individually, each believer is a member in that body. This is a position that is attained not by the work of the member, but by the finished work of Jesus Christ. At the point of regeneration, the believer is placed into the body of Christ as a member determined by God. This is a holy and sanctified position that is to be reckoned by the believer.
Present your members
The sanctifying work of Christ covers four main areas of separation, each of which is to be reckoned by the believer. Paul the Apostle, in writing of this reckoning in the sixth chapter of Romans, continues with the area of separation into the body of Christ: "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God" (Rom. 6:12-13). The word "therefore" builds upon the two previous areas of reckoning: the believer is to reckon that he has been separated from sin and death through the death and resurrection of Christ, this being the light of the gospel, and the believer is to reckon that he is alive to God in Jesus Christ, a place of regeneration in the spiritual realm. Now attention is placed on the believer's physical presence on earth, a place that is still alienated from God through the Fall.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:18-20). Jesus Christ paid the price of redemption with His own blood. In doing so, He bought back that which had been sold into sin. Jesus Christ is now the rightful owner of those He has saved, the redeemed. To those who would think that as God's people they can do as they please, Paul asks, "Or do you not know ... you are not your own?" The reason being, "for you were bought at a price." Collectively and individually the members of Christ are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God dwells in His people on earth and they are owned by Him.
Paul says, "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body." The reign of sin is ended by death. Physical death ends all activity, including sin, for any person even if they are not regenerated. This is part of the reckoning in regards to the believer's physical presence on earth. He is to reckon that death has happened. The believer has died and "therefore" sin is no longer the master. This is not a matter of a physical struggle against sin, but a matter of faith. The believer is to reckon that he has died with Christ and he is to reckon that he is risen with Christ in His resurrection. He is to believe that he is now alive with Christ in the heavenly places. On a spiritual level this is a reality. The believer is a new creature in Christ, with a new nature. "Old things have passed away" (2 Cor. 5:17). This is not to deny the reality of the fallen nature of the flesh. It is there, and sin is present in it. But the reckoning of the believer's position in Christ opens the way for God to bring fruitfulness into the believer's life.
Instruments of righteousness
In reckoning Paul says to "present yourselves to God." This is in two ways: As being alive from the dead, and as members to be used by God as instruments of righteousness. The believer is to present his body to God as if he had died and was now resurrected. He is now to be an instrument in God's hands. The work of the church on earth is really the work of God in and through the members of the church. Collectively the members comprise the body of Christ. He is the head and directs the members, who are an extension of Christ.
Paul wrote to the Romans, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1). He continues, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2). Transformation comes through the "renewing of your mind."
This renewing comes through a reckoning upon the work of Christ, a work that
is finished but to which faith must be applied. Belief in Christ as the
Truth includes a belief that the church is the body of Christ over which He
is the head, and in which He dwells. An important aspect of reckoning is to
reckon that one is a member of that body and an instrument
through which Christ operates.