In the letter to the Ephesians we read,
----“for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church .”Although the great principles of the relationship between husband and wife are discussed beginning in Ephesians 5:22, the Apostle Paul says he is speaking of the relationship between Christ and the church---His flesh and blood body in the earth. In verse 31 the Apostle refers to Genesis 2:24 when he quotes that “the two shall become ONE FLESH.” Here you have, in the natural, two distinct, separate, individual entities and, yet, God says they are not two---but ONE. This is the “oneness principle,” not just one spirit, but also– “one flesh,” joined in union by the word of God.
(Ephesians 5:29-32 NASU)
The Apostle reiterates this principle in 1st Corinthians 6:15-17, when he says, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” Naturally the members of Christ body are also partakers of His righteousness. And he also asks, “Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her?” And again, naturally, the one “who joins himself to a harlot” is one with her sins. Again the Apostle quotes from Genesis 2:24, “For He says, the two will become one flesh.” The “harlot” here is a type of sinfulness or worldliness. Then it must be that the one who clings to the sins of the world is also one with the world. And in verse 17, “But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” Here the Apostle seems to emphasize that the one who is one in the flesh with Yeshua is also one spirit with Him.
Our Lord’s cross was a circumcision of the unclean flesh of mankind. He took on our sins on the cross, put them to death in His body and soul, was buried and then raised up cleansed of the sins of man. This is referred to as a baptism into death and a resurrection unto life.
Abraham’s wife Sarah is a type of the church. Sarah, being a woman, could not be circumcised in the same manner as her husband Abraham. But such a circumcision for her was not necessary; because of her love and faith toward her husband she had left her former life behind and became submissive and obedient to her husband. Thus she was one with her husband (Genesis 2:24) and therefore, his circumcision became her circumcision, which is seen as a circumcision of the heart (1st Peter 3:5-6), and so she was included in the covenant God had made with her husband Abraham.
The bride of Christ is the church. And like Sarah, the church cannot be circumcised in the same manner as her Lord. In other words, she cannot go back in time and be crucified with Christ. But such a crucifixion is not necessary; because the church loves her Husband, she leaves her former life behind and is submissive and obedient to her Lord. And according to the marriage principle of oneness, through faith in the word of God, she is one flesh with Yeshua. Therefore His cross experience---that is, His circumcision becomes her circumcision; His death, burial and resurrection becomes His bride’s death, burial and resurrection---His covenant with God the Father becomes His bride’s covenant also.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
(2nd Corinthians 5:17 NASU)
The phrase “if anyone is in Christ,” simply means to be united to Christ by faith in Him; He gives the example---to be in Him as the branch is in the vine---that is, so united to the vine, or so in it, as to derive all its nourishment and support from it, and to be sustained entirely by it (John 15:2). To be in Christ is a loving, affectionate and close union; and all our joy, peace and support is from Him. All our strength is derived from Him; and we partake of His fullness, and share in His love and glory, as the branch partakes of the strength and vigor of the parent vine.
The word “creature” denotes that which has been created. Thus, he that is a “new creature” is a new creation. Therefore if any man is in Christ God has wrought such a change in them as to make it proper to say of them that they are new creatures.
It is vain for a man to profess a union to Yeshua in the spirit and the flesh, while he continues to willfully sin. Such a person is unchanged in his heart and life for he is still dead in his transgression; for he that is in Christ, having Christ dwelling in his heart by faith, by the works of God is a new creature; his old sin nature is dead: he died a child of Satan, he is raised up with Christ a child of God; he was a slave of sin, and his works were death; now he is made free from sin, and being led of the Spirit, bears fruit unto holiness; processing eternal life. He was before full of pride and wrath; he is now meek and humble. Not knowing God, he formerly loved the world and lived for this world; he now has God for his portion, and he no longer looks at things which are seen, but at the unseen treasures of the spirit. Therefore, old things are passed away. Thus he is not merely mended, but he is newly made; by the powerful word of God light has come; formerly, all was of darkness, and as a result, was in chaotic disorder; now, there is a new creation, which God Himself owns as His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), and which he can look on and pronounce---“very good.”
James C Sanford