2nd Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (NKJV). Before we consider what this verse means, we need to know what it DOESN’T mean. This does NOT mean that once a person is saved he/she will automatically be delivered from all sinful desires, yet some mistakenly quote this verse and testify that their old life, with all its sinful habits and thoughts, are forever gone. We believe this verse is stating the believer’s new POSITION before God, and does not refer at all to his PRACTICE.

The key words that confirm that a believer’s position is in view are the words “in Christ.” The moment a sinner turns to God in true repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, he is no longer looked upon as a lost member of the human race, he is now seen as a member of a new creation, of which Christ is the Head. 1st Corinthians 15:22 sheds light on this: “For as IN ADAM all die, even so IN CHRIST all shall be made alive.” Before one is saved, they are looked upon as being “in Adam,” for when Adam fell in the Garden of Eden he plunged the whole human race into sin and ruin. God sees everyone (before they are saved) as linked with Adam, the head of the first creation. But once one is saved, they are taken out of that old position of being “in Adam” and are now linked with Christ; the Head of the new creation. The believer can confidently say, “I am a new creation in Christ; my old position as a member of the fallen human race has passed away.”

Let’s consider some other verses that bring out the believer’s NEW POSITION “in Christ.” Just a few verses down we read, “For He (God the Father) made Him (the Lord Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God IN HIM” (2nd Corinthians 5:22). This precious verse shows us HOW we were able to be brought into our new position in Christ. On the cross God treated His Son as if He was the sinner and thus He judged Him for our sins. Our sins have been righteously put away and now the believer is looked upon as righteous in God’s sight, for he is seen in all the virtues of Christ’s finished work. Think of it dear believer; on the cross our sin was reckoned to Christ and now His righteousness is reckoned to us! This is our blessed position before God; we are now righteous “in Christ.”

Our position in Christ is also seen in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are IN CHRIST JESUS.” Again, because Christ was already condemned for our sins on the cross, we will never be condemned. We are, as we saw earlier, righteous before God “in Christ” because He was willing to take our place in death and judgment on the cross of Calvary. God actually saw us “in Christ” on the cross and thus we have already been condemned. An illustration may help. A rancher received news that a wild fire was heading towards his home so he went out and burned all his grass around his house 100 yards in every direction. When the fire came it stopped before it reached him. Why? Ah, because he was standing where the fire had already been. Every believer is “standing where the fire of God’s judgment has already been!”

I would encourage you to look up and study 1st Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 1:3; and Philippians 3:9, for they all bring out different aspects of the new POSITION the believer has “in Christ.”

Before we close our little study, it should be said that the more we come to learn of and appreciate our new position “in Christ,” the more our PRACTICAL lives should reflect our POSITION. Though we won’t be “sinless” until we reach the glory, we should “sin less” as we learn more of all the blessings we have been brought into “in Christ.” (258.5) (DO)