Third, note the word about Deployment. 1 John 2:17b reads, “. . . but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
The term “deploy” means “to arrange in a position of readiness, or to move strategically or appropriately.”[i] Remember you must do the will of God in the world in the midst of a system that opposes it. Ephesians 5:15-18 reads, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” Romans 12:1-2 reads, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
In John 17:6-19 Jesus prayed, “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. ‘I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
Dr. R. David Rightmire explains, “Although union with God is dependent on God’s gracious initiative, it also requires a human response (Eph 2:8). Central to Paul’s notion of being ‘in Christ’ is the fact of faith. It is the indispensable condition for salvation, a placing of one’s trust in the God revealed in Jesus Christ. This faith is the basis for intimate union with Christ, since it is the self-abandonment of the redeemed to the Redeemer. Faith-union thus finds its focal point in the death and resurrection of Christ. . .
The notion of union with Christ is multidimensional in theological significance. ‘In Christ,’ believers identify with his death (Romans 6:3; 6:5-11), his burial (Rom 6:4), his resurrection (Col 3:1), his ascension (Eph 2:6), his lordship (2 Tim 2:12), and his glory (Rom 8:17).”[ii]
Dr. Thomas Manton (1620-1677) writes, “Old men excuse themselves, they are too old to interest themselves in Christ; and the children are not ripe, and young men are otherwise occupied. . .”[iii] Dr. John William Diggle (1847-1920) author of several books to include, Religious Doubt: its Nature, Treatment, Causes, Difficulties, Consequences, and Dissolution, Sermons for Daily Life, and Godliness and Manliness, writes, “And is it not wise for Christian teachers occasionally to proclaim to Christians some message designedly appropriate to each particular stage? For the cycle of man’s fleeting life, like the cycle of the revolving year, has its successive seasons — its springtime of childhood, its summer of youth, its autumn of maturity, and its winter of old age. Each of these successive seasons of life has its own joys and sorrows, weakness and strength, temptations, besetting sins, and preventing graces. And the gospel has a meaning appropriate for each period of life.”[iv]
Discernment is needed to evaluate the spiritual state of the union.
[i]deployment. Dictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/deployment (accessed: 03/12/15).
[ii]Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell, “Union with Christ, R. David Rightmire, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1996), Accessed: 03/09/15, http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/union-with-christ.html .
[iii]The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell, First John (New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1905), 106. https://archive.org/details/biblicalillustra62exel .
[iv]The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell, First John (New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1905), 104. https://archive.org/details/biblicalillustra62exel .