Friday, August 31, 2012

Importance of Being in Christ - Part 1

The New Testament refers to people who have been born again as being “in Christ”. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this topic over the years and would like to spend some time having us think about it together. I think the implications are huge for those of us who desire to live lives that are pleasing to God and lives that are growing in Christ-likeness.

The first question I would like us to consider is this: How do we get into Christ and what does it mean to be in Christ?

First of all then, how do we get into Christ? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:30 "Of him are you in Christ Jesus." So it's God's doing that anyone is in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 we're told that in one Spirit we are all baptized into one body. In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist said that he baptized with (in) water for repentance, but Jesus who would follow him would baptize with (in) the Spirit. Therefore we know that Jesus baptizes, or places, each believer into one body, and that body is the body of Christ. When a person trusts Christ and believes on Him, he receives the Holy Spirit and is joined to Jesus Christ.

But what does that mean? In some way that we can't understand we are united with him. We are one with him. We become part of him. He is in us and we are in him. There is an identification with him. There is a federal headship involved in which what is true of him is true of those who are in him. Decisions he makes are counted as decisions we make.

Let's look at some Scripture passages:

Our physical bodies are one with him – Ephesians 5:30 “For we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones.”
1 Corinthians 6:15 “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?”

Our spirits are one with him – 1 Corinthians 6:17 “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.”
1 Corinthians 2:12, 16 We have the mind of Christ.

Other thoughts
In John 15 Jesus said that he is the vine and we are the branches. He said that without him we can do nothing. The vine and the branches are really all one organism. It's sometimes hard to tell where the vine stops and the branches begin.

Paul told the Colossians in 1:29 that as we work, it is God who works in us.

In John 17:21-23 We find complete oneness. Christ is in us and we are in Him. The Father is in Him an He is in the Father.
In 2 Peter 1:4 we find that we are partakers of the divine nature. This is what the new birth is, isn't it? God raises us from the dead and gives us life. We are new creatures – old things are passed away, all things become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Understanding this first concept is important for understanding what is to follow. A person who is a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has been placed into Christ and somehow is one with him.

To see more of this series, look for Importance of Being in Christ in the title or put that phrase into the search box on the blog.

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