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Crucified with Christ

Paul is inspired to talk of dying daily (I Cor. 15:31) and of being 'crucified with Christ' (Galatians 2:20), by which terms he indicates that whereas one might wish this, the Lord might want that, and whereas a type of living which has variable or vicious grounds might have appeal, whether for ambition or misled desire, yet it must be dumped; for the life of God has its plane and understanding, and is not share-wear. It reaches to another, but not as an independent operator, only as one who knows the meaning of the term 'Lord', for life (Luke 6:46), love, longing, and in fact loves God first and foremost, not in poetic slither of emotional transcience, but quite simply, in fact.

This has less to do with imaginary perfection (you are maintained by grace, not governed by your own 'flesh'), than with a princely power of God over you, to impel, dispel, propel, yes but with a loving understanding on the one hand, and with an inter-personal intimacy on the other, while keeping you on the highway of holiness, where the path is plain.

When it comes to the positive side, that is, living rather than dying, Paul as in Galatians 2:20 talks of being crucified on the one hand, but on the other, of the "life which I now live" being "by faith in the Son of God," Jesus Christ. Thus as it were, avoiding both spiritual sun-baking in deadly milieux, and taking woeful,  wanton, unwise and merely appetising courses of action, the negative side, you then proceed  to  LIVE, in co-operative submission to the Lord, as a friend, His power and protection available, His direction dynamic and His wisdom impending as you go, His impelling majesty a fountain for worship, His corrective wisdom a delight as from a coach. It may cause pain; but its purpose is plain.

When it comes to God, and to Him alone, being  my Maker and Redeemer, condescending to come to my own type of format, that of mankind, to bring back to His own heavenly holiness, it is eminently to be desired  so to live and act. It is, after all, the completion of creation specifications, removing the intrusion of sin as sovereign, waywardness as not even defined, and restoring connection with the base, which is not below or lateral, but above, so that the life which neither fails nor ends might proceed, the devil thwarted and the desire purified.

That is one side. Now we come to the other.


A Divulgement

With all this, there is an absolute, objective standard, there are standing orders, and there is a revelation which is the SOLE written, operative direction required of all. It is called the Bible, the word of God written, inspired by the Holy Spirit (I Peter 1:10ff., II Peter 1:16-21), instituted with power as privilege from the divine mind, for the magnificent purposes of God.

It centres on  our fallen estate, our opportunities for restoration, and opens up like a bud becoming a flower, as the revelation moves from early indication to eventual consummation in the Gospel of the substitutionary salvation of Jesus Christ crucified, who died the just for the unjust to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18).

It was


symbolised for Israel,


essentialised in the coming Messiah,


culminated in His incarnation from heavenly eternity,


secured on the Cross,


exhibited in power in the resurrection,
which also authenticated it
as the finale on the personal works of Jesus Christ when on this earth,

and is


available to Jew and Gentile alike,
while God fulfils all the specifications of method
which He has had in mind, both to confront this earth,
commend the free grace of the path offered,
and to bring to some eternal life, who believe, and to the rest, judgment
because, despite all this, they do not.

God is a Spirit and the thing is spiritual; God made the earth and man upon it, and the thing is practical; God loves and He took action to show it, did work to implement it and loves mercy to fulfil it.

This brings us to the sheer magnitude and magnificence of His self-revelation and practical demonstration before and for us, and the need to realise our position and act. For this, there is an impelling overview provided, for example, in Romans 16:25-27. This shows the sheer wonder of it, the fact that it centres on a revelation of things without God, mere mystery, but with His act most clear, relevant and wonderful.

It is a work to do justice to this divine declaration,  and its overview requires careful alertness.



Romans 16:25-27



to Him who is able to establish you

   according to my Gospel

   and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
   according to the revelation of the mystery,

      kept secret since time began, 
      but now manifest,

   and by the prophetic scriptures:

       made known according to the commandment of the eternal God,
       for obedience to the faith to all nations -

to God alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ be glory. Amen.

