WHO WE ARE INSIDE OF CHRIST
A large part of knowing God is the knowledge of who we are inside of Christ. We can have head knowledge of what it means to be in Christ, but until we have an inner revelation of this knowledge we don’t experience much change in our lives.
An inner revelation of who we are inside of Christ brings huge benefits to those that have this experience. When we see who we are in Christ we gain peace, strength, endurance, joy, gratitude and wisdom. A person who knows that they are in Christ knows they are forgiven, knows that their suffering is ordained and knows that they no longer have to sin but are now able to obey God. A person with this knowledge can “reckon themselves dead to sin.”
The importance of gaining this inner revelation of doctrinal truth mandates that we explore 2 issues: How do we get this experience? How do we keep ourselves inside of Christ? The answers to these questions are long and difficult to understand. As Peter says when he is discussing these topics (2 Peter 3:14-16): “Therefore beloved, seeing that you are looking for such things, be diligent to be found in Christ, in peace, without spot, and blameless. Realize that the longsuffering of the Lord is for salvation, even as our beloved brother Paul has written you; saying things that are difficult to understand, as he does in all his letters.” Given this difficulty we will slowly develop the truths about knowing who we are in Christ in this and subsequent essays. We start first with a discussion of how we gain this inner knowledge.
The very first thing to note is that a human is made “a new person” when they come to faith in Jesus. That is, when a person really understands and believes that Jesus was an incarnation of God, and that he died as a propitiation for sin, then that human is born again and made alive and is given a new nature. This is a legal transaction, a redemption, and forms the basis of imputed righteousness. The second thing to note, however, is that this justification and forgiveness does not automatically produce an experience of the peace, joy, strength and wisdom that is inherent in the legal transaction. An adult conscious conversion experience usually produces some immediate improvement in life style and emotional stability, and sometimes produces profound and drastic improvement. Nevertheless a converted person must grow and mature, and only over time and with a persistent application of the means of growth, can a person manifest the full transformation that occurred instantaneously by faith.
This maturation and growth has multiple components, and is discussed in this encyclopedia under various categories. For example, the active use of the will and the transforming power of choice are discussed under the headings of purification and sanctification. Likewise the passive (changes that come directly from God and do not involve human choice or the application of the will) components are discussed under the headings of contemplation, suffering and the dark night. For now though, in this discussion of knowing God, we are answering the question of how we get the experience of an inner revelation of the knowledge of who we are in Christ. This is discussed more in Revelation of Self that Occurs when we See God.