What We Are In Christ
ANY believers are afraid to say that they are in Christ and are afraid to act as though is true. The Father has declared in the Word what we are in Christ. We find believers seeking to obtain what love has already given them. We ought to know what we are and what we have in Christ.
First, what we have in Christ. Col. 1 :13, “Who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love; in whom we have our redemption, the re¬mission of our sins.” I shall use in this the first person singular as Conybeare suggests. Then it would read, “Who delivered me out of the authority of darkness, and translated me into the kingdom of the Son of his love ; in whom I have my redemption and the remission of my sins.”
Our Redemption is from the dominion of Satan, and when Christ arose from the dead and presented His own blood before the Supreme Court of the Universe, and it was accepted, our Redemption was a settled thing. Then He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High. When he sat down, Satan had been defeated. Everything that Justice had demanded had been accomplished.
Now God has a legal right to give man Eternal Life, but He had no right to give man Eternal Life until there had been a perfect Redemption. So Rom. 3:21-26 is the Holy Spirit’s exposition of this blessed Reality. “But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been unveiled, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.”
You understand that man’s basic need was Righteousness, the ability to stand in the Father’s presence without the sense of guilt or inferiority, and so He declares that God has unveiled a new source of Righteousness, and that source of Righteousness is witnessed by the law and the prophets, “even the righteousness of God on the ground of faith in Jesus Christ.”
And the strange thing is that it is based upon simple faith in Jesus, or in acting upon what God has said in regard to His Son. In the 24th verse he says, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” You understand, He was delivered up on the account of our trespasses, and He was raised when we were justified. (Rom. 4:25).
Then he declares in the next verse, “Being therefore justified on the ground of faith, we have found peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now we can understand that we were justified freely by his Grace, through the Redemption God wrought in Christ, Whom He has set forth to be a sin substitute on the ground of Faith and His blood. God did this to show His Righteousness because He had been passing over the sins of Israel for fifteen hundred years.
Now it is demanded that the penalty be paid. Jesus met that penalty and paid or redeemed the promises that were each year made by the High Priest on the great Day of Atonement.
Jesus cashed all those promissory notes and brought Redemption to every man who had been blood-covered under the First Covenant. I think we ought to read Heb. 9:12, “Nor yet with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption.” I want you to note that this Redemption is an Eternal Redemption.
That when Christ carried His blood into the Holy of Holies, and the Supreme Court of the Universe accepted it, Redemption was a completed thing. “For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify unto the cleanness of the flesh : how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Did you notice that the blood of bulls and goats only cleanses the flesh? The cleansing of the flesh means the senses; it did not cleanse the heart; it did not make man a New Creation. Now notice the 15th verse: “And for this cause he is the mediator of a New Covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”
Now you can understand what he meant in Rom. 3. He died for the sins of those living under the First Covenant that had been covered by blood from year to year, that they might have their share in the inheritance and in this Redemption. You see, the Redemption in Christ not only reached forward to us, but reached backward and redeemed every man tinder the First Covenant who had trusted in the blood of bulls and goats.
Heb. 9:26 now becomes clear to its: “But now once at the end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” He has dealt with the sin problem.
Now it is a sinner problem. The sin problem is ended and the sinner has the legal right to Eternal Life, because God so loved him that He gave him His only Begotten Son.
Redemption then is a settled fact, and it is possible now for a man to receive Eternal Life on legal grounds. 2 Cor. 5:17, “Wherefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new Creation: the old things are passed away, behold they are become new. But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.”
Note very carefully that in this New Creation, the non who accepts Christ receives Eternal Life. Spiritual death, the nature of the adversary, is driven out of him, stops being in him, and a New Nature is given to him. His spirit is Recreated. His soul or mind will need to he renewed. (We deal with this in another chapter.)
But the mind and spirit must be brought into fellowship with each other, and that can only be as the mind is renewed through the Word. It is very important that the believer sees this fact In Rom. 6:5, “For if we have become united with him in the like¬ness of his death, we shall be also iii the likeness of his resurrection knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him.”
