10 qualifications for the rapture – Part 2
Be “in Christ” contd.
“…God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thes 4:14,16).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 18Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,” (2 Cor. 5:17,18).
“in Christ, he is a new creature.”
THROUGH the creative command of God (4:6), those who accept Jesus Christ by faith are made a new creation that belongs to God’s totally new world in which the Spirit rules (Rom 8:14; Gal 5:25; Eph 2:10). The believer becomes a new person (Gal 6:15; Eph 2:10,15; 4:24; Col 3:10) renewed after the image of God (4:16; 1 Cor 15:49; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10), sharing His glory (3:18) with a renewed knowledge (Col 3:10) and understanding (Rom 12:2), and living a life of holiness (Eph 4:24). Christians are brand-new people on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives them new life, and they are not the same anymore. We are not reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated—we are re-created (new creations), living in vital union with Christ (Colossians 2:6,7). At conversion, we are not merely turning over a new leaf; we are beginning a new life under a new Master.
“reconciled us to Himself” (vs18) Reconciliation (Gk katallagē) is one aspect of Christ’s work of redemption–the restoration of the sinner to fellowship with God. (1) The sin and rebellion of the human race have resulted in hostility toward and alienation from God (Eph 2:3; Col 1:21). This rebellion elicits the wrath and judgment of God (Rom 1:18, 24-32; 1 Cor 15:25-26; Eph 5:6).
(2) Through Christ’s atoning death, God has removed the barrier of sin and opened a way for the sinner to return to Him (v. 19; Rom 3:25; 5:10; Eph 2:15-16).
(3) Reconciliation becomes effective for each person through his or her personal repentance and faith in Christ (Mat 3:2; Rom 3:22).
(4) The church has been given the ministry of reconciliation, calling all people to be reconciled to God (v. 20).
God brings us back to Himself (reconciles us) by blotting out our sins (see also Ephesians 2:13-18) and making us righteous. We are no longer God’s enemies, or strangers or foreigners to Him, when we trust in Christ. Because we have been reconciled to God, we have the privilege of encouraging others to do the same, and thus we are those who have the “ministry of reconciliation.”
“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.” (Rom 8:1)
“Not guilty; let him go free”—what would those words mean to you, if you were on death row? The fact is that the whole human race is on death row, justly condemned for repeatedly breaking God’s holy Law. Without Jesus, we would have no hope at all. But thank God! He has declared us not guilty and has offered us freedom from sin and power to do His will.
The “flesh” as used throughout this chapter refers not to our human bodies, but to the principle and power of sin. Sin is present and often operating in our body, but not to be equated with the body.
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