If you have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus, then it should be unnecessary to say that it is only “IN CHRIST JESUS” that you will enjoy a Happy New Year, in the true sense of happiness. “Happy is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” That happy man is the sinner saved by grace, who by faith has seen Jesus, Jesus for a little while made lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. Knowing that Christ died for sins once, but He is alive forever more. The Man who died on Calvary’s cross is now in the presence of God the Father, making intercession for His redeemed people. It is only through believing God and His infallible Word that we can experience true joy and peace. When Abraham believed God, his faith was counted for righteousness. It is still God’s truth today, “with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness”. And God describes the happiness of the man to whom the Lord imputeth righteousness, without works. Romans 4:3 to 9.
We would suggest that, at this time of inventory taking, we turn to the fourth chapter of Romans and read about the happy man, in the first nine verses. As believers, our sins have forever been put away; therefore we are happy. As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, God has declared us to be righteous; therefore, we are happy. And according to Romans 5:1, having been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; therefore, we are happy. According to Romans 8:1, because we are in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation; therefore, we are happy. And as we follow on with Paul in the glorious revelations for us which he received from Christ, it gets better and better. Just turn to the Epistle to the Ephesians and try to count your blessings and name them one by one. There we learn of our inheritance, our riches, our high and holy calling, our identification with the risen Son of God, seated with Him in the highest heavenlies. There we are told in Ephesians 1:3 that we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ. Surely, such Divine truth should not only mean a happy New Year for redeemed sinners, but happiness every moment. We have a hope laid up in heaven. We are to appear with Christ in glory.
Let us not forget, however, that in the Epistle to the Romans the little word GRACE is used 22 times; and in the Epistle to the Ephesians it is used 12 times. God would have us know at all times that our position and possessions “in Christ” are all of grace and all by grace. We are God’s workman, ship created in Christ Jesus. We have been made accepted in the Beloved, Christ Jesus. Only the believer can experience true happiness. The true knowledge of this true happiness is experienced only by the believer who knows the truth of God revealed in God’s Book, in His special messages to the members of that Church which is the Body of Christ. We are complete in Christ.
IF NOT IN CHRIST
If you are not in Christ, where are you? “The whole world lieth “in the evil one” I John 5:19. “As ‘in Adam’ all die”, I Corinthians 15:22. “They that are ‘in the flesh’ cannot please God.” Romans 8:8. “Even when we were dead ‘in sins,’” Ephesians 2:5.
Thus we see the predicament, the peril and the despair of the person who is not in Christ. Consider it, seriously, sinner. “In the evil one.” “In Adam.” “In the flesh.” “In sins.” When the Lord Jesus was here on earth He said, “If ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die, in your sins.” John 8:24. We may have to die, before the Church is called to meet the Lord, but blessed fact, we do not have to die in our sins. Why hesitate at such a choice, to die in Christ, or to die in our sins? Do not procrastinate another moment; hurry to Christ. Out of Adam into Christ means out of condemnation into justification; out of death into life; out of wrath into peace; out of despair into hope.
IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, there is a new creation.” II Corinthians 5:17. Why not begin the new year by becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus? Perhaps, you will make a new resolution to join the church or do more deeds of kindness or give up some questionable habits. Joining some church organization is not the equivalent of becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus. An increase in good deeds with a decrease in evil deeds will not lift you out of Adam into Christ, out of death into life, out of the flesh into the Spirit. Evil deeds are an abomination in the sight of God and good deeds will be rewarded by Him, if the doer of the deeds has first passed out of death into life, out of darkness into light, by faith in the crucified, resurrected and glorified Christ.
In Galatians 6:15 God declares that neither the religion of the Jew nor the religion of the Gentile availeth anything, but a new creation. There is neither life nor justification nor hope in religion. There is a great difference between “in Christ” and “in religion”. To be “in religion” means to be “in the flesh”, condemned; perhaps twice dead plucked up by the roots.
The omnipotent God is waiting to be your Saviour. He is more than willing and abundantly able to put you in the place of life, the place of eternal security, the place of spiritual blessing; “in Christ Jesus”, where there is no condemnation.
Why not bow in His holy presence, confess yourself, what God knows you to be, a ruined condemned, guilty sinner, a good case for the infinite grace of God, and then accept by faith the precious blood of Jesus Christ? If you will do this, something will happen. God will do the creating—you will become the new creation. You will pass out of death into life. A splendid way to begin the New Year? Yes or no?
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.