This gives in translation from Greek to English the sense of vastness which it has. However the Greek has linguistic abilities here which the English does not adequately transmit, clarificatory aspects which require us to use our own language in such a way as to mirror these. It is not that it is too complex, but it needs care in rendering to secure full transmission in this, another medium of discourse.

Thus, for immediate impact it could be segmentalised. so that we look further at ways of translating.

We have something to consider, since in particular,  in English we do not have case endings, which here in Greek reveal the track of thought with three participles all of the same grammatical case (genitive), the first following 'revelation' (of the mystery), in that it was long hidden, the second denoting its being made manifest and the third the thrust or purpose of its being made known. They act like sign-posts, very conspicuous in their similarity both of grammatical and visual form, and of impact.

Since in English we lack this way of joining like things together with such endings, it may be helpful to use what we have in our language, to indicate what the Greek puts in its own way. Thus it could be rendered like this.


to Him who is able to establish you
according to my Gospel
and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery,

kept secret from the times of the ages,  but now manifest,

and by the prophetic scriptures:

this made known to all nations
according to the commandment of the eternal God -

leading to obedience of faith,

to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
 be glory for ever. Amen.

To make it easier to read, we could segmentalise it a little further*1:


to Him who is able to establish you

according to my Gospel
and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery,

kept secret from the times of the ages, 
but now manifest,

and by the prophetic scriptures: 

this mystery

by the commandment of the eternal God -

being made known to all nations
leading to obedience of faith:

to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
 be glory for ever. Amen.


Thus you have the mystery 1) hidden    2) manifest     3) made known.

This guides by its force and its form, both together. 

The three participles move us forward in successive steps.


First is the secretion,


then the manifestation,


then thirdly the making known.

The first two are an evocative contrast; the third is a functional application.

BEING manifest, it now has a job to do, and this by command of the eternal God. In fact, it is to all peoples, and leads into obedience of faith.

You could translate, at one point, "leading to faith's obedience." It has much to commend it. One translator has 'obedience inspired by faith', but this is to put a thrust into words which the Greek does not. On the other hand, there is a possessive which could be simply translated, ' faith's obedience' . About faith there is this realism that without works as James reminds us, it is dead. IF you believe, the RESULT will come. What motivates may be hope, what activates, it is faith. Drawing back and withdrawing are NOT faith, but mistiness, wistfulness, romancing or the like.



Let us return now to the substance of this divine declaration, the Divine Charter for Man. It is not enforced. It is revealed. It is not debatable, it is given. It is not a matter of 21st century changes, but of some 35 centuries of revelation. It is not merging with other things, not mutative, but successive, unitary and like a giant ocean wave, coming to issuance in one way only.

In this way, the Christian, now the recipient of the entire revelatory masterpiece of divine diction, will and provision for man, is to be established as Romans 16:25 declares. It is by two divine thrusts. First is the Gospel as given, for one, to the apostle Paul (who was in unity with the other apostles on it as in Galatians 1-2); and this involves the revelation of a mystery, that is, something known to God, explicable only by Him, but able to move readily into the mind of man, despite its distempers,  to clarify potential confusion, amplify moving thoughts and give form and precision to his entire spiritual and qualitative nature and life.

It is the Gospel and revelation of mystery, together with the prophetic scriptures (Romans 16:26), which are basis for establishment of any man before God. These are means cited and used by "Him who is able to establish you." So declares Romans 16:25-26. These two operate together as one: the long aggregating revelation through the prophets, together with Messianic focus, on the one hand, and the central and practical focus of the completion in Christ, through the Gospel given legs and arms in His actions, on the other (Hebrews 1:1 - 2:10). Both counter the hiddenness, the one in preparation, the other in completion.

