Living the Christian Life – Chapter 8: Know Who You Are in Christ

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries7 Minutes

In one of his famous sermons, the apostle Paul declared, “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 ESV). As you grow in your faith and in your walk with God, it is important to see yourself as being “in Him.” Again, here is God’s promise:

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 5:21 ESV).

So what does it mean to be “in Him”?

God is both loving and just, and so in His dealings with mankind throughout the ages, He has done so through what the Bible calls a “covenant.” This is an agreement between God and man that has both promises and conditions—so if the conditions are met, the promise is maintained. In what Jeremiah called the “New Covenant” (Jeremiah 31:31), Jesus represents both God and man through His death and resurrection.

You see the Bible calls Jesus both the Son of God and the Son of Man. Both titles are correct. As the Son of God, Jesus is part of the Trinity—and He is fully God. That is why He was able to truthfully say, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9 ESV), and “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30 ESV). But Jesus is also fully human, born of a woman with flesh and blood. The Gospel of John tells us of Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14 ESV).

So through His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus made a covenant between God and humankind that was sealed by His shed blood. Because He was the Son of God, he could live a sinless life. Because He was the Son of Man—a human being—He could be sacrificed as a representative of mankind. Because He is holy and all powerful, He never sinned and never will sin—and therefore, this is an unbreakable covenant.

God then extended an invitation to all of mankind to be a part of this New Covenant by faith. When we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and then receive the gift of salvation through the cross, we enter into this New Covenant “IN HIM.” We had no part in the making of the covenant, but we become a part of it through our faith “IN JESUS.”

When we finally understand this wonderful reality, everything in our lives changes. We no longer see ourselves as guilty sinners without hope. Now we see ourselves as “the righteousness of God IN CHRIST” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV). We no longer see our old sin nature. Now we see ourselves as “a new creation IN CHRIST” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).

So every time you begin to feel bad about your self-image, remind yourself of who you are “IN CHRIST.” Remind yourself “there is now no condemnation for those who are IN CHRIST JESUS.” This is the Gospel—which means Good News.

Sanctification—Growing Into Maturity

While our spirit is completely renewed at the time of our salvation, we still have to deal with the transformation of our soul—our mind, will, and emotions. This is a lifelong process called “sanctification.” God desires for us as His people to adjust our behavior and habits to line up with His will, His plan, and His standards for living. This is not for the purpose of placing undo hindrances on us—in fact, it is just the opposite. The sanctification process actually guides us into a place of peace, joy, and victory as we do things God’s way.

It’s like the old board game The Game of Life. You can try to make up your own rules, but you will never win this way. The better plan is to read the actual game rules from the top of the box—and by mastering the rules, you become a winner, and maybe even a champion, in The Game of Life. In our day-to-day lives, the rules and principles for victorious living are found in God’s revealed will—the Bible.

The apostle Paul writes:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2 NLT).

Jesus taught, “the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 3:2 NASB), but then he also instructed us to pray “Your Kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10 NASB). These are “truths in tension.” In the same way, we are made holy in our spirit when we are born again, but the sanctification process continues throughout our lifetime—again, these are “truths in tension.”

Part of walking in holiness is being surrendered to the will of God for your life. In chapter 9, you will learn how submitting to God’s will for your life brings tremendous liberty.