What it Means to be In Christ

Who are in Christ Jesus?
Romans 8:1-4 ESV

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

What is involved in being “in Christ”? (A short list)

• Crucified with Christ in death to sin (Rom 6:3-7)
• Raised with Christ to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3-7)
• Dead to sin and alive to God (Rom 6:11)
• Obedience to Christ leading to righteousness (Rom 6:16)
• Set free from law of sin and death (Rom 8:2)
• Walk not according to flesh but according to Spirit (Rom 8:1-17)
• Minds set on God’s Spirit (Rom 8:1-17)
• Debtors, not to live according to the flesh (Rom 8:12-13)
• By the Spirit put to death deeds of the flesh (Rom 8:13)
• A new creation: the old gone, the new has come (2 Co 5:17)
• Crucified with Christ; no longer I live, Christ in me (Gal 2:20)
• Faith working through love (Gal 5:6)
• Faithful in Christ Jesus (Eph 1:1)
• In Christ, might be to the praise of his glory (Eph 1:12)
• We are his workmanship, created for good works (Eph 2:10)
• Truth in Christ – put off old self, put on new self (Eph 4:20-24)
• Not living in sin, not making sin practice (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-5)
• Suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus (Php 1:29)
• Have same mind and attitude as Jesus (Php 2:5-8)
• Saved by Grace and called to holy calling (Eph 2:8-9; 2 Tim 1:9)

Notice with me what this Scripture says as to why God sent Jesus in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin. Through Jesus’ death on that cross God condemned sin in the flesh, IN ORDER THAT the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled IN US, WHO WALK NOT ACCORDING TO THE FLESH BUT ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT.

It doesn’t say that the righteous requirement of the law is to be fulfilled in us who “pray the sinners’ prayer,” or who make a profession of faith in Christ, or who verbally confess him as Lord. For, our salvation from sin is not a one-time decision we make, or words we repeat, and then we live however we want, and then one day when we die, we get to go to heaven.

All throughout the New Testament, what is taught regarding our salvation from sin is that it is present tense (as is our faith), and that it is ongoing, and that we have to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and that we must continue in it to the very end (Col 1:21-23).

Living According to the Flesh?
Romans 8:5-8 ESV

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

So, we can’t be in Christ if we never died with Christ to sin and if we never turned away from sin to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience. And we can’t be in Christ if we never walked (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.

For genuine faith in Jesus Christ, which comes from God (Jn 6:44), results in a heart change and a transformation of the Spirit of God away from living for sin and self to now walking in holiness and righteousness in the power and strength of God’s Spirit living within us.

This is not to say that we will never sin again (1 Jn 2:1-2), or that we can’t ever, for a time, stray from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ (Rev 2-3) and have need to be brought back to repentance, and to be renewed and revived in our walks of faith in Jesus Christ.

But what this teaches, and many other Scriptures just like it, is that if we live according to the Spirit, and we have our minds set on the Spirit, and not on the flesh, it will end in eternal life with God. But if our minds are set (determined) on the flesh, and we live according to the flesh, we will die.

So, being “in Christ” is not a status that we wear. It is a relationship with Jesus Christ which involves us leaving our lives of sin behind us and us now living to God and to his righteousness. If this is not what took place in your life, and if you are still living your life the way you want, then you need to know that your life will end in death, not in life everlasting.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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2 thoughts on “What it Means to be In Christ

  1. Nice work, Sue.

    Some time ago when teaching about Biblical Love, not the worldly love that most think is Love, I recall saying, ‘When you say you love God, know that there’s criteria for that statement.’

    It’s nice to read that someone knows & states clearly that there is Biblical criteria for being “in Christ,” because, just as “Love” has been hijacked by the worldly, “in Christ” is being assumed by the ones you speak of, those who just say some prayer, live worldly lives under the assumption habitual sin is fine & they’re going to heaven when they die.

    But, as you have stated quite clearly and have referenced with God’s Word, their assumption is deceived and they have simply hijacked and are misapplying another piece of Truth. They have negated the criteria for another amazing piece of Biblical terminology applied only to His people who are ultimately abiding in Him as He commands.

    They will be the first ones to attack the Truth and call it “works salvation.”

    In another article you just posted, you speak of the battle we’re in for Truth, and you speak of encouragement. Please know that you have mine.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Gl, thank you. I appreciate the encouragement. All glory to God. I appreciate all that you said here. Well said. Yes, we are in a battle for truth.


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