A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST
A person who is in Christ has a new life. Jesus told Nicodemus, "I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:5-7) Paul wrote, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Children of God are changed in heart and life; they are dead to trespasses and sins. In Christ you are a Christian and a new creation. The Christian gave up being a child of the Devil in order to be a child of God. The new creature in Christ was, in the past, a servant of sin, following the works of the flesh. (Galatians 5:19-21) The new creature in Christ has now been made free from sins and is bearing the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Old things are passed away. The person who is in Christ has a new life. Literally, the Christian has given up the life of sin to have a "new life." This new life is life in Christ. "When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." (Colossians 3:4) Living the life of Christ causes us to look to that day when the Lord will appear again. He is coming again! "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:3.) "And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:10-11)
Who can be in Christ and thus be saved? Salvation is available to every sinner; “If any man be in Christ.” God's Son came as a sacrifice for our sins. He is our sin offering. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:17-18) Jesus, by His death and resurrected life, brought reconciliation. "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." (Romans 5:10) The Gospel is the great news that Jesus suffered sin's penalty in our place. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Mankind needs salvation and through Jesus this salvation is available.
Where is this saved state found? Salvation is in Christ; “If any man be in Christ.” The blessings relating to salvation are in Christ. In Christ we are forgiven. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." (Ephesians 1:7) In Christ we have a new life. The believer who repents and is baptized is raised to a new life in Christ. (Romans 6:4) In Christ we are redeemed. Redemption means, "Liberation or freedom brought about by the payment of a ransom." Paul wrote, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:14) In Christ we have a heavenly inheritance. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3-5) In Christ we have hope. “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” (Romans 8:24) Those who are in Christ are God's children and they have hope of eternal life.
What is a person like who is in Christ? In Christ old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Living faith transforms lives. Faith must produce a transformation of life or it is not a saving faith. Faith only or a dead faith is worthless and vain. Saving faith can only be shown in a changed life. Sadly many in the church of Christ seem to think that they have saving faith and that they are on their way to heaven when there has been no evident change of heart and no reformation of life. Hebrews 10:39 says that we must be of them that "believe to the saving of the soul." There is a belief that results in the salvation of the soul. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus warned, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23) What does the character of your life demonstrate about your faith?
Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27) Believers contact Christ's saving blood by being baptized into His death. John said, "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:11-12) We join with Paul in saying, "To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:21) Are you a faithful member of the church of Christ?
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ,
306 Walnut Street,
Greenville, Alabama 36037