There are many scriptures in the Bible that use the phrase “in Christ”, and I found a good verse to illustrate this thought:
Ephesians 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
Below is an excerpt from a post by Mission Venture Ministries about this verse.
“Our seating and reigning with Christ is a position of authority, honor, and triumph – not failure, depression, and defeat. God made the believer in Jesus Christ to be triumphant, because we are partakers of Christ’s victory over Satan.
For the believer, our seating with Christ is part of our inheritance now. The words “raised us up” in this verse is past tense, therefore, our position in Christ is already an accomplished fact.
When we realize our position in Christ, it makes a tremendous difference in our lives and we will no longer feel defeated.
We need to remember, however, that none of these things are possible on our own. It is only through our union with Christ that any of this is attainable. Our victory in the Christian life is dependent on our dependency on Christ and not on ourselves…”
Here is the full-length posting: https://missionventureministries.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/seated-in-heavenly-places-in-christ-jesus-ephesians-26/
So, to be “in Christ” means that we are joined to Him…and it is in that connection with Him that we have what HE has (joy, peace, love, victory, etc.). We have His victory because of our union with Him. We may not feel like we have these things, but we must not attempt to validate God’s Word by our feelings. Actually, feelings may take some time to line up with the truth (the Word). Our feelings can’t always be trusted – they are often the last to get in line with the truth of God’s Word. So, never let your feelings dictate what you believe.
To illustrate this further, here is another verse that tells us that we are indeed “like Christ” in this world.
1 John 4:17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world.
Ephesians 2:6 tells us that God has raised us up and we are seated with Christ in Heavenly places in Him. And 1 John 4:17 tells us that we are (now in this world) the same as He is (in Heavenly places).
Imagine this if you will – God our Father has lifted us up and seated us “with Christ” where He is right now (in Heaven). You are with Him in His place of victory…Jesus finished His work on the cross and took His seat of rest, so we are also supposed to rest in the completed work of Christ. That is kind of hard to fathom, but just think…even though we are still physically here on Earth, in spiritual reality, we are seated with Christ in Heaven. We have already discussed what this means: we are in a position of honor and triumph (not defeat) and we are partakers of His victory over Satan and the world. We share His victory. It is finished – the work is finished and we don’t have to work for it but only to take our place of resting in Him.
These two verses illustrate that we have what He has and that we are as He is. Right now!
In view of this, let’s ask ourselves some questions:
Do I feel righteous like Jesus?
Am I experiencing His joy right now?
Do I feel like a victor over sin?
Do I feel like a conqueror of my emotions and feelings?
If we are honest with ourselves, most of our answers would be a resounding, “No!”
So, how do we mesh the two: The fact that the Bible says we are right now like Jesus but we cannot honestly answer yes to the questions above.
If “in Christ” I am victorious over sin (pride, jealousy, bitterness, etc.) and I am full of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc.) like He is, then why am I not experiencing these things in my life right now? 1 John 4:17 says that I have these things (because Jesus has the victory and the fruit of the Spirit), so why are they not manifested in me and in my life right now in this world as it says?
I heard a well-known preacher say, “The gifts (the good promises) that God has given us must be unwrapped.” In other words, they are not automatic, but they must be unwrapped via our understanding, then we must learn through Christ’s help to walk in them.
When the Bible says “in Christ” we are…etc., etc., it means this is who and what we are in our born-again spirit. What is true of Jesus should be true of us as well. We are a completely new creation in our spirit. But, that does not mean that this is who and what we are in our mind or emotions….yet!
How do we “get there” in our mind and emotions (the fleshly, carnal part of us)?
Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
It is the carnal part of us that causes the problem. The flesh is our fallen human nature (it’s marred, it’s corrupt). In our spirit, we are just like Jesus, but we know in our hearts that we do not always think or act like Jesus – and that’s because the carnal part of us is still very alive.
According to a commentary that I read the word “death” that Romans 8:6 speaks of is not only physical death, but it also refers to all the effects, or wages of sin, which is translated in the Amplified Bible as all the miseries arising from sin (sickness, depression, loneliness, hatred, poverty, fear, anxiety, and everything else that came as a result of sin). So, death in this verse is simply living inferior to the life Christ has redeemed us to experience.
