under a special agreement with
presents "New Life in Christ" Course 3
under a special agreement with
In our last lesson we learned the wonderful truth that we are IN CHRIST. We are no longer in Adam, but we are in Christ. Because we are in Christ, we have a new standing before God. God sees us perfect in Christ.
In this lesson we are going to learn more about what happened when we were born again. Not only do we have a new standing before God, but we also have a new relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This new relationship can be expressed in two short sentences:
1. I am in Christ.
2. Christ is in me.
To help us understand this new relationship between Himself and the believer, the Lord Jesus used an illustration from nature. He said, "I am the Vine, you are the branches." The Lord Jesus is the Vine; the believers are the branches. So in this lesson when the "vine" is mentioned, let us think of the Lord Jesus; when the "branches" are mentioned, let us think of ourselves.
The vine and the branches are one
As we look at the vine and its branches, we see that they are one. They share one life. The same life that flows through the vine also flows through the branches.
This teaches us that we are one with the Lord Jesus. The Bible says, "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." The very instant we receive the Lord Jesus as our Saviour, we are joined to Him. We are made part of Him. Just as the branches are joined to the vine, so we are joined to the Lord Jesus. We are one with Him.
The branch is in the Vine
As we look further at the vine and its branches, we see something else. We see that the branch is in the vine. This teaches us that we are IN CHRIST. We have already learned this great truth—that we are in Christ—but now we see that our union with Him is a living union. As the branch is joined to the living vine, so we are joined to the living Lord Jesus Christ. We are in Christ.
We were not always in Christ. Before we became a child of God, we were in Adam. We were joined to him. We shared his life, and we had his nature in us.
What happened when we were saved? God took us out of Adam and grafted us into Christ.
To graft a branch means to take it out of one vine and join it to another vine. The branch is first cut away from the old vine. Then a cut is made in the new vine, and the branch is fitted into this cut place and securely bound. Soon the life of the new vine begins to flow through it, and the branch is joined to the new vine in a living union.
Now we can see what a wonderful thing God did for us. When we were born again, God took us out of Adam and grafted us into Christ. The Bible says,
"But of Him [God] you are in Christ Jesus…" 1 Corinthians 1:30
We are now joined to the Lord Jesus Christ in a living union. He is the new Vine, and we are living branches in Him. We share His life and we have His nature in us. The Bible says that we are
"partakers of the divine nature…" 2 Peter 1:4
The vine is in the branch
Not only is the branch in the vine, but the vine is also in the branch. After the branch is grafted into the vine, the very life of the vine begins to flow through it. This is what keeps the branch alive and causes it to bear fruit.
This teaches us that Christ is in us. Not only are we in Christ but He is also in us. We have the very life of Christ in us. How can this be? Let us see how the Lord Jesus Himself explained this to His disciples.
When He was here on earth, the Lord Jesus walked and talked with His disciples. How they enjoyed the times they spent with Him! But, one day, He told them something that made them very sorrowful. He told them that He would soon be leaving them. But Jesus comforted His disciples with these words,
"I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth…you know Him; for He dwells with you, and shall be IN YOU." John 14:16-17
The Lord Jesus made a wonderful promise to His disciples. He promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to abide with them forever. And He would not just be with them, but He would be in them. Then He added these words: "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." So we see that the coming of the Holy Spirit would be the coming of the Lord Jesus Himself to live in them.
It was as if the Lord Jesus had said, "I am going away, but I am coming back to you in a new way. In the person of the Holy Spirit, I am coming to live in you, and I will never leave you." Jesus said,
"At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." John 14:20
Shortly after Jesus had spoken these words, He was crucified and buried. On the third day, He arose and appeared to His disciples in His resurrection body. After 40 days He ascended back into Heaven where He was exalted to the highest place in the universe.
The Bible says:
"…He (God) raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." Ephesians 1:20-21
The Coming of the Spirit
For ten days after the ascension of the Lord Jesus, the disciples met together, praying and fasting. On the day of Pentecost, the Lord Jesus came back to His disciples in a new and wonderful way. He came to live in them.
From that day on, whenever a person is born again, immediately the Spirit of Christ comes to dwell in him.
The Bible says,
"Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts…" Galatians 4:6
Christ lives in us by His Spirit so that we can truly say, "Christ lives in me."
The secret of the Christian life
We have now discovered one of the greatest secrets of the Christian life. The secret is this:
The Apostle Paul called this a great mystery. He wrote to the Colossian Christians,
"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27
What is the Christian life?
Is the Christian life trying to be good? No. Is it trying to imitate some good Christian? No. Is it trying to imitate the Lord Jesus Himself? No, the Christian life is none of these things.
What is the Christian life then? It is
Christ living His life in us.
The Apostle Paul said, "For to me to live is Christ." He did not say, "For me to live is to try to be like Christ." No. Paul said, "For to me to live is Christ." What was Paul really saying? He was saying, "For me to live is to have Christ living His life in me."
Then, how do we live the Christian Life?
We live it by trusting the Lord Jesus to live His life in us. Instead of our trying to live the Christian life, we let Him live His life out through us. His life is always pleasing to the Father. He said,
"I always do those things that please Him." John 8:29
The Lord Jesus has not changed. He is still the same Person, and He wants to live His life through us. He will do this as we trust Him.
Let us listen once more as the Lord Jesus speaks these wonderful words,
"I am the Vine, you are the branches."
We do not have to try to make ourselves branches, we are branches forever joined to Him in a living union.
As we live day by day, we must count on the fact that we are one with Christ. Remember, FAITH IN OUR STANDING MAKES IT REAL IN OUR LIFE.
What does this mean? It means that, as we count on the fact that we are in Christ and He is in us, we receive the power to live as a child of God should live.
BIBLE READING: Fellowship with God
Here are some ideas that will help you to fellowship with God as you read the Bible.
Why read the Bible
We read the Bible first of all in order to have fellowship with God. The Bible is God's word to us. He does not speak aloud to us but He speaks to us in our hearts by His written Word. If we want to hear what God has to say to our hearts, we must read the Bible.
How to read the Bible
Read it aloud. It will help to keep your mind on what you are reading.
Think. Don't be in a hurry. Take time to think about what you are reading.
Talk to God. Talk to Him about what you are reading. If you don't understand something, tell Him so and ask Him to help you to understand. When you read something helpful, tell Him so and thank Him for it. When you read something wonderful about God, tell Him right then how wonderful He is.
Wait on God. This just means to be quiet before God with your mind on Him and His word that you have just read .
What to do about it
Mark it. When God speaks something special to you, underline those words in your Bible. That is God's word to you, personally. A colored pencil is best for this. (Do not use a ball point or ink pen. These will "bleed" through the paper of most Bibles.)
Obey it. Do what God tells you to do. Sometimes He shows us a sin that we need to confess to Him. Sometimes He shows us something that needs to be made right with another person. Be quick to obey.
Say it. Share with others the blessings that God gives you as you read His Word. It will help others and it will help you, too.
Remember it. All through the day, let your mind go back to the word that God spoke to you. Talk to Him about it in your heart. This is fellowship with God.