The believer’s partnership with Christ

In the study of Soteriology we find the riches of Divine grace. Theses riches or blessings of God’s grace are all of the wonderful things given to the one who places their faith and trust in Jesus for eternal salvation. An exhaustive list and explanation of these riches of Divine grace can be found in Lewis Chafer’s Systematic Theology volume IV. One of the riches of Divine grace that Chafer points out is a heavenly association. That association is understood to be a partnership with Christ. When we enter into saving grace, we enter into a partnership with our Savior. The thesis of this article is to examine the believer’s partnership with Christ in order to grasp a better understanding of who we are in Christ from the moment of salvation by His grace through faith.
In Chafer’s writings on Soteriology, he gives seven specific areas in which we come into a partnership with Christ once we have received His gift of salvation. The first of these areas is that we are partners with Christ in life. Chafer writes: “The New Testament declares not only that the believer has partaken of a new life, but asserts that life to be the indwelling Christ.” We see this truth throughout the entirety of the New Testament. It is believed that in as many as eighty occasions we find this new life from God suggested in the writings of the New Testament. Colossians speaks of this impartation of a new life from God as a mystery. Colossians 1:27 says, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…” There is a lot of rich doctrinal truth in that little statement, ‘Christ in you.’ This impartation of the Christ life in the believer takes immediate affect at the moment the believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit which takes place at the very moment of salvation by grace through faith. J. Vernon McGee writes: “The moment you put your trust in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit baptizes you and puts you in the body of believers.” This partnership with Christ in life begins at the moment of regeneration which we would refer to as being ‘born-again.’ We are now a new life in Christ. This partnership in the Christ life changes the way in which we live. Galatians 2:20 states, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” It must be noted that Christ does not reside in us in bodily form, rather through the Holy Spirit of God by His grace. Barnes notes says, “Christ was the source of all the life that he had. Of course this cannot be taken literally that Christ had a residence in the apostle, but it must mean that his grace resided in him; that his principles actuated him; and that he derived all his energy and zeal, and life from his grace. The union between the Lord Jesus Christ and the disciple was so close that it might be said the one lived in the other.” Being a partner with Christ in life will show in the way in which the believer lives so much so that those around him could easily mistake the believer as Jesus Himself. Once regeneration occurs there is no need for living for self. The writer of Galatians acknowledges that he is no longer living and it is Christ who is living in Him. Being a partner with Christ in life will motivate us for service. The desires of the heart will change as this life in Christ is implemented. As the believer enters this life partnership with Christ there will be a gradual letting go of selfish ambitions and a fuller understanding of Christ living in him. Knowing that Christ lives in us gives us the ‘hope of glory’. This ‘hope’ is a confident expectation in our future glory in heaven. Being a partner with Christ in life gives us this hope for eternal life. For the believer, this is a very uplifting and encouraging thought. Knowing and experience Christ living in us brings an overwhelming flow of joy in our lives. In order for this particular partnership to be evident, there must be a daily ‘dying to self’ and a continual ‘yielding to the Spirit of God’. In order for this ‘dying to self’ and ‘yielding to the Spirit of God’ to occur, the believer must be fully committed to and persuaded by the Word of God through daily study and meditation of the Word. As the believer feeds on the Word of God, the partnership with Christ in life becomes more and more realized and is displayed in such a way that self is no longer living as Christ takes full control.
