Romans 8:1 – “those who are in Christ Jesus”
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Living up to the uniform
High Street scene from, I would guess, about 1958 recalling Achille Serre dry cleaners, Regent petrol – and a no-nonsense uniformed policeman patrolling a crossing.
Paul uses the phrase “in Christ” more than 80 times and with equivalents such as “in Him”, more than 130 times. This is the most used identity statement in the New Testament.
As Christians we have a new identity and a new nature. As Christians who have some excitement about allowing the Holy Spirit freedom in us, we should also have some excitement about this new identity and new nature. In short, it means that everything that belongs to Jesus will be imparted to us – even if the fullness of who we are in Christ is veiled within our flesh nature until Christ returns. Even so, it’s a challenge for us to live up to!
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
So what is the ‘above’ which we aspire to? The answer is in the next sentence – Christ seated at the right hand of God. His authority is the source of all authority – “incomparably great power for us who believe Jesus who is appointed “head over everything” for us, His church (Eph. 1:19-23).
Jesus is the ultimate authority over all spirit beings. His is not, however, a remote authority but a present one, although in the invisible realm.
We enter into this authority at salvation, giving us the right – from our position in Christ – to rule within the scope delegated to us. The power of God works with this as the strength and capacity to exercise that right to rule. So we proclaim the manifold wisdom of God – what He is saying – to the rulers and authorities in the heavenlies (Eph. 3:10) on behalf of “Christ, who is the head over every power and authority” (Col. 2:9-10). What He says, goes.
The new identity includes a new uniform that is recognised by every spirit being in the invisible realm. The uniform denotes authority. If a police officer – not “in Christ”, but “in” the uniform and service of HM Constabulary – steps out while you are driving with a hand up, you stop. To disobey is not an option unless you like the inside of the local magistrates court! But imagine being a new police officer in a stiff uniform, reticent about stepping out and commanding cars and lorries to stop. But it’s your job, the sergeant in the picture would say, and you have the authority! Now exercise it!
That’s how we appear when we are unsure of who we are in Christ, not secure in our new identity as an ‘officer’ of the Lord Jesus. The enemy taunts us and runs rings around us which reinforces the lie. The remedy? Step out there and say what goes and what does not go.