Christianity is completely different from living under Law. It is a life that is lived by grace through faith. The Gospel of the Christ was given to Paul to pass on to us so that we would know what is involved in our salvation, the possessions that we have, our position before God, and how to live a life that truly glories God.
What is “The Christ”
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul writes, “therefore, since someone is in Christ; a new creation, the old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.”
Paul is referring to our position before God and this new creation that He made when He created the Church. All those who are in this new creation are apart of the body of The Christ, where Christ Jesus is the head, that the Church is the body.
Baptism is a very important part of the Christian life. When you were saved, you were immersed (baptized) into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit we all were immersed into one body, whether Jew or Greek, whether slave or free man, we were all made to drink by one Spirit.” The Holy Spirit placed us into the body of Christ through Spirit baptism.
The body of Christ is a new creation that was made by God on the day of Pentecost – the day the Holy Spirit came to reside upon the earth in believers, Acts 2. Within this new creation, some changes have happened that are important to understand. 2 Corinthian 5:17 “Since someone is in Christ; a new creation, the old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.” Many translation have a new creature, however, the word here is creation and is translated by many of these same translation as creation in all other sections were it is found. We are not a new creature; we are in a new creation. This creation in referred to in Scripture by The Christ. In The Christ, Jesus Christ is the head and we are the body, Ephesians 1:22, 23.
Water baptism is a representation of your death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. The immersion into water represents your immersion into the body of Christ. In Christ, God counts you to have died with Christ and to have risen with Christ. You are alive unto God to live a life that is no longer bound by the sin nature but rather is a slave to righteousness, Romans 6:4-11.Since water baptism does not save, what is its purpose ? Water baptism does not clean away our sin, the blood of Christ does that. Water baptism is for our conscience before God. 1 Peter 3:12 “which now an antitype (a figure) even baptism saves us, not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but an appeal of a good conscience into God, through the resurrection of Christ.”
The Old and the New
Now that we are in The Christ, old things have passed away and all things have become new. What are the old things and how has everything become new? We find the answer to these questions in Romans 5:12-21. Sin came into the world through Adam, which brought with it death. Because we are in Adam, death was passed onto all mankind. This death is referring to physical death. “Because of this, just as through one man the sin entered the world and through the sin, the death, and thus death passed unto all men, on account of all have sinned… .” Unfortunately, physical death is not the only thing that we inherited from Adam. We also inherited spiritual death. Romans 5: 15 “… But not according as the trespass thus also the gracious gift. For since by the one trespass the many died, much more the grace from God and the free gift by grace in the one man Jesus Christ abounded unto the many.” As a result of spiritual death, our nature has been warped. We now possess a nature that seeks to do those things that lack in character rather than what is righteous and good.
In Romans 5:12-21 Paul writes of a death coming from sin and a death coming from trespass. A trespass and a sin are completely different so they could not have brought about the same death. In the book of James, he writes about how a sin comes about. This helps to show why sins and trespasses are different. “Let no one say when he is solicited to do something lacking in character (tempted) that he is tempted from God. For God is not tempted with that which lacks in character and He Himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when from his very own desires he is dragged away and lured out. Then the lust conceives and bears sin and sin , when it is complete brings forth death.” James 1:13-15. It all starts with a temptation, a solicitation to do something that is against your nature or lacks in character. There are three main areas were these temptations come from, which we will study thoroughly later in this study. A desire comes into your mind, whether from you or from one or your enemies. You make this desire your own – it become desirable to you. At this point, no sin and no trespass have happened. You can refuse the desire. It may be desirable, however, you have determined that it is not something you will do. A trespass happens when you determine to do the desire that lacks in character – lust conceives. Sin has not happened because they act has not been performed. 1 John 3:4 “all the ones doing the sin also do lawlessness, for the sin is the lawlessness”. The determination to fulfill the lust births sin.
When Adam trespassed, he determined in his mind to eat the fruit handed to him by his wife knowing that he was disobeying God. This brought about spiritual separation from God. Physical death, however, did not come until Adam actually at the fruit, which was his sin. These deaths brought about condemnation. When The Holy Spirit placed us into The Christ all this changed. Our position in Adam and the condemnation that comes with it is gone. These are the old things that have passed away that Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Unfortunately, physical death and the sin nature were not removed from us when we were taken out of Adam and placed into Christ. They will be when we receive our full redemption, however, because they have not been removed, we still physically die and have a nature that tends to do things that lack in character. However, there is hope. Now that we are no longer in Adam, we can live in newness of life unto God, rather than as slaves to the sin nature. (How we do this will be discussed in the defeating your enemies chapter, were we will discuss what the sin nature is, it attributes, and how we can have victory in Christ over our sin nature. )
Clothed with Christ
We are now clothed with Christ. God no longer sees you in His mind as one who is condemned in Adam. Now you have put on Christ as an outward garment. “For as many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ as an outward garment” Galatians 3:27. All that Christ is, is now reckoned to you in God’s mind. One day, we will be completely like Christ, “Brethren, now we are the children of God and it has not yet appeared what we shall be. We intuitively know that when He appears we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is,” 1 John 3:2. Our complete redemption is so absolute that God already counts us to have it. When God looks at you, He sees Christ and that is therefore how God thinks about you. God’s opinion of you is equal to His opinion of Christ because you are in Christ. Now, we need to act in this way. “Be renewed by the Spirit in the workings of your mind, and put on the new man, the one created according to God in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ephesians 4:24. Act in accordance to who you really are.
Not only are we placed into the body of Christ, reckoned to have died with Christ and to have risen with Christ to walk in newness of life unto God, we have within the body of Christ a status. This status has to do with how God treats us. To understand how this works we need to go back to the Roman era, and look at the position of a child within the family structure. When a male child was born into a Roman family, that child, although he would be the heir of his father’s household, was treated in the same way as a slave, Galatians 4:1 “Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ from a slave, being lord of all…” The father chose the time when the child would become a son. Son in our society refers to a male child. Son in the Romans society referred to the position the child held within the family. As a child, the male child was not treated any differently than the slaves, however, when the father deemed it to be the right time he placed his child as a son, which meant he was now over all the household. Only the father himself was above the son, Galatians 4:2 “…but he is under tutors and stewards until the appointed time of the father” The Jews, who were under the Mosaic Law, were treated as children. The law controlled every aspect of their life, Galatians 3:23, 24. We, however, are not treated as children because we a placed as son, Ephesians 1:5 “having our bounds marked of unto the placement of sons through Jesus Christ into himself, according to the good pleasures of His desirous will.” As sons, we are no longer under any quality of law, Romans 8:15 “For you have not received the spirit of bondage again, but you have received the Spirit of son placement, whereby we cry Abba, Father.” In Christ, whether you are male or female, the Holy Spirit has placed you as a son. Remember, in Christ there is no different between us. Although we have a position within Christ, we all hold the same status. There is no Male or Female, there is no Jew or Greek, there is no Slave of Free Man, we are all equal in Christ, we are all sons, Galatians 3:28.