The Legal Position of Mankind Today
There is a special position that the ekklesia (the Body of Christ collectively) has with the Father at the present time. The apostle Paul revealed through the divine Spirit of God the role that each member of the ekklesia now plays as far as the Father and Christ are concerned. It is a very high position indeed. This new role (explained to the apostle Paul and others about the year 63 C.E. in what he called "the revelation of the Mystery") puts all of us in an exalted authority right next to the Father himself and seated with Christ on Christ’s own throne (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1). This is wonderful and magnificent teaching, which Paul said had been hidden from the knowledge of man up to 63 C.E., "from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God" (Ephesians 3:9). It makes all the members of the ekklesia today no longer bound to ANY laws of tithing, rituals, holy days, sabbaths, or any other ceremonial law that God ever made for humans to observe. The simple truth is, we have already made the highest positions in the universe by being "in Christ," and there are no more works for us to do to reach this highest of positions.
Once a person understands the Christian’s legal position, since "the revelation of the Mystery" was given to mankind in 63 C.E., there is no longer any reason to consider any of the ceremonial laws as binding that God gave to our father Abraham or to early Israel. True, earlier people expected to be given salvation by doing those ordained rituals, but we are now told that we have "grown up" in Christ and we are accounted as having done those things perfectly when Christ did them.
It is made clear by the plain teaching of the apostle Paul that the biblical laws of tithing, new moons, sabbaths, holy days and all physical rituals (no matter if they are mentioned as being the holiest ceremonies for humans) are no longer in a legal sense for Christians to observe. Paul said they were simply elementary teachings for us when we were reckoned to be "under age" in understanding the truths of the Gospel. It is not that the ritualistic laws and ordinances have been done away since there are still people on earth who have immature teachings of God and they wish to observe them. They can be kept if one wishes, though they have no efficacy in bringing one to salvation.
Those ritualistic laws ordained for us when we were children (Galatians 4:1–5) are for children in the faith. They were a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24–29). The laws were not done away with. They were simply meant for children. Just like today we have laws governing the actions of children in school (from grade school to high school). Those laws, which involve certain days and periods observed by children in school are no longer required for adults. You may take your children to school, but you do not have to observe recess or physical education with them. A further illustration to show this is the licensing laws regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages. At midnight of a person’s 21st birthday a person can legally buy alcoholic drinks while a few minutes before the hour of midnight it would have been against the law to sell any alcohol to a minor (even ten minutes before becoming twenty-one). But at midnight, it was not the law that changed or was done away, it was the man or woman who changed and who grew up. The person left being a minor and he or she is not a school child any longer.
And this is precisely the way it is with us regarding the ritualistic laws and ordinances of the Old and New Testaments. We are now considered mature adults by God and those laws intended for us while we were children in the faith no longer apply to us.
We are now grown up. We are now "in Christ" and we have kept all these infant requirements in a perfect way by our being "in Christ" from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3–14). We will find that being "in Christ" on a continual basis from before the world’s foundation (2 Timothy 1:9) means that Christ has been a substitute for us in fulfilling all the requirements that God the Father has placed on all mankind to perform.
Let us start with Christ’s substitutionary role which he did for us that took place before the world’s foundation. Paul came to see that mankind is now reckoned by God the Father to have been "in Christ" even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3–4). But our position "in Christ" did not stop at that remote period in the past. We (in a legal sense) continued to remain "in Christ" until the very moment Christ entered this world with his birth from Mary. Yet our being "in Christ" did not stop with Christ’s birth. We were also "in Christ" (in the eyes of the Father) when Christ was circumcised (Colossians 2:11).
Paul shows through his teaching in the revelation of "the Mystery" that all of us are now accounted as having been circumcised at the same time Christ was circumcised. Christ was performing his role as a substitute for us in the eyes of the Father. Thus, when Christ was circumcised as a boy of eight days old, all those destined for salvation (male or female makes no difference for a spiritual principle is being discussed by Paul) were also circumcised at the same time. And even though you and I were not even born at the time, that makes no difference because Christ was doing something for us and for the whole world throughout all the ages of mankind.
But our being circumcised "in Christ" did not stop the substitutionary role of Christ on behalf of mankind. The apostle Paul goes on to teach that when Christ was baptized, all mankind were also reckoned as baptized "with him" (Colossians 2:12).
