Incorporated into Christ
Chapter 4 - "Into His Death"
It has often been pointed out that the death of Christ had, and has,
a twofold aspect. Firstly, there is the substitutionary, which is
unique, isolated, and conclusive. Nothing can be added to that, nor
can it be shared in its vicarious and redeeming efficacy. We receive
the benefit of it as a gift by faith and are justified.
But there is a second aspect, namely, the representative. In this we
ourselves in the nature of Adam, in his fallen state, are included.
Our sin is dealt with in the substitutionary, ourselves are dealt
with in the representative. While both of these are vitally and
fundamentally related to our salvation, the latter will find the
Divine emphasis mainly when we come to living the Christ-life and
fulfilling the Christ-purpose.
The Old Testament is full of this latter emphasis in type and
teaching. Abraham must needs be separated from "country" (the
world), " kindred" (natural relationships), and "father's house"
(the "old man"). As one writer has pointed out, his whole life was a
constant application of the death-principle to many phases of the
natural man. He made an initial move when he came out of the land of
the Chaldeans, but his progress was arrested at Haran until his
father was dead. The old man cannot be taken beyond the Jordan (the
Cross). The old life cannot come into the borders of the "heavenly
places." The writer quoted points out the meaning of the many
relationships and incidents in Abraham's life in their carnal
nature, and of the trouble, arrest, and tragedy which they brought.
Moreover, how they had to be cut off and abandoned. Some of these
1. Egypt - the realm of the senses. The attempt to find spiritual
strength and enablement through the tangible, apparent, and present.
2. Lot - "the upright-natural mind." "The spiritual and natural mind
seem at first so united that it is difficult to distinguish between
them. The difference between the spiritual and the
upright-natural-mind is seen in the whole course and conduct of
Abraham and Lot." It was only after Lot was separated from him that
the Lord said to Abraham "Lift up now thine eyes."
3. The Canaanites - False religion. Spiritual, but satanic. Outward
rites with accompanying signs and wonders, but demoniacal.
4. Hagar and Ishmael - Expediency. Trying to obtain spiritual ends
in a natural way. Trying to be fruitful, and that through
self-effort, fleshly means, on natural grounds.
The principle can be followed in numerous other details of his life,
but we are content to point it out and leave it.
Abraham must - in order to come within the terms and fruitfulness of
an Eternal covenant - be a man of the Spirit, a spiritual man,
and this on a basis of faith.
In like manner Moses had to be disciplined and prepared. One of the
most remarkable and - to many - most perplexing statements in
scripture is that in Exodus 4:24: "The Lord met him and sought to
kill him." This after the vision and the commission.
We know that it was in relation to the covenant sign of
circumcision, but we must remember that circumcision was the symbol
of the cutting off of the whole body of the flesh, and this is
related to our identification with Christ in death (Col. 2:11,12,
R.V.). Forty years earlier Moses, with a conception of divine
service had attempted it with carnal means and in his own natural
life. This had brought the inevitable mess and arrest. For a further
forty years the principle of death had to be applied, until the only
honest expression in relation to spiritual service was "I cannot."
The Lord had deliberately taken pains to bring him to nothing. The
basic truth, however, must take some literal form of recognised
testimony, there must be a definite expression of a spiritual fact;
if you like - an ordinance; but the ordinance is nothing in itself,
only as a confession of the acceptance of the spiritual reality;
this was circumcision in Israel, the encircling of blood, separating
between the natural man and the spiritual, the old and the new.
Hence the incident mentioned. The progress of Moses was suddenly
arrested, and with a shock he was brought up against the need to
make a definite and concrete declaration in an act of the law of
encompassment of the end of the flesh. We may take it that if we
essay to carry the uncircumcised flesh, or the natural man, into the
realm of spiritual life or service we shall be smitten down, that
natural man will be met with the challenge of the judgment of
Thus we see how the truth of incorporation into the representative
death of Christ lies at the root of Old Testament experience, and
this can he traced right through the scriptures. The history of
Israel is one long commentary upon it. The Red Sea is the
substitutionary death, the wilderness the revelation of the need for
the Jordan as the representative death, or identification in the
Having come to the blessings of the substitutionary work of Christ,
and the enjoyment of justification by faith, we shall - if our
spiritual life is a pure and progressive one - begin to learn how
very wide is the gap between tho old creation and the new, between
the natural man and the spiritual. This will come to us only
progressively and line upon line, but with God it is already a
settled conclusion. With Him there is no overlapping of the two,
they are poles asunder. The bringing of these two together is to Him
in the nature of spiritual fornication and the fruits in life and
service are deformities.
