"IN CHRIST"
Dr B R Lakin


"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).

    Christians need to be reminded of the privileges that are theirs because of their position in Christ Jesus. Three words stand out in our consideration of this great truth: (1) the central person, Christ Jesus; (2) the relative position (of the Christian); and (3) the special privileges (of those in Him).

    The things that we have in Christ are manifold, but we wish to call your attention to a cluster of five benefits which are freely given to every born-again Christian.

I. A NEW LIFE

"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature" (II Corinthians 5:17).

    Salvation is not reform, resolution, nor a renewal. It is not merely the reviving of one who has had life, but it is the bestowal of a new life to one who is dead in trespasses and sins. It is a complete new creation.
   
    The sinner is described as one who is dead, without any sign of divine life whatsoever. Lazarus was dead. But Jesus loved him in spite of the fact that he was dead. Lazarus was in a state of putrefaction; his body had begun to mortify. Every sinner, in the eyes of God, is in a state of moral and spiritual decay.

    Lazarus was not in a coma; he was not merely unconscious; there was no life in him. When Jesus came to the tomb where Lazarus was buried, he called him by name. Bud Robinson said: "If Jesus hadn't been specific and told Lazarus only to come forth, all of the dead folks in the graveyard would have come up out of their graves."
 
    Jesus calls those who are dead, saying, "Even though a man be dead, yet if he believes, he shall live again."

    He offers not a reformation or a reconstruction of the old nature, but a new creation, a transformation. He will save you so you'll know it; He will heal you so you will show it, and He will empower you so you'll go it.

II. A REDEMPTION

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7).

    Redemption means the price of a slave. In ancient days, if a slave became lost and was picked up by the authorities, he was taken to the slave market. The owner then could come to the market and, bidding against all others, could redeem him; then the slave once more became his rightful property.

    The human family once belonged to God. We were His by right of creation. But mankind became lost from God. Through disobedience they wandered away and lost contact with Him. Satan came into possession of mankind and made him his servant and slave. But God on Calvary purchased him back and redeemed back the slave that had been lost. And now we have redemption "through His blood."                        

    After the Civil War, when the slaves were legally freed, there were many slaves who in ignorance remained in bondage and servitude. Their masters led them to believe that they were still their slaves. But everyone who realized that the blood shed on the battlefields of the Civil War had redeemed them, and set them free, were free men. Those who believed and took their liberty were free men.

    For multiplied millions of people today who live in ignorance of the plan of redemption, Christ has died in vain. They could have their freedom from the bondage of the devil, but they continue to serve sin. They must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, or they will be lost, because He alone is their hope of freedom.

 
I am redeemed, but not with silver;
I am bought, but not with gold;
Bought with the price, the blood of Jesus,
Precious price of love untold.

 
 
III. WE HAVE AN INHERITANCE

"In whom also we have obtained an inheritance" (Ephesians 1:11).

    An inheritance is something that is being held for the future. There is a difference between inheritance and possessions. There are many people who have possessions but do not have any hope of an inheritance.

    The rich young ruler had great possessions, but when Jesus told him how he could have eternal life (a spiritual inheritance) he went away sorrowful.

     I can take you to the portals of mansions and show you those who live in luxury and ease, but have no hope of the future. They live only for today and its temporary joys.

    I can take you to a humble cottage and show you an aged mother who has known nothing of luxury and ease. She sits in simple surroundings with her open Bible on her lap. Her face beams with the light of heaven. She has no possessions, but she has an inheritance that will endure when the stars fail to shine, when the sun grows cold, and when this old money-mad planet has ceased to exist.

    The inheritance of the Christian is incorruptible, intangible, and eternal. "That . . . they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Hebrews 9:15).

    The possessions of this world are fleeting, passing, and uncertain. No matter how much one accumulates, he must relinquish it all at the time of death, because "you can't take it with you."

    But this eternal inheritance becomes effective at death and at that time begins to pay its richest dividends.

    The Apostle Paul took the long view in life and kept his eye upon the destination and the goal. If you were to take a long journey to a land where you were going to live forever, you would not be so concerned by the comforts or discomforts of the journey. The chief interest would be the destination, and your arrival. Paul did not care about the discomforts of the journey of life. He said: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (II Timothy 4:7-8).   

    The Christian may have his discomforts today, but in God's tomorrow he will be the recipient of an eternal estate and inheritance that will abide forever.

 
IV. FREEDOM FROM CONDEMNATION

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

    There is a pall of condemnation which hangs over the head of the man who is not in Christ. He realizes that there is something wrong with him, but he is not aware of the basic cause of it all.

    Man was created for God's fellowship, and he can never be happy separated from the fellowship of God and Savior. He can no more be happy away from God than a fish can be happy out of the water. This is the realm for which he was created. 
 
    Man, reluctant to recognize his need of a Savior, rushes to the psychiatrist, the physician and the practitioner to try to discover the cause of his need in the field of the natural. Thousands commit suicide every day because of this awful, stifling burden of maladjustment to life. But God has devised a means whereby men can be reconciled to Him and to their fellow man. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."

    Then again, condemnation holds for the condemned not only a mental depression, but also a legal of guilt. The sinner stands legally condemned before God. He is a spiritual criminal guilty of the offense of sin, and the penalty of death is upon him. "The wages of sin is death."

    There is only one hope for him, and that is the pardon that is found in Christ Jesus. If he will meet the conditions of pardon he may stand justified and uncondemned before God. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:7).

    There are records of many criminals who refused to be pardoned. They were so hardened in their sins, so stubborn in their spirit, that they spurned every mercy which was extended to them. Naturally, there was only one thing for the authorities to do, and that was to let justice run its course and let the penalty of the law be executed.

    There is no excuse for any man to be lost. God has a pardon for every man who will accept it. It is signed with the shed blood of the Son of God and it is legally potent to liberate the direst and guiltiest of sinners. 

    Thousands of men and women in every part of the world can bear witness that "there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." Some people dare to pass such testimony off as trite, and as the product of the imagination. But let me remind those who think thus, that the testimony of these sincere people would be accepted in any court in the land. They are not victims of spiritual hallucinations; they know whereof they speak. They "know in whom they have believed."

V. IN HIM WE HAVE PEACE

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.... For he is our peace" (Ephesians 2:13-14).

    The world does not understand the meaning of the word "peace." They try to have peace in an unregenerate world, but this always has been and always will be an impossibility. Christ is the author of peace, and if He is not present, then "peace," which is one of His attributes, can not abide.
 
    "Peace," in a personal sense, means ''inward tranquility." Undisturbed by the confusion and blighting circumstances about one, there is a place in Christ where we can have His peace.

    A man said the other day, "I feel pretty good under the circumstances." When you get under the circumstances instead of on top of them, you will probably not have very much inner peace.

    The peace that the Christian possesses is graphically described by the following inspirational poem, which is anonymous:

I met God in the morning,
When the day was at its best;
And His presence came like sunrise,
Like a Glory in my breast.

All day long the presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me:
And we sailed in perfect calmness
Over every troubled sea.

Other ships were tossed and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed;
But the wind that seemed to blow them
Brought to us both peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings
With a deep remorse of mind;
When I too had left the moorings
With the Presence left behind.

So I think I've learned my lesson,
Learned by many a troubled way;
I must meet Him in the morning,
If I have Him all the day.

 
 
B R Lakin