Posted: May 19, 2005
A Study of Positional Truths
verses II Corinthians 5:17-21 we are confronted with four ‘In Christ’
phrases. They are found in verse 17 when Paul says, “Therefore
if any man be in Christ…” The next is in verse 19 where the text
says, “To wit, that God
was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself…” The next is
in verse 20 which says, “…we
pray you in Christ stead be ye reconciled to God.” The last is
in verse 21 which says, “…that
we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”. The phrase of
being “In Christ” is a Pauline phrase he used over 130 times. It
was not original with him. It found it’s origin in Christ’ teaching in
John 15 when He said, “He
that abideth in me and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit”.
before us teach the two great doctrines of “Regeneration” and “Reconciliation”.
Doctrine is defined as what a man believes about a particular subject.
This text would imply what we believe about God as the subject. Many
steer clear of doctrine and concern themselves only with the behavior of
man. The only thing that will change and keep the behavior of man in
check is his doctrine. (what he believes about God)
Let us begin
by looking at a great text about ‘Regeneration’. We are
confronted first of all in this text with the ‘Mystery of
Regeneration’. Paul says, “Therefore
if any man be in Christ…” (Vs 17) This ‘In Christ’
position is not a circle that we go in and out of. It is an invisible,
mysterious sphere that has no exit doors. We realize from our own human
thinking the mystery of regeneration began to dawn at our conversion.
It opens to us, though not fully, at our salvation. Little did we know
it was much larger, a mystery, than we first glimpsed at our
conversion. Paul tells us that God chose us and placed us in Christ
before He ever laid the mud seal foundations of this world.
leads to the ‘Merriment of Regeneration’. Paul says the one ‘In
Christ’ is a new creation. This is the grounds for great joy that I
am not the person I was and neither am I the person that I will one day
be. I am headed for total transformation into Christ’ likeness. John
Phillips said, “The change is greater than the transformation of a
earth bound caterpillar into a heaven-born butterfly”. This
‘Merriment’ leads to the ‘Mercy of Regeneration’ when Paul says,
‘old things are gone and all things are becoming new’. This is truly
mercy, God withholding from us what we deserve. We deserve to suffer
all that the old life afforded but instead our Redeemer took the old
away and gave us the new person.
In verse 19
we are confronted with ‘Reconciliation’. The word means to cover
in purity and innocence. In verse 19 we are confronted with the ‘Manner
of Reconciliation’. What exactly happens at ‘Reconciliation’? We
notice that it is a joint work of deity. The text says, ‘God was In
Christ reconciling us to Him’. This tells us God the Father, God
the Son are one. If I am ‘In Christ’ I am one with them. I do
notice He doesn’t need to be reconciled to us. He was not at odds with
me. He has loved me with an everlasting love. I needed to be
reconciled to Him. This manner also would involve the removal of all
my sins when Paul said in verse 19, “…not
imputing their trespasses unto them”. The ‘Manner of
Reconciliation’ declares me ‘Not Guilty’. I no longer have a sin
account with God. This ‘Manner’ will lead to the ‘Ministry of
Reconciliation’. Because we have been reconciled, it is our duty to
go to the world as Paul says, “…we pray
you in Christ stead, be ye reconciled to God”.
This phrase is an imperative command. This gospel message of
reconciliation demands that we make things right with God.
has a ‘Message of Reconciliation’ of which we find in verse 21.
Paul tells us that Christ has become all that we were on Calvary’s
hill. Paul said, “…for
He hath made Him to be sin for us”. I cannot imagine the horror
Christ felt who never knew sin, to become sin for me. No wonder in the
garden of Gethsemane that night He shuddered at the cup He was to
drink. This Message of Reconciliation is a two-part message. Not only
did He become all that I am but He made me all that He is. The more we
study our position ‘In Christ’ I realize we are a long way from
the shore in waters over our heads. I guess we could float on top of
these truths or we could let go and drown in the fact of our oneness