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Grace Vs. Legalism
A.J. Gordon in his book, “In Christ,” says:
Through these two words “In Christ” we get a profound insight into the divine method of salvation. God does not work upon the soul itself; bringing to bear upon it, while yet in its alienation and isolation from Him, such discipline as shall gradually render it fit to be reunited to Him.

He begins rather by reuniting it to Himself, that through this union He may communicate to it that divine life and energy, without which all discipline were utterly futile. The method of grace is precisely the reverse of the method of legalism. The letter is holiness in order to union with God; the former, union with God in order to holiness.
The author says that God’s method of salvation is that He does not work on you while you are isolated form Him to gradually render you fit to be reunited to Him. Legalism has God operating on you apart from Himself, but grace begins by uniting you to God, and through that union supplying the life and power necessary to bring you into His holiness.

Grace is the opposite of legalism, Legalism says that you are not good enough yet. Grace says because of what Christ has done, instantly your spirit is instantly joined to Christ. Through that union, God supplies what you need to change you. Everybody else is trying to change apart from who they are in Christ.

Legalism is so sad because by the time you do everything they want you to do (change your hair, your clothes, and do everything their way), you still haven’t done enough. You will still have to live in sin-consciousness for the rest of your life because you have never done quite enough to be right with God.

Grace is just the opposite, God welcomes you because of faith in Christ. He takes you right in and gives you His righteousness. Nothing is more striking than the breadth of application which this principle of union with Christ has in the Gospel. Gordon said that the applications of this are endless. Gordon continues:
Thus, Christ in taking man up into Himself, takes all that belongs to Him. Instead of rending him away form all of his natural connections, he embraces all these with him in Himself that he may sanctify them all. And not only is this true but the opposite and far more wondrous fact, namely, that Christ, in raising man into union with Himself, raises Him into all that belongs to Him, into His divine life, and to partnership with His divine work.

When God raised you together with Christ, He raised you up into everything that belongs to him, His life, and partnership with His work. You die in His death, rise in His resurrection, ascend in His ascension, and are seated with Him at the Father’s right hand. When you start talking in tongues, you just went into a heavenly session with Jesus to take care of business. So marked is this latter fact, that has led some to speak of the events of the Christian life as affording “a striking parallel to those of Christ’s.
The events of the Christian life are so striking in Paul’s letter, they cause some theologians to say there is a parallel between the events of Christ and the events of the Christian life. For example, Jesus was crucified, and the believer was crucified. Jesus died, and the believer died. Jesus was buried, and the believer was buried. Jesus was raised, and the believer was raised.

Gordon says: But there is no parallel. Parallels never meet, while the very glory and the mystery of The Power of Identification With Christ the believer’s life is that it is one with the Savior’s and inseparable from it. It is not a life running along side of his, and taking shape and direction from it. It is His life re-enacted in his followers; the reproduction in them of those events which are immortal in energy and limitless in application.

Your life is not a life that runs parallel to Christ like you were trying to be like Christ. The mystery and the glory of the believer’s life is that your life is one with Him; you are joined to Him. His life is in you. In application, you died to sin, but now you are alive unto God. The death and the resurrection of Christ are reproduced, limitless in application and immortal in energy. That means there is power in the Gospel.

Jesus People
Your identification with Christ causes you to establish a whole new identity in Him. In the late 1960’s and 1970’s, youth revivals attracted thousands of teenagers. Kids came in bell-bottom blue jeans and strange hairdos, and loud Christian rock ‘n’ roll music blasted forth. Regular church people could not stand it. They called them Jesus People.

Out of this Jesus Movement came some of the greatest pastors, evangelists, and missionaries today. They fell in love with Jesus. They did not love all the sentimental extras that came with religion. They just loved Jesus. They jumped in there and some great revivals resulted!

Isaiah 59:19 says, “…When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” This whole generation was going down the tubes, but the Holy Spirit lifted up a standard. He raised up some people who were not like church people, and they turned the tide. Instead of losing a whole generation to rock music, there was a great revival.

Identified With Jesus
You ask, “I know I have been born again, but what do I need to do?” Sit down first, and take your place in Christ and in the finished work of Christ. You can learn how to walk by taking one step at a time, by acknowledging who you are in Him. Next, you will learn how to stand when the devil comes against you and challenges you by saying, “That is not so in your life.”

You can answer, “Oh, yes it is so. I am righteous. I am a new creature. I am redeemed. Oh, yes, I am victorious. I am who God says I am. I am blessed. I cannot help but be blessed.” It runs in my family!

My Father God has it, my older brother Jesus has it, and the same blessing that is in them runs in my family. ” I am the head and not the tail. I am above and not beneath.” It may take a while before you circumstances change, but they will have to change.

Summary Points:
  1. Grace says because of what Christ has done, your spirit is instantly joined to Christ.
  2. He takes you right in and gives you His righteousness.
  3. I cannot help but be blessed – it runs in my family!
Source: The Power of Identification with Christ by Mark Hankins.
Excerpt permission granted by MHM

Author Biography

Mark Hankins
Web site: Mark Hankins Ministries
Mark and Trina Hankins travel nationally and internationally preaching the Word of God with the power of the Holy Spirit. The vision of MHM is to take the spirit of faith, the message of who the believer is in Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit to every generation and to every nation. Mark and Trina Hankins have been in full-time ministry for over thirty five years. Through church services, leadership conferences, mission trips, publications, radio, television, Bible schools, and the internet, MHM is reaching the world with the Word of God. Mark is known widely for his unique anointing to minister on the subjects of faith and the believer’s identification in Christ.

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