One of the favored tactics of the enemy is to try to cause us to doubt who we are in the eyes of our Father God by darkening our understanding of who we are in Christ.
Most us us do not have a problem in understand that our God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) literally dwells within us, but many fail to receive that this is not the same thing as our being in the persons of God, or more specifically what it means to be "in Christ Jesus".
It is my hope and my prayer that what is written here will shine a light into the darkness of misunderstanding and set the captives free from this snare of the enemy.
For many years of my walk with God I believed those who put forth the customs and traditions of man as "the way" to be found pleasing in the sight of our Heavenly Father, only to later find that this was a lie of the enemy designed to keep me in bondage, to keep me under the schoolmaster.
And then, one day, I read something within the writings of the apostle Paul that changed my life:
Gal 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Gal 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Gal 3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Gal 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Gal 3:20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Gal 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Paul begins by saying "I speak after the manner of men" (speaking as a man) that if this covenant be confirmed, no man can disannul it or add to it.
The first question is:
What covenant is Paul speaking of?
He is speaking of the covenant given to Abraham that was confirmed before God in Christ, the "Seed" (not seeds) of Abraham. Paul is further proclaiming that "the law" which was given four hundred and thirty years after that covenant was made between God and Abraham, can not disannul that covenant, nor make that promise of none effect.
You see God gave that promise, that covenant, to Abraham by way of grace. It was an unconditional promise. It was a gift.
Paul is clear that the law was given because of the transgressions of the people UNTIL "THE SEED" COME and that if there had been a law given which had given life, righteousness should have been made by the law, but we know through the words of our Lord Himself that neither righteousness or live came through the law!
(Joh 5:37) And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
(Joh 5:38) And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
(Joh 5:39) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
(Joh 5:40) And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
(Joh 5:41) I receive not honour from men.
There is a segment of the body of Christ who believe that they know the truth. That they have heard the voice of God (Jesus), have seen His shape through Jesus, and that they have found life "in Him" because they have come to Him.
Yet Jesus proclaimed:
(Mat 7:21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
(Mat 7:22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
(Mat 7:23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The next question is:
According to our Lord, what is the will of the Father?
(Joh 6:39) And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
(Joh 6:40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
As the apostle Paul had written, and as it is confirmed by the words of our Lord, "the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified BY FAITH, but after faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster".
Therefore, the next logical question is:
Has Faith Come?
Before answering this question I want to point out that there are many within the church who have taken issue with those of us who proclaim the writings of the apostles of Jesus to be equal in authority to the words that Jesus Himself spoke during His earthen ministry, which were recorded by them, because we believe that ALL of scripture is inspired by God.
Now on the surface what these detractors are saying sounds right, and even logical, but to those in the Spirit this is clearly false doctrine!
Did Jesus not say that He had many things to say unto the apostles that they could not understand (bear) now (Joh 6:12), and that the Holy Spirit, He who would not speak of Himself but of what He hears from Jesus, He who would teach them all things and guide them unto all truth, He who would reveal the deep things of God unto man, would do so after He returned to the Father?
If the "red letter" truly was truly meant to have preeminence over all other written words, than one can not ignore these words of our Lord spoken, for example, directly unto Paul:
(Act 26:15) And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
(Act 26:16) But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
(Act 26:17) Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
(Act 26:18) To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
It was Jesus Himself who anointed and appointed Paul to this ministry after He had left the earth, and it was the Holy Spirit Himself, not flesh and blood, who taught Paul in the desert for over three years. Therefore, if you have a problem with the teachings of Paul, or any other apostolic teaching, then you have a problem with the words of our Lord Christ Jesus and the teachings of the Holy Spirit.
If you can not have faith in the written words of the apostles, how can you have faith that the words of Jesus recorded by them are accurate?
You can't have it both ways!
You can't judge for yourselves which words are divinely inspired by God, and which are not, because it is simply beyond your pay grade and ability.
You either accept the whole of scriptures as being inspired by God or none of them!
The problem lies not within the scriptures themselves, rather within man and his interpretation of them, and his (or her) opinion of the apostolic authority of them!
That being said, the answer to the last question above is, YES, faith has come, and our Father God has given us "the measure of faith"(Rom 12:3), so that we might not think of ourselves more highly than we aught because every gift that comes unto us from on high comes through the grace of God, which came by faith unto those who are "in Jesus" Christ.
Now for years I have been searching for the true meaning of what it means to be "in Christ Jesus", which is clearly not the same thing as having Christ in us or even the same thing as being in Jesus Christ.
I have come to believe that there is a difference between being "in" Jesus Christ (the Son of Man) (God on earth in the flesh) and being "in" Christ Jesus (the Son of God) (God in heaven in the flesh).
Interestingly, the name "Jesus Christ" is used some 189 times in 198 verses of the NT scriptures, the name "Christ Jesus" is used some 58 times in 58 verses of scripture, and only once did our Lord use either in making reference to Himself (Jesus Christ - John 17:3).
The distinction between the two usages seems to be that the former (Jesus Christ) is used when speaking, directly or indirectly, of Jesus on earth, or of His earthen ministry, while the latter (Christ Jesus) seems to be speaking of our Lord in His glorified state, more specifically of His present state.
In one case "Jesus" is used first, referring to His position within humanity, that the Christ He was made of low estate, for a time, and then later "Christ" is used first referring to His title and position within the Godhead after leaving the earth and being restored to His former glory.
Even more interesting however is that the phrase "in Jesus Christ" is only used 4 times in 4 verses within scriptures, while the term "in Christ Jesus" is used some 40 times in 40 verses.
Let's take a look at a few of those 40 verses"
Our Redemption is "in Christ Jesus"
(Rom 3:19) Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
(Rom 3:20) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
(Rom 3:21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
(Rom 3:22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
(Rom 3:23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
(Rom 3:24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is "in Christ Jesus":
(Rom 3:25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
(Rom 3:26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Our Justification is "in Christ Jesus"
(Rom 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are "in Christ Jesus", who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
(Rom 8:2) For the law of the Spirit of life "in Christ Jesus" hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
The Love of God toward us is "in Christ Jesus"
(Rom 8:33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
(Rom 8:34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
(Rom 8:35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
(Rom 8:36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
(Rom 8:37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
(Rom 8:38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
(Rom 8:39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is "in Christ Jesus" our Lord.
We Are the children of God because we are "in Christ Jesus"
(Gal 3:22) But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
(Gal 3:23) But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
(Gal 3:24) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
(Gal 3:25) But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
(Gal 3:26) For ye are all the children of God by faith "in Christ Jesus".
(Gal 3:27) For as many of you as have been baptized "into Christ" have put on Christ.
(Gal 3:28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one "in Christ Jesus".
(Gal 3:29) And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Being "in Christ Jesus" means to put on Christ!
The intent and purpose of the law, the old schoolmaster, was and is, to bring us unto Jesus Christ so that we might enter into Christ Jesus!
Notice here how Paul uses the two names, Jesus Christ, and Christ Jesus, that the promise (future) might be given to those who believe in Jesus Christ, because before faith came we were kept under the law, which was our schoolmaster, and shut up from the faith that would justify us when it came, and make us children of God. all one "in Christ Jesus"!
When God was going to send the flood, everyone was given the opportunity to go "into" the ark and be "saved". That was the only work they had to do. They did not have to participant in it's construction, they did not have to be holy and righteous, all they had to do was believe God, who spoke through Noah, and enter into their salvation.
When God sent the angel of death unto Egypt, anyone who put the blood of the lamb on their door was saved from impending death. Again, they did not have to do any work, they did not have to be holy, or just, they simply had to believe God and do as He instructed to be spared.
Likewise, if one desires to be saved from eternal separation from God, even to become the children of God, all one needs to do is to believe God and have faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, who is now our Lord Christ Jesus, and we enter into Him by enter into God's salvation as did Noah, and those who "covered" themselves (their homes) with the blood of the sacrificial lambs.
We put on Christ by covering ourselves with His blood. By doing so we are covering ourselves with His righteousness, and we become the righteousness of God
When we enter into Christ in this way, when we cover ourselves in His righteousness, when we enter into Him, we are admitting that we are unable to please God by living up to His standard of sinless perfection under the law, that we need a Savior because we can not save ourselves, and that the only way we can be righteous in the sight of God is to be seen by Him "in Christ Jesus".
In the days of old, when a sinner brought a sacrifice, a sin offering, to the priest, the priest did not examine the sinner but he thoroughly examined the animal sacrifice to see that it was without spot or blemish. It had to be perfect.
This was a type and shadow of that which was to come!
This was why Jesus's life on earth had to be perfect in every way. If it was not, He could not offer Himself as payment for our sins. His offering would have been unacceptable to God.
But the earthen life of Jesus Christ was perfect in every way, and His sacrifice was totally acceptable unto God. Subsequently we can enter into Christ Jesus, become the righteousness of God, and become the children of God, because we are no longer at enmity with Him. And we are no longer at enmity with our Father because we have entered into Christ Jesus through faith in His finished work and covered ourselves with His garment of righteousness!
Being In Christ Jesus