2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
In our last lesson, we looked at some of the blessings that are now ours because we are in Christ.
1. We are forgiven.
2. We are justified.
3. We are made near to God.
4. We are accepted by God.
5. We are made holy.
6. Our eternal destiny is sealed and secure in Christ.
7. We are complete in Christ.
Does all of this mean that we will never sin again? No, it does not. In the letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth, we find some things that seem hard to understand. On the one hand, Paul calls these believers “saints,” and he says that they are “sanctified (holy) in Christ Jesus.” On the other hand, in the same letter, Paul speaks of some terrible sins in their lives. Some of them were proud; some fought among themselves; and some of them were guilty of immoral acts.
How could Paul say that they were “holy in Christ” while at the same time they were not living as Christians should live? To answer these questions, we must understand the difference between our standing and our state.
What is our STANDING? Our standing is the way God sees us in Christ. It includes all that God has done for us in Christ. God has given us a perfect standing in Christ.
Is our standing always perfect? Yes, it is. Why? Because it depends on what God has done for us in Christ. We are IN CHRIST, and God sees us as perfect in Him. Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
Now, what is our STATE? Our state is the way we live on the earth. The Bible calls it our “walk.” Is our state ever perfect? No, it is not. Why? Because it depends on what we are in ourselves. We are sinful. The Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
It will help us in our Christian life if we remember that our STANDING is the way God sees us in Christ, while our STATE is the way we live on the earth. In Christ we are always perfect in God’s sight; in ourselves, we are sinful.
Does this mean that we are to be satisfied with our sins? No, it does not! God wants our day to day living to come up to our standing in Christ. We are “holy in Christ”; God wants us to be holy in our everyday living. The Bible says, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (or lifestyle).
How can we be holy? In His Word, God has told us that we are to “walk” by faith. This means that we are to count on what we are in Christ. Colossians 2:6 says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.”
When we see that we are “holy in Christ,” we become holy in our everyday life. When we see that we are “saints in Christ Jesus” we begin to live as saints should live. When we see that we are truly “the children of God,” we begin to live as children of God should live. As we count on what we are in Christ, the Holy Spirit makes it real in our life.