It is His purpose to make this increasingly clear to us, and while
to us there may seem to be much mixture and intertwining, He will
show us with ever increasing clearness that He has driven the
dimensions of the Eternal Cross between the two. We have given much
scripture in previous chapters which shows the fundamental
differences between these two, the natural and the spiritual.
To be a "Christian" is not just to change the direction of our
interests; to turn all our faculties, abilities, energies,
resources, emotions, acumen, enthusiasms, etc., over from self or
the world to the account of "Christianity," religion, the gospel or
"Kingdom of God."
In the realm of the life and things of God there are two words
uttered over the natural man by God, "Nothing" and "Cannot." To fail
to recognise the significance of these designations is to come into
the hopeless, heartbreaking, barren realm of Romans 7.
Fruitless struggle will result if there be any genuine spiritual
aspiration; and whether this is so or not, that is, if the notion is
merely that of the natural man directed toward "Christian
enterprise," the service will be ineffective in all true spiritual
attainment. No flesh shall glory in His presence, and the religious
flesh is no more acceptable than the irreligious. How many there are
who are seeking either to attain unto a standard of spiritual
satisfaction, or to do God's service, with their own resources of
intellect, will, emotion; reason, energy, passion. Hence all the
unapostolic organisation, machinery, advertisement.
No! For acceptance and service there must be a new man, and this new
man has a new life, a new mind, a new spirit, a new way, a new
capacity, a new consciousness, in fact "all things have become new."
He comes more and more to realise how differently God does things
from how men do; yes, and what different things God does. The aims
of God, the methods of God, the means used by God, the time of God,
are an education and often a discipline to this man in Christ. Until
the "old man" is well crucified God's ways and means and times and
aims are a sore trial to him and he will either revolt and break
away in himself or he will go down into the depths, but he will come
anyway to see that in the intention of God, he - the natural man -
must go to the cross, where God put him conclusively in the
Representative man Jesus - the Christ. The touch of the natural man
upon the things of the Spirit is death and desolation, hence the
Lord is always taking precautions against this natural life in His
own and passing them through that which brings them very low and
puts them, on their natural side out of action. He drove a stake
through Paul's flesh as a precaution against the uprising of his
soulish life into exaltation; in order, further, that there might be
no arrest, but rather an increase of spiritual usefulness.
We have a very limited knowledge of our own natural springs; the
motives, the nature of our desires even for spiritual blessing, the
personal interests in the Kingdom of God, the craving to possess, be
satisfied; have influence, recognition, freedom, and a multitude of
other constitutional elements. The Lord knows how all our sources of
life and expression are poisoned and tainted. He would not have us
introspective and self-analysing, but He would tell us His own
verdict upon the "natural man," and ask us to accept the Divine
requirement that he should be crucified. When we by faith in His
judgment and word thus accept the Cross, He proceeds to work out the
death in us and we have a growing realisation of the need for such.
Then we refuse to move other than in the Spirit on the ground of
God's fact in Christ - "I have been crucified with Christ... it is
no longer I." As the holy anointing oil was not to come upon man's
flesh in the typical anointing in the Old Testament, so the Holy
Spirit, typified there, will never be allowed to come upon
uncrucified flesh in this age of the Spirit.
Calvary precedes Pentecost in history and in experience. A true
revelation of the worthlessness of the natural man in God's sight
has always been a necessary prelude to anointing for service. The "I
cannot" of Moses, the "Woe is me" of Isaiah, the "I am but a child"
of Jeremiah, the "I am a sinful man" of Peter, the "In me dwelleth
no good" of Paul, are typical of all who have been the called of
God, and these expressions are the result of the application of the
true meaning of the Cross. And yet they were religious enthusiasts,
and devoted to God in the realm of their soulish nature. It is ever
the love of God which leads by the way of Calvary, though bitter may
be the cup when "the soul" (not the spirit) is poured out unto
death, for only so can there be that life of emancipation from the
limitations of the natural into the universal dimensions of the
Let us look into the Word again and keep this thought before us, and
as we see that His death is our death let us say. "Amen," and "Lord,
work it out," and then we shall be ready "to know Him in the power
of His resurrection... having been made conformable to His death."