And it tells us that this “death” (emotional distresses; any condition/feeling that is less than what we have inherited in Christ) is caused by the carnal mind.
On the contrary, this verse also tells us that being spiritually minded brings life and peace (the fruits of the Spirit). So basically, to sum it all up, our lack of victory in any area is due to our carnal-mindedness.
We are supposed to walk in victory.
2 Cor. 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ…
Notice this verse says God “always” causes us to triumph in Christ.
While I was in the process of writing this, I was praying about my out-of-control emotions and I felt the Lord say in my spirit: “You are tempted to feel angry, you are tempted to feel hurt, you are tempted to feel depressed, etc.” In other words, these things (these emotions) come to us as a temptation and we fall prey to them just like we fall prey to sin. But, to me the beautiful thing about this revelation was, if they are temptations, then I can refuse them – and as I resist them the Lord will make a way for me to escape them.
This was very freeing to me because I had been feeling hopeless regarding my emotions. I thought I was helpless to do anything about my feelings – “they just are what they are”, I reasoned. I felt incapable of changing them. And they are often just the natural/carnal man’s response to whatever is going on at the time. But a temptation is different; if I am being tempted, God will help me to overcome temptation (1 Cor. 10:13).
Every feeling begins with a thought (often temptations come from Satan as a thought). Thoughts reside in our minds. When our carnal mind is in control, we think corrupt thoughts. We think wrong, hurtful, angry, depressed, bitter, lonely, hopeless, etc. thoughts. So, the key is to change our minds.
We must learn to be spiritually minded rather than carnally minded according to Romans 8:6 to find the life and peace that Christ promises (we don’t have to accept the wrong thinking which leads to wrong emotions).
Gal. 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
If we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh – in other words, this is how we overcome temptation (e.g. the temptation to think, feel and give in to wrong emotions.)
I heard a Bible teacher say that living in the Spirit simply means walking in the Word of God.
So, the way to change our feelings is to change our thoughts and we change our thoughts is by changing our minds (from carnal to spiritual). And it is through the Word of God that our minds are transformed.
John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth (makes alive, transforms); the flesh profiteth nothing: the “words” that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
The Bible describes what our life is supposed to look like in Christ and the victory that He’s promised. We must study to get a revelation of what our lives should be and then begin to claim and believe what the Bible says (It will teach us how to think spiritually) rather than what our carnal mind is dictating to us – thereby corrupting our feelings.
I have added a new static page to my blog that contains Bible verses that illustrate who we are and what we have been given in Christ and through Him. Please check out the page I have entitled “Who I am “In Christ” – My New Identity” on the sidebar menu. For each verse, I have paraphrased the main truth and enclosed it in parentheses underneath (this is a suggested declaration of faith) to be spoken out loud.
Each day during my prayer time, I try to speak what I have been given in Christ (my list is not as extensive as the one on my blog page – you may add your own favorites to it and/or just pick and choose the verses that mean the most to you).
This practice will help us to begin to understand what our lives should look like in Christ and as you say/pray them out loud in faith (according to Romans 10:17 faith is activated by SPEAKING and HEARING), I believe they will soon become a reality in your life. Your wrong thought patterns of defeat, sorrow, hopelessness, depression, futility, anger, etc. will begin to transform. And you will develop the new mind, heart, and life that Christ died to give us – a life full of joy, peace, hope, victory, fruitfulness, and purpose!
In closing, there is one very crucial point I need to make – we are totally dependent upon Jesus.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.
We can do nothing without Him, but we can do all things through Him.
However, we do have a part to play in gaining the victory:
- Learn who you are IN HIM, (please see the page mentioned above on my blog sidebar menu).
- Partner with Him in prayer and through continual dependence on Him (don’t look at your own frailty and shortcomings, but focus on Who you have living inside of you – you have His power, His peace, His joy, His love, His victory, etc.).
- Learn to walk in this new-found knowledge (your identity in Him) via growing your faith by speaking out (declaring) who you are and what you have inherited In HIM,
- Thank Him for the amazing gifts He’s given.
I wish you abundant blessings in your journey my friend!
Copyright © 2017 Sandra J. Briggs