By Bill Stephenson

In 2 Corinthians 8:9 we read, "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

"For you know the grace of our Lord Yah Shua the Messiah that, because of you, He impoverished, while having riches, that you, by His poverty, enrich."
Aramaic Literal Translation

Here is perfect substitution and identification. The word substitute means "to put in the place of another, exchange."

The word identification is defined as "to make to be the same; to unite or combine in such a manner as to make one; to treat as being one or having the same purpose or effect; to consider as the same in any relation."

The Lord Jesus Christ became a man. The Word became flesh and pitched His tent among us. When Jesus was born of the virgin Mary He was identified with us.

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." (Hebrews 2:14 - 18)

"...He Himself likewise shared in the same..." NKJV

"Because God's children are human beings--made of flesh and blood--Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death." NLT

Remember this word identification means "To make to be the same; to unite or combine in such a manner as to make one; to treat as being one or having the same purpose or effect; to consider as the same in any relation."

This identification and substitution of the Lord was so complete that it extended all the way to the cross. The Lord was put in our place there on that tree. He literally became what we were. But the purpose of Him becoming our substitute was to become our identification. If we only stop at substitution we have missed the counsel and wisdom of God. For in becoming our substitute, He became our identification. He was made to be the same as us. We were dead in sins and trespasses. We were children of wrath. Jesus was treated as being one with us because the scriptures teach He literally became sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21a)

That identification is a double edged piercing sword because there is another side of this marvelous work. The work encompassed another side of identification. That side was you and me. That's right. We became one with the Lord Jesus on the cross which means one thing. HIS DEATH WAS OUR DEATH. Religion and dead works leave this part out. For if Jesus died alone it was in vein. Why would the spotless Son of God need to die for Himself? He didn't. He died for us. But not only for us, but as it were, as us.

He was treated the same as us. First, in the womb of Mary becoming a man wrapped in flesh and blood, and then living a sinless life. He fulfilled all the requirements of the law to the "t." He was perfectly obedient to His Father. Then on the cross He became the last Adam. That is, He became what Adam was after the fall. All men are identified with only two people in the world- the first Adam and the last Adam. We can define these two identification points as righteous and unrighteous.

You see, we were that person in Christ on His cross that day. It was there where the transformation began to take place. We were passing from death to life. Look at the cross. The scriptures teach us that darkness swept over all the land there for three solid hours. (Mark 15:33, Matthew 27:45) Not only was this physical darkness, but this was spiritual darkness and death as well. Jesus was the Light of the world. But here the Light went out. Darkness was overmastering Him as our substitute. He had become sin. The Father made Him, who had never known sin, to be sin for us. After three hours in that darkness He cries "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

He had taken our place. Do you want to know what the first Adam was? You can see what he was through this shattering cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" But we see here the horrible condition we were in through Adam. It takes Jesus, the sinless Lamb, to show us our exact condition. We were all in that first Adam. This was our condition. The world cries out every single day in some shape, form, or fashion. To be without God as our life is what being in the first Adam really is. Do you see this? Today the world has their methods of to "remedy" the fallen nature. People attempt to overcome this through education, beauty, religion, pleasure, wealth, status, psychology, philosophy, and a million and a half other things. These methods have crept into the assemblies of the Lord. But change is not the answer. Transformation is. And, only in Christ do we become a brand new person.

We are too quick to jump out over into the life without first having spent some time in the darkness of His death. Why? BECAUSE HIS DEATH WAS OUR DEATH. Why is this so important? Because if you don't know you have died you can't live. I said if you don't know you have died in the person of Christ you can't live in the person of Christ Jesus.

In 2 Corinthians 8:9 we read "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

This word poverty is "ptocheia" and means "the condition of one destitute of riches and abundance."

I was teaching and ministering in Willie Hinn's (one of Benny's brothers) church and after the meeting we went to his home. There his beautiful wife and precious mother prepared a delicious Middle East feast. We sat and talked way into the night. One thing we shared we shared together was true prosperity. True prosperity is Christ. That prosperity covers all areas of life - spirit, soul, and body.

But that prosperity came only through one man. The last Adam- the Lord Jesus Christ becoming poor. Look at it again. See it well. This is your only life. Why be fooled by the world any longer? We are to live in Him, our life.

Remember what Paul said. "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?" (Galatians 3:1)