Then later, when Christ was crucified, all mankind were reckoned by the Father as also having been crucified with Christ at the same time because all mankind was being placed "in Christ" at that time too (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3). But our being "in Christ" did not stop with the crucifixion. All of us from Adam and Eve onward were accounted as having been resurrected with Christ when Christ was resurrected from the dead — "you are risen with him" (Colossians 2:12–13; 3:1). And when Christ passed the judgment seat (that all of us must go through after death, 2 Corinthians 5:10), he went through triumphantly as a substitute for all in the world. He then sat down on the right hand of the Father on a glorious throne (Colossians 3:1). And even now, all of us are "in Christ" (as far as the Father is concerned) as Christ now sits in our place at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Colossians 3:1).
This all means that each of us has a majestic position in the heavens through our roles of presently being mature children "in Christ." We are no longer "infant children" and we can now begin to act like mature adults in Christ with the freedom that adults can have. This is why you and I have a freedom from all the requirements of the religions in this world with all their sacramental, ritualistic and ceremonial religious duties. You need no such rituals to appease God (or even to please God) because you are already reckoned by him to be his mature children in Christ. You are acknowledged as already sitting on his right hand in heaven. You have already made it perfectly.
This high rank you and I possess in Christ means that we need no man (or a body of men) ruling religiously over us any longer. The only person above us in rank is Christ Jesus, and he is next to the Father himself in authority in this universe. We need no men ruling over us in a religious sense. In fact, it is "infant children" who need such rulers, not fully grown adult children as God now reckons us to be. Look at the rank that each of us has, and no human is higher in rank than we ourselves.
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
1 Timothy 2:5
Only Christ Jesus stands between us and God the Father himself. That means that we rule under them as third in authority. Indeed, that is not quite accurate because we are accounted by the Father, as Paul mentioned many times, to be "in Christ." And Christ is the firstborn. Since we are reckoned to be "in Christ," then we must also be considered as "firstborn children." In fact, God the Father has no second-born children — only firstborn (and you and I are classified as being in that capacity) since we are also "in Christ."
We who know the truths of the Gospel concerning these matters are able to see (and to understand) that we are now reckoned by the Father to be above all sovereignty in this world in our relationship to him. We are presently reigning on that same heavenly throne as Christ (in a legal sense) because we are now "in Christ." Note how the apostle Paul put it. "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6). And though the world does not recognize their own standing that Christ has obtained for them, the Father and Christ and all the angels realize it as a glorious fact (Ephesians 3:9–11). With the world not knowing this glorious truth of the Gospel, they are cut off from the advantage of many blessings that are ours who are able to recognize our position of being "in Christ." Indeed, we hope to have the very glory of God given to us (Colossians 1:27).
Look at some of the things that this knowledge of the Gospel can mean to us. Being "in Christ" from the foundation of the world means that Christ has lived a substitutionary life for all mankind from that remote period in the past and that we are free from doing the rituals of religions that God imposed upon the world at one time.
It also means that what Christ accomplished in good works and in doing rituals while he was on earth has now been awarded to mankind as belonging to them because we were also "in Christ" during those times. This means that the Father now looks on each of us as already having kept all his commandments perfectly (when Christ did those works in our place). All humans are now acknowledged as having died with Christ (when Christ died). All are now reckoned to have been resurrected with Christ (when Christ was resurrected almost 2000 years ago). All have passed the judgment (as Christ did). And all now sit on the very throne of Christ which is located at the right hand of the Father in heaven. This is the present legal position that mankind now has as revealed to Paul and to other apostles and prophets when the fullness of "the Mystery" was disclosed to the ekklesia in about 63 C.E.
Now let me make one point clear. While all mankind are legally redeemed by the blood of Christ and are now reckoned to be "in Christ," only we whom God has seen fit to reveal this glorious truth (John 6:44, 65) are able to take advantage of it. A helpless child of six months old may be the son of a powerful and prestigious king and queen and is destined to assume all the glories of that kingdom at adulthood, but he still remains the same as any other six months’ old baby who has no knowledge of what his position in life really is. People today who do not have this essential knowledge of the Gospel (to show just who mankind is) are as helpless as a six months’ old "king to be" who is ignorant of his own potential power and glory.
God and Christ, however, have seen fit to reveal to you and me this glorious and wonderful truth. You and I are privileged to take advantage of knowing our position (and walking maturely in it). We can be more effective in walking in our Father’s business at this time.
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