In Christ

IN CHRIST-Part 1

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I keep praying that God would take away _______(Fill in the sin you can’t give up)?” You pray and pray about it, but He just never seems to take it away? I’ve been there myself, it’s frustrating and you find yourself questioning God. The thing is, it’s not that God isn’t answering your prayer, the problem is that there is something on your end that must be addressed. God showed me something a few years ago that changed my life, and I wanted to share it with you. 2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Notice this verse doesn’t say, “if anyone is born again”, or “if anyone is saved.” It says, “if anyone is IN CHRIST.” Being “in Christ” doesn’t mean that you go to church once or twice a week. It doesn’t even mean that you pray every day, or that you read your Bible every day. To be “in Christ” is to be totally and completely sold out for Him, it means you give Him your everything. If you are “in Christ”, your every thought is on those things that are true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable (Phil. 4:8). If you are “in Christ” you must decrease and He must increase (John 3:30). Of course, you will still sin occasionally, we are still human, but you are no longer a sinner, you are a saint. There is an old hymn that I grew up singing in church that makes me cringe every time I hear it. The song says “I’m only a sinner, saved by grace.” No, I’m not! I was a sinner, but, by the grace of God, I am now a saint. We can’t be declaring that we are sinners, we are no longer identified by our sin, we are identified as a child of the One True King. If we have any hope of being a new creature, we must be IN CHRIST. Then, and only then, will those old things pass away and all things will become new.

So, why is it so important to be “IN CHRIST”? I’m glad you asked. First, because redemption is in Christ, Romans 3:24 “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;” So without Christ, there is no redemption. Secondly, life is in Christ. Romans 6:11 “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Just a minute, did you get the first half of that verse? “Consider yourself to be dead to sin.” Going back to the last paragraph, if you are “dead to sin” how can you be a sinner? Just sayin’. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 2:5 “even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ (by grace you have been saved),” Life itself is in Christ, but not just existence, but a rich and satisfying life, John 10:10 says “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” Thirdly, freedom is in Christ. Freedom from condemnation, Romans 8:1 “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” And freedom from the law of death, Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” We are no longer a slave to sin, we are no longer a slave to condemnation, we are no longer a slave to the law, we are free to live in Christ.

We’re going to finish up looking at being in Christ in our next installment. Remember, I love your comments and insights, so let me know what you think.

IN CHRIST-Part 2

In the last installment, we looked at the importance of being In Christ. We saw that; redemption, life, and freedom are all In Christ. So, let’s pick up where we left off.

One of the key themes of the New Testament is the unity of the Body. Where does that unity come from? You guessed it, unity comes from being in Christ. Romans 12:5 “so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Philippians 2:1-5 1Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,” As I stated, unity is a key theme of the New Testament and it is imperative if we ever want to make an impact on our world. Unity will be a posting in and of itself, so stay tuned for that.

Another benefit to being in Christ is that, when we are in Christ, nothing can separate us from the love of God, and it doesn’t get any better than that. Romans 8:38-39 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 2:5-6 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,”

So, what does it mean to be “IN CHRIST”? As I stated earlier, Philippians 4:8 says, And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your hearts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” and John 3:30 tells us, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This brings us to what is known as the Christian walk. So, what does that mean? No, it isn’t about the way we strut, it’s the way we live in front of others, our daily lives. Earnest Humphries, the pastor I grew up under, used to say, “Your life may be the only Bible that some people will ever open.” That’s our Christian Walk. To understand it more, read Ephesians 4:26-32.

To truly realize that Christian walk, we must imitate God. Ephesians 5:1-2 5Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” In Matthew 28:16-20 we read what is known as the great commission. This is the last thing that Christ told His disciples. In verse 18 He told us to go make disciples, He didn’t say go make congregations, or go make audiences, He said to make disciples. A disciple is someone who imitates the one they follow. Be a disciple…be an imitator.

You see, it is natural to want to be in Christ because we are created in Christ. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” And, what we must realize is that everything that’s not Christ is crap! Philippians 3:7-8 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” The Greek word used in this verse, that was translated as “garbage” is skubalon {skoo’-bal-on} which means; “any refuse, as the excrement of animals, offscourings, rubbish, dregs. Of things worthless and detestable.” So, it is literally saying that anything that is not in Christ is crap, the lowest of the low…it is worthless.

So how do we achieve this? How can I live IN CHRIST? First, we must have faith that He will finish what He started, but realize that it is an ongoing work and won’t be finished until He comes again. Philippians 1:6And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” And, Philippians 1:19-21 19 For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance. 20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” Just ask God, He will take care of whatever is needed to be in Christ, Philippians 4:19 “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

And never forget to put on the whole armor of God. We can’t go into battle without it, Ephesians 6:10-20. If you missed it go back to my first three blogs, it was dedicated to this passage.

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