Notice the tense here. Not is crucified with Him, but was crucified. The same truth is brought out in Gal. 2:20. “1 have been crucified with Christ.” The old version reads, “I am crucified with Christ.” Our crucifixion and union with Christ on the cross belong to the legal side of the plan of redemption. All that He did for us in His Redemptive work is based on legal grounds. (The legal is always in the past tense.)
He was delivered tip on account of our trespasses. He died for our sins. He arose for our Justification. This is all in the past tense. Now notice Rom. 6:6: “For this we know, that our old self was crucified with Christ, in order that the slave of sin might be destroyed ; so that we should no longer be in slavery to sin.” Centenary Translation).
We died with Christ. We were raised together with Him. So the old roan, the sin nature that was a partaker of spiritual death, died with Christ. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and confess him as our Lord, we become a New Creation, and experimentally that old man stops being and the New Man in Christ takes his place.
This has been a hard problem for many people. They say, ” How can that be true in the face of Paul’s experience in the 7th of Romans?” Rom. 7:7-24 is Paul’s experience as a Jew under the Law. It is not the experience of a New Creation. He said in the 14th verse, “For we know that the law is spiritual but I am carnal, sold under sin.”
The Law was fulfilled in Christ. Nobody is under the Law to¬day. It is true, the Jew didn’t know that he died with Christ and that his old Law and the First Covenant all ceased to be in Christ. He doesn’t know it today, but it is the truth.
The Law was the Jews’ school-master until Christ; not as some translators try- to make us believe, that the Law is our school¬master to lead us to Christ. The Greek text shows conclusively that the law was until Christ, and when Christ arose from the dead and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Law stopped functioning. There is no one under the Mosaic Law today. They can’t get tinder it.
They may attempt it as many are doing today, but it is only a farce. We have a New Law that belongs to the New Covenant, of which Christ is the Head, and that New Law is to govern the New Creation in Christ Jesus. So I John 5 :12, 13 becomes a blessed Reality. “He that hath the Son hath the life; He that bath not the Son of God hath not the life. These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God.”
The believer has Eternal Life. He has passed out of death into life; out of the realm of Satan into the realm of Christ. Out of the realm of spiritual death where Satan reigns, into the realm of Eternal Life where Jesus Christ reigns. Notice the first sentence in I John 4:4: “Ye are of. God, my little children.” We are of God. That fits in perfectly with John 3, where Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born from above.” “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born from above.”
The New Creation is born from above. They came from God. This new Nature flowed out from the very heart of the Father into their spirits, when they crowned Jesus as Lord of their lives. Eph. 1 :3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who bath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” When we accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour, then Rom. 8:32 became an actual reality. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own
Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things.” In that other verse you will notice that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Everything that Christ wrought in His Redemptive work belongs to the New Creation. You do not need to pray for it or seek for it, nor believe for it; it is yours.
Phil. 4:6-7 gives us just another angle of our inheritance in Christ. “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Then a miracle happens : “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”
When we know what our Redemption means to the Father, and what He intended it should mean to us, then we pass out of the realm of worry and fear and doubt. Phil. 4:11 (Twentieth Century Translation) : “Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therein to be independent of circumstances.” Why can we be independent of circumstances? Because the 13th verse says, “I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me.”
You see, this Redemption in the mind of the Father means a New Creation. It means Sonship with all its privileges. It means that we have come into the Family and have Family rights and privileges now that nothing can interrupt as long as we walk in Love with Him.
The second fact is what we are in Christ. It is necessary for us to review a little.
We are Redeemed. Satan’s dominion over us is ended. He no longer reigns over us.
Not only are we Redeemed, but the moment we came into the Family of God we became Satan’s master. God has given to us a legal right to the use of Jesus’ name, and Matt. 28:19 declares, “All authority has been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples (or stu¬dents) of all nations . . . and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”
How is He with us? He is with us in His name, in His Word, and in the person of the Holy Spirit. In Mark 16:17 He said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe : in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues ; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them ; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
And the 20th verse: “And they went forth, and preached every¬ where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed.” You see, He has not left us at the mercy of an enemy. The youngest babe in Christ has a legal right to the Name of Jesus. Not only that, but he has a legal right to the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit.
