The word of the day is “Appropriate” which means: to take to or for oneself; take possession of.
I received a phone call from my brother-in-law the other day, and he asked me about how God freed me from addiction. He said, “when you came out of all that did it just happen, or did you still have to appropriate it by faith?” At first I was confused as to why he was asking me this but then I thought you know everyone wants to know what their part is don’t they? When I tell people it’s “Christ in me doing it all” the usual response is “But, what’s my part?” It seems the deception of being independent runs deep in us even long after we’ve been born again. The truth is we do have a part and that part is faith. When you talk about faith though it may come across a little murky at times rather than being clearly defined; so I wrote this in an attempt to help clear it up a bit.
The one thing that excites Jesus the most is our simple faith in him. It doesn’t matter if it’s our trusting him for our daily needs,or our faith in him for our eternal destiny, all he asks is for us to trust him.
In Ephesians four we are told “put on the new man, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” The Apostle Paul uses the term “put on” here which means to appropriate, “to take to or for oneself; take possession of.” You see the new man is in the likeness of God, righteous and holy but we have to receive by faith so there is something we do. We simply receive what God has for us which is his Son.
I read once that faith means something is available and desirable so I take it. I see an empty chair, I desire to sit in it therefore I take it. Then something else happens; the chair takes me. You see faith is receiving what God is offering us, and when we do, what we have received takes us over. So when we read the new man, righteous and holy, is available and we want him we simply receive, or take, him. Upon receiving the new man, or putting him on, he then becomes us. In other words we soon discover righteousness and holiness being displayed through us, but it isn’t of or from ourselves, it’s Christ displaying his character in and through us. Wow!
Elsewhere in Philippians 2 we read, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Working out our salvation means we appropriate it by faith. We simply receive God’s Son and let him will and work in us for his good pleasure. As he moves us within we find ourselves moving without.
The letter to the Colossians tells us “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” How does one receive Jesus, by faith of course. We heard the good news about Jesus Christ being the savior of the world, we came to realize we need a savior so we appropriated him by faith. This is the same method, if you will, in which we live the Christian life. We walk by faith in his provision every step of the way. You see it isn’t just our ticket to Heaven we’re trusting him for it’s our everyday provision and protection. By faith we say he is keeping me.
When situations such as temptation to go back to the old man’s ways arise we simply remember we have become a new creature in Christ. Christ in us is our hope of glory and “he has become to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption…” Temptation to go back usually comes from a sense of lack which is and can only be filled through Christ; and true fulfillment will never be achieved through the old counterfeit means but only through Christ and his moment by moment keeping.