The second area in which the believer comes into a partnership with Christ is a partnership in position. This aspect of partnership with Christ is beyond the capability of human understanding. This is what makes salvation so amazing. This is what makes salvation all about the grace of God and not in the merit of man. At the very moment of regeneration, the believer is not only a partner with Christ in life which becomes evident through the way in which he lives, but the believer is also a partner in position, meaning that he is seated with Christ. Lewis Chafer writes: “As an incomparable position, the Christian is raised with Christ, and seated in the heavenly association. This truth is clearly revealed in Ephesians 2:6, ‘And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.’ To be raised with Christ and to be seated with Christ is a partnership position which is real and abiding. Its contribution to the entire fact of the believer’s association with Christ is enough to characterize the whole. The honor and glory of it are knowledge-surpassing.” This position in Christ is necessary in order to receive the heavenly inheritance and to have the power to partner with Christ in life which enables us to live for Him in this life on earth. Warren Wiersbe writes in his commentary of Ephesians: “Chapter one emphasized our possessions in Christ; chapter two emphasizes our position in Christ. Your position determines your possessions and authority.” We cannot live in partnership with Christ in life apart from having a position with Christ. It is this position that gives us the authority to live such a life as a believer. This partnership in position never changes. For example, I have the position as the father of my children. No matter where I am, even in a foreign land, I am still their father. This truth is further illustrated in positions of government. The president of the United States may go to visit a foreign land, he may not be in the White House, yet he is still the president. No matter where he goes, he carries with him the authority of his office. As believers, we may not be in heaven. We are in a foreign land as ambassadors to that land. However, we carry with us all the authority of heaven because of our position. What an amazing truth! It is because of this partnership in position that we can quench all the weapons of Satan and stand against whatever attacks that Satan brings within the sphere of this cosmos. No temptation can overcome us because of who we are in Christ. We have the power and authority to be overcomers in this life and to live a victorious Christian life. This position is nothing that we earned or deserved, the position is not even ours to claim for ourselves; we have this position and the authority that comes with it because of our partnership with Christ. This position was given to us at the moment of salvation coming directly from the grace of God. We were once alienated from God. We were once dead in our sin, but then God stepped in. Notice what Ephesians 2:4-9 says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath he quickened us together with Christ, (by grave ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” The position we have in Christ is all because of His grace. Who we are in Christ is all because of His grace. Wiersbe comments: “But God! These words are among the greatest in the Bible. God could have allowed us to go on in sin and live eternally with the devil in hell, but instead He chose to save us. He gave us life (quickened us), raised us from the grave of sin, and took us out of the graveyard! More than that, He made us members of Christ! We have been quickened together, raised together, and we sit together in the heavenlies. God did this because He is rich in mercy and great in love. Mercy means that God does not give me what I do deserve; grace means that He gives me what I don’t deserve.” Just as the partnership with Christ in life motivates us for good works, so our partnership in position with Christ makes us a ‘workmanship’ of God created for the purpose of bringing glory to His name as we serve Him as an ambassador of heaven to earth with all the authority of heaven granted to us. The believer must be fully aware how we came to this position, lest we fall into the sin of pride. We are who we are because of God’s grace and His grace alone. We did nothing to deserve such a high calling. We were chosen, not based on personal merit, but fully upon the grace of God that was freely given to us on the cross. That grace became a reality in our lives at the very moment of regeneration by faith. At the precise moment of salvation, we are raised with Christ into a position that is greater than any authority known among men. Just the thought of this awesome truth should humble us before God and drive us to our knees in total dependence upon Him. Due to this glorious position given to us by grace, we now partner with Christ in life and we live for Him as if He is living in and through us, which thus, propels us into greater heights of service to God for the purpose of His glory!
A third area in which believer’s come into a partnership with Christ at the very moment of regeneration is that we are partners with Christ in service. In the secular world we hear a lot about business partnerships. Individuals and companies will come into an agreement or a partnership in order to fulfill each other’s goals for success. These partnerships are often accompanied with job descriptions and set responsibilities for the parties involved. At the moment of salvation, we enter into a partnership with Christ in service. We are given a job description in the Bible that lays out our responsibility in the partnership. Part of that responsibility is in realizing our total dependence on God and the fact that we are a part of a joint undertaking with Christ. Lewis Chafer writes concerning this partnership with Christ in service, “A number of passages unite in a testimony that the service of the Christian is one of co-partnership with Christ. Of these, none is more direct and convincing that 1 Corinthians 1:9 which reads, ‘God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.’ In the A.V. the word kolvwvia is rendered fellowship. As the word is at times rendered communion with the thought of agreement or partnership, and to be in harmony with the message of Christian service, which theme characterizes this epistle, the idea of joint undertaking may be read into this passage.” As we enter into fellowship with Christ we are in a sense entering into a joint effort of service. This entering into fellowship with Christ is really a one-sided affair. Our partnership in the service of Christ, as is also the case of all of our partnerships with Christ, is made possible only by His grace. Scofield mentions in his notes on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, “Christian position in grace is a result of the work of Christ, and is fully entered the moment that Christ is received by faith.” It is in this work of Christ that we also enter into a partnership with Him. This service or work is the work of redemption. It is our responsibility as a partner in the divine redemptive plan to share that message of redemption to the world. As the great commission states in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” It is the responsibility of every individual believer to share the good news of salvation as they go about their daily life. Redemption for His glory is God’s ultimate purpose for man. When an individual is saved by grace through faith he or she immediately becomes an instrument for sharing God’s redemptive plan to the world. It is in sharing this redemptive plan to the world that the believer fulfills his purpose of bringing glory to God through his life as he participates in the partnership with Christ in service. This is what it means to be ‘laborers with Christ’. We are partners with Christ in bringing the message of redemption to the world. As a partner with Christ in service we are seen as an ambassador of Christ. In second Corinthians chapters five and six it is mentioned that we are ‘ambassadors for Christ’ and we are also ‘workers together with him.’ Barnes notes states the following: “We are the ambassadors who Christ has sent forth to negotiate with men in regard to their reconciliation with God.” Barnes notes continues: “Ministers are ambassadors for Christ, as they are sent to do what he would do were he personally present. They are to make known, and to explain, and enforce the terms on which God is willing to be reconciled to men. They are not to negotiate on any new terms, nor to change those which God has proposed, nor to follow their own plans or devices, but they are simply to urge, explain, state, and enforce the terms on which God is willing to be reconciled. Of course they are to seek the honour of the sovereign who has sent them forth, and to seek to do only His will. They go not to promote their own welfare; not to seek honour, dignity, or emolument; but they go to transact the business which the Son of God would engage in were He again personally on the earth. It follows that their office is one of great dignity, and great responsibility, and that respect should be shown them as the ambassadors of the King of Kings.” Though there are those select men whom God calls into the service of preaching the gospel, it must be understood, however, that every true born-again believer is indeed an ambassador of Christ to this world. We are His representatives to the world. This is what it means to be a partner with Christ in service. We partner with Him as an ambassador in order to do His bidding. It is not our message that we bring to the world, it is the message of Christ, the message of redemption. Barnes notes goes on to state in regards to the passage at hand: “Our message is to be regarded as the message of God. It is God who speaks. What we say to you is said in His name and on His authority, and should be received with the respect which is due to a message directly from God. The gospel message is God speaking to men through the ministry, and entreating them to be reconciled. This invests the message which the ministers of religion bear with infinite dignity and solemnity; and it makes it a fearful and awful thing to reject it.” There is an awesome responsibility given to the one who is called into the ministry of the gospel. Again, this ministry is not just reserved for those called to full-time vocational ministry; it is a ministry that is commissioned for all believers to participate in. We are all ambassadors of Christ to this world, and as ambassadors there is a huge responsibility employed upon us as a partner with Christ in service. In concluding our discussion concerning the partnership with Christ in service there are three basic things to consider. First of all, the partnership with Christ in service is for the ultimate purpose of bringing glory to God. As ambassadors of Christ and co-laborers with Christ our number one objective is the glory of God. We do the work of sharing the message of redemption to the world not for our own glory or even for the benefit of those who hear the message, but we share the message of redemption for the purpose that God may be glorified. After all, this is the whole purpose of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 states, “Let us hear the conclusion on the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be bad.” Secondly, the partnership with Christ in service is to bring the message of reconciliation to the world. This is the substance of our partnership with Christ in service. This is the practical aspect of that partnership. As mentioned before, believers are co-laborers with Christ in the ministry of reconciliation. A third and final thing to consider in concluding our discussion of the believer’s partnership with Christ in service is that we are to fulfill our role as a partner. That role as a partner is the bringing of glory to God and the ministry of reconciliation. Sadly, most believers do not fulfill their role in their partnership and thus misses out on the joy and blessing that such a partnership brings. It behooves the believer to engage in the partnership with Christ in service in order to fully experience the joy of the believer’s personal relationship with Christ. This particular partnership is an exalted position. Lewis Chafer writes, “To be thus in partnership with Christ is a position of limitless responsibility as well as exalted honor.”