I can never tell you what that means to my heart.
I John 4:4, that last clause: “For greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.”
What will He do when 11e comes in? e will guide us into all Truth or Reality (John 16:13).
He will take the things of Jesus and unveil them to our hearts. He will impart to us the very ability of God. If you remember, before Jesus went away, He told his disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high.
That word power means ability. The Holy Spirit was going to come into them with Divine Ability arid make them masters of circumstances, masters o f situations, masters of nations. So He can say, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee : be not dismayed ; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee ; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteous¬ness.” (Isa.41:10).
That belongs to us today. That is a picture of the ‘New Creation. Not only did He give us Eternal Life and the great mighty Holy Spirit to live in our bodies, but He has made us the Righteousness of God in Christ. Jesus’ life during His earth walk was amazing to men of sense knowledge. Righteousness made Jesus absolute master of every situation¬, master of all men because all men were sin-conscious. Jesus was not.
Shakespeare said, “Sin makes cowards of us all.” He struck the tap-root of the sin problem. When a man becomes a New Creation, he receives the same Righteousness that Jesus had. Jesus becomes his Righteousness. (I Cor. 1 :30). That Righteousness makes him a master of demons; makes him a master of circumstances. He is not afraid of Satan, or anything Satan can do or has done.
The early Church lived the new Creation in Reality. They were the Righteousness of God in actual demonstration. Not only did the early Christians have Righteousness given to them but they were made the Righteousness of God in Christ. When they received the Righteous Nature of the Father, that Nature made them Righteous. When they received the Love Nature of the Father, it made them Sons of Love.
That is the reason they could suffer any kind of persecution and yet love the persecutor.
Jesus loved Judas and the man who drove the nails into His hands and feet. Paul loved the men who beat him and stoned him. Stephen, when he was dying, said, “Father, forgive them ; they know not what they do.” That was a new kind of Love the world had never known. God is Love. The New Creation has the Love Nature of the Father.
There is another outstanding feature that we must not overlook. We have known God as a Loving God, a just God, a Holy God, but we have never thought of Him as a Faith God.
That is an outstanding characteristic of God. He created the Universe by Faith. Everything that came into being at Creation, came into being by faith. All He did was to say, “Let there be” and things became. God is a Faith God.
No doubt everyone reading this will look back at his early Christian life. When he was first Born Again he was filled with love; he was filled with zeal that was born of faith. Could he have had the right teaching, he would have walked into a life of Faith that would have shaken the community. You see, we become partakers of the Faith and Nature of God. That explains that passage in Rom. 12:3: “According as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith.”
Every man at the New Birth has a measure of Faith. That measure can be increased as he uses it. But under the modern teaching, what faith was given to him in the New Birth is usually destroyed by sense knowledge teaching. We must not omit Eph. 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared
that we should walk in them.”
If we could continually remember that we are God’s New Creations; that He was the Author and Finisher of these New Creations, just as He is the Author and Finisher of Faith, then life would be victorious. He gave birth to us in the birth throes of agony in His Substitutionary work. We are the product of that birth. You see, we have become the Sons and Daughters of God. We remember that Jesus is our example.
Jesus never tried to believe. He acted on the Word of His Father. He never sought Faith.
He said He did what His Father told Him to do. We urge the unsaved to get something. We should urge them to act on the Word. Jesus belongs to them. All they need to do is to confess His Lordship, and the moment they do they receive Eternal Life. Believing is acting on the Word. The believer is one who has acted on the Word.
The unbeliever is one who has not yet acted.
The one is a possesser; the other may be merely a seeker after something that he has not claimed as his own. I want you to know in your heart that you are what He says you are.
He wants you to act it, to confess what He has done in you; what He has made you to be.
This will glorify Him and strengthen your Faith. To deny what we are and to tell what Satan is doing in our bodies or minds, is denying what we are in Christ. All things are possible now, for we are the children of God. We are united with Him.
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