“Who am I in Christ?”
How often have you asked yourself concerning this personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Paul writes this in 2 Corinthians 5:116-19, “16 From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. 18 Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.” There are two Greek words that are rendered as “new” in the NT. (νέος) neos, defined as being “something that has just been made, but there are already many others in existence just like it.” However, the word used by Paul is the word (καινος) kainos and means, “something just made which is unlike anything else in existence.” Obviously, the Holy Spirit tells us that in Christ we are made a new creation, just as God created all things new in the beginning, from nothing. In the very same manner God creates our new spirits from nothing. He does not simply recreate or clean up our old selves; He creates an entirely new person. For in Romans 6:1-11 we find, “What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. 5 For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, 9 because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. 10 For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God. 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” We now are alive with Christ and dead to our old self…’brand new’ as it were. Death to the old man, the sinful nature simply means what death is, cessation of life to the old man…he has been crucified, it is dead. Some tell us that there is but a mere separation from it. However, if we honestly look at the crucifixion of the old man and the new birth of the Christian with Christ literally means an end of the domination of sin over life. This new spiritual relationship has begun in the Risen Christ and indwelling Holy Spirit. The sin nature has been crucified by God’s grace through faith in Him. This spiritual crucifixion with Christ provides the new resurrection with Him to a new life.
The sin nature of the old man before faith in Christ is now dead because of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ and the Believer is freed from the bondage of sin to live a life pleasing to God because of righteousness. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!” Ephesians 2:1-5.
In Christ Believers are made “partakers of the divine nature” as seen in 2 Peter 1:3-9, “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins.” God Himself sent the promised His Holy Spirit to set up residence in our physical and spiritual bodies as His Temple. We now know that all Believers are in Christ and He is eternally in us.
What does all of this mean?
The sin nature has been defeated, is dead and is replaced by a new life in Christ by grace through faith in Him. The Holy Spirit now resides in the body of the new Believer as this body of flesh and spirit is now the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The presence of that former resident sin–greed, jealousy, immorality, selfishness, anger, malice, or whatever it might be–is displaced by the faith of the new Believer having been raised with Christ to a new life in the likeness of His resurrection. We are found to be new creations and a new Resident now lives in us as well, “Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body. 2 Corinthians 6:19-20.
In Christ, we are regenerated, renewed,born again, and this new creation is spiritually minded, whereas the old nature that was killed and replaced was driven by sin. The new nature is in an eternal relationship with God by grace and through faith in Jesus Christ. This new creation will obey His instructions and is completely involved in His ministry to humanity. The old nature is not able to accomplish or willing to move toward those things. The old nature is dead and cannot be revived. The old man was killed and the new spiritual man is now made alive in Christ. What we know is that this new creature is indwelt by the promised Holy Spirit who provides the new Believer a holy nature and a life that is totally opposite to that of the old and now dead man. What is so difficult to understand that the old life is now dead and buried, and the new man is now raised “to walk in newness of life” with Jesus?
Believers functionally are united with Christ and are no longer slaves to sin as Paul notes in Romans 6:5 and 6 and are made alive with Him as he expresses in Ephesians 2:5. Going a bit further these new creature are conformed to His image and are free from condemnation and no longer walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit as is revealed in Romans chapter 8. The truly remarkable result is that all Believers are also members of the Body of Christ, the Church, His Bride.
Finally, I will ask, “Why do so many Believers refuse to accept that the old man remains and is alive and well in their lives when the Holy Spirit resides within? And is God so impotent that He cannot overcome evil?” The very One who spoke the world as we understand it into existence, parted the Red Sea and raised His Son from the grave and now His Spirit lives within the life of every Believer. How is it that the old nature still occupies the life of the Believer…?
I think we need to review once again what Paul has written, “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, 9 because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. 10 For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God. 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:7-11.
Jesus is Lord!!