The apostle Paul expressed the “winning attitude” in Philippians 4:13 when he said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Paul knew that the anointing within him would enable him to do anything he needed to do in this life, and he was endeavoring to impart that same attitude to his spiritual sons and daughters at Philippi.
I suggest we can develop this winning attitude among the people of God by knowing our POSITION in Christ. In order for people to be full of faith they must understand positional truths. Preaching that emphasizes the behavior of saints at the expense of positional truths will produce “good people” who try to live a holy life but have no real daily victory over the problems and trials of life. Such people cannot fulfill their divine destiny in this hour but require more ministries than they can give to others. However, when people understand who they are in Christ, they will have faith that produces “good works”, as well as a victorious lifestyle (according to James 2:17). There are three aspects of God’s work in Christ:
A. SUBSTITUTION. This word describes what God did FOR US through Christ, commonly called the GREAT EXCHANGE. All believers must understand that Christ was our substitute at Calvary and took upon Himself all the effects of Adam’s fall belonging to us (including sin, sickness, poverty, curses, and all failure) so that we might receive all that belongs to Him (including righteousness, health, prosperity, favor and success in every endeavor). When we are blessed through faith we can be a blessing to the world. These positional truths are revealed in the letters Paul wrote to the church, and in order to understand them one must receive the “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Ephesians 1:16-21). Rightly dividing the Word of God, we can see that the Gospels deal with “MANIFESTATION of the Sons of God,” Acts deals with the EXPERIENCE of receiving the New Birth and Holy Spirit Baptism, while the letters of Paul give the EXPLANATION of the experience we received in Acts. After having received the “experience” of Acts and the subsequent “explanation” in the epistles, we can go to the gospels and see a “manifestation” of the New Man in Christ, represented in the earthly life of Jesus Christ, Who was the “pattern Son” of all others (Romans 8:29 -30; Hebrews 2:10-16). This is God’s plan for the Church being brought to completion in the present move of God (Colossians 1:25-28).
B. IDENTIFICATION. This word describes what God does IN US through the New Birth and Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:23-24 tells us to be “renewed in the spirit of our mind” or to become “conscious” of who we are now since being “created in His image.” When Jesus died on the cross, we DIED WITH HIM (Romans 6:6-10); when God justified him, we were JUSTIFIED WITH HIM (Romans 4:25). When God made Jesus alive in spirit, we were made ALIVE WITH HIM (Ephesians 2:1-4); when God raised Jesus from the dead we were RAISED WITH Him (Ephesians 2:4-6); and when Jesus was seated in heavenly places we were SEATED WITH HIM there (Ephesians 2:5-7). We were identified with him after the cross, just like we were in His substitution. This means that Jesus became like we were so that we might become as he is now. In the New Creation, or New Birth, we are not just “sinners saved by grace,” but have become “his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph. 2:8 -19). We must understand that we are like him now in spirit since He became the “firstborn of many brethren.” Someone once used the illustration of a tape duplicator to demonstrate what happens when we are born again: God takes Jesus (the “master copy”) and us (the “blank tape”) and runs another copy. We are an exact duplication in kind (Genesis 1:26-28). Apostolic people have renewed their minds to these New Testament concepts.
C. MANIFESTATION. In His earthly life, Jesus was a “man in the image of God,” the last Adam, the second man from heaven. Adam was the first man made in the image of God, Jesus was the second. Although He pre-existed as God (Colossians 1:17), He came to earth as a “man in the image of God” or “man as he was meant to be.” When we see Jesus in the gospels, we are seeing man as he was meant to be, in the image of God. The gospels provide us with the missing account of what a man in the image of God looked like, since we only have three chapters dealing with Adam and the record doesn’t show how he manifested his sonship, only his fall from sonship. The gospels give us an account of a mature Son of God living out his relationship with the Father, fully representing the invisible God (John 14:6-9; Hebrews 1:1-3). Now that we have had the “experience of Acts” and the “explanation of the epistles,” we can go to the gospels and it is like looking at ourselves, since Jesus was the “firstborn of many sons.” We can now step into those shoes and begin to “walk as he walked” (1 John 2:3 -6), with the same relationship with God, the same Holy Spirit empowerment, and the same faith and authority demonstrating the power of God’s Kingdom. This is what it means to manifest sonship – simply to be all God created you to be in Christ. Paul said all creation is waiting for the “sons of God“ to take over on planet earth, according to the eternal purpose of God (Romans 8:14-24). God is bringing the church to the place where He can say, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”