"Mark 16:15 preach the gospel to every creature. Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded: Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega,... 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, ... have right to the tree of life, and... enter ... the city."
I am a retired pastor of
the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.
Christians use the phrase "In Christ" or "In Christ Jesus" very often to show their zeal or attachment with Jesus Christ. These phrases are used many times in the Bible also. However, as we study any such phrases or any doctrine from the word of God, we must give much importance to the context, because with different contexts such phrases mean a slightly different emphasis or different meanings. In a few contexts, the phrase "In Christ" means not more than to say that since we are Christians or it is because of Jesus Christ and so on. For example, "Acts 24:24 And after certain days, ..., he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, ..." The use here is, just to use the name of Christ, and nothing more than that. "Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Romans 16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:" Here the use of the phrase is just to say that we are all Christians as one group, it is all because of Christ. There are more verses by greeting people in Christ. Such usages are also there. At the same time, let us look at this verse. "2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." In this verse, if we use the phrase "in Christ" it should be for a lot heavier emphasis. If refers to all or to everybody, and their whole life seems to be changed. It is like a person, who was addicted to drugs or such things, is now made free from the addiction, now his/her whole life is changed, and it is because of the power given by Jesus Christ, and it is said that if anybody is "in Christ" he is new. It is not a mere saying, but the fact of the changing of life has happened behind the phrase. The topic here is to say, that Christians use such strong and heavy usage even to a person that nothing special has happened. They misuse it to a some light thing, as if it is a great thing. For an example, an addict could have visited a rehabilitation center, and it might have been stated as "in Christ, he is a new creature:" Christians often do such things.
Christians have faith in Christ. If we have the grace of God, it is through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. If we are in Christ Jesus, we will have no eternal condemnation. For us we will have no other laws other than the commandments of Jesus Christ for eternal life. If we are actually in Christ Jesus, we will love him more than our life. We are one body in Christ Jesus. All these things are true. Let us see a few verses and analyze whether we Christians properly understand these verses and teaching them properly. "Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." In verse 1 we see that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Christians take the light use of the phrase "in Christ Jesus", to assume that all Christians are in Christ Jesus. Then the preach that there is not condemnation to us. It is not teaching the scripture in its context. The details are given in verses 1 to 10, and verse 10 emphasize saying if Christ be in you, and brings the point again. We should not ignore the context, as here it begins right with the phrase saying, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Then it continues to explain it through the entire passage.
"Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Here, verse 39 tells about the love that is in Christ Jesus. So, preachers teach saying that no matter what we do, the love of Jesus Christ will not leave us, and nobody can separate his love from us, which will save us. This error happens just because we do not study it with its context. Of course God loves us and the same love is in Jesus Christ also. But the context says that the same love was in the disciples and they will not stop loving Jesus Christ, even if they were killed for it. It is easy to understand if we read the context. It must be our love, and we will not leave him even if we are killed.
"Galatians 2:3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you." The subject here is the liberty that we have in Christ Jesus. What is this liberty. Preachers very cunningly imply that we have the liberty to enjoy sins, since they will be covered under the blood of Jesus Christ and we have the liberty not to obey the law of God, since the law of God will not apply to us. This teaching, as well a all such teachings are from the devil. It happens since they do not look in it context. The context says that it is circumcision and joining Judaism. Gentiles do not have to become a Jew in order to be saved by Jesus Christ. But they say to ignore the law of God, even the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are so many example to show, but this is enough.
Christians are taught to believe that they are saved while they are serving sin. They are deceived by false teachers. Listen to the statement of Jesus Christ himself: John 8:34 says: "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." Listen to the statement of the Apostle Paul: Romans 6:16 says: "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Listen to the statement of Apostle Peter: 2 Peter 2:19 says: "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." Listen to the statement of the Apostle John: 1 John 3:8 says: "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." Sin among God’s people is caused by the devil, and the Son of God will destroy this sin. This destruction of sin is the salvation of God. Matthew 1:21 says: "... thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
"Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." Here in verse 12, Paul say 'not as though' and he say 'I had already attained'. It means that he has already attained, but he will behave as he has not attained. But preachers teach as if he says that he is not perfect. Not only he is perfect, he is asking for those who are perfect in verses 15&16. The good news is that there is a high calling for all of them, and that is to become the bride of Christ in eternity, and to be with Jesus Christ throughout eternity. It will be a great eternal reward and go for it.
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