by Risto Mikkonen
(Introduction by Fred Pruitt
The Power of “Reckoning.” When I was growing up in the southeastern United States in the 1950s, the word “reckon” didn’t have the meaning that my brother Risto speaks about below in this blessedly wonderful writing. In our southern way, when someone said, “I reckon,” it was meant with an almost, but possibly doubtful, certainty. If someone asked, “Did Bill really catch all those fish?” and someone answered, “I reckon so,” they meant, “Probably, but I’m not quite sure.” And that was the working meaning of the word when I first encountered it in my beginning days in Christ in Paul’s Romans 6:11 — “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It did not have the ring of certainty to it for me. It took a few years for the Spirit to get that through to me. Brother Risto, who is a Finn and lives in Helsinki and whose native language is Finnish, writing in ENGLISH captures the true Spirit meaning of the word as few have done. I am floored!)
When I watch in the mirror and see that my eyes are grayish blue, I reckon them to be grayish blue. It is exactly this kind of “reckoning” Paul talks about in Romans 6:11: “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
If I reckon my eyes to be grayish blue, the reckoning itself does not make nor keep them grayish blue. If my eyes are grayish blue, then the reckoning is simply thinking in alignment with the reality. If we will never believe that we actually died with Christ on the cross and are therefore alive to God (ie., that everything in and about us has become alive to Him), that doesn’t change the fact that we ARE alive to Him anymore than my refusing to accept the fact that my eyes are grayish blue can change the fact that they are. However, the day a Christian realizes that s/he actually and truly and totally is alive to God, a new day has begun in his/her thinking. S/he won’t be able to doubt that fact anymore than someone can doubt the color of their own eyes.
The logical implication arising from the reckoning is the following: a Christian does not need to do a single thing in this life to prove the fact s/he is alive to God. Facts do not need to be proven; only assumptions, claims, theories and theorems do. If you feel the need of some sort to prove yourself or other believers or non-believers that you are alive to God, then you should ask yourself whether you have in fact believed what Paul says in Romans 6:11, since what Paul states in that verse is an irreversible historical and spiritual fact which needs proving as little as, say, the fact that the World War II ended in 1945 or that John F. Kennedy was shot dead in 1963.
My act of reckoning before the mirror is authentic when after having recognized the color of my eyes I don’t give a single thought to the act of reckoning itself. If, for instance, I genuinely reckon the World War II to have ended and President Kennedy to have been shot, I lose interest in the psychological realm of the reckoning itself; I don’t ponder to what degree I have reckoned those facts to be true, since there are no stages or degrees in such reckoning. “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all.” Whosoever wonders as to what degree s/he has become alive to God in Christ, should then also wonder as to what degree Christ has become alive to God, since we are actually and authentically ONE with Christ; ie. not only some part of us, but we ourselves, we as whole persons. Christ didn’t offer a partial sin offering to God, but a whole one, a wholly pleasing one. Therefore we as WHOLE persons were included in the redemption/salvation/reconciliation/sanctification/justification which Christ accomplished – no instance in and about us (for instance, our “will”) avoided the Cross.
A wise Christian once wrote, “There is no such thing as partial bondage; nor is there such a thing as partial liberty,” and this claim lies on the simple fact that Christ’s death actually took place and ended for good – once and for all – the Adamic history of human race on the Cross, and Christ rose from the death, thus starting AUTHENTICALLY a new realm in human history. Whosoever is part of Christ, has come into this new realm THROUGH THE VERY SAME DEATH THAT CHRIST DIED! In Christ’s death there were no phases or stages or different “levels” (and no partiality, for that matter); his death was a once and for all event. Consequently it is impossible for a Christian to be partially alive to God (and, hence, partially in bondage to sin). Whatever our weaknesses may be, they are not a proof against what Paul states in Romans 6:11; they are simply weaknesses, phenomena that do not define nor constitute us. As a result, we are forever freed from any attempts whatsoever to prove through our walk (and talk) that we are alive to God!!! Such attempts would be as futile and illogical as an elephant’s attempt to prove someone (itself included) that it is an elephant or a swan’s attempt to prove someone (itself included) that it is a swan. The very minute a confused elephant realizes it is actually an elephant, an opportunity opens for it to start living its life as it is, according to its “elephantic” nature. The same applies to swans and Christians.
If a Christian thinks that living as a Christian requires “trying” (or “living out” some ideal or truth or Word) of any sort, s/he is at loss with her/his true identity. A branch’s duty is not to suck the sap off the trunk to itself, since the True Vine is one organic whole that lives His Life as one organic whole – and His branches are not His life producing parts; actually, of all the parts on the Vine, the branches have the least responsibility of producing anything!
We have been included through death into Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life as well as Alfa and Omega: nothing in us and about us survived the Cross, since we, the whole we and nothing but we died on the Cross with Christ.
The feeling or thought that whispers to us telling that we are not fully alive to God (justifying itself by pointing at our weaknesses and “evil” deeds, misdeeds and thoughts and words) is not based on THE FACT OF CHRIST’S DEATH ON CALVARY. Any such feeling or thought should therefore be regarded as mumbo jumbo (as far as our identity and guilt are concerned, at least). Such feelings are so worthless that they don’t even deserve to be gotten rid of: one does not need to get rid of a mirage, all one needs is simply notice that it is what it is: a mirage (i.e., that the feeling or thought in question does not have its roots in Christ’s death and resurrection).