Claiming Our Possessions in Christ
Christians have present possessions in Christ which are ours for the taking. According to Ephesians 1, beginning with verse 17, it is possible for us to experience the “exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe” (v. 19). This is the key to entering into the blessing of the possessions we have in Christ by faith. Christ holds these in trust for us, and we claim them not from Him but in Him. Christ is all these things to us. We cannot have anything from God apart from having Christ Himself. God provides us nothing except as we find it in the Lord Jesus Christ. All His power, authority, and spiritual blessings are in Christ.
There is a great deal of difference between getting something from Christ and having these things in Christ. He is the One who is become to us wisdom and strength and sanctification and redemption. Knowing we are united to Him, all we need we find in Him. He is our strength. For this reason we are called on to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. God has nothing for any of us except as we find it in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Christ, God has given us everything. When we have Christ, we have everything. All is ours, for He has blessed us with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. This is held in trust for us and is bestowed upon us as we by faith claim it.
As previously noted in Joshua 1:3, we have the law or principle of appropriation. God assured Joshua and the people of Israel that every place they walked on in Canaan, God had given to them. The dimensions of the Promised Land are, “From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.” This was not a huge area, but it was a land bridge between the three great continents of Asia, Europe and Africa. God’s gifts are always generous, but Israel possessed the land only to the degree of her faith.
How like many Christians today. They have earthly goods because they have gone after them, but their spiritual poverty is apparent. There has been no appropriation of what God has provided. Spiritual poverty results when the things Christians have in Christ lie unclaimed. Remember, everything Israel claimed was given to them on a supernatural basis. If everything had been left without counting God in, Israel would have had nothing. (1) They were delivered from Egypt because of supernatural power. (2) They passed through the Red Sea and witnessed the destruction of the Egyptian army; and yet they were helpless in themselves to accomplish either thing. God gave them supernatural victory in both cases. (3) When they met Amalek and overcame that nation, it was again a case of God giving them the victory. Moses prayed on the mountaintop and Joshua led the army in the battle, but it was God who gave the victory. (4) Then, when the people came to the east side of Jordan, they destroyed two of the enemy nations that laid claim to the conquered territory.
But these victories were not the fruit of their own strength or wisdom. It was God who fought on their behalf. It was supernatural power that rolled back the Jordan so the children of Israel could cross it; it was supernatural power that broke down the walls of Jericho. The Israelites also found out that for 40 years the people of Canaan had lived in fear of their coming. This was no ordinary fear but a supernatural terror that God had instilled in the Canaanites at the time of Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea.
The point we are making is that all we have in Christ Jesus is on the basis of the supernatural. There is nothing natural about it. Eternal life with power and authority over evil forces are all ours the moment we trust in Christ. We possess them when by faith we claim them.
This spiritual provision is pictured for us in the land promised Israel. In Joshua 1:2, God says that the people would take the land “which I do give to them.” However, God did not present the land as a gift to an unwilling person or persons. It was necessary that Israel be energetic and possess the land. There was nothing there for those who were lazy or selfish. So it is in the spiritual realm. God’s spiritual land is for those who through the energy of faith claim it.
The first generation that came out of Egypt came to Kadesh-Barnea and, after hearing the report of the 10 spies, decided they could not take the land. They refused to go in and claim it, consequently they did not get it. They went back out into the desert and died. According to Hebrews 4:2, “…the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” They did not believe God, consequently they did not enjoy His gift.
The land became theirs legally the moment God uttered His promise. This promise was even made a long time before Israel came out of Egypt. It became theirs experimentally only as they entered the land to claim it and possess it. The principle back of this is given by our Saviour in Matthew 9:29 where He said, “According to your faith be it unto you.” Only Joshua and Caleb of that first generation had faith to claim the land. They entered with the younger generation and possessed it many years later.
How few Christians claim all of God’s provision for them today. We claim salvation. We have come out of Egypt and have a ticket to heaven. But there are vast spiritual possessions in Christ which we so often fail to claim. What a sorrow this is to the heart of God. In spite of Calvary, in spite of the resurrection of Christ, in spite of the giving of the Holy Spirit, so many Christians are saved yet so as by fire.
What a rebuke Abraham is to many of us in this respect. According to Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” He was obedient. Obedience is “faith in action.” He went out not even knowing that God would give him the land. Faith and obedience are inseparable as the sun and the light it gives are inseparable. Abraham had faith and so he obeyed. God says to us, “Go claim these spiritual riches in Christ. They are yours. I have provided them for you.”
“And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?” (Joshua 18:3)