What it Means to be “In Christ”

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV

“For the love of Christ controls us because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Jesus Christ, God the Son, was crucified on that cross on our behalf. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross so that when he died our sins died with him. He died for all of humanity. He put all our sins to death with him on that cross. No more blood sacrifices for sin are necessary. Jesus became our final sin sacrifice. But this doesn’t mean that all of humanity is dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Not everyone is saved.

We have to individually put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ who God the Father raised from the dead and who then ascended back to heaven. But even the faith to believe in Jesus is not of ourselves, but it is a gift from God lest we should boast that somehow we accomplished our own salvation. We did not! But the gift of our salvation is not just forgiveness of sins, removal of punishment of sin, and the hope of heaven when we die.

The gift of God, our salvation from sin, is deliverance from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin so that we may now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. For by such faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For Jesus died on that cross that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

This is what our salvation is all about. It is us denying ourselves and it us dying with Christ to sin and living to him and to his righteousness in obedience to his commands (New Covenant) in his power and strength, all because of what he did for us on that cross in putting our sins to death with him. For our old self was crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Therefore, we are to no longer allow sin to reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. For sin is to no longer have dominion over us now that we have been saved from our sins by the grace of God. Therefore, we need to know here that Scripture teaches we are slaves of the one we obey, either of sin, which leads to DEATH, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness and sanctification, and its end is eternal life with God.

2 Corinthians 5:16-19 ESV

“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. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 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.”

Now, when this says, “If anyone is in Christ,” it is not assuming that all people are or that even all who profess faith in Jesus Christ are genuinely in Christ by genuine faith in Jesus Christ, a faith which is God-given and comes from God and thus is aligned with God and with his will and purpose for our lives. So, just because you prayed a prayer to receive Christ or you made a public profession of faith in him does not mean you are “in Christ.”

Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who DOES the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matthew 7:21-23 ESV

John said, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, IF WE KEEP his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:3-6 ESV

And that is why this says “IF” anyone is in Christ, for it is not assuming that all are or that all who profess to be are, indeed, “in Christ.” So, “IF” we are in Christ, we are a new creation in Christ, and thus the old self was crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. So, if we are still living in sin, still habitually and deliberately sinning against our Lord, we are not “in Christ.”

Thus, the old has not passed away if it is not passed away. If we aren’t dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus, the old hasn’t passed away and thus we have not become new in Christ. And I am not speaking here of sinless perfection. I am speaking of what the Scriptures speak about that the truth that is in Christ Jesus teaches us to put off our old self, which belongs to our former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:17-24).

Yes, we do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation but that doesn’t mean we do nothing. The New Testament Scriptures are filled with instructions to us and warnings and urgings and all kinds of lessons which teach us about what it means to be “in Christ” and how we can tell if we are not “in Christ” but we are still “in the flesh” living by the flesh to please the flesh, and we are not living by the Spirit to please the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 ESV

“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.”

So, yes, our salvation from sin is a gift of God to us. We can only be “in Christ” because of what Jesus did for us on that cross. But if our faith comes from God and it is not of ourselves, then it will submit to Christ as Lord and it will be aligned with God’s will and purpose for our lives. So, we have to make that decision to be reconciled to God, meaning “I change” from being God’s enemy to now submitting to his will and purpose for my life. It is something we must do, but not in our flesh, but empowered by the Spirit.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]

I Pray for Them

An Original Work / June 4, 2013
Based off John 17

“Glorify Your Son, that Your Son
May glorify our God in heav’n.
Father, You granted Him all power
And all authority over men,
That He might give eternal life
To all those whom now
You have given Him.”

“This now then is eternal life:
That they may know You,
Father, and Your Son;
That they may know the only true God,
And Jesus Christ whom the Father sent.
I have brought You the glory by
Finishing the work that You’ve given Me.”

“I have shown You to those whom
You gave to Me out of the world;
They were Yours. You gave them to Me
And they have obeyed Your words
And they accepted them. They knew
That I came from You, and they believed
With certainty, I was sent.”

“Holy Father, I pray for them by the
Power of Your name: Protect them,
So that they may be one as we are,
For they are still living in this world.
I have given them Your word;
Because of Your word, the world
Has hated them.”

“I pray they may have the full measure of
My joy now living within them.
Father, I pray You sanctify them
By Your word; truly Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world,
I send them to tell the world to repent.”

2 thoughts on “What it Means to be “In Christ”

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