Stop Grave Robbing Your Old Nature

*This post was originally titled: “The Anger of God has been Exhausted.” I’m not completely comfortable with the idea that the Father poured out His anger on His Son so that now the Father can forgive and love us (as many understand the Penal Substitutionary View to present). However Graham does articulate some other things I have long believed, but had trouble verbalizing.*

I came across a sermon clip from author and speaker Graham Cooke today and it struck me as worthy of sharing. He states,

Romans 6:11 says, “Consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God.” God gives us permission to consider ourselves dead. The Enemy wants you to think you have permission to consider your old nature still alive which needs to be worked on and fixed. But God is not trying to improve you or upgrade your old nature. He killed it off… He killed us all in Jesus. Jesus did not just die for you, He died as you. 2 Cor. 5:17 says, “You are a new creation in Christ. All the old is past away.” That is a fact and that is also a promise. The verse ends by saying, “behold all things have become new.” That is a fact and that is also a promise…

“In Christ” means we don’t start with a deficit. We don’t start with our behavior. We begin with who God is for us… God poured out every ounce of wrath, anger and indignation upon Jesus for sin. So then He hasn’t got any left. That needs to be our starting point… The Father turned His back on Jesus. Jesus who had always known fellowship with the Father reached a point of desperation where he cried out, “Why have you forsaken Me?” God forsook Jesus so that He would never have to forsake any of us. So God doesn’t get angry at us, because He poured it all out on Jesus. We need to understand that many are schizophrenic about God on this point. If you believe that God poured out every last ounce of wrath and anger on Jesus, but He still gets angry, that means the Father himself is treading underfoot the cross of Jesus Christ. You can’t have it both ways here. Our problem in the West is that we have a schizophrenic gospel. We believe we are not really set free and that God is still angry about things in our life that we can’t seem to control.

I think the whole reason for that is we have grown up in a system that only ever looks at people negatively. We only ever see what’s wrong. We never see who Jesus is for that person. If we are going to be great leaders we need to be delivered from that mindset—not just about ourselves—but everyone we see. We need to have a perspective that comes to people through our hearts from heaven. That when people connect with us they connect with outrageous good news [the gospel!].

Here is another question we need to consider: Were you included in His crucifixion, death and burial? The answer is, yes. So then you are dead. Since that is true please stop grave robbing. It seems every day we doing the same confessions. Can we get past this place? Can we stop digging ourselves up and saying to the Lord, “Help me!” Whenever we focus on the old nature what we are saying is, “God—I’m not really dead, so help me!” But God says, “No, consider yourself dead so you can be alive to me!” Hear me people— you are dead to your old way of life. Please stop digging yourself up.

– Graham Cooke

[The entire clip can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2mEX76AqRg ]

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About StriderMTB

Hi, I'm Matt. "Strider" from Lord of the Rings is my favorite literary character of all time and for various reasons I write under the pseudonym "StriderMTB. As my blog suggests I seek to live out both the excitement and tension of a Christian walk with Christ in the 3rd world context of Asia. I am unmarried yet blessed to oversee an orphanage of amazing children in South-East Asia. I hate lima beans and love to pour milk over my ice-cream. I try to stay active in both reading and writing and this blog is a smattering of my many thoughts. I see the Kingdom of God as Jesus preached it and lived to be the only hope for a broken world and an even more broken and apathetic church.
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4 Responses to Stop Grave Robbing Your Old Nature

  1. Peter says:

    Sounds strange to me. Where does the Bible say God has no more wrath? And although Paul does say that we should consider ourselves dead to sin, he also makes it clear that our flesh (sinful desires) will war against out spirit. I agree with Wesley that we are freed from the power of sin. With the Spirit’s help we are being transformed as we put to death the deeds of the flesh and live godly lives.

    It seems Graham is teaching hyper grace: the idea that all of our sins have been forgiven–past, present, and future–so when God looks at us he sees perfection.

    I would argue that all who are “in Christ” start with a deficit, and we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Positionally, we are sanctified, but practical sanctification involves living out our faith and being conformed to the image of Christ.

