I recently threw away a personal check made out to me for the sum of $10,000. Before you think I'm crazy, I'll clarify that I knew from the time I received this alleged gift, I was aware that it did not have the potential of being cashed. (A few weeks after it arrived in the mail, the sender wrote, confessing this impulsive gesture.) However, I kept the check tucked away in my day planner as a novelty. When I came across it again a year later, it was deposited in the trash.
Imagine, though, having a something of even greater value that you have failed to appropriate. In the ministry of biblical counseling I have often discovered this scenario: struggling believers who have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3) yet who have not discovered how to "cash in" on their spiritual privileges. "(God's) divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness ... " (2 Peter 1:3 ). These blessings are free to God's children, but were purchased at infinite cost (1 Pet. 1:18,19).
To "appropriate" something is to receive what is intended for you, available to you, and offered to you. When lost sinners receive Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord, they are "appropriating" Him as such (John 3:16-18). They receive eternal life and countless benefits as His people. In a similar way, those who are children of God--yet living in defeat--need to appropriate Christ as their LIFE (Col. 3:4).
We rejoice that Christ died for us and fully paid for our sins once for all. (Heb. 10:10). Yet we are prone to overlook the wonderful reality that we died with Christ, "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Rom 6:6). Although we still have the world, the flesh, and the devil to contend with, we are fully equipped for fruitful living through our union with Christ in His death and resurrection.
Depend upon the fact that through our death and resurrection with Christ we have been set free
How can we live out this new quality of life in daily experience? We must reckon these spiritual realities as ours in Christ (Rom 6:11). Appropriate this identification. Endorse this revelation as true and "cash in" this spiritual check! "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace..." (John 1:16).
A century ago Jessie Penn-Lewis counseled about the birth-pangs of this appropriation:
'But I have reckoned thus, and it seems nought but reckoning a lie,' cries some longing heart. Ah, soul, maybe your eyes are in the wrong direction. You are looking within, occupied more with your 'reckoning' than with the work of your Saviour. The Holy Spirit will not bear witness to your 'reckon, apart from the object of your reckoning. Look away to Calvary. The Lord Jesus died on your behalf, and as your Representative carried you with Him to His Cross. Are you honestly determined to part with every known sin, and willing for the death with Christ to be wrought out in your experience? Then from this crucial moment see yourself as nailed to the tree with your crucified Lord. Relying upon the Holy Spirit, and in faith in the word of God, 'Let not sin therefore reign'... Hidden in Christ upon His Cross, and joined to Him in His life, thy part, O child of God, is the continual choice of thy will ... Do not struggle with aught that comes to thee, but hand over all to Him Whose life thou dost share, and thou shalt find that He is able to deliver and to keep thee day by day.
To "reckon" is to consider this not only biblically true, but personally true.
Are you in Christ? Have you counted on this spiritual identification with Him by faith? The apostle Paul did so and declared, "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ ..." (Gal 6:14a). Hallelujah for the triumph of the Crucified One!
Our Father, forgive us for boasting in anyone but You. Thank You for the profound truths of our spiritual union with Christ. We accept this testimony of the rewards of Calvary and ask You to make them effectual in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Christ's name, amen.
 Jessie Penn-Lewis (1861-1927), The Cross of Calvary p. 28. www.CLCpublications.com.
Copyright 2012 by John Woodward. Revised from 1998 edition. Permission is granted to reprint for non-commerical use.
"I am glad to report the Lord's blessing, that my parathyroid operation last Tuesday was successful! I really appreciate the prayer support of so many." - John W.
You are invited to the next Grace Fellowship International Conference (March. 2,3, 2012), Workshop (March 5-7), and Exchanged Life Institute (March 8-10), which will be held in Pigeon Forge, TN. Please visit the www.GraceFellowshipintl.com / Training Events for further information. Online registration is here: www.GraceFellowshipIntl.com/pg/49.html. Or phone toll free: 1-888-66GRACE (865-429-0450).
Episode 11 of Essentials Internet Radio (verse by verse exposition of Romans, chapter 6) has been published online. You can listen or download the audio file at www.GFImultimedia.com/ Audio Podcast
The Woodwards' personal ministry letter is available online at www.gracenotebook.com/pg/71.html or as a PDF file. To become a member of their support team visit http://www.gracefellowshipintl.com/pg/50.html
John is scheduled to teach Christ-Centered Counseling at Youth With a Mission's Discipleship Training School Feb. 6-10th in Webster, FL. He is also scheduled to present a seminar and preach at Peoples Church of Montreal, Quebec on Feb. 18th/19th. Ph. 514-845-9834.
The purpose of Grace Notes is to highlight the dynamics of abundant living as summarized in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (NKJV). Hundreds of articles are available online to freely use for personal ministry, newsletters, etc. To find an article by topic, author, or key word, click "Grace Notes"/search at www.GraceNotebook.com. Please pray for God's blessing on this internet ministry.
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