Updated: Sep 8, 2021
Dr. Charles Solomon
What Spiritual Maturity Really Means
Primarily because of ignorance, identification [Galatians 2:20] usually does not become a practical experience for many until years after the life has been totally surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ [Romans 12:1,2]. God uses adverse circumstances along with enlightenment in His Word to bring us to the end of our resources. We get so sick of ourselves that we cannot stand ourselves.
Typically, only after we have reached this point does the truth of crucifixion with Christ and life in Christ produce a deep, dramatic transformation. Often the change in the life is much greater than at salvation. When we are saved, the sin is forgiven, but the flesh continues to pump out the sins. As with Paul in Romans chapter 7, we are doing the things we do not want to do and not doing the things we do want to do. After identification, however, it is the Lord Jesus living His life through us a totally different quality of life.
The transformation may be gradual or sudden, but it is real in either case. Occasionally there is a period of near euphoria because of the peace and freedom the person has realized. This may last for hours or days. But inevitably, self [flesh] sneaks back into control.... Since the person is down, with self back in control, he is a prime target for satanic attack. Satan always hits us while we are down! In fact, this is the only time he can really get to us. The first attack is usually hard on the heels of the identification realization. Being forewarned, we should be forearmed. The Word tells us that we should not be ignorant of Satans devices (2 Cor. 2:11), and also reminds us to resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
When we revert to self-control, the remedy is the same as when we realized victory in the first place-- to reckon, count, or consider ourselves as dead to sin and alive to God (Rom. 6:11). It is not a one time experience that insures constant victory; but rather, it must be a daily or always reckoning upon our deliverance to the cross.
Jesus declared, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23). Paul expressed the same idea: "We which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh (2 Cor. 4:11). The Cross spells death and deliverance as far as the reign of the flesh is concerned. We triumph always and only in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14).