“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17 NKJ).
The phrase “in Christ” was mentioned over and over again in the epistles of Paul, as if Paul was begging and pressing the reader to digest and understand what he was talking about. Nevertheless, it is by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the phrase was written many times for a reason. And that is to reveal the eternal redemption of anyone who will receive the Lord Jesus Christ. “In Christ” is the place where the believer belongs. This is the place of rest, the place of fellowship with God, the place of becoming one with Christ Jesus.
Many of us believers have superficial knowledge of this phrase. The phrase simply means the believer’s relationship with the family of God (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) as a result of Christ’s eternal redemptive work. Because the believer has been born in the spirit, he is now a member of the family of God – a child of God. It is a must that the believer has a clear understanding of “in Christ” identity in order to live and experience a victorious life in this present evil age.
One of the reasons of failures in whatever aspect of life is the identity crisis. People fail because they don’t know who they are and what they are. Instead of doing what he was supposed to be doing, he irresponsibly did something else that is outside of his specific role in life. And because of failing to do what he was supposed to be doing, the result is confusion, communication breakdown, anguish, distress, and criticism from all involved (both direct and indirect to people).
When failure arrives, someone has to take the responsibility of not making that grade. When you fail, the prime suspect of the cause of that failure is none other but you. And before you blame the devil or someone, look yourself on a mirror and confront that image and tell him to be honest and be responsible enough to face the challenge. For example, when a father falls short of understanding his role to his wife and to his children, the result is a family breakdown. Paul warns the church that a man is not qualified to serve in the household of God if he cannot take care of his own household (1 Tim 3:5).
Imagine if every member of the body Christ knows who he is and what he is, and understands the part or role he plays in the body of Christ then no one can stop the church from fulfilling its mission. Everybody is minding his own business (as the apostle Paul had warned the Thessalonians) and busy fulfilling the role God has given him. A believer who functions according to the specific call of God in his life lives in a stronghold, and the devil has no chance to mess around with his mind.
The first half of Ephesians chapter 2 describes a person who has no relationship with the family of God. It is a vivid description of a person who is not “in Christ.” A new creation is not the same person as he used to be. He is a changed person. The new creation’s old life has been wiped away, forever gone, forgotten, and now he lives the life of God in Christ.
Paul has this revelation knowledge of living the life of God while was still on the physical realm – the earth. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20).
A new creation is a believer who possesses the life of God inside of him. A new creation is also a partaker of the divine nature of God. He does not have the nature of the devil in him. The new creation is not a dual person: good and evil that are living in the same body. 1 John 5:12 “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Most of believers have incomplete understanding of “eternal life.” Many of them believe that eternal life begins when they die and go to heaven and then spend eternity in the presence of God. These are the same people who don’t care what kind of life they live here on earth. For them, the physical, material and money are evil. For them their only hope is to depart from this life and then go by and by into the glory. I think this is selfish. A believer should not be thinking of his personal salvation alone. A believer should do everything to become a channel of blessings to others. And to become a channel of blessings, you must be living a blessed life. The bible says that you cannot give what you do not have. Therefore, you cannot bless others if you are not blessed.
The moment you become a new creation in Christ, you begin to live the life of God. Know that the realization of living the life of God while on earth is the ultimate success in life. When Jesus was here on earth, he did not suffer lack, he did not suffer disease, and he did not suffer sin. Jesus lived financially prosperous on earth. Jesus lived in perfect health. It is all because Jesus has the revelation of living the life of the Father, and the revelation of living the life under the rights and privileges of being a son of Abraham.
Not until God the Father placed the sin of the world to him, not until Jesus became the sin, not until Jesus took all sickness and diseases and nailed them on the cross, not until Jesus offered the blood of God to eternally cleanse us from the sin and all sin, from sickness and diseases, that Jesus accomplished what the Father wants Him to do. In Christ, we overcome sin, we overcome sickness and diseases, and we overcome the works of the devil.
It is the will of God for you to enjoy His life here on earth while waiting for the coming of the kingdom of God to rule forever and ever. Jesus said, “… I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Again, it’s worth repeating to tell you that you have received the life of God the moment you received Christ. “In Him was life …” (John 1:4).
The new creation in Christ evidently manifests newness in life; there is change from the inside out. There is the manifestation of the life of God from the inner man, his heart (his spirit). During His earthly ministry, Jesus blatantly rebuked the religious when he said that by their fruits you shall know them. It is a fact that there is physical evidence or manifestation that will identify a person who has the life of God in him. Jesus also said that what’s in a person’s heart will surely comes out of his mouth.
The truth is that the new creation identity in Christ is a mighty work of the Spirit of God to transform a person from the inside out. It is a process and an ongoing work of the Holy Spirit to change the new creation from glory to glory into the stature of Christ. Growing into the knowledge of God is the work of the Spirit of God. It takes revelation knowledge to have spiritual understanding and ability to grasp spiritual truths. The natural mind or human intelligence can never come to the realization of these spiritual truths, because they can only be discerned by the spirit of man.
Here is a fact, you cannot claim you have the life of God when you’re life shows the opposite of God’s life. This is where the power of the Holy Spirit comes in to work. The Spirit of the Lord will give you the power and the ability to grow and bear fruits; however, it can only happen if you allow Him to do so, and if you learn how to live according to the ways and leadings of the Spirit. And how can you do that?
In Galatians 5: 16 Paul writes, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” And Paul also said, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with is passions and desires” (Gal 5:24).
A new creation in Christ has abandoned his personal passions and desires. How could this be? It takes revelation knowledge of who you are in Christ that will open the eyes of your understanding to forsake anything that is of the flesh – anything that is motivated by self. These are personal passions in life that you have desired to fulfill without the presence of God in it. The truth is, before the believer became a new creation in Christ, he was possessed of selfish ambitions and passions and desires. Consider this, that the real test for the new creation identity in Christ is the question of personal passions and desires.
What are your passions and desires now that you are a new creation in Christ? Do you still belong to the tower of Babel generation who believed they can do anything outside of the will of God? Do you believe in yourself like John and James who claimed to sit on the right and left hand side of Jesus in the kingdom of God? Are you fool enough to make a plan to go to other city and make money there without asking the will of God?
According to Paul, the only real life he knew is the life in Christ, for without Christ you cannot do anything. Let this be a warning, failure is waiting at the door for you when you do anything without Christ. Don’t give the devil a chance to squeeze-in to your life.