We are inseparably united to Christ
As Christians we are now united to Christ:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1)
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21)
You can see the bible describes us as being in Christ, not just following Christ (though of course we do that), but that we are inseparable. This is really important as it means that some Christ’s experiences we go through too.
We saw on Sunday that Jesus provides a penalty swap for us, but it is impossible to just pass sentences and punishments onto innocent third parties. Without being united to Christ, his sacrifice would not be able to have an effect upon our lives. Through the bond formed between Christians and Christ, the cross is able to change our lives.
We have died with Christ
We have died and are now alive in Christ:
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Col. 2:11-14)
This passage shows that we have died, and been made alive in Christ in a way that satisfies all the penalties of the sin. Through our union with Christ, we too have died and been buried, so that God did not create a loophole or go back on his promises. Everyone who sins has/will die, either with Christ, or by themselves. Through dying, we have been set free from the things that held us captive:
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 6:5-11)
We see again that as we have been set free from sin and we too have been set free from its consequences – death (more below). Therefore, as we are no longer slaves to sin (but can struggle with sin), we are able to offer ourselves up to be acceptable and pleasing to God:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (Rom. 6:12-13)
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom. 12:1-2)
We are now free from sin which separates us from God, and instead able to be shaped by God, rather than the world. Whenever we see aspects of our former self, we are to put them to death, for it is no longer our identity:
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Col. 3:3-5)
This is the struggle we have to live with now, we are no longer held captive by sin, but our fleshly bodies have yet to be renewed by God, so we still do sin.
We will be raised with Christ
Spiritually, we have already been raised with Christ, as we just saw in the Colossians 3 passage and:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:4-6)
Our lives being intwined with Christ means that we are where he is, which is in heaven with God! This reality though is currently hidden and not apparent, for our bodies are still here on Earth. We are currently waiting for the resurrection of our bodies, and can trust that, as Jesus was physically raised, we too shall be transformed physically as well as spiritually:
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. ( 1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
The return of Jesus, when we will have our new physical bodies, is a great and glorious future to look to. With a new physical body, and well as the new spiritual body we have already been given, we shall no longer be able to sin.
Prayers for Today
Today, I am praising God that the solution of the cross does not cut corners, but perfectly resolves the issue of sin causing death. I want to thank God that I am in Jesus, and that I have already died and can now live in christ. Help me Lord to live in light of this fact, and to put to death all the earthly things. Instead help me to concentrate upon pleasing you alone. Convict me that spiritually I am in heaven with Christ, and fill me confidence that one my body shall also be resurrected and perfected.
(All scripture quoted from English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. )