Two Spiritual Realities
“THE TWO SPIRITUAL REALITIES”
by Dr. D. W. Ekstrand
KINGDOM OF GOD vs. KINGDOM OF SATAN
- Children of God vs. Children of Satan
- Slaves of Christ vs. Slaves of the Devil
- Regenerate vs. Unregenerate
- Believers vs. Unbelievers
- Born Again vs. Not Born Again
- Eternally Alive vs. Eternally Dead
- Spiritually Alive vs. Spiritually Dead
- Godly View of Life vs. Selfish View of Life
- Slaves of Righteousness vs. Slaves of Unrightesous
- Free from Sin vs. Enslaved to Sin
- Dead to Sin vs. Alive to Sin
- Alive to God vs. Dead to God
- Lovers of Light vs. Lovers of Darkness
- Walk in the Light vs. Walk in Darkness
- Living According to the Spirit vs. Live According to the Flesh
- Mind set on the Spirit vs. Mind set on the Flesh
- Submissive toward God vs. Hostile toward God
- In the Spirit vs. In the Flesh
- Anti-Satan vs. Anti-Christ
- Redeemed Sinners vs. Unredeemed Sinners
- Godly, Holy and Righteous vs. Ungodly, Unholy and Unrighteous
- Have spiritual sight vs. Being spiritually blind
- Angelic Support vs. Demonic Support
- Love the Church vs. Love the World
- Heavenly Minded vs. Worldly Minded
- Indwelled by the Spirit vs. Controlled by Satan
- Produce Spiritual Fruit vs. No Spiritual Fruit
- Haters of the Flesh vs. Lovers of the Flesh
- People of Faith vs. People of Unbelief
Every human being is “ALIVE” to one of these realities, and “DEAD” to the other reality; that is, every one of us is “rooted,” has his “being,” has his “life source” in one of these realities. ￼￼￼￼￼ Every one of us is either a citizen of the Kingdom of God, or a citizen of the Kingdom of Satan. The problem for us as believers, however, is that “both of these realities” reside within us; hence, we live in a state of “constant conflict!” (cf. Rom 7:14-25; 8:5-9,13, 18; Gal 5:17). Therefore we are enjoined to “fight the fight of faith” (cf. 1 Tim 1:18; 4:7; 6:12). The Christian life is a life of “continual warfare between the flesh and the Spirit,” and a life where we “practically work out” what “God has worked into us” (cf. Gal 2:20; 5:16-17; Eph 4:11-16, 22-24; Phil 1:6; 2:12-13; 3:13-14; Col 1:13; 3:1-5; 1 Pet 1:3-7; 4:12-13; 2 Pet 1:3-10).
When Paul says that we have “died with Christ” (Rom 6:3, 6, 8), he is describing the process whereby we as believers become children of God – because we were children of the Evil One before we were saved, it was necessary to have our “sin problem” resolved. This was accom- plished by the Holy Spirit when He mysteriously took us back in time some 2,000 yrs and “placed us in Christ;” i.e., we were “spiritually” baptized into Christ – the resultant effect was we actually experienced the death of Christ for our sins; thus, we now (like Christ) are “dead to sin.” Furthermore, just as we “died with Christ,” we were also “raised with Christ” to newness of life (Rom 6:4-5). Through this work of the Holy Spirit, we have become “brand new creatures in Christ” (2 Cor 5:17). This incredible work of God’s Spirit miraculously and totally changed us; as such, we are no longer children of Satan, but children of God!
You say, “But my own heart wants to dispute the fact of the new birth, because I feel so very much alive to sin and temptation!” Due to the fact that “our behavior” (which is often sinful) does not fully reflect “our new identity” (being children of God), we are naturally inclined to dispute the fact (with Satan’s prompting) that we are really born again. Here is where it is critically important for us to understand the “three steps of salvation” – once we are saved, we enter into a stage where “we are in the process of being transformed into the image of Christ” by the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 3:18). Though we indeed are “fully God’s children” (Jn 1:12), we start out as “babes in Christ” (1 Pet 2:2; 1 Cor 3:2), and are exhorted to “grow-up and mature in our faith” (Eph 4:15; 2 Pet 3:18); the more we grow, the more we reflect His image. This is the “sanctification aspect” of salvation – at the moment of conversion we experience “justification” (we are made righteous); after conversion we experience “sanctification” (we grow in holiness); when we get to heaven we then experience the final stage of salvation called “glorification” (at that point, we are fully transformed into the image of Christ). The second stage of sanctification is the “participatory stage,” where we get involved in the process; growing in Christ is not just a matter of “what we do,” however, it is also a matter of “what God does in us.” The truth is, God’s work in us is in this stage is far more transformational than our work, even though we often feel like “we’re doing all the work!” Paul puts it this way, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, but work with the realization that you’re not working alone, God is also at work in you both to will and to do His good pleasure” (Phil 2:12-13).
The reality is, you have been “crucified with Christ” and have “died to sin.” Therefore the tyranny or mastery of sin over you has been broken – though you were once a helpless captive of sin, you have now been set free from sin. Sin’s dominion or absolute dominance over you has been shattered! That is a fact! You are now a new creation in Christ! That is the reality for every Christian! No matter how much you struggle and stumble in sin, you are a child of God. So what do you do with this TRUTH? You reckon or consider it as indeed being “true;” that is, you believe what God says about you – that is FAITH! The first step in living a “holy life” is ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼that of believing who you now really are! As a believer, your primary appetite is no longer sin and self, it is now God and righteousness. As Paul puts it, “You have been given a new mindset! a brand new way of thinking!” (cf. Rom 8:5-9; 12:2; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10).
The “big hurdle” for us as believers in affirming the reality of Rom 6:11, is the fact that we are, in some sense, alive to the principle of sin that dwells within us; i.e., to our sin nature, our flesh, our sin disposition. Though sin is no longer our master (we are dead to its mastery), we are still under its persistent, antagonistic presence. Therefore, when interpreting this passage, it is important to remember that the emphasis of this verse is on our IDENTITY, not on our BEHAVIOR. As believers we are “dead to sin as the ruler of our lives,” and “alive to Christ as the ruler of our lives.” Another way of putting it is this – we are “dead to being against Christ” and “alive to being for Christ.” The “constitution” or “mindset” under which we as believers now live and process life is GOD, not SATAN. Hence, being “dead to sin” and “alive to God” describes our essence – these two spiritual realities are two sides of the same coin; one states it in positive terms, the other in negative terms. As Paul says, we need to move and grow in the direction of who we are in Christ – thus becoming more and more like Him. As Christians, we have a brand new Master! a brand new life! a brand new identity! The key to the Christian life is “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18) – without growing in faith, joy and assurance decline, and sin and guilt increase. By the way, there is “no automatic spiritual cruise-control” in the Christian life — faith and obedience are essential!