Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Cor 13:5)
Jesus Christ is our new self, Paul assures us. He further explains that faith is the only way of appropriating this stunning fact. We prove our new selves by faith, not by reason because reason cannot take into consideration inner proof. For a sinner this is impossible owing to the fact that he is not indwelled by Christ. However, any born again person can take this leap of faith which collaborates with the Spirit’s witness in our inner man. In the instant we acknowledge Christ as our new self we know our self, Paul tells us.
God told Rebekah: ‘Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.’ Esau, a type of the old man, sold his birthright for a meal, whereas Jacob, the new man, is the one who receives the blessing clothed in the garments belonging to Esau.
We all enter the new life dressed in our old garments, but as so vividly demonstrated through Jacob they are not a part of us. We have only one nature as typified by the two nations. We cannot be the two nations simultaneously. We are either that old man, a reprobate, or we are Jacob whose self is Christ. When we fell we fell in spirit. Salvation is thus an exchange of spirits. This is the miracle – the supernatural intervention offered every man. However, our soul and body is the same viz. Esau’s garments.
When I came to Christ my soul and body did not radically change. Something happened deep down inside of me which I couldn’t describe. I neither had the words nor the revelation to say anything about what had taken place. I only knew I had accepted Christ and the Spirit testified with my spirit that something radical had transpired and that I now was a child of God. Other than that I was still that regular Ole Henrik with his unique personality. Now I clearly see that an exchange of spirits had taken place. So, I smelled like that old Ole Henrik, and on my soul level, my hairy body, as it were, I felt like old Ole Henrik, but the thing is: I wasn’t! I was new through and through!
As Jesus I was led into the wilderness to repudiate the devil and affirm my choosing of God. We are not automats. We operate within the will of either the deceiver or God. As new creations we move within the will of God. Of course there is a paradox in this. During my forty days in the wilderness God is my keeper and never let go of me, but to me it seems like the scale can topple either way. What is firm in heaven seems like shaky ground from our limited viewpoint.
I many ways Esau garments represent our old way of thinking, that is, seeing ourselves as separate selves with a nature of our own. Through the school of hard knocks on the head we come to our senses so that we in increasing measure can get a grasp on that we are vessels, branches, slaves, wives of Another. When we finally see that we have no nature of our own we can take that leap of faith which in our consciousnesses establish what has been true ever since we responded to the Father’s call viz. we are now Jacob, the one who comes after the first.
We undress Esau’s garments by faith and we clothe ourselves in Christ by faith. It is as simple as this.