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”Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” [2 Cor. 5:17]
We are “in Christ.” This is an amazing concept. Sometimes those of us who have been Christians for awhile lose the sense of wonder of it all. We have become so “familiar” with many of the Truths revealed in the Word of God that the delight of discovery and joy of salvation is gone. May it never be! Let’s always refresh our minds in the beauty of our relationship with God - that we, as frail, fallible human beings, can know God and be “in Christ!” What could be more amazing than that?
There are many aspects of being in Christ, but the one I have been thinking of this week is the aspect of overcoming temptation and sin in my life. When we were born again we were put in Christ. Our life is now in Him. In Him we died, in Him we rose, and in Him we live, as Paul goes to great lengths to show in Romans. Since I am “in Christ” I am totally protected. For example, my heart is in me. Nothing can reach my heart without going through me.
I thought about where Jesus said that Satan was coming to Him but could find nothing in Him [John 14:30]. Satan tried to cause Jesus to sin, but he couldn’t because he had no foothold in Jesus. There was no sin in Jesus that he could grip and pull Him into sin.
When I look at my life, sin abounds. Satan doesn’t have to look very hard to find a foothold...or does he? Follow my reasoning here...If we are “in Christ” - as the Bible declares - then Satan comes and cannot find a foothold in us either. Isn’t that amazing? Satan looks at our lives “in Christ” and cannot find anything to get hold of! Does that sound radical? Does it sound like it contradicts our experience? After all, we all know the pull and lusts of sin in whatever area of life our weaknesses happen to be. How can we be In Christ?
Imagine this picture with me. We live, after we have been saved, in a house called Jesus Christ. Imagine the most beautiful. luxurious house you can think of - indoor pool and all if you like that kind of thing. It is wonderfully furnished and has everything you could want and more. Not only is it a magnificent house, but it is also filled with love, joy, peace, and uninterrupted fellowship with God. Can you see it? We are living in this house.
Now before we moved into this house we were living a dirty, stinking cardboard house in the slums of sin. Satan comes to our new house, he knows he cannot enter, but he plants thoughts in our mind to convince us we are still living in our slum house. And so there we are this beautiful house, blinded to its wonders, living as if we were still in the slums. Some of us even dug around till we found some cardboard and we set it up in the living room to live in!
What am I saying? We are “in Christ,” Satan has no more hold on our lives, but he will try to deceive us into living as if we were outside of Christ. He will use every emotion, play on every desire, reason with us, whatever it takes to get us to keep living as if we were in the slums. The slums can look and feel so real. That’s what faith is about - choosing to believe that we are secure “in Christ” even when every emotion and thought is screaming the exact opposite. Who is telling the truth: The Word Of God or our feelings and natural sight?
So what do we do when we sin? The first thing is to be honest enough with God and with ourselves to admit that we chose to sin. We didn’t have to sin [no matter how established the pattern is] but we chose to do it. The next is to run TO God for forgiveness. I am not saying that defeating sin, especially habitual sin, is an easy thing. But it starts with realizing that we are “in Christ.”
I know I’m getting long-winded but just one more thing. We don’t have to work at being “in Christ.” That is where the Father has placed us. That is were we ARE, we don’t work to get there or stay there. We can never be any more “in Christ” that we are right now. What we do as we grow in God is realize and experience more and more of what it means to be “in Christ.” As the reality of being “in Christ” becomes stronger for us the deceptions of the devil become weaker and more transparent.