This is one of the very first verses that I memorized as a young Christian. It is a great verse. Here’s why:
If anyone – The new life that this verse talks about is not for a select few. It is not for the privileged. It is available for anyone and everyone. But that doesn’t mean that EVERYONE is a new creation. It is a conditional promise. If. “If” is one of those BIG little words. “IF anyone is in Christ…” What does it mean to be “in Christ”.
In Christ – It is almost overwhelming to understand all that is true for those who are in Christ.
- In Christ Jesus you were given grace before the world was created. 2 Timothy 1:9, “He gave us grace in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”
- In Christ Jesus you were chosen by God before creation. Ephesians 1:4, “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.”
- In Christ Jesus you are loved by God with an inseparable love. Romans 8:38–39, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- In Christ Jesus you were redeemed and forgiven for all your sins. Ephesians 1:7, “In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.”
- In Christ Jesus you are justified before God and the righteousness of God in Christ is imputed to you. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
- In Christ Jesus you have been seated in the heavenly places even while he lived on earth. Ephesians 2:6, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
- In Christ Jesus all the promises of God are Yes for you. 2 Corinthians 1:20, “All the promises of God find their Yes in Christ.”
- In Christ Jesus you are being sanctified and made holy. 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus.”
- In Christ Jesus everything you really needed will be supplied. Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
- In Christ Jesus the peace of God will guard your heart and mind. Philippians 4:7, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- In Christ Jesus you have eternal life. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- And in Christ Jesus you will be raised from the dead at the coming of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” All those united to Adam in the first humanity die. All those united to Christ in the new humanity rise to live again.
(this last part copied from THIS Desiring God blog post)
Why this verse is foundational – When we begin to understand what it means to be “in Christ” then we can begin to understand what this new life is really all about. Too many believers don’t understand, and thus, though they have been made new they continue to act in the same old way. it would be like a poor man inheriting $10,000,000 but continuing to live as if he were still destitute. It doesn’t make sense.