“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1
Fellowship! To be ‘in Christ’ in this sense is to have the consciousness of His favour. This is a matter, not of standing, but of experience; and yet not of feeling, but of faith. We are commanded to ‘abide’ in Christ. That which has reference to our judicial standing cannot be a matter of exhortation. Those who have taken their stand in Christ; who are justified; are now required to remain, to dwell, or abide in Him for sanctification.
The ‘In Christ” which has to do with our experience and walk, which relates to our sanctification, is constantly a matter of exhortation in the Scriptures. It is possible, not to abide in Him. And what happens when the believer ceases to abide? He then lives the self-life. There is such a thing as a religious self-life. Is it not the life that is too often manifested, even by those who have a saving knowledge of Christ?
There may be a clear apprehension of what it is to be ‘in Christ’ as to justification, and yet much darkness and perplexity as to the ‘in Christ’ of sanctification. Many have a true aim, seeking to glorify Christ, and to be made like Him; they have sincere and earnest desires, and they are making constant and vigorous efforts after holiness; and yet they are continually being disappointed.
Failure and defeat meet them at every turn. Not because they do not try, not because they do not struggle; they do all this, but because the life they are living is essentially the self-life and not the Christ-life. They are brought into condemnation. This arises from the fact that the ‘law of sin’ in their members is stronger than their renewed minds.
The soul that ceases to abide in Christ lives the ‘I myself ‘ life. The words, ‘them which are in Christ Jesus,’ form a contrast to the expression, I as I am in myself, in Romans 7:25. I myself am conscious of a miserable condition of internal conflict, between two opposite tendencies; the two natures: the one consenting to the law that it is good, delighting in it, and desiring to fulfil its requirements; the other drawing me in the contrary direction, and; being the more powerful of the two, actually bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, and thus resulting in a condition of condemnation.