Position In Christ
POSITION “IN CHRIST”
Years ago the communist government in China commissioned an author to write a biography of Hudson Taylor with the purpose of distorting the facts and presenting him in a bad light. They wanted to discredit the name of this consecrated missionary of the gospel.
As the author was doing his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor's saintly character and godly life, and he found it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience.
Eventually, at the risk of losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received Jesus as his personal Savior.
Hudson Taylor had a good reputation – he was “in” Christ!
We, too, are “in” Christ.
Today, we are going to look at what the words “in” Christ mean.
QUESTION: What does it mean for a person to be in Christ?
Romans 8:1: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I. In the simplest of terms, to be in Christ means that a person’s faith in Christ places him in Christ.
Positionally, the person is placed in all that Christ is.
Christ lived and died and arose, so to be in Christ means that a person lives, dies and arises in Christ.
Christ is the person’s Representative, his Agent, his Substitute, his Mediator in life and death and resurrection.
The person who believes in Jesus Christ is identified with Christ: counted and considered to be “in” Christ; reckoned and credited as “in” Christ.
When a person believes in Christ, God places and positions the believer “in” Christ.
Example: Baby adopted in Wiang Hang – Receives rights of adopted family (Sam Walden) from USA.
The believer’s faith actually causes God to identify with believer with Christ, to count the believer …
- As having lived in Christ when Christ lived upon earth; therefore, the believer is counted sinless and righteous because Christ was sinless and righteous.
The accusation is thrown out, and the indictment quashed.
- As having died in Christ; therefore, the believer never has to die (John 3:16).
The penalty and condemnation of his sins are already paid for in the death of Christ.
- As having been raised “in” Christ; therefore, the believer has received the “new life” of Christ.
Just as Christ had a new life after His resurrection, even so the believer receives the “new life”
of Christ when he believes in Christ.
II. To be in Christ means that a believer walks and lives in Christ day by day.
A true believer lives and moves and has his being in Christ.
His is in union with Christ.
To truly believe is to walk and to truly walk is to believe.
A true believer …
- Lays his life – his past sins, his present behavior, all that he is – upon Christ.
- Entrusts his present welfare and destiny – all that he is or ever will be – into the hands of Christ.
EXAMPLE: When you marry, you become one with your spouse and your life changes forever!
A person who truly lays his life upon Christ and entrusts all he is to Christ is a person …
- Who truly believes
- Who lives and walks in Christ.
Now, to live and walk in Christ means that we do not “live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4).
It means for “us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12).
It means that we bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).
It means that we abide in Christ, that we become as connected and attached to Christ …
- as the members of the body are connected and attached to each other (1 Cor 12:12-27).
- as the branch is connected and attached to the vine (John 15:4-7).
This is what it means for a person to be “in” Christ.
A person simply believes in Christ, putting all he is and has into the hands and keeping of Christ.
The person honestly believes that Christ will take care of his past sins, present welfare, and future destiny.
Therefore, the believer simply places and positions himself – his faith and welfare – in Christ; and God in turn identifies the person with Christ, with all that Christ is.
God counts and considers the person to be in Christ.
III. IF WE ARE “IN” CHRIST JESUS, we are under no condemnation from God.
The word CONDEMNATION is KATA-KRIMA, the word "judge" with a prefix that would mean to judge according to a norm and standard, a legal judgment.
This has application both to our relationship to God and to our relationship with one another.
THIS ABSENCE OF CONDEMNATION IS BECAUSE OF THE CROSS:
At the Cross God took all the sins of the human race and poured them out upon Jesus Christ.
He willing accepted them and the punishment for them which was spiritual death.
1 Corinthians 15:3 & 4: “3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures …”
If we have believed in Christ we are in Christ Jesus and we are under no condemnation.
1 John 2:1-2: “My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.”
THIS ABSENCE OF CONDEMNATION CAN BE APPLIED IN THREE DIRECTIONS:
FIRST DIRECTION: IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
As a result of the cross we are forgiven:
Two Words for Forgiveness:
AFIJMI, which is only used in the Gospels in this form and then, only by Christ.
AFIJMI looks at one half of the divine picture of forgiveness.
It means the release of actual or legal control over a person.
In the N.T. it has two dimensions:
(1) Forgiveness of sins, as accomplished by Jesus Christ upon the Cross, and
(2) Divine acceptance because of this forgiveness
The word is a judicial word that was used in the courts of ancient Greece to declare judicial forgiveness.
The OTHER HALF of the divine provision of forgiveness is seen in the word:
CARIZOMAI, which finds its root in the word for grace.
This is relational forgiveness.
That word is used in: 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
So we have two words for FORGIVNESS, one is judicial and the other is gracious.
PRINCIPLE: We can only have a gracious forgiveness if we first have judicial forgiveness.
THE SECOND DIRECTION OF THE application of the absence of condemnation is towards other.
THE ABSENCE OF CONDEMNATION means that we not only can forgive others but recognize that their is no condemnation upon others:
1. These believers were judging again or bring up a judgment that has already been dealt with through the Cross and Paul's confession of sin.
2. We have no right to individually judge another.
· We have no way of knowing whether or not the sin we judge has or has not been confessed and if confessed it is to be forgotten.
3. Paul even says he doesn’t bring up these judgments against himself, once sin is confessed he forgets it.
4. Furthermore, Paul was not one to get involved in all kinds of introspection and self centeredness.
· Paul avoided the I'm O.K. and your O.K. syndrome, no psycocybernetic introspection...yes, you can even become self centered in your sins.
Our relationship with other believers is based upon the fact that we are under no condemnation and they are under no condemnation.
We can forgive then and establish a relationship with others:
Colossians 3:13: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The THIRD DIRECTION is towards ourselves and our own sins:
We can too often live in guilt over past sins but sins are forgiven and if we are believers there is no condemnation.
In 1 Corinthians 6:12 after giving a list of pretty extreme sins, Paul says: “Everything is permissible for me"-- but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"-- but I will not be mastered by anything.”
1 Corinthians 10:23: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
Paul can make that statement because he knows there is no condemnation. All sins were paid for at the Cross.
The motive therefore, not to sin is not fear of condemnation. There is not condemnation for you as a believer.
1. We can have a relationship with God although we are sinner because we are forgiven, there is now no condemnation.
2. We have this relationship expressed in Hebrews 4:16: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
3. We can have a relaxed gracious relationship with others in spite of sin because neither we nor they are under no condemnation.
4. We all have judicial forgiveness and can extend that to gracious forgiveness with others and they with us!
5. The absence of condemnation means that we must hold nothing against ourselves by way of guilt or shame.
· We are forgiven, there is no condemnation.
6. The absence of condemnation eliminates any individual judging we may be tempted to do against others.
7. And the absence of condemnation means that your sins will never be an issue in heaven.
· They are forgiven, forgotten, by God (no big screen TV showing all your sins).