Sermon 5 -- October 10, 2010
Today we are going to look at the new identity of the believer, some of what the Bible says about this transforming work of the spirit of God in the life of the believer. Paul in 2 Corinthians states we are in Christ and that we are new creations (metamorphosed). 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Cor 5:17
Born of Imperishable Seed
There is a spiritual work, a work of God, that happens in the life of every true believer in Christ. The Word declares we are in Christ, we have become new creations. Jesus himself stated that we must be born again (John 3:3). Peter, in 1 Peter 1:22,23, says we are born with an imperishable seed. 22Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, (this is an evidence of the working of God in these believers) fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. Let’s meditate on this fact that we have been born again, begotten, given a new beginning by an imperishable seed, a life that cannot be destroyed. This life has already begun. In fact Ephesians 2:6 states that as believers we have been, in the past tense, seated with Christ in the heavenlies. The believer, once they are born again, have in truth, in God’s eternal reality, been raised up with Christ into an imperishable existence and are seated with Christ in His kingdom that will never end.
4But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (this is in Christ) Ephesians 2:4-7.
Paul states a similar truth in Colossians, where he tells the believers to set their minds on the things that are eternal, things above, since we are to be raised in newness of life and our true lives are hidden with Christ in God.
1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-3.
Union with Christ
As believers our lives are hidden with Christ in God. When we are born again, born of God, born of imperishable seed, the Spirit of Christ begins His work in us. In Jesus’ prayer to His Father in John 17:22,23, He requests that God give the believer His own glory. So we see that we share the same spiritual unity that Jesus enjoyed with His Father, that we are one with God even as Jesus and His Father are one. Then He makes this statement, I in them and You in Me. Christ here is in us and God in Christ is also in us. It is getting very crowded in our new creation life because we must not leave out the Holy Spirit! 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19. This is the relationship of the believer with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God the Father. We are to be perfected in unity with the Spirit of God. This being done will make it possible for those still in the world to see God.
22“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17: 22, 23
Now if we are in Christ, in the Spirit, many things are true of us. In Romans 8:1, Paul says, There is now no condemnation. To be condemned is to be declared guilty of wrongdoing. The believers are not looked at in this way by God. In Rom 8:31, Paul says, If God is for us, who is against us? He continues and says, Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? 33 and Who will separate us from the love of Christ? 35
This right standing (position) with God is possible because we are in Christ, since the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. The requirements of the Law that once condemned us as sinners are now fulfilled in us as believers. How does this happen? It is by our walking not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. We are to set our minds not on living in the flesh which is independence from God. Rather we are to set our minds on who we are in Christ, in unity with the Spirit of God. Our minds are to be set on this reality of God, on the things that are eternal, things that are of good report. Paul says if we do this we will have life and peace (eternal life and peace with God). Why is this? Setting our minds on the fleshly, natural life separated from the fellowship and control of God, is hostility toward God. Man in the flesh, in Adam, cannot please God and is not even able to because of his slavery to sin. However, Paul says the believer is not in the flesh, not in Adam, not a slave to sin because he is in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in the believer. Christ is in you, though your physical body is decaying, but you have the Spirit that is alive because of God’s having dealt with your sin. We have His power to walk in His righteousness because the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us.
1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:1-11
The New Testament says of us that we are in Christ. Our life is hidden with God in Christ. We have this union with God because of our relationship with Jesus.
1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, (set your mind on the things of the spirit) where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Col 3:1-4
Such are the promises of the believer.