“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.” 2 Corinthians 5:16 ESV
We all make judgments every day of our lives, so not all judgment is bad. It is only bad if we are making judgments – if we are judging others by ourselves, by human standards, by our own personal prejudices, by our human traditions, by outward appearances, or unjustly or hypocritically.
If we make judgments about others, thus, they need to be according to God’s standards, but in truth and in love, and not according to our own flesh. And, our goal should never be to destroy another person in our judging, but to help another into the light and out of the darkness.
For so many people today are under the cloud of deception, and they are following after a lie, and not after the truth, and so they need to have their eyes opened to the truth so that they can be delivered out of the darkness. And, so we need to expose the lies for what they are, and we need to proclaim the truth in opposition to the lies, in hopes that blinded eyes will be opened, and that people will be turned from darkness to light (Acts 26:18).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
“In Christ” is not just a status we claim. It isn’t just a list of “Who we are in Christ,” either, especially if some of that list is false. But “In Christ” has to do with a relationship with Almighty God. And, that relationship is based off several factors.
First and foremost, we are only able to be “in Christ” because of God’s grace to us, and because of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death for us on that cross where he took our place so that we could be delivered from our slavery to sin and be reconciled to (restored to friendship with) God (1 Co. 6:20).
Secondly, we can only be “In Christ” by God-given faith in Jesus Christ which submits to Christ as Lord, which turns away from sin, and which turns to God to follow him in obedience to His commands, and then walks in His ways and in His truth as a matter of course, of practice, of lifestyle (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
So many professing Christians these days are claiming who they are “in Christ” in order to appease guilt over the fact that they are still walking in the darkness, living in and practicing sin. And, many of those at high levels who are pushing this are doing so deliberately to keep people still in bondage to sin while giving them a false hope of security in Christ.
Truly in Christ
Now, don’t get me wrong. If truly we are in Christ, by genuine God-given faith in Him, and we are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, we can find comfort in what the Bible teaches regarding who we are in Christ when Satan and his hordes come against us.
But, so many people today are using this as a means of pacifying themselves in their sinful practices so that they don’t feel guilty when they continue living in sin in direct disobedience to our Lord. And, some of these lists of who we are in Christ have things on the lists which are not biblical, and the lists themselves do not apply across the board to everyone who makes a profession of faith in Christ, either. So beware of those lists.
For, according to scripture, to be “In Christ” means we no longer walk (in conduct, in practice) according to our sinful flesh, but we now walk (in lifestyle) in agreement with the Spirit of God, in holiness, purity, honesty, uprightness, faithfulness and godliness. For, if we do not, and we continue to make sin our practice, and we don’t walk in obedience to our Lord, then scripture says we don’t know God, we don’t love God, and we don’t have eternal life with God (Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).
For, to be “In Christ” means that our old lives, of living for sin and self, have been put to death with Christ, that we have been made new in Christ, and now we live according to the Spirit of God and not according to our flesh.
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 ESV
Many people are saying, though, that what I just described above is works-based salvation. But, it is what Jesus Christ and his NT apostles taught, and they taught the grace of God. And, the grace of God instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return. And, this death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness is what Jesus died for, too (Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 6:1-23; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
So all this is from God, not from the flesh of man. For the flesh of man has no power to conquer flesh. Only God can conquer sin and the flesh and set us free from the darkness and bring us into his wonderful light. And, only God can empower us to live godly, upright, holy, pure and faithful lives for the glory and praise of God. And, the very purpose of his death on that cross was that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. So, we need to not listen to the lies that say that if we walk in holiness that we are trying to earn our own salvation. That is hogwash!
For, to be reconciled to God is not about just God forgiving our sins so we can go to heaven when we die, although that is what many are teaching these days. It means to be changed, to come to the same position as God about our sin and about his righteousness. It means we change from enmity with God to friendship with God, by God’s grace, but also by God-given faith in Jesus Christ which submits to Christ as Lord, repents of sin and walks in obedience to our Lord’s commands (see all previous noted scriptures).
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 ESV
So, to be reconciled to God, or to be “In Christ” by faith in Jesus Christ, is not some emotional experience we go through, or some words we say after someone else, or some intellectual assent to who Christ is and was. For, love for God is not an emotion. It is not what we feel. IT IS WHAT WE DO.
Therefore, Jesus died on that cross, and he who knew no sin became sin for us so that, IN CHRIST, we might become the righteousness of God. And, this is not just his righteousness positionally, but in practice. For, Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died, as well, that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Tit. 2:11-14).
So, before you go claiming who you are in Christ when you don’t want to feel guilt over your sinful practices, make sure you are really in Christ, according to what the scriptures teach on the whole (the whole counsel of God), and not in a few cherry-picked scriptures taken out of context.
For, “In Christ” means we have died with Christ to our old sinful lifestyles, that we have been transformed in heart of mind of the Spirit of God away from sin and to obedience to Christ. And, it means that we are now walking (in practice) according to (in agreement with) the Holy Spirit of God and not in accord with our old sinful flesh.
It doesn’t mean we have arrived, or that we have already been made perfect, or that we are living in sinless perfection. But what it does mean is that sin is no longer our master because we were bought back for God with the blood of Christ so that we would now honor God with our lives – with our minds, bodies, emotions and speech. He is now Lord of our lives, not our sins and not Satan, if we are truly in Christ – because love for God is not an emotion. It is not what we feel. But, IT IS WHAT WE DO for the glory of God.
Your New Life / An Original Work
Based off the Gospels / May 15, 2014
Go and make disciples of peoples,
Teaching them to obey their Savior.
Do not fear, but go where He sends you.
Tell them all of what you have heard.
The kingdom of God now is upon you.
Come, and follow Jesus, your Lord.
He will make you fishers of man.
If the people Jesus desire,
They must die to sin and to self-life.
If they want to hold on to their lives
They will lose them forevermore.
Surely you heard that coming to Christ
Means a new life in Jesus, your Lord.
Follow Christ wherever He leads.
Love the Lord with all of your heart, and
Love your neighbors as you would yourself.
Preach the gospel to all the nations.
Do not worry what you will say.
Proclaim the freedom for all the captives.
Share the light with all who are blind.
You are ministers of our God.