As born again Christian believers we know that at the time of receiving Jesus as our savior the Holy Spirit comes to live within us and empowers us with all of the spiritual tools that we need to live the Christian life. What many believers do not realize is that Jesus said that we must also be in Christ (“in Me”).
What does it mean to be in Christ?
Man was created in the image and likeness of God. As post transgression beings however we are born into this world with a sinful nature which is in the flesh.
(Rom 7:5) For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
(Rom 8:3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
(Mat 26:41) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Our weakness is not in our spirit rather in our flesh. Because our flesh is weak we fall short (sin) of the will of God.
(Joh 6:63) It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
When we are born again our spirit is quickened (zōopoieō – revitalized) but nothing happens in our flesh. The old sin nature remains. That is why Jesus tells us to:
(Luk 9:23) And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
What does it mean to deny ourselves take up our cross daily?
The purpose of the cross is to put a person to death. When Jesus gave up the Ghost on the cross His flesh perished as did the sin nature within it. Because our sin nature is still alive and well in the flesh we must put that nature to death. In the beginning we will not desire to do this. That is why Jesus said we must deny ourselves. As we do this act of repentance daily we kill off our sin nature a little at a time.
Having Jesus within us in the person and the power of the Holy Spirit helps us to kill off the lust of our flesh which is the sin nature within it. After a time we no longer desire to sin, in fact sin be comes repulsive to us. This repentance is not a finished work at the time or receiving Christ as Savior, it is an ongoing process.
(Rom 7:15) For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
The key to overcoming our sin nature is to be in Christ!
Killing off the old sin nature is not enough. That nature must be replaced with the nature of Christ!
(Rom 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God! He is the only person to be born in the flesh of whom God said that He was well pleased and what pleases the Father is when our nature becomes Christ like.
(Joh 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Jesus is the only way to get to the Father. When we accept Christ as Savior we are given access to the Father. In fact the fullness of the Godhead comes to live within us at the time of our salvation.
(Joh 17:23) I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
If Jesus is in us and God is in Him then God, in the fullness of the three persons, is also in us so that we will all be as one. This however is only half of the equation because Jesus said that we must also be in Him (“in Me”). Jesus dwells in God and God dwells in Jesus. If Jesus dwells in us we must also dwell in Him to complete the equation. We must live in Him.
The question is; how do we enter into Christ so that we will be in Him?
(Joh 6:56) He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
We must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood!
Now it is i important to note here that this verse is not speaking about the physical communion that we receive in remembrance of our Lord. It is speaking about taking on the nature of Christ by eating His spiritual flesh and receiving the spiritual atonement of His blood. Communion is done in remembrance of His death, this is done for transformation into the image and likeness of Christ.
How do we eat the flesh of Christ?
(Joh 1:1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(Joh 1:14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Jesus was “the Word” ” and the Word was made flesh”. The nature of Christ is spiritual not carnal. As the living Word of God His words are spirit and they are life.
(Joh 6:63) It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Therefore we eat the flesh of Christ when we consume His words. The spiritual nature of Jesus is written upon the pages of the new testament!
I suppose a more colloquial way of putting it is that you have to become a Jesus freak. “I’m so into Jesus”. We eat His words and by doing so we enter into His very spirit.
Subsequently the more we partake of His flesh (read His words) the more like Him we become through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. It is the renewing of our minds that transforms us into the image and likeness (the nature) of Christ.
If we do not diligently read His words and learn His ways we can not be in Christ. You have to be into Christ to be in Christ! You have to desire to be in Christ. He is the manifestation of the kingdom of God. When we are living in Christ we are living in the kingdom of God. Amen!