In Christ - 1
By Robert R. Taylor Jr.
There is absolutely no greater spiritual contrast we can contemplate than being "in Christ" and being "out of Christ." This is the definitive difference between being saved and being lost, between redemption and rejection, between being on the way to heaven and being on the way to hell, and between being Jehovah's child and being Satan's child.
Perhaps the best beginning we could make is an appeal to Scriptures that speak of this tremendous spiritual relationship - in Christ. Early in the book of Acts, Peter connects being in the name of Christ with the stately sphere of salvation. To the aroused and angry members of the Jewish Sanhedrin he stated plainly, positively and pointedly, "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
In the tone triumph Paul writes victoriously in Romans 8:1,10, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit ... And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness."
The opening verse of I Corinthians has Corinthian Christians constituting the "sanctified in Christ Jesus" (1 Cor. 1:1). Again in that chapter Paul writes, "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:3).
In I Corinthians 15:18 Paul speaks of those who had "fallen asleep in Christ." One of the most familiar and deeply-beloved of all "Christ" Scriptures is couched in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where we read with spiritual relish, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
The Galatian letter is filled with allusions to either our being in Christ or his being in us. These expressions add up to the same wonderful blessing - a redeemed relationship with Christ Jesus our Lord. Galatians 1:6 affirms that they had been "called ... into the grace of Christ." Christ lived in Paul; Paul lived in Christ. In a passage that is powerful Paul affirms, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
Galatians 3:27 speaks of our being "baptized into Christ" and having "put on Christ." This is the point at which we come into the saving Christ and subsequently may speak of being in Christ. In Galatians 4:19 Paul spoke of the great need of Christ's being "formed in you again." Near the end of the Galatian epistle Paul wrote, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing nor uncircumcision, but a new creature" (Gal. 6:15).
Ephesians 1:3 sets forth the very attractive declaration that "al! spiritual blessings in heavenly places" are "in Christ." In Ephesians 2:10 Paul wrote, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:13 has Paul to state, "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
In Philippians 1:1 Paul wrote about "all the saints" who are "in Christ Jesus." His bonds were "in Christ" or "for Christ," as the margin states (Phil. 1:13). The "mark for the prize of the high calling of God" was "in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:14). "Christ in you, the hope of glory" is Paul's great affirmation in Colossians 1:27.
One of the most beautiful beatitudes in the book of Revelation reads, "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they rest from their labours; and their works do follow them" (Rev. 14:13).
The Bible attractively abounds in such eloquent expressions as in Christ, in the Lord, and in Christ Jesus. How precious and potent is each such expression!