Most parents support their teenagers’ sporting events. We go to games, volunteer in the concession stand, serve on boards, umpire, coach, et al.
When three of our kids were teenagers, we tried to go to all their games. Occasionally we had softball or baseball games at the same time in different leagues in different parts of the city. When that happened we had to tell one of them, “I can’t be in two places at once.” If you have, or had, teenagers, I know you can tell me, “Been there. Done that.” Schedules get hectic, events and locations compete. Sometimes you just have to sigh, apologize and tell one of them, “I can’t be in two places at once.”
But with God you can. You are. That’s how born-from-above believers live. We are living in the physical world and the spiritual world at the same time. That’s what God’s word teaches us. And it is vital if we are to understand our true identity in Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:18 declares, “…while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
The things we can see then, are temporary. They won’t last. Nothing in our physical world will last. On the other hand, the things we can not see are eternal and will last forever. In their book, The Rest Of The Gospel, Dan Stone and Greg Smith illustrate this in a chapter of their book they call The line.¹
Smith says, “Of course, there’s really no such thing as a line. These two realms coexist. The unseen and eternal are going on in the midst of the seen and temporal. As believers, we have the privilege of living an unseen and eternal life in the midst of this seen and temporal world. Because we think in concepts, however, it helps to separate these two realities with the line to understand them better.²
Let’s compare a couple of examples of temporal things below the line with their opposite in the eternal realm above the line.
Hebrews 10:1 says, “For by one offering (Jesus’ death on the cross) He has perfected (made complete) for all time (from now on and throughout eternity) those who are (being) sanctified (set apart unto God, being made into the image of Christ). Sanctification also implies that the word of God is transforming our minds every day by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). The Holy Spirit is teaching us to live Christ-like lives and convicting us of our sin when we don’t.
Let’s look at another comparison. Below the line on the last line you see, “trying, running, and doing.” And in the Spiritual realm above the line you see “trusting, resting and being.” Many Christians who don’t understand their identity in Christ are always “trying” to improve themselves, “running from good deed to good deed thinking that if they work harder and do more things “for the Lord” they will be more acceptable in His eyes. All the while they believe that “doing” stuff is the way to being the Christian God wants them to be.
But Christians who know their true identity in Christ know that it’s not in the trying, it’s in trusting Christ to live His life in us, through us and as us that brings glory to God. And they know it’s not what they do for God that matters. They know they can’t do anything to please God, or to make themselves more acceptable to Him. They know that it’s who they are in Christ that matters. Jesus said in John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him he will bear much fruit (The vine–Christ and His life in the vine produce the fruit, not us by what we do). Apart from me you can do nothing!”
In other words at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross (and the moment we accept Christ as Lord of our lives) we become perfect, holy, set apart for God’s purpose and plan for our lives. Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; (below the line, temporal) even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.”
The flesh (temporal things below the line) and the Spirit (the eternal things of God, above the line) will oppose one another until we get to heaven. Listen to what Paul teaches in Galatians 5:16-18, ” But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would.”
So we really can be in two places at the same time. That’s where we live, in the flesh or in the spirit. We have the choice. Either we live in the flesh and live life the way we want to, relying on our own knowledge of good and evil and our own wills and desires. Or we rely on the Holy Spirit to teach us, and rest in Jesus to live His life through us.
Where would you rather live?
Do you know your identity in Christ? Do you know the One who sacrificed His life so you would have the choice of walking in your flesh, or walking in the grace and mercy of God and live for the eternal things? You can have a personal relationship with God. All the eternal things that are part of His Kingdom, and all His blessings can be yours. Simply follow this link to find out how.
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¹The Rest of the Gospel, by Dan Stone and Greg Smith, c. 2000 by One Press, Richardson, Texas, pg. 28.
²Ibid. pg. 28.