Our Eightfold Position
The relationships that we have with the people in our lives are different one from another because of the positional nature of each relationship – how we are positioned with each other. Interactions between myself and a friend who is my peer, my equal, are different than those that I have with my boss. The position I have with each of those people is different. I may be able to borrow money, for instance, from my friend but not from my boss. We would say, “I’m not in a position to do that.”
Our positional relationships are subject to change. None are a better illustration of this than the relationship we have with a parent. As children we are subject to our parents, but as we get older that is less so the case. As we get older still, the positional relationship may even be flipped – the aging senile parent becoming subject to his/her children.
Life is all about positional relationships. Even our relationship with God has positional aspects to it that make it multi-faceted. He is God, our Father, in creation and as such He is holy and separate from us. His ways are above our ways, His thoughts are above our thoughts. He is the strong, we are the weak.
It is our positional relationship with Him as our Savior that gives us access to His presence and grace. (Hebrews 4:15-16; 9:1-10)
Interestingly enough, our positional relationship with God goes much deeper than that and starts before we were saved and even changesfrom there.
Each of us occupies an 8-fold positional relationship with God:
1. The Lord’s Prayer contains the words, “Forgive us our debts”. We are all debtors to God, but not only that, we are hopelessly in debt, owing so much that we can never have any expectation of paying the debt off. We need our debt written off, or more so, forgiven. It is the only way that we can get out from under the incredible burden of what we owe. (Luke 7:41-47) We need to be forgiven.
2. When Adam and Eve ate of the tree which God told them they were not allowed to eat, they broke every rule in the book – all one of them. Ever since then, we have been violating the laws of God. As God has said that the soul that sins shall surely die, the sinner is under a death penalty and so, we are condemned criminals (Romans 3:19; 8:1) standing, as one writer said, in the supreme court of the universe. As such, we are in need of justification.
3. Insurrection or traitorous acts historically have been and still are in many countries worthy of death. Defy the King or commit the crime of being a member of a vanquished royal family and you could be put to death. We are the enemy of God (Romans 5:10, 8:7-8; Colossians 1:21; James 4:4). We live in opposition to the government of God and are in active hostility of His rule. As such, we are in need of reconciliation.
4. There are substances in this life that are addictive – alcohol, nicotine, heroin and, of course, chocolate. On a pharmaceutical ad recently, I saw a warning that the use of the drug could cause compulsive behavior. The fact that some people have trouble with such things as gambling and sex would indicate that behavior can be addictive as well. Sin is addictive The Bible says that we are slaves to sin. (John 8:34; Romans 6:6, 12-22; 2 Peter 2:19) As such, we are in need of redemption.
5. God is holy. That means separate – there is no one like God. We, on the other hand are not separated from the lusts, affections and desires of this world. We are defiled and unholy. (1 Timothy 1:9; 2 Timothy 3:2) We are in need of sanctification.
6. My first pastor used to peach that we, in our evangelistic efforts, are not working in a hospital (metaphorically) to heal sick souls, but we work in a grave yard raising the dead to life in Christ Jesus. That always stuck with me because scripture teaches that we are dead in our trespasses and sins. (Ephesians 2:1, 5, 12; 4:18-19) As such, we are in need of newness of life by becoming a new creation.
7. While the Law of Moses taught the Jewish people to treat strangers and visitors to their land with kindness and hospitality, it also was clear in its teaching that they were still citizens of another country and did not have any standing or inheritance in Israel. We, as sinners, are aliens and strangers to God. (Ephesians 2:12) As such, we are in need of citizenship.
8. Israel, from its beginning has been depicted as the natural children of God (Hosea 11:1). The church, being almost entirely Gentile, is seen in scripture as the adopted children of God. Before a child is adopted he/she is an orphan and a stranger to the adoptive parents. Therefore, we are poor orphans to God without a family name, without family privileges and without a family inheritance. (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 3:26, 4:5-6; Ephesians 1:5) As such we are in need of adoption.
A different look at it:
1. In forgiveness God is Creditor. Forgiveness brings the debtor cancellation of sins. It is a contractual thing.
2. In justification God is Judge. Justification gives to the condemned criminal imputed righteousness. It is a legal thing.
3. In reconciliation God is King. Reconciliation gives the enemy peace with the Throne. It is a sovereignty thing.
4. In redemption God is Redeemer. Redemption gives the slave liberty. It is an ownership thing.
5. In sanctification God is High Priest. Sanctification changes desecration into holiness. It is a righteousness thing.
6. In the raising of the dead God is God. Newness of life creates a new being. It is a resurrection thing.
7. In citizenship God is Magistrate. Citizenship gives the alien belonging. It is a privileges thing.
8. In adoption God is an adoptive parent. Adoption gives the poor orphan sonship and inheritance. It is a birthright thing.
One more look: