A Christian’s Biography, in Five Chapters
CHAPTER 1. CHOSEN IN CHRIST
“According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).
Here is the Christian’s most ancient history; the first volume of his biography. People boast of their lineage from this one or that one of earth’s nobility. They go back for hundreds of years without a break in their genealogical line and glory in their family history. But how the boasted honour of this pales before the Christian’s descent. He was in the purpose of God, before the world began to be. The Son of God was in the bosom of the Father and thoughts and purposes as to believers being linked with Him, were in that bosom also.
Thus our blessing was no after-thought with God. Adam was a figure of Christ, the coming One. And it was pre-determined that Christ having come and having suffered should be “the Last Adam,”—the head of a new race and that He should have companions with and like Himself.
CHAPTER 2. CREATED IN CHRIST
“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Solidity and strength of heart are imparted to the believer who enters upon the truth of this verse. We are not the result of our works, lest we should boast. We are the outcome of the gracious work of God. Part of “a new creation in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17). Of God we are “in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:30). It is altogether of Himself and for His glory and for the good of others.
Thus we glory in Him and not in ourselves. We trace all we have and are, and shall have and shall be as in Christ, to God. It is His handiwork alone and all is perfect.
Good works have their place—an important place. Those who have believed God are exhorted to maintain them. But that place is subsequent to our new creation in Christ Jesus. Notice the three things:
Salvation is “not of works.”
We are “God’s workmanship.”
We are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”
It is only as God’s workmanship as being part of a new creation, that we can fulfil His good pleasure in the good works which He has before ordained that we should walk in them.
CHAPTER 3. CLEARED IN CHRIST
“There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Out of Christ we were exposed to condemnation. “In Christ” condemnation can never reach us. Christ has borne the judgment. He has endured the condemnation. In Him, as the sacrifice at the cross of Calvary, God “condemned sin in the flesh.”
Now for us who believe upon Him, there is no possibility of condemnation. We are “in” Him who is beyond all the waves and billows of judgment. All these passed over Him at the dread hour of His woe at Golgotha. There the bitter waters entered into His soul. All that we had done was charged to Him,—“He was delivered for our offences.”
And all that we were in our sinful state was charged to Him also—He who knew no sin was “made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
But as we have shown, this is past. Christ is risen and we are seen of God IN Him. He was for us at Calvary. We are in Him in resurrection. He was counted to be as we were at the Cross. We are counted to be as He is in resurrection. We are completely cleared—justified—in Him.
One has said, “In Christ” is as Christ. Another has said, “Christ’s place as our place.” Ponder these truths, dear believer it will be for your joy and blessing.
CHAPTER 4. COMPLETE IN CHRIST
“And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10).
To that which is complete nothing can be added rightly. Any attempt to put something to a finished work is but to deny its perfectness and to mar its beauty.
Wonderful is the association of the two verses 9 and 10—All “the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him bodily,” and “Ye are complete in Him.”
And all is of God for us. We could not bring this to pass. We could not effect it but we can enjoy it and give to God our Father our hearts’ praises on account of it.
Foolish indeed should we be to allow angels or men or another beings between ourselves and Him, to pray or intercede for us. We are in Him—in Him who is above angels and all other power.
Being placed in such a position of favour and blessedness we are called to “Beware lest any spoil us” (lead us away as captives), by philosophy or vain deceit after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ.”
All rationalism and ritualism would engage our thoughts with self and with that which is after man, and that which is in accordance with his thoughts. The truth engages us with Christ, with His glorious work and with its glorious results.
Blessed indeed our portion, “Complete in Christ.”
CHAPTER 5. CONFORMED TO CHRIST
This is our great ultimate.
It is in view of this goal that we have been called and justified by God. He “marked us out before hand to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
Happy prospect this! We are to be like Christ. He is coming for us. As yet we have not seen what we shall be, but “we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:3).
As we are consciously unlike Him now in so much of our walk and ways, we rejoice that the day is soon to dawn when everything not in accordance with His thought will be a thing of the past. This and all others of “the former things” will have “passed away.”
The truth of our conformity to Christ then is shown to be in order “that He may be firstborn among many brethren.” Does it not add to our joy that we are going into the Father’s house for the glory and happiness of the Son of God our Saviour? It will be for our glory and happiness also of course. But supreme delight will be ours that we minister in some little way to His pleasure.
Chosen in Christ.
Created in Christ.
Cleared in Christ.
Complete in Christ.
Conformed to Christ.
What a history is ours! Our past, present and future are bound up with Christ.