What Does It Mean To Be, “In Christ”?

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Union With Christ

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

1 Cor. 1:30 NKJV

The phrase “in Christ” or its corresponding idea is used one hundred and seventy-two times in the New Testament with the Apostle Paul alone utilizing the phrase ninety-seven times in his letters. To be “in Christ” is to receive all the benefits of Christ’s saving work on the Cross, to walk in all the blessings of Christ’s life and resurrection and to enjoy all the favor of Christ’s inheritance from the Father’s favor. To be “in Christ” is to be located in the Divine Person—all that Christ’s has done, received, or achieved is ours to be enjoyed.

The phrase, “in Christ” is the ultimate phrase in the Christian faith, for it locates us in a Person-the Divine Person-and it locates us in Him here and now. It brings us to the ultimate relationship-“in.”

E. Stanley Jones, In Christ (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1980), 4.

Nothing is more striking than the breadth of application which this principle of union with Christ has in the gospel. Christianity obliterates no natural relationships, destroys no human obligations, makes void no moral or spiritual laws. But it lifts all these up into a new sphere, and puts upon them this seal and signature of the gospel, in Christ. So that while all things continue as they were from the beginning, all, by their readjustment to this divine character and person, become virtually new.

Life is still of God, but it has this new dependency” in Christ.” ” Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:30). The obligation to labor remains unchanged, but a new motive and a new sanctity are given to it by its relation to Christ. “Forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). The marriage relation is stamped with this new signet, ” Only in the Lord.” Filial obedience is exalted into direct connection with the Son of God. “Children obey your parents in the Lord.” Daily life becomes “a good conversation in Christ.” Joy and sorrow, triumph and suffering, are all in Christ. Even truth, as though needing a fresh baptism, is viewed henceforth ” as it is in ‘Jesus.” Death remains, but it is robbed of its sting and crowned with a beatitude, because in Christ. ” Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”

A. J. Gordon, In Christ or The Believer’s Union with His Lord (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1964), 12.

Our union in Christ is not just a theological theory, but a reality to be lived and enjoyed moment-by-moment. Christ lives in us by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. As Andrew Murray stated, “It is through the Holy Spirit that we have Christ in our hearts-a mighty force stirring, enlightening, and filling us.” [Daily in His Presence (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2004), Feb. 6th.] Christ encourages us each day to trust him, to love him, and to live through him. As we trust him, all the benefits of Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection can be experienced now in us. The Holy Spirit makes these truths known, reveals them to our hearts, and enables us to live them.

Christ’s own words to His disciples explain this best. Just as the Father lived and worked in Him, so Jesus lives and works in us. The Son expressed the Father. We are to express Christ. The Father worked in the Son, and the Son gave expression to that which the Father brought about in Him, Christ works in us and enables us to carry on His work. This is His gift to us.

Andrew Murray, Daily in His Presence, Feb. 5th.

Christ’s gift to us was himself–nothing more was, is, or will be needed for us to live the Christian life. Christ is our joy, blessing and victory.

2 thoughts on “What Does It Mean To Be, “In Christ”?

  1. GlennDavis Post author

    Good quote. I looked for some Ian Thomas statements, but could never quite find the one for this piece that I felt fit.

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