From the Preacher’s Pen… Relationships are always a challenge. Being friends with someone takes effort and so, too, does being family. Many times we take those relationships for granted and end up estranged, no longer close as we once were. For those family and friends that we really consider important to us, we make the effort to keep close, to not only maintain but grow that relationship. The same lesson applies to our relationship with our God and Savior.
What We Share in Christ
As Christians, we enjoy a very special relationship with each other and, especially, with Christ. Like any especially close and important connection, it is important that we not only maintain but grow that rapport. Let’s look at a few of the snapshots that God gives us of just how special that connection is.
To begin, we must first remember the constant New Testament lesson that all God’s promises and spiritual blessings are only available to those that are IN Christ.
In Christ, we are crucified together with Him. I have been crucified with Christ, and 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 up for me (Galatians 2:20). Crucifixion was the ultimate capital punishment of the New Testament world. On the rare occasion that someone survived they were forever horribly disfigured, mutilated for life. It is no wonder that Peter (2 Peter 2:17-22) describes how much worse it is in God’s judgment for those that once were in Christ!
In Christ, we die with Him. In Christ, we are buried with Him. In Christ, we are raised with Him to a new life. Romans 6 is a great lesson about how and why we are united with Christ. And it all begins with/in baptism! How could anyone ever believe that baptism is not a vital ingredient in our salvation?
Romans 6:1-14: 1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Our real accomplishment is in losing ourselves, our will, our lives in a total change of priorities. I have been crucified with Christ, and 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 up for me (Galatians 2:20).
It is never a partial thing with God. Either we are fully IN Him or we are outsiders. So, are you truly IN Christ?
— Lester P. Bagley