  2. StriderMTB says:

    Hi Peter, you bring up some good points. I have been chewing on this post myself for the past week. I am writing something at present that addresses how I believe we ought to interpret God’s wrath post-cross. For it is the cross where all of God attributes come into fuller focus. For now I think the angle I would take would be to say that those who are in Christ should be liberated from a sense that God is still angry at them when they sin. If we really do believe Christ took upon himself our judgment than it would seem to me that a Christian who lives in fear of God’s anger fails to understand that the Father forsook the Son so that He didn’t have to forsake us. When we sin it is not so much that God is angry AT us, but rather that God is disappointed FOR us. I definitely wouldn’t say that “those who are in Christ start with a deficit.” Quite the opposite. We were formerly cut off from Christ and dead in sins, but are now alive in God and positioned in Christ such that we have access to all that Christ is and wants to be for us. Our starting place is “Christ in us the hope of glory”– no deficit there. If the cross means anything it means whatever debt/deficit we had before with God has been paid in full through Christ’s self-sacrifice. When the Scriptures advise us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” I don’t believe that means we are to live in a state of perpetual fear of God’s anger whenever we stumble and fall into sin. Rather I believe it highlights that we live out our lives in a state of real, spiritual conflict where there exists a roaring lion looking to devour and multiple avenues of sin that can take us captive and rob us of all that God wants to be for us. The “fear and trembling” would be an attitude of alertness and sober-mindedness that we are engaged in spiritual warfare, and not an attitude that assumes God will turn on us like an angry bear whenever we get it wrong.

    • ngyy says:

      Hi Matt,
      Christians don’t need to fear condemnation, but I’m not aware of any Bible verses that promise God won’t be angry or feel wrath when we sin. I don’t mean to imply that I think we should view God as one who is angry every time we sin, but if we harden our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and continue in our sins, I suspect he might feel wrath since he hates sin and rebellion. And I believe that those who practice sin and do not repent will not inherit the kingdom of God. Those who do not abide in Christ will be removed from the vine.

      When I say “deficit,” I’m not referring to a debt. I’m merely saying we come into a covenant relationship with Christ as we are and we receive his Spirit who works in us to help us be conformed to his image. We all start with a significant deficit in this regard but we are being changed degree by degree into the image of Christ (sanctification).

      I do not believe the Bible teaches imputed righteousness or that God sees us as perfect because we are “in Christ.” I believe God sees us as we are and lovingly and patiently works in us giving us the desire and power to put to death the deeds of the flesh and walk in the Spirit.

      Finally, I agree that “fear and trembling” does not mean we should view God as an angry bear every time we get it wrong; he is our father. However, I think it means much more than being alert. The Bible says we are “being saved” and throughout the NT we are told that those who persevere till the end will inherit eternal life. We are to take sin very seriously and recognize that we are not eternally secure until we are securely in eternity.

  3. StriderMTB says:

    Again you bring up some good points and I appreciate it. I actually have some minor problems with imputed righteousness myself and the penal substitutionary view–at least how some people interpret it or explain it for the masses. So I am really not comfortable in viewing Christ’s act on the cross as some sort of “lightning rod” that absorbs all God’s anger towards humanity and sin. It seem to imply Christ’s act of love influenced the Father in some way and changed Him from angry to loving. But I read, “God so LOVED the world He gave His only Son…” In other words I don’t hold that the cross changed something internal to God (angry and wrathful to loving and forgiving). Rather I think the cross changed how God can deal with us as sinners enslaved to a fallen world of evil and the demonic. So in that sense I wasn’t altogether comfortable with the quote of Graham about pouring out all His anger on Jesus. I’m really not sure if I would see the cross in that manner. (I have a more Christus Victor view of atonement).

    But regardless I really like his overall point about how we need to consider ourselves dead to sin (now) and recognize that through the cross the Father comes to us in a manner of restoration and healing, not anger over our sin. I particularly liked his point about Christian leaders not viewing those we are discipling with a negative lens that sees them in terms of their failures and mistakes and sins. Rather to see them as those who can be changed and transformed, “from glory to glory” as we encourage them to behold God as for them–not against them. I work with a lot of broken people and easily get discouraged when I see them as they are–in their sin. It really invokes critical, unloving judgment that is sinful itself and part of eating from the “wrong tree in the garden.” I find myself more motivated and renewed to see them with eyes of faith–which is to say I ask God to help me look past their sin and see them as those who are crucified with Christ, seated with Christ in heavenly places.

    Lastly I don’t believe many (I didn’t for a long time) properly understand the nature of God’s wrath. Many see it as the flip side of God’s love–but that is so misguided since love is who God IS. I think God’s wrath is what his all-consuming glory and love looks like to those who refuse to be submitted to it. His wrath is ultimately his glory for truth, righteousness and justice unleashed, such that it will consume all that is contrary to it. The same sun can melt butter or harden clay. I am presently wrestling with this now…and hope to post it up sometime in the future. At minimum I think you have shown me I should probably consider changing the title of the post 🙂

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