The fourth component of prayer is STANDING.
In the O.T. passage under consideration God speaks of "my people who are called by my name". Naturally, by being God's people they would be in RIGHT Standing. The key factor involved would be whether they were IN COVENANT or NOT IN COVENANT. They came INTO covenant as a result of their BIRTH into the lineage of Israel (Jacob) and were given the sign (seal) or mark of circumcision on the 8th day. The covenant they were under was temporary and they went OUT OF COVENANT with each disobedience (sin). . . . As noted previously, their sins were atoned for once per year, every year, which proved that their forgiveness under this covenant was, in fact, temporary. The N.T. Scriptures verify that Jesus came as MEDIATOR of a new and better covenant - A PERMANENT COVENANT. How do we come into this covenant? "We were all BAPTIZED by one Spirit into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13). What body IS that? . . . Obviously, THE BODY OF CHRIST. And Paul adds: "And you also were included IN CHRIST when you HEARD the word of TRUTH . . . Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit . . ." (Eph. 1: 13 -14). See the following Scriptures for further confirmation: 2Cor.1:21-22, Eph.4:30, Acts19:1-7, Acts 2:41. This all ties in perfectly with the N.T. Scripture we have been using from the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47): Repentance, Baptism, Forgiveness, and GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. The STANDING we are speaking of is BEING IN CHRIST with the sign of The Holy Spirit.
It would seem beneficial at this juncture to elaborate on just what it means to be IN CHRIST. The Scriptures reveal numerous benefits but we will put forward the following SEVEN. Verification of the recommended Scriptures using the New International Version will reveal use of the actual phrase IN CHRIST ( A detailed and more in-depth presentation will be provided at a later time ). The seven are:
- WE ARE INCLUDED Gal.3:27 Eph.1:13-14 2 Cor.1:21-22 Eph.4:30
Ac.19:1-7 Ac.2:41 1Cor.12:13
- THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION Rom.8:1 2Cor.5:18-21
- WE BECOME SONS (DAUGHTERS) OF GOD Gal.3:26-27
- THERE IS A FULLNESS OF POWER GIVEN Col.2:9-12
- WE FORM ONE (Note ONE) BODY Rom.12:5 Gal.3:28
- WE ARE CALLED HEAVENWARD Phil.3:14 Eph.2:1-7
- WE ARE GIVEN THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE Rom.6:23
There are four positions regarding being IN CHRIST that we may be in:
1. WE CAN BE IN CHRIST AND OPERATE AS THOUGH WE ARE IN CHRIST. Note the seven benefits above. This is clearly the SUPERIOR position but is only RARELY attained in life. In this position our prayers would always be answered.
2. WE CAN BE IN CHRIST BUT ACT AS THOUGH WE ARE NOT IN CHRIST.
This is the common position of the many sincere "Christians" today. For the most part prayers seem to work primarily out of the SUPERNATURAL. This can also be the "temporary" position of those in #1. Restoration generally requires a change of attitude, a more compassionate outlook, a move from falseness to truth and/or a return to right standing. THIS IS WHY PRAYERS APPEAR NOT TO WORK.
3. WE CAN NOT BE IN CHRIST BUT THINK WE ARE IN CHRIST.
This is the position of "token" Christians today. It is a DANGEROUS position to be in and unfortunately is the lot of MANY (See Mt. 7:15-23). THIS IS ALSO WHY PRAYERS APPEAR NOT TO WORK.
4. WE CAN NOT BE IN CHRIST AND KNOW WE ARE NOT IN CHRIST.
This is the case of most of those who are outside the church. This is a far superior position to 3 and is the realm in which God frequently demonstrates His mercy by answering "Desperate" prayer.
The only MARK of being in right STANDING ( ie IN CHRIST ) is the GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. He is the Spirit of TRUTH, the ATTITUDE changer and the prompter of COMPASSION. When Paul was "URGING" Timothy regarding requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving (1Tim.2: 1-4), The word "urge" that is used is from the Greek "parakaleo" (para - beside, and kaleo - called). It is with the "calling beside" of the HOLY SPIRIT that we are to pray with CONFIDENCE. The apostle John speaks of the Holy Spirit as our
"COUNSELOR" and "ONE WHO SPEAKS IN OUR DEFENSE" (Jn.14:16, Jn.14:26, Jn.15:26, Jn.16:7 and 1Jn.2:1). The word thusly translated is "parakletos" which means exactly the same as "parakaleo". DO YOU REMEMBER HOW WE GET THE HOLY SPIRIT? Those who can call God, FATHER, just need to ASK
! ! ! (Lk.11:13).
Can we see this STANDING in the Lord's Prayer? We certainly can. "Give us this day our daily bread" and "Thy Kingdom come" both have roots in a special standing. Daily bread, as noted earlier, is much more than just physical food. It is, indeed, Spiritual food. Who dispenses Spiritual food?
. . . The Holy Spirit. What Kingdom are we speaking of? Certainly, not of this world. Then what Kingdom? Obviously a Spiritual Kingdom ! Paul describes this Kingdom (Church), God's great Spiritual Body - THE BODY OF CHRIST as being administered by people bearing Spiritual offices and being equipped with Spiritual gifts. Paul says: "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And IN THE CHURCH God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others
. . ." (1Cor.12:27-31). Again Paul says: "It was HE (Christ) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists . . . TO PREPARE GOD'S PEOPLE FOR WORKS OF SERVICE so that THE BODY OF CHRIST MAY BE BUILT UP UNTIL WE ALL REACH UNITY IN THE FAITH and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the WHOLE MEASURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST (Eph.4:11-13). There are many today who deny present day apostles, prophets etc., as well as Spiritual gifts. This is the very type of lie that takes us OUT OF STANDING. FOR HOW LONG ARE THESE OFFICES AND GIFTS MEANT TO BE IN EFFECT? ? ? UNTIL WE ALL REACH UNITY IN THE FAITH ! ! ! So, here's the question . . . Have we all reached unity in the faith? . . . Then there is only one conclusion. THERE ARE SPIRITUAL OFFICES AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS TODAY. Do you know an apostle in your group? Do you know anyone with the gift of prophecy? We are meant to BE the Body of Christ and EACH ONE OF US IS A PART OF IT just as Paul describes. So, Here's the next question the answer to which determines whether or not your prayers may be effective . . .
DO YOU KNOW YOUR STANDING AND PART IN THE BODY OF CHRIST?
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