“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit”. (Romans 8:1).
To be in Christ Jesus is to be one with Him, united to Him by faith. Those who are with Him are the ones for whom there is no condemnation. All who are not in Christ Jesus are under the law and its curse. It is not said that Christ is with His people, or at their right hand, but that they are in Him, in order that they may know that, being in Him, they have nothing to fear; for what evil can reach those who are one with the Son of God? This union is represented in Scripture by various terms and by many similitudes; its efficacy and power are shown, when it is said, “He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.” It is in virtue of this union that the sufferings and obedience of Christ are imputed to His people, they being one with Him who fulfilled the law, and satisfied the justice of God. Their union with Him is the source of that spiritual life by which they are quickened together with Christ. From this, they derive their justification, their sanctification, and their consolation. It is impossible for a man to be a Christian without having Christ, and if he has Christ, he has at the same time all that is in Christ. What gives peace to the conscience is that by faith your sins are no more yours, but Christ’s, upon whom God hath laid them all; and that, on the other hand, all Christ’s righteousness is yours, to whom God has given it. Christ lays His hand upon you, and you are healed. He casts His mantle upon you, and you are clothed; for He is the glorious Savior, blessed forever. This union was typified under the law in the person of the high priest, who carried on his breast the twelve stones, on which were engraved the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel; so that, when he appeared before God, all the people appeared in him, thus showing that all believers are before God in Jesus Christ, their great High Priest. They are all delivered from condemnation, as being one body with Christ.
As the debts of a wife must be discharged by her husband, and as, by her marriage, all her previous obligations are at once transferred to him, so the believer, being married to Christ, is no longer exposed to the curse of the law. All its demands have been met and satisfied by His covenant Head, with whom, as the wife is one with the husband, so he is one.
It is by the human nature of Jesus Christ that you enjoy union with His Divine nature and that He is Emmanuel, God with us. His humanity is the medium by which His divinity communicates itself with all its graces. Under the former dispensation, God communicated with His people through the ark of the covenant. This was a type of the human nature of Jesus Christ. This was done in order to show you that by it you have union with the whole of His person. And by union with the person of Jesus Christ, you obtain communion with the Father. “At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
It is not by nature that you enjoy this union since by nature you are “children of wrath” and “without Christ.” The means by which you are united to Christ are on His part by His Spirit, and on your part by faith. He communicates His Spirit to you, which is as the soul that unites all the members of the body with the head, so that “he who is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit.” On your part, you receive Jesus Christ by faith produced in you by His Spirit, in order that you may reciprocally receive Him in your hearts. He dwells in your hearts by faith; and thus you learn what is meant when it is said you are justified by faith, not as being a work, or anything meritorious, but as the medium through which His righteousness, and all the graces and blessings that are in Jesus Christ, are communicated to your souls. Faith unites the soul with Christ as a spouse binds her husband. So that everything which Christ has becomes the property of the believing soul: and everything which the soul has becomes the property of Christ. Christ possesses all blessings and eternal life: these blessings and eternal life are now the property of the soul. The soul has all its iniquities and sins: they remain henceforth the property of Christ. It is then that a blessed exchange commences: Christ who is both God and man, Christ who has never sinned, and whose holiness is perfect, Christ the Almighty and Eternal, taking to Himself, all the sins of the believer, those sins are lost and abolished in Him; for no sins dwell before His infinite righteousness. Thus, by faith, the believer’s soul is delivered from sins and clothed with the eternal righteousness of her bridegroom Christ. Oh, happy union! As the rich, the noble, the holy Bridegroom takes into marriage his poor, guilty, and despised bride, he protects her from all evils, he enriches her with the most precious blessings in life.
Christ, a King and a Priest, shares this honour and glory with all Christians. The Christian is a king, and consequently possesses all things; he is a priest, and consequently possesses God; and it is by faith, not works, that brings him all this honour. Those who follow Christ are free from all things, and above all things, they have been richly blessed with all things thanks to their faith. On account of this union, all believers bear the name of Christ, being that of their Head. “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,” (1 Corinthians 12:13). “We are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Ephesians 5:30). According to the Epistle to the Ephesians, the Church is not only the body of Jesus Christ but is also His fullness. God “gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” ( Ephesians 1:22). He thus shows that this union with Jesus Christ is such that He who filleth all things would consider Himself without His people to be imperfect and incomplete. And without being in him, you are imperfect and incomplete.
By Gilbert Magomere Ayieko