As to this mystery, then, it came in phases, being at first hidden, since only God is able to have and show His OWN mercy as HE sees fit. It is however made manifest,  simply because He articulates it. Nor is this simply for notational completion, but practical action. Nor, again, is this merely for visual or intellectual focus, but it has results. Its scope is universal to all nations, not just Israel, which was the initial revelatory channel at the time of Moses, for its extensive formulation and symbolic utterances.  Indeed, the revelation goes back to the earliest days, when the hiddenness was far greater, the very time of the fall of man and the prediction of what God would do to deliver him (Romans 5:1-12, 8:17ff.). Genesis 3:15 shows the first beginnings of the lifting of the veil and so is called the protevangelion.

It is not only for ALL nations, but it is so by DIVINE COMMAND, declares Romans 16:25-27. It is not a suggestion from a suggestion box; it is a sovereign declaration for deliverance, from the eternal God. Paul shows, through the word of God, this aspect with magnificent force in Galatians 1, for example, crystallising this further in Galatians 3 and 5, and applying it in Galatians 4, concerning the Israel to Church movement, at the supreme spiritual level. Christ shows as recorded in Matthew 28, that Great Commission which does indeed give divine command that all the Gospel be proclaimed with the teaching of ALL the commandments.

The establishment of those who hear, as in Romans 16:25, is both through this teaching in its fulness, and through the prophetic scriptures, both being revelatory channels; for whatever is hidden, may be so for two reasons. Firstly, it may be there, but the investigatory power or constraint is lacking, so that it is not found; or secondly, it may not be there at all. 

The consolidation or establishment of the Christians at Rome, in terms of both the Gospel and the writings of the prophets is certainly co-ordinate as in II Peter 1:19, not only because of the theme, portent, even the unveiling in the prophetic procedure to the full light of common day, nor only because of the terminology, where distinctively,  the writings of the prophets is made co-ordinate with the manifestation of the Gospel from hidden phase to full revelation, but because this IS establishment, to see the progressive opening up of the Gospel in one setting, one thematic display. This is one of the means used for the consolidation of disciples in the full glory of the manifest truth!

It is like a day developing, hour by hour, till noon. It consolidates itself to the mind, impresses itself on the soul and it attests itself in its disregard of the constraints of time, no small contribution being there if not substantially realised at the first (Genesis 3:15), and true to the last. However foolish and slow of hearing the disciples might be, yes by Christ's own word, those with Him (Luke 24:25), the plant of prophecy was a large and abundant one, even before the sun shone so brightly upon it.

This is no small part of the method of Paul as he reasoned in the synagogue from the scriptures that Jesus is the Christ, of Philip to the Ethiopian, of Paul in Romans 11 and 15, and of Christ in his diversification of testimony to the disciples, emphasising what is there ALREADY together with the impact from Himself, sent direct from the Father, as from His ordained actions in fulfilment of the scriptures as in Matthew 26:52-54.




Its outcome in thrust lies in the obedience of faith, we find in Romans 16:26. It is the obedience which faith understands, to which it seeks, which is normal and natural to it, which implies the discernment, motivation and love to which it is conjoined: the fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness, love and joy, for example (Galatians 5:22). In other words, what is to be received by faith in the Lord, in His revelation, in His mercy, impels one to faithfulness as a fruit. It is not the obedience of servitude, of cringing, though the fear of God is clean (Psalm 19);  but it is that of that faith which knows God, loves Him and seeks His desire with relish,  as a privilege of mercy and a testimony of friendship, the work of the Captain and King of mankind, working not by force, though with power, but rather with the impelling attraction of love.

In Ephesians 3:9ff., we see something emphatic. It is that the joining in harmonious unity through this very Gospel, of Jew and Gentile, one certainly, as in Romans 16, prefaced in the prophetic scriptures given to and through prophets in Israel, is now made more manifest in its profundity.

It is no small thing for God to take the format of man and the race of a Jew in order for Jew or Gentile, to bring a common salvation, fulfilling the promises in the prophets and providing the Gentiles with direct access with all boldness, to Himself (Hebrews 2-4). 

