As I sit down to write this article it is challenging to find the proper starting place. Every person who reads it will be in a different place and understanding of the truth about our position in Jesus and what that means. For many, however, there is no basic understanding of our position in Christ and what that means to us as New Covenant believers.
So often we hear people talk about being “in Christ,” but sadly those are simply Christian buzz words that have very little meaning to how we operate in faith. When we were born again we were baptized into the body of Christ. We entered into an eternal realm that has no past or present. It was as if we were hanging on the cross with Jesus at that very moment. All that we were, all that we thought we were, and all that we had been taught we were died with Jesus on the cross that day. That’s why the Apostle Paul says I am (present tense) crucified with Christ. It is a present tense reality that defies all logic of the finite mind.
Had we been taught to renew our minds as should have happened immediately after our conversions, this would have become our new reality… our new sense of self! When we were baptized in water it would have been explained to us, “As you are placed down into the water in your heart believe that you have died with Christ and you have been buried with Him.” We would have also been told, “When you’re raised up out of the water in your heart believe that you are raised up in newness of life with the Lord Jesus. Believe that all you were outside Jesus died and was left in the grave.” Unfortunately, few of us were taught to renew our minds based on who we are in Jesus.
However, this is a New Covenant reality. In fact, us in Jesus and Christ in us is the ministry of the New Covenant (Col. 1:20). The Book of Colossians was written to refute the false teachings that said you were not complete in Jesus. They were being told a form of works righteousness that said, “Yes, Jesus saves you but you become righteous by your works.” They were also taught that if they failed in many areas they gave the devil authority to attack. The Apostle Paul refutes all of this as unscriptural and explains the New Covenant teaching. He starts by revealing the exalted position Jesus has over all principality and power. He settles the issue of our righteousness by making this incredibly bold statement. Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light (Col. 1:12).
This one sentence should diffuse almost all the religious teaching that has been done for the last 1800 years. But it is impossible for a person to grasp the power of this New Covenant reality without an understanding of the fact that we are in Jesus. Because we are in Him we do not receive
from God what we deserve, we receive from God what He deserved. What He deserved is an inheritance that includes all of the promises that God has ever made to anyone. What He deserved is absolute acceptance and approval.
In the Book of Ephesians Paul says this: He made us accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). When we read Scriptures like this we have to remind ourselves, “I am in the Beloved; therefore, I have what He has.” We forget that every promise God has ever made to anyone anywhere in the Bible is ours (2 Cor. 1:20). It is not ours because we earned it; it is ours because Jesus obtained it for us by living a perfectly righteous life and then used His faith to be raised up from the dead to the glory of God.
Nearly every religious denomination believes in God’s promises but what they all disagree on is what it takes to earn or qualify for those promises. This is what’s called “works righteousness” or more specifically, “dead works!” Dead works are those acts we do attempting to earn from God what has already been freely given to us through the Lord Jesus and because we are in the Lord Jesus. The New Covenant reality is this: “Based on my works I deserve death and eternal Hell. But I do not stand before God based on my works. I stand before the Father based on the finished works of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is qualified! I am in Him! Because I am in Him I receive what He receives!”
As Paul continues in the Book of Colossians he makes what I think is one of the most disbelieved statements in the entire Bible: you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power (Col 2:10). In the Lord Jesus we are as righteous as we can ever be. There’s not one thing we can do to add to our righteousness and there’s not one thing we can do to take away from our righteousness. In our spirit, we have been made perfect! And in our spirit we have everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3).
This must be our starting place when seeking to experience physical healing or any other promise of God. We must begin by finding ourselves qualified. In 1 Cor. 11:28, when teaching about communion the Apostle Paul says we must examine ourselves before we participate in communion. Unfortunately, religion has turned this into a negative, fault-finding, self-condemning experience. The word “examine” means “examine to find yourself qualified.” That’s what it means to discern the blood and the body of Christ. We look at what we have through His finished work on the cross. We find ourselves righteous in Him because of the cross!
The person who doesn’t find themselves qualified because of the Lord Jesus will always default to religion and self-judgment. Self-judgment always leads to condemnation because of focusing on our faults, or it leads to self-righteousness by deceiving ourselves about our faults. After all, the Bible does say that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves.
Condemnation is a powerful weapon. It isn’t a weapon that the devil uses against us; it’s a weapon we use against ourselves. The word “condemnation” comes from a root word that can ultimately be expressed three different ways. It can be used to speak of judging, it can be a judgment that finds you innocent, or it can be a judgment that finds you guilty. There is another derivative of the word “condemnation” that always means “to be found guilty.” But “condemnation” can also mean “to have an expectation of punishment.” It is this condemnation that we experience when we give ourselves to false feelings and behaviors that are not in harmony with our new righteous nature.
The Apostle John warned that failure to walk in love will cause our hearts to condemn ourselves. He said that once that happens we lose our confidence before God and we are unable to receive from God. This is where most believers live. My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God (1 John 3:18-22).
We all fall short in the department of walking in love. We all do things that are regrettable. But John tells us this is where we have to realize God is greater than our heart. When my heart condemns me I have to realize God is not condemning me. That’s what Paul meant when he said, “If God is for us who can be against us?” And then he asked the question, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? Isn’t it God who justifies?” Obviously the answer is no, the God who justifies us will not then turn and bring a charge against us! Then he asks, “Is it Christ who condemns us?” Followed by the reminder, Christ died for us and redeemed us. So, obviously it is not Him who is condemning us. Then he makes this powerful statement, Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:31-36). In other words, those feelings of condemnation are delusional, vain imaginations based on religious thinking that must be cast down and brought in line with the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
In Hebrews 10:26-28 we have one of the strongest warnings about condemnation and willful sin. Willful sin has a much more derogatory effect on us than those sins that occur because of ignorance, shortsightedness, or other weaknesses. The writer of Hebrew says, For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
Based on teachings of the Apostle John and the writer of Hebrews we know that sin of any kind has the capacity to condemn us. That is why it is essential that we keep our conscience clear. The two ways we keep our conscience clear are by continually walking in the truth, i.e., walking in love toward one another, and when we fail we immediately experience the forgiveness that has been freely given through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The irony that most people can never sort out is this: even though we don’t deserve it we are in Jesus and we are still qualified for what He has obtained through His faith. I’m by no means endorsing or encouraging a compromised life. Paul warned believers in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin are still death even if you’re a believer. Personally, I believe this is talking about the death that occurs in your soul, and ultimately in your heart – the death that makes you feel separated from God and causes you to expect judgment and wrath. Even though that is only an illusion it will still destroy your health. And when it becomes a belief of the heart your heart will cause it to come to pass in your life. Then, just as Proverbs says, the foolishness of a man perverts his way and in his heart he blames God. So when trouble and wrath come condemnation convinces you that is God’s judgment on you.
This righteousness that we have in Jesus is by faith from first to last. Jesus obtained it by faith and we walk in it by faith. We must continually remind ourselves how we are in Him. He is our all in all! He is our righteousness! Because we are in Him we are qualified for all the promises of God! Because we are in Him we have been translated from the kingdom of darkness and we have received the inheritance of the kingdom of light! Always allow yourself to experience and accept the forgiveness of God for any of your failings. Never think that any of those failings have disqualified you. For you to become disqualified for healing Jesus would have to be disqualified for healing!
This article is based on the series Qualified for Healing: The New Covenant Reality, by Dr. Jim Richards. For information about the series click here.