DOCTRINE OF POSITION IN CHRIST
To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by an impassable barrier. This barrier, which we have termed “The Wall” constitutes MAN’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the sixth brick of the “The Wall” and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross. As I said before, the first three bricks were removed, on the cross by Jesus Christ. The final three can only be removed by you. It is your choice and yours alone.
THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM
The first man, Adam, was the representative head of the human race. If you have been following this series, you have heard the story of Adam’s willful disobedience, sin, and resultant spiritual death. Since all of mankind are Adam’s offspring, his spiritual death was passed on to the entire human race (Romans 5:12). It is for this reason that “in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:21). As a result, all of us came into this life “alienated from the life of God” (Ephesians 4:18). In order to enter into fellowship with God and live with Him forever, every member of the human race must possess His perfect righteousness and His eternal life. We, as the progeny of Adam, possess neither. Because we are born “in Adam,” we are incapable of entering into fellowship with God. The limitations we possess in our brief lives present a barrier to fellowship with eternal God. As a result, we have a problem.
POSITION IN CHRIST, GOD’S SOLUTION
Even though in “Adam all die,” God has promised us that, “in Christ, all shall be made alive.” Our old position in Adam necessitated condemnation and death, but our new position in Christ guarantees justification and eternal life. We were born, physically, into Adam’s world and limited to a meaningless life of vanity. Through faith in Christ, we were born again, spiritually, into a personal relationship with God the Father. As His child, we have been given eternal life and unlimited potential to fulfil an eternal destiny with blessings beyond our wildest imaginations. But wait, it gets better. In addition, we, the Church, are the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:6-8). How can this be? Because my friend, as Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a changin.”
Jesus Christ is called the” Last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45, the head of a new spiritual species. This process is explained in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Old things do not simply refer to bad habits. A new believer retains all the bad habits he acquired before he was born again. What is more, he also keeps his old sin nature with all its trends and lusts. Bad habits may be overcome as the believer matures and chooses to leave them behind, but the old things, which have passed away, are all the liabilities that put us behind the barrier. You know them now. We have talked about this. They are sin, the penalty for sin, character of God, relative righteousness, spiritual death, and now, our current discussion, position in Adam.
A new dawn is the door to a world of new things, and we all love new things.
The new things to which Paul was referring are all the marvelous assets we have by virtue of our position in Christ. The instant we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit placed us in union with Him through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). From that moment on we were one with Him. Our physical birth, our position in Adam, ceased to be a problem. Through regeneration, the life of Christ became our life. Position in Christ means that, through regeneration and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the same spiritual assets that Jesus possessed during his earthly ministry. At this point, it is essential to understand that Christianity is not a religion. Anyone can be religious, but it takes a miracle to place a person in position with Christ. What I mean is, one cannot grow closer to God through a system of rituals, good deeds, or a specialized priesthood. Rather, Christianity is a personal relationship with God the Father. Through spiritual birth, each of us are members of His family, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, literally, Daddy! Father!” (Galatians 4:6).
Position in Christ guarantees us an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ that sets us apart from believers of any other dispensation. Not only does every believer of the Church Age share His eternal life (1 John 5:11-12), His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), His election (Ephesians 1:3-4), we also share His Son-ship (Galatians 3:26), His priesthood (Hebrews 10:10; cf. 1 Peter 2:9), His royalty (2 Timothy 2:11-12) and therefore, His kingdom (2 Peter 1:11) and His destiny (Ephesians 1:5). That’s a lot of stuff! You might want to go back and read that again and look up the passages. It will make you head spin. I guarantee it.
Since the beginning, that day in the Garden of Eden, every believer in Christ has been born again into the family of God: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children, τέκνα, of God.” The Greek word, τέκνα, plural for teknon, means a child who is a member of the family by virtue of his birth. ”And if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17). If we are children of the same Father, then it follows that we share in the same inheritance. However, this epistle was written to the Romans, and according to Roman law, this was not necessarily the case. A Roman was not a legal heir until he was declared worthy by his father and awarded the privilege of adoption.
In our culture, adoption means taking a child, who was not born into the family and making him a legal member of the family. Adoption in ancient Rome, however, had to do with making someone who was born into the family a league heir. In Rome adoption did not take place until the son in question reached the age of 14 years. For the first 14 years of his life, a Roman son was placed under the authority of a household slave. This slave was often his teacher. It was this custom that Paul referred to in Galatians 4:1-2: “Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time (of his adoption) appointed by the father” (Galatians 4:1-2).
On his 14th birthday the whole family would gather together for the all important ceremony of adoption. The boy was brought in wearing the toga of youth for the last time. Then his father stepped forward and took the toga of youth by the shoulders and lifting with his left hand, dropped it to the floor. A slave would then hand the father another toga called the toga virilis (robe of manhood). The father would then place it around his shoulders. He then kissed his son for the last time. Then he stepped back and said, “My son, you have now been adopted into the family.” At this point, the son was no longer called teknon, child, but υἱοs, huios, which is an adult son. As an adult member of the family, he became a legal heir to his father’s estate. He was no longer under the authority of a slave, but a ruler over them. Having been “born again” into the family as an adult member, he was given, not only the privileges of an adult, but also the responsibilities of one. Therefore, the Christian, by virtue of his position in Christ, is called huios, an adult son, and a fellow heir of Christ.
Position in Christ places every Church Age believer into the royal family of Christ as an adult son. During the Church Age, Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. Seated as glorified royalty in heaven, God the Father is currently forming a royal family for Jesus Christ on earth. That royal family is the Church of Christ.
Jesus Christ retains three titles of royalty, each with a royal family. As God, our Lord is divine royalty.
His divine royal family is God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. As man, Jesus is Jewish royalty. His Jewish title is the Son of David and His royal family is the line of King David. As the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ won the strategic victory over Satan at the Cross and earned a third royal title, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.