In Ephesians 1:7ff., we find that "in the dispensation of the fulness of times" -

that is, when the Danielic prediction of the Gospel's time
in terms of the dismissal of the Messiah when He came to earth
(the date for its occurrence as indicated, and shown in Christ the Citadel
Ch. 2, for example):

all things are gathered together in One. Who is that One: It is Jesus Christ.

v  That is the Saviour, God Himself as man (Philippians 2, Isaiah 43:10-11, Acts 4:11-12),


v  having been foretold, forecast, and


v  given the date displacement in detail, and


v  indeed murdered, and


v resurrected, the torn body not left to rot,
but as practical declaration of God, for the precincts of immortality:

is now acting in triumphant testimony as the  One who is both Lord and Christ.

Indeed, to fulfil this purpose, He both lived and died (Romans 14:9), that He might be Lord both of the living and of those already past their earth's pilgrimage. He is both cynosure and centre. He is both explication and  application, testimony and triumph.

Moreover,  this Person and this establishment, it is declared,  is to be seen as such by all men. The precise way of this unification was not always so clear, but now it is. That is what we are being told. It is in the earlier prophetic scriptures (such as Isaiah 42,46,49-55, Micah 5, Jeremiah 31, Hosea 13:14ff., Psalms 2, 16, 22, 40, 69 and so on), but not always was it understood, for it could be understood that it was revealed for a coming time (I Peter 1:12). That time is now. It is upon us. Its tenure is moving to coming phases for this one Gospel of this one Saviour, with His inclination that all might be reconciled, but in love, and not in force or violence (John 18:36).

The 'mystery' like the sight of a ship near the horizon at the ocean shore, is now brought close, as it has berthed in the harbour. When it is so, it is realised that after all, the outline was indeed in the prophetic scriptures, which like field glasses trained on the ship on the horizon, had not erred! Moreover the symbolic prelude was not amiss (as in Hebrews 1-10), but moved by faith (as in Hebrews 11), men of old acted as seeing Him who is invisible, as those who move to a city which has foundations, whose builder and Maker is God (exemplified, typified and essentialised in Abraham (Hebrews 11:10, Romans 4). Nor is there is no other foundation but Christ Jesus the Lord (I Corinthians 3:11).

Many founder in seeking to change the foundation, or in efforts to make another; but being confounded, they merely address their windy words to no effect (II Peter 2:18, cf. Daniel 7:20), a squalid whine or whimper in effect (cf. Jeremiah 23:16-28), however pretentious for the moment it may appear in deception (as in II Corinthians 11), as the Age of Grace proceeds to its fulfilment, the opposition itself mounting.

The truth will not alter or wither or quiver, though typhoons of truculence or arrogance spend themselves.

We are not dealing with the creations of men, says Peter (II Peter 3:16), but

"with the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,"

the apostles who were with Him

"being eyewitnesses of His majesty,

or He received from God the Father honour and glory ..." 

There is a whole matrix of things past concerning His coming, things present when He came and things to come, in finality and completion, when the time of testimony becomes the act of judgment. Therefore be steadfast (I Peter 4:1-12), serious, unmaimed by imaginative flirtations, not dithering but living in the obedience of faith.

Bereft indeed will be purveyors of such illusory substitutes for the millenial work of divine singularity, which is attested alone, invested with divine authority, and has culminated in the crucifixion and resurrection of the Christ who having done all, will return for its consummation, and harvest (Romans 11:25ff., Matthew 24:29ff., Mark 14:62, I Corinthians 15, Acts 1:7ff.).

Again in Colossians 1:24ff., we find that the Gospel of the loving divine desire, and His practical provision, that He might bring ALL men into reconciliation with Himself, as in 1:19ff., is now found in revelation of the 'mystery' of its wonder. It conjoins now things often before needlessly sundered, but now epochally fulfilled, the one in the other. This universal Gospel excels what preceded, being immediate, direct, complete, uncluttered (II Corinthians 3:10). Here is "the glory which excels."

