“In Christ Jesus” is the definition of all Christians, and it defines them as a people identified with the One who as a man has entered into the presence of God; “for in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that he lives, he lives unto God” (Rom. 6:10).
“In Christ” is the language of complete identification. Crucified with Him on the Cross, His resurrection was the divine declaration of our acceptance with Him in His work and place. Henceforth the eye of God sees us ever in Him alone. We are reckoned, and are to reckon ourselves, as with Him dead, buried, quickened, risen, and in Him seated in the heavenly places before the Father. His delight in us is His unchangeable delight in His Beloved Son; therefore the Lord Jesus says to us, “because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19).
How could there be a doubt about the believer’s perfect security if this were realized? It would be impossible. Can Jesus Christ change? Or will His Father say to Him, “I cannot any longer accept You as standing for this people”? Or, once again, if standing for them, is He on probation yet? Is His work completely done, or still to do? It is finished, blessed be God: He sits in the glory of God [John 17:4; 19:30]. His heart is at rest, and ours may be. Had He not entitled our hearts to rest, His own heart would not allow Him to be seated there.
“There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are In Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). “In Christ”–can God’s own eye find fault with Him? “In Christ” is there any flesh–any body of death, any thing for men to improve or alter? And in Christ we are! There our chains drop off. Much more, but still that. We are delivered: we are free!
Let us understand well. This is not walk [conduct] yet; it is the principle, the position–the key, and, when applied by the Holy Spirit, the power for it. We are to “walk as Christ walked” ; we are to walk “in Christ”; and “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death” [1 John 2:6; Rom. 8:2].
Thus the responsibility of a right walk is still ever ours [Eph. 4:1]. It is not that Christ’s walk is substituted for ours, or His holiness imputed to us, or anything of the kind. It is not yet the question of how to walk, but of what I am [identity]. A question which, when settled in God’s way, stops necessarily the effort to be what no effort of mine can make me, and what, thank God, His infinite grace has already made me: complete in Him [Col. 2:10].
“As Christ is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Could effort of ours make us “as Christ is”? It would be clearly impossible; and yet nothing but this would reach up to the standard God has given us. Nothing short of this would be perfection, and nothing short of perfection could we rightly rest in. If imperfection God cannot accept, and perfection I cannot bring Him, what then? Then I must accept a perfection of my Father’s providing, and find in the Lord Jesus a new self [Eph 4:24; 2 Cor. 5:17] that needs no mending and cannot be improved, where no body of death disturbs or oppresses, and occupation with which is not legalism, nor Pharisaism.
I am privileged to turn away from what I find in myself as a man down here, then [1 Pet. 3:11], because in the death of the Cross, the death wherein I died with Him, “sin in the flesh” has been fully dealt with [Rom. 8:3,4]. The condemnation of sin by God has already found its full expression on the Cross. For faith, not for experience, I too have died, and that “to sin”, because “He died unto sin once.” I reckon myself (not feel or find myself) to be dead indeed unto sin [sin’s authority], and alive unto God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11).
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F.W. Grant (1834-1902) was a Brethren Bible teacher from England who ministered in Canada and the U.S.