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01 April, 2013

Therefore If Anyone Is In Christ

Romans 8: 10 “But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

John 14:20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you

I have read many times over how people interpret the fact we should not have those “if” there in front of those sentences such as Romans 8 and 2 Corinthians 5. I am always excited when I read those who understand why these “if” should be there and I know them too, have been touched by God personally.

There is a pastor that I really like, he died a few years ago. I do listen to his commentary of the Bible. While this pastor had enough knowledge to have a very good commentary, he said this if should not be there because the minute we accept Him, we are all in Him. But, this pastor was half right. While he loved God but, there are certain things we cannot know the depth or the meaning of them unless the Spirit reveals them to us. While most Christians fight those “if” we have in the Bible, but they are all there for good reasons. This pastor was half right because the first time, I experienced what it meant to be “in Christ” it was so awesome. After the height of the experience had subsided I remember having a conversation with the Holy Spirit about it. This is what I take away. If we truly accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour through an encounter with Him, of course we are in Him.

 I have seen so called Christians making excuses for their stubbornness, hard heart, dull conscience, and the fact that they are incapable of changing after decades of calling themselves Christians. They do not think there is anything wrong with this type of mindset. In fact one of them whom I was forced to talk to because the Holy Spirit made me told me “I know I am a sinner and I am not perfect, but I know my father loves me and His grace will take me to Heaven.” I was shocked because this person has been claiming to be a Christian for about six decades. It is okay to hear someone who just received Christ utter those words because you know they are a work in progress and in due time the Holy Spirit will enlighten them. But when you hear those words coming out of people who only have a few years to live out on this earth, while they have claimed to be Christians all their lives, then you know they have been duped and defeated by Satan. You know Christianity has never been made real to them. Christians with this frame of mind and such defeated attitude have no idea what it means to be a child of God. As Children of God, there are certain expectations from us. (See 1John 3:2-3) these types of Christians are amongst those that Paul calls swindler and idolaters. They idolize themselves, they are fraudster when it comes to Christianity and they slander God’s name.

One of the beauties of growing spiritually while being taught by Him is the reality of each single word in the Bible is there for a reason. God did not say words like we find in Romans 8:16-17 to fill up blank spaces. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…”  

I found even with the gift of discernment most of the time God shows us people whom He wants us to pray for. (By the way, there is a very good explanation of the gift of discernment by Oswald Chambers from March 31 devotion, take time to read it if you can.) The rest of the time, He is telling us that it is not our business or He blocks us for reasons we might not know. 2 kings 4:27 “…..“Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.” So, the apostles and the prophets knew it very well that there are things that God simply do not tell us. If you take a closer  look at 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 Paul said to us: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Please note that Paul’s exhortation was not just for sexually immoral Christians. It is equally important what Paul mentioned about the offender in verse 5: “hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.” He did not mention his soul and body. These are sombre words that we cannot afford to close our eyes and act as if we do not say them outloud they will go away. We are not to take anyone’s explanation on these words just because they make us feel better or that they are more acceptable. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to decipher those warnings because they concern our own souls. Paul could have easily said here, hand the man over to Satan because the way he is behaving is not conducive to someone who is in Christ or a child of God. Why Paul would make such a drastic statement about the man to be given back to Satan? Read what he said in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” So, in other words Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 5:9, anyone with a heart bent on practicing sin does not have his identity in Him. Any man who has never experienced a change of heart or cannot live out this Christian life as one “in Christ” has a bigger problem to deal with.

So, Paul knew very well, if indeed this man was in Christ, eventually through God’s grace he would find his way back in Him. But, if he could not find his way back to live as a child of God like we are told in 1John 3:2-3, then one must assume this so called Christian has a major problem or God is a big liar and Salvation has no power and His Word is meaningless. Granted God did not show me the full spectrum of the implications of living this life in Him. But, as I studied at His feet He taught me this word “if is there for good reasons and we are wise to pay attention. What I studied with Him, at His feet, I have no interest in conferring with flesh and blood to find another meaning to suit someone else’s explanations just because of their earthly titles.

As I experienced what it means to be in Him, He taught me I can reap the full benefits of being in Him now because I have a different attitude and a different frame of mind. This reference He made about my new life found in Him, I knew exactly what He meant. I stopped fighting the Christian life, and I stopped trying to do it on my own. I had voluntarily made the decision to surrender to the Holy Spirit works in me. I had made the decision that He was going to become my life. I yielded to the Word of God and I felt the need to bring harmony between what I have been reading in the Bible and my life because I was yearning to let Him become all that there is of me. I reasoned to myself and I knew if I believe His word is true, then I must act like it, I must change my way and live according to what is true to the faith I claimed that I possessed. I wanted to understand from the depth of my heart what makes someone like Paul said: for me to live is Christ and to die is gain” because it was not enough for me to just repeat it like parrots. That was the frame of mind He was referring to.

From what I experienced, the only way I can explain in my own words what this frame of mind He was referring to meant, is that my new attitude toward my Christianity acted like an agent if you will, to activate what was seemed to be “dormant” or perhaps neglected or ignored. It was like I finally took the steps needed to take possession of my inheritance in Him.

This is the beauty of true Salvation, it brings with it everything else that we insist on separating from Salvation, to make us feel better and live this life in defeat. True Salvation brings with it a need to become his true followers, a need to grow spiritually, to be found in Him, to be pure of heart so that we can see Him right here on earth, and all those other things that Salvation brings into our hearts are all part of His continuous grace working in and through us to continue the good work that He started in us. If you claim to have received Salvation, then where is the aftereffect that brings all those good things with it?