That now it should be so intimate and individual and personal and direct, that without priests we should dwell in and with the Lord, is a wonder and a witness of divine splendour and patience, so that it comes to this, "Christ in you, the hope of glory", Colossians 1:27. That was something hidden in its depth and directness, but now explicit and express. Every feature that had beckoned is now transfixed into place, like hair now set. Now the Gentiles themselves have this richness, by no means limited to revelatory pivots like Abraham, but rather in total fulfilment of all promised.

In Romans 16:25ff., we have a summary of some beauty, indeed of no small magnificence. This now fully revealed Gospel with its vast thrust to all nations, this thing once found in the prophetic scriptures, but now exhibited in all its profundity and scope direct, through the Gospel and the revelation given to Paul as one of the apostles, brings foundation and indeed an establishing certitude to the believer. Moreover, its outcome is found in the active conformity of faith, not to a vague mist, nor to a mere set of instructions, but to the amplitude of resolute reality, to know God and of course to obey Him as an outcome of faith.

This involves: relishing His written word, and proceeding indeed, in the manner which is characteristic of that love which faith feeds on, and desire understands when the heart is regenerated. For this, Romans 5 gives introduction, Romans 8 expatiation and Ephesians 3 amplification.





Another rendering of Romans 16:25, similar in most points, but with one significant difference, is provided by John Murray in his work, "The Epistle to the Romans," Volume 2.

With the impressively imaginative idea that WHEN and BECAUSE the Gospel was being spread world-wide, therefore the prophetic scriptures went with it, being as it were unleashed to the globe indirectly by this means, the thing to be "made known" to all nations could be held to be  "the prophetic scriptures". This would then be what, by the commandment of the eternal God, would be made known to all nations. This is grammatically possible.

However it does not at all concur with the emphatic stress that Paul continually is making that his Gospel, the one accorded to Him, this is the acme, the bloom, the distillate, the glory that surpasses, the end-product; and thus to have the preliminary prophetic scriptures so linked to this vast and impactive statement about the command of the eternal God in this way, seems disproportionate, an alien emphasis. Truly, the one does go with the other, the Gospel with the words of the prophets; and the one would take the other with it. as may be seen in Romans 15, for example. But the emphasis on what GOES and what it takes with it would then seem reversed: what goes with it, in this way, becoming the focus of the vast and epochal command.

Moreover, in II Peter 1, we see that indeed the Christian is to be ESTABLISHED,  and the point in view here is that there was no cunningly devised tale about Christ that was delivered,  but in fact His majesty was directly perceived by His people, not least in the transfiguration, and that all this simply confirmed the prophetic scriptures which continue to give help and support, as a light in a dark place, one that should be heeded (II Peter 1:19).

Here there is the same insistence on the Person, the direct and central one; and when it comes to consolidation, then the scriptures of the prophets (the actual phrase in Romans 16:25ff.) are a great asset. Indeed, they have rapport with what happened, are in preliminary mode expressive of the Gospel, and Christ and this word are entwined. But Christ is the tree, and the prophets the creeper, even though in point of time, they came first. He who came 'last' is first!

It is thus by the Gospel given to Paul, and the revelation of the mystery now made manifest, that the Romans are to be 'established', together with the scriptures of the prophets, and this mystery, thus exposed, thus textured and composed into the Gospel, it is that is made known to the nations by the express commandment of the Lord. That command, touching not part but all, the Gospel AND the commandments, is in fact commanded to be released and realised in the world by the sending of the believers as ordered, INTO all the world. It is as such an explicit and written order from the Lord as seen in Matthew 28:18-19. There is no such separation of part in the command, for it is all; and with it, the commandments themselves must be taught. It is holus-bolus, and how could it be otherwise!