What does it mean to be ‘in’ Christ?
thanks @SeanO for initiating a clean thread. Its a fabulous question
I too have this question… I am on my journey as a disciple and there are aspects of faith that cannot be adequately studied… rather… they must be experienced! I suspect that this is one of them…
I would defer very quickly to those in the Connect family that are more experienced as pastors or lay persons that have had trials and turmoil as part of their journey. I suspect that their thoughts on this topic are far more authentic than what mine would be… I am still a novice in my spirituality…
my current experience of being “in Christ” is understood as the ‘other half’