A fourth partnership with Christ that is entered into at the moment of regeneration is partners with Christ in suffering. There are various scriptures that refer to suffering with Christ. In one occasion we find the scriptures teaching that we are not only to believe in Christ, but we are also to suffer for Christ. This can be found in Philippians 1:29 where it reads, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” The text at hand is within the context of Christian suffering that Paul addresses in chapter one of Philippians. In verse twenty-nine we have the nature of this suffering. This partnership with Christ in suffering is not to be looked at as a negative thing, but as a positive thing and a joyous thing. The New American Commentary says, “The fact that suffering was connected with believing reinforces Paul’s claim that it is a grace gift. Paul lived with persecution, and he realized its redemptive value, but here he did not address that. The key to this phrase, ‘on behalf of Christ’ is Philippians 3:10 where Paul revealed his deepest desire of knowing Christ. That knowledge involved knowing resurrection power and the fellowship of suffering. Suffering confirms Christians’ faith, brings them into closer contact with the Lord, and provides a vehicle for making commitment real and tangible. It is one thing to accept suffering and resign oneself to it. It is another realize the privileges that come through it.” Our partnership with Christ in suffering should be embraced in joyful way with the understanding that the suffering is temporary as we have a greater glory to look forward to. An examination at this point should be made of 1 Peter 4:12-19 with particular attention to verses 12-13 where it states the following: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” Suffering for Christ sake is a place of honor and should be embraced. As verse 16 says, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Warren Wiersbe says, “When trials come, we are suffering for His sake and sharing suffering with Him. The suffering we endure now is but a prelude to the glory that we will share at His coming. Furthermore, the Spirit of God ‘rests with refreshing power’ upon the suffering believer. When the three Hebrew children went to the fiery furnace, they had faith that God would deliver them. He not only delivered them, but He walked with them.” Essentially, when we go through the various trials of life, He is with us in the midst of those trials and is suffering along with us. This is of great encouragement to the believer as we understand the fact that we do not have to face this life on our own, for God is ever present with us. Our partnership with Christ in suffering will not go unrewarded, as 2 Timothy 2:12 says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him…” It is not the amount or length of suffering that we go through, but it is the attitude we have and our faithfulness in the midst of suffering that brings us reward. It should be stated here as a side note that the way we live and conduct our lives here on earth will determine our possessions and positions in heaven. We will reign with Christ in accordance to how we respond to the circumstances of our life. The more faithful we are to Him and the more obedient we are to His Word, the greater our reward will be in glory. The thought of such a reward in pleasing our Savior should compel us to endure the sufferings of this life without complaint and in complete obedience and faithfulness to God. It is knowing of the glory that is to come that causes us to take joy in partnering with Christ in suffering. Romans 8:18 states, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” It is the hope of glory that gives us the confidence to endure whatever this life may bring. The Bible Knowledge Commentary sheds light on the text at hand as it says, “In one sense this verse is the conclusion of the preceding paragraph in which believers are assured of being heirs of Christ’s coming glory. However, Paul reminded his readers that sharing in the glory of Christ in the future required sharing in His sufferings in this life. But after careful figuring Paul concluded that our present sufferings are far outweighed by the glory that will be revealed in us. This future glory is so great that present sufferings are insignificant in comparison. Also the glory is forever, whereas the suffering is temporary and light. Certainly this truth can help believers endure afflictions.” It is also the understanding of this truth that causes the believer to take joy in suffering. It is a suffering that is with Christ as a partner with Him. The partnership with Christ in suffering is not only the suffering that comes through the trials and afflictions of life but we also share in a more glorious form of suffering. This more glorious form of suffering is a striving for the souls of men. As Lewis Chafer shares at length, yet worthy of careful consideration: “While the child of God may suffer the reproaches of Christ, which is a definite form of co-partnership suffering with Christ, the form of fellowship suffering which is closest to the heart of the Savior is to share with Him His burden for lost souls-those for whom He died. Such longing are not natural to any human nature, but are generated in the heart by the Holy Spirit who causes the yielded believer to experience the compassion of God. It is written, ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love’ and, ‘The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.’ As an illustration of this ability of the believer to experience the compassion of Christ, the apostle testifies of himself thus, ‘I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.’ Partnership with Christ in suffering is real and reflects the fact that the Christian occupies a position of untold distinction.” The question that every believer should consider should be thus, ‘Is the love of God in my heart at such an overflowing state that I would be willing to suffer in hell so that another soul could be saved?’ I am afraid that it would be very hard to have such a burden for lost souls that I would be willing to make such a sacrifice. Yet, our love for Christ should compel us to such love for the lost; for this is the same type of love He has for the lost. It is the same love He had for us when He suffered and died on the cross. To share in the sufferings of Christ, to be a partner with Christ in suffering is to have an overwhelming burden for lost souls that it drives us to do something about it. May it also be understood that this partnership with Christ in suffering is one that is entered into at the moment of regeneration. Suffering is a part of our life in Christ. We should embrace it with joy, looking unto the glory that will one day be revealed to us. It is an honor for the believer to share in the burden of Christ for lost souls and to endure the sufferings of this life for His sake.
Not only do we find that at the moment of regeneration does the believer enter into a partnership with Christ in life, in position, in service, and in suffering, but we also see another partnership between Christ and the believer and that is partners with Christ in prayer. It is encouraging to the believer to know that we can enter into the throne of God at anytime and bring our petitions to Him. This is made possible due to the fact that Christ is our High Priest. The classic passage of scripture concerning the priesthood of Christ and the believers access to God can be found in Hebrews 4:14-16 which reads, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” This is one of the most profound, yet, most comforting of all passages in the Word of God. We all have our various infirmities, we all have our struggles, and we all have needs. But, His grace is enough. It is when we are in time of need that we can plead for His grace in whatever situation we are in and we can have the confidence that He will hear and He will answer. In his commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Homer Kent writes the following: “Since our great high priest is in the most advantageous place (heaven), and is both Son of God and yet through His human experience is fully qualified to understand our needs, we have the best reasons for using the good offices He provides. This verse encourages us to approach confidently the throne of grace. As our high priest, Christ has entered the divine presence in heaven, having made full expiation with His own blood. Thus we can approach without fear of rejection the very throne of God where our priest is seated at His right hand.” As a partner in prayer, we can be assured that when we approach the throne of God we will have His full attention as we lay our petitions before Him. This avenue of prayer gives us the power to face whatever need or concern that we have in our life. The truth is that God desires that we come to Him with our needs and He desires to provide for our needs and to answer our prayers. Lewis Chafer writes concerning this partnership with Christ in prayer, “The very act of praying in the name of Christ is in itself an assumption that He also makes petition to the Father for those things that are in the will of God and for which the Christian prays. The central passage bearing in this aspect of partnership is John 14:12-14: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.’ ‘Greater works’ are to be done by the Son of God in answer to the believer’s prayer in His name. The partnership in responsibility is defined thus, ‘If ye shall ask….I will do.” It is a beautiful thing to see God answer prayers. In order to see our prayers answered, we must come to Him with full confidence and assurance and in a child-like faith. Catherine Marshall writes, “A little child who has no shyness or hesitation about asking his parents for what he needs is unselfconsciously revealing his helplessness-along with a normal, right relationship with his father and mother. In the same way, asking immediately puts us into a right relationship to God. It is acting out the fact that He is the Creator with the riches and resources we need; we are the creatures who need help. It’s a cap-in-hand stance which we resist because it diminishes us-a certain amount of pride and self has to go for us to ask for help-whether of God or of another human being.” Often times, we fail to embrace this partnership with Christ in prayer because of our pride and lack of faith. Too often we go to God in urgent prayer only when we have an urgent need and we have already exhausted all other options. God desires that we go to Him first and often. He desires that we ‘pray without ceasing’. He wants us to be in a complete attitude of prayer at every moment, talking to Him about every circumstance of our life no matter how big or small. Do you talk to God about everything? Do you make request of God as a child requesting something from his father of mother? A partnership with Christ in prayer, in which we enter into at the moment of acceptance of the free gift of His grace, is a partnership with many wonderful and blessed benefits, if we could just learn to engage in that partnership to its fullest extent.
There are two other partnerships that we come into with Christ from the moment of regeneration, the first of these final two is the fact that we are partners with Christ in betrothal. This is truly a glorious partnership beyond description. Chafer explains this particular partnership in the following words: “To be betrothed to a person is a position which is both definite and demanding. It is also a partnership. The church is espoused as a bride to Christ. The marriage day is that of His return to receive her unto Himself. It was the apostle’s desire that he might present believers a chaste virgin (not as a chaste virgin) to Christ; and from Ephesians 5:25-27 it is to be understood that Christ loves the church as a bridegroom might love a bride and the He gave Himself for His bride.” What a beautiful picture! We, the church, are the bride of Christ! This betrothal is a picture of our union with Christ. As believer’s we are one in Him. He is in us and He is a partner with us as we are a partner with Him. Just as in any marriage, there are certain responsibilities for the partners involved. Christ has fulfilled His responsibility as the groom as He gave Himself for us. We now must fulfill our responsibility as His bride to return love to Him, respect Him, submit to Him, honor Him, and to adore Him. At the moment of salvation we become a part of His bride, the church. Once we enter into that partnership with Him, there is no divorcing from it. We are His forever.
As we examine the partnerships we have with Christ within the context of Soteriology, we have learned six of these partnerships, namely, partners with Christ in life, partners with Christ in position, partners with Christ is service, partners with Christ in suffering, partners with Christ is prayer, and partners with Christ in betrothal. There is; however, a seventh and final partnership that the believer has with Christ from the very moment of regeneration and that is that we are partners in expectation. The thing that we expect along with Christ is the day in which we are forever set free from this life and we enter into a new life with Him in eternity. Titus 2:13 says, “Looking for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” The word hope in scripture means a ‘confident expectation.’ We can confidently expect that Jesus is coming again and that we will live with Him throughout all eternity. What a glorious thought! This is a day that, as Romans describes, is a day that both the believer and all of creation is longing for. The prospect of that day in which we expect will come brings great encouragement to the life of all believers and it gives us the strength to carry on in this life. As 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” As the song writer said, “What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon His face; the one who saved me by His grace. And when He takes me by the hand and leads me through that promise land, what day, glorious day, that will be!” This is the ‘blessed hope’ we have in Jesus. This is what we partner with Jesus in expectation for. It is that day when all existence of sin is gone. It is that day when there will be no more pain or suffering. It is that day when there will be no death. It is that day when we shall see our loved ones who have gone before us. It is that day when we will see, for the very first time, Jesus, our Savior, the Christ, the Son of living God, we shall see Him face to face. It is that day when we will finally be home! Glory to God for that blessed hope! Chafer writes, “The ‘blessed hope’ is ever the expectation of the instructed Christian; for the coming of Christ will be the moment of release from these limitations into the fullness of glory, the moment of seeing Him who is the center of all reality for the believer. But Christ, too, is now expecting, and His longings to claim His bride are as great as ever His willingness to die for her.” You see, just as we as believers long for that day and look for that day with expectation, so much the more, does Jesus Himself look forward to that day. He longs for that day with a greater longing than we can imagine. With this partnership with Christ in expectation comes a responsibility to carry on the work of the Lord in this life. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, by ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” As the old saying goes, “Keep your eyes on the sky and your hands on the plow.” Keep working, keep serving, keep living for His glory; while we wait with full expectation the coming our blessed hope, the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is truly a glorious partnership as we together with Christ expect His soon return.
As we conclude our examination of the believer’s partnership with Christ, notice what Lewis Chafer says, “All partnerships in human relations create their corresponding positions and possessions; in like manner the sevenfold partnership which the child of God sustains with Christ creates positions and possessions, and these are the riches of divine grace.” All of these seven partnerships with Christ are only possible through the grace of God. None of these partnerships can be a reality for the individual apart from total faith in the grace of God. These partnerships are made available to all who will come into a right standing with God. Entrance into the grace of God and thus partnership with Christ has already been made available to anyone who would dare to enter. God has already done His part, He has already given the gift of salvation, however, you and I must receive it. Once we receive His grace by faith, we will enter into these glorious and un-breaking partnerships with Christ. His grace, making partnership with Him possible, is for the purpose of His complete glory. May Christ be glorified as we partner with Him in life, position, service, suffering, prayer, betrothal, and expectation.

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