Bible Teaching about Life in Christ

Those who have been baptized are said to be “in Christ”, and they are indeed a privileged people. As we saw in the previous study they have the assurance of the forgiveness of sins and they stand related to the promises of God and the resurrection.

Membership of the Ecclesia

Those who have been baptized are said to be members of “the body of Christ” - “Now are ye the body of Christ;  and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:27). The body of Christ is also called the ECCLESIA - a Greek word usually translated “church” in most Bibles.

“He (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church (Gk. ECCLESIA) who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead......whereof I Paul am made a minister....for his body’s sake, which is the church (ECCLESIA)” (Colossians 1:18,23,24)

The word ECCLESIA means “that which is called out”. Thus the body of Christ is made up of people who have been called out. This is why individual members of the ecclesia are called saints. The word “saint” means “one who has been separated”. Thus Paul writes, “To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints....” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

The Call to Separation

Those who obey the gospel are called to be a separate people although not, like some religious orders of monks, to physically leave the world. They are required to be separate from its wicked ways:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15)

a) Political Separation:

Their political interests are centred on the Kingdom of God which is to be a political institution to be set up by Jesus as Israel’s King. They have pledged their allegiance to Israel’s King and await the greatest revolution the world has ever seen. Meanwhile their king would have them obey the rulers of this world:

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well” (1 Peter 2:13-14)

But when man’s laws conflict with God’s will they must obey God rather than man:

“Jesus..said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17)

Thus they pay their taxes and obey the ordinary laws which are for the good of society. But, for example, when they are commanded to fight for queen and country they have no option but to refuse for their King says: “I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).

b) Religious Separation:

The body of Christ - the Ecclesia - is not a sect of Christendom. Its members have nothing in common with the so called “christian” churches which are united by such pagan teachings as the immortality of the soul and the trinity. Paul was writing about separation from false religion when he commanded:  “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness, and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:14,15,17).

c) Social Separation:

They seek their friends “in Christ” and not in the world. They live alongside them; work alongside them; extend to them the common courtesies of life; they seek nothing but good for them and do good unto them as occasion permits. But they see themselves as being different (but not superior) because the Lord has seen fit to make them different. They therefore shun worldly organisations, societies and clubs. They must remember the words of the apostle: “Know ye not that friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

The closest friend a person can have is a partner in marriage. They therefore choose such with great care. Only if marriage partners are “in the Lord” can they be “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7). Those who are already married when they are called by the gospel must of course remain with their partner, seeking by example and precept to preach the truth to him or her (1 Corinthians 7:10; 1 Peter 3:1-2).

Walking in the New Life in Christ

Those who having been baptized into Christ subsequent to believing the ONE FAITH are said to have been born again. The Father of this family has provided for His children the means whereby they may grow and become strong in their faith:

a) Strength from the Word:

Those born again into the family of God are commanded: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).

They are “in Christ” (i.e. part of the Christ Body or Ecclesia) and they are required to let Christ dwell in them : “He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit” (John 15:5). Christ dwells in them, not in some mysterious, mystical way but by the word about Christ dwelling in them: “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father” (1 John 2:24).

It is by allowing “the word of Christ to dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16) that they learn to behave like Jesus and so manifest  the  “fruit  of  the  spirit”  of  which Paul writes:

“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts”  (Galatians 5:22-24)

It cannot be emphasised too much that the means appointed by God for our growth in this respect is His Word, the Scriptures, which are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

b) The Privilege of Prayer:

Prayer is one of the greatest privileges given to the baptized believer. Paul says: “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2); and James declares, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

Prayer is not just asking for things - such prayers are immature and unbalanced. Prayer is conversation with the Father. Praise and gratitude form the basis of faithful prayer and the expression of a desire for the fulfilment of God’s purpose with the wish that His good hand will be present in our life as we seek to prepare ourselves for that great day. God is interested in all our life and our plans for the future should be laid before Him. What the faithful desire more than anything else is for Jesus to return to set up God’s Kingdom. There must always be a confession of our weakness and the baptized believer has the assurance that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9).

c) Fellowship at the Breaking of Bread

Before Jesus was crucified he kept the Passover with his disciples. During this meal he “took bread and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise, also, the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20).

Since that time those “in Christ” have met each week (Acts 20:7) to remember Jesus by eating bread and drinking wine (1Corinthians 11:26).  Paul says that we must “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25).

At these meetings, those who have a common faith and hope meet in unity to remember the One who redeemed them with his own blood, to rejoice in his resurrection and to renew their longing for their Lord’s return.

Christadelphians

The word “Christadelphian” is derived from two Greek words - “Christou” and “adelphos” - and means “brethren in Christ”. It is a convenient way of referring to the saints who are, indeed, Christ’s brethren, since the word “christian” has been abused by common usage.

“Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren”   (Hebrews 2:11) 

 

 

 

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