Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
(II Corinthian 5:17 AKJV)
I am what I am. I cannot change. I'm hopeless.
Does God offer any hope?
The Bible often uses the term “in Christ.”
To be “in Christ” or “alive in Christ”—what does that mean to you? What did it mean to Paul when he used this strange terminology in writing to the early Christians?
“We therefore were buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4 BSB) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (II Corinthians 5:17 NLT).
This is the doctrine of regeneration. Merriam Webster’s Desk Dictionary defines “regenerate”: adj. formed or created again; spiritually reborn or converted; Verb: to subject to spiritual renewal; to reform completely/to replace (a body part) by a new growth of tissue/ to give new life to revive.
In an address given in 1983 at the Leadership Luncheon following the National Prayer Breakfast, Washington, D. C. Anglican cleric, John Stott defined the term “In Christ”. Stott commented, “To be ‘in Christ’ does not mean to be inside Christ, as tools are in a box or our clothes in a closet, but to be organically united to Christ, as a limb is in the body or a branch is in the tree. It is this personal relationship with Christ that is the distinctive mark of his authentic followers.”[i]
Regeneration in humans is the regrowth of lost tissues or organs in response to injury. This is in contrast to wound healing, which involves closing up the injury site with a scar.[ii]
God wasn’t kidding when he said, "Behold, I will do something new. Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19. "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26.
Beloved, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, if you have invited him into your life, you have begun an organic relationship with him. This is not a self-improvement program; it is not a recycling campaign. This is an implantation of God’s only Son into your life. He dwells in you and you dwell in Him. What can sever that relationship? Nothing. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. He literally makes you a new person. He resuscitates your dead spirit and makes you complete in Him. More than this, the same power that dwells in Christ to overcome temptation, now dwells in you. He gives you the capacity for growth and change, the ability to renew your mind and exchange the lies you have believed with the truth of who you are in Christ. What a wonderful savior we serve.
Ask Christ to show you your identity “in Him.” Ask God to teach you by His Holy spirit what it means to be “in Christ.”
I can’t wait to hear how He answers you.
I love you, Sisters.
"InChrist" The Meaning and Implications of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Address given in 1983 at the Leadership Luncheon following the National Prayer Breakfast, Washington, D.C.
Summer issue Knowing and Doing. Accessed 11/2/16.