Central Truth: When we know what we are in Christ and think in line with that, when we believe that and confess that, then there can be no failure for us.
In our last lesson we said that confession is actually three things: first, affirming something we believe; second, testifying to something we know; and third, witnessing for a truth we have embraced. The major problem for us to face is to know exactly what we are to confess.
We briefly touched on confession’s five parts in our last lesson, but we will go into more detail on these in our study for today as we endeavor to learn more about just what we are to confess. Our confession centers around these five things:
- What God in Christ has wrought for us in His plan of redemption.
- What God, through the Word and the Holy Spirit, has wrought for us in the new birth and the infilling of the Holy Ghost.
- What we are to God the Father in Christ Jesus.
- What Jesus is doing for us now at the right hand of the Father, where He ever lives to make intercession for us.
- What God can do through us, or what His Word can do through our lips.
Discovering Our Privileges in Christ
As we have said, confession is testifying to something we know. It is impossible to testify to something we don’t know. And it is what we know personally about the Lord Jesus Christ and what we are in Him that counts. First of all, we can know Him personally, and it is of primary importance to be born again. But just because someone has been born again does not necessarily mean that he is a successful Christian. He must also know what he is in Christ Jesus. When we know what we are in Him and think in line with that, when we believe that and confess that, then there is no failure for us.
To discover what we are in Christ, we must look to the Word of God. Go to the New Testament, primarily the epistles written to the church, and underline with a red pencil every scripture that has the expression “in Him,” “in Christ,” and “in whom.” Better yet, take several sheets of paper and write down all of these scriptures. (You will find about 133 of these scriptures.)
The moment you find them, begin to confess that this is who you are and what you have in Christ. If you will do this, I will guarantee that before many days, life will be different for you.
While neither time nor space here permit us to go into all these scriptures, let us look at just a few.
Becoming a New Creature in Christ
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. -II Corinthians 5:17
Notice the expression “in Christ.” What a revolutionary thing that is for believers to believe and confess! We are new creatures in Christ Jesus. We are not just forgiven sinners. We are not poor, weak, staggering, sinning, barely-getting-along church members. We are new creatures, created by God in Christ Jesus. We are new creatures with the life of God, the nature of God, and the ability of God in us.
As a new convert at the age of seventeen, I never had the problems that so many have because I was quick to tell everybody, “I am a new creature.” I was quick to witness to Christ’s saving grace in my life wherever I went. I found that the more I talked about it, the more real the new creation became to me, because that is who we are and what we are.
I was active in soul winning – preaching in jail services, on the streets, and working in the church. While I was standing on the street corner one day, a boy who I knew came up to me and asked me to do him a favor. “I wouldn’t ask you to do this,” he explained, “but I’m running late now and I promised my girl friend that I would bring a date for her cousin who is visiting her from out of town. Would you come along and help me out of this jam? I’ll always be grateful and I’ll promise that we won’t stay over thirty or forty minutes, and that we won’t have any smoking, drinking, or dancing while you’re there.” Reluctantly I went along to help him out.
When we got to his girl friend’s house, she introduced me to her cousin. We had barely gotten seated when they put a record on the phonograph and started dancing. When the girl’s cousin asked me to dance, I said, “No, thank you, I don’t dance.”
She looked at me as if I had just come from Mars and said, “You don’t dance? Why?”
“Because I’m a new creature,” I answered.
“What do you mean, you’re a new creature?” she asked.
Then I quoted II Corinthians 5:17 to her, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” There was a time when I was interested in things like dancing, but now my life is different. I have been made a new creature in Christ, with new interests and new desires.” While the record continued to play and the other couple were dancing, I continued to give this girl my testimony of faith in Christ. The words began to grip her heart with conviction and she started crying. When the record stopped, the boy saw what was happening. He turned to me and said, “Let’s go!” and took me right home.
It didn’t matter where I was – whether in the jails, on the streets, at school, or church – I was quick to witness to everyone I came in contact with that I had been born again and was a new creature in Christ Jesus. And if we will confess that, it will make a big difference in our lives. I wasn’t tempted by the things of the world because I constantly confessed that I was a new creature in Christ Jesus.
Redemption From the Curse of the Law
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence. - Ephesians 1:7-8
Notice the words, “In whom we have redemption …” How thankful we can be that we are not trying to get it, we already have it. We are not going to have it sometime, we have it now. Satan’s dominion has been broken; he lost his dominion over our life the moment we became a new creature. We received a new Lord. Jesus Christ reigns over us. Satan was our Lord, but now Jesus is our Lord. Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus …” or “Jesus as Lord.” Satan’s dominion ended; Jesus’ dominion began the moment we accepted Him as Lord and were born again.
From what and from whom are we redeemed? When asked this question many people say, “I am redeemed from sin.” And that is part of the answer, but not nearly all of it. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” We are redeemed from the curse of the law.
To find out just what the curse of the law is, we must go back to the first five books of the Bible. There we see that the curse or the punishment for breaking God’s law is threefold: poverty, sickness, and the second death. God has redeemed us from the curse of poverty, from the curse of sickness, and from the curse of death – spiritual death now and physical death when Jesus comes again. We need have no fear of the second death. (In one of the lessons to follow we will look in more detail at our rights in Christ’s redemption from the curse of poverty.)
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being … -Acts 17:28
What a vast storehouse of power we overlook so many times! In Him, Christ our Saviour and Lord, we have life, energy, strength for the impossible tasks. It does not say that we can do these things in ourselves, but it is through Him, through His power, for it is “in him we live, and move, and have our being.”
Deliverance From the Power of Satan
Then let us look at two scriptures that, although they do not contain the words “in Him,” “in whom,” or “in Christ,” yet they convey something of the same message of what we do have in Him. “Who (God) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). This verse says that we are delivered from the authority of darkness, from the power of Satan.
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). The Old Testament counterpart to this scripture is found in Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Then in the New Testament we find, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). We can take this as a personal message for ourselves. Because we are under the new covenant, we can say, “Thank God, for He is in us.” This is the best reason I can think of for not being afraid.
People have come to me and said, “I have read all those scriptures you said to read, but it doesn’t seem real to me.”
“Have you confessed it is so?” I ask them.
One woman said to me, “But it isn’t so in my life. I know it is not.”
“God says it is so, you say it isn’t. Therefore, either you or God is lying about it. If you were to stand before your mother and call her a liar, you would feel badly, wouldn’t you? Then how can you expect to feel right when you stand before God and say, ‘Your Word is not true, it isn’t so. You’re a liar.’ To remedy this situation you must start confessing that it is so whether you feel like it is so in your life or not. Then it will become a reality.”
We must get our thinking in line with God’s Word and then our believing will be right. When our believing is right we can confess – say, affirm, witness, testify – to what God’s Word says about us. Then we will succeed. Then life will be different for us!
Memory Text: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being …” Acts 17:18).
Faith in Action: “But be Ye doers of the word, and not hearers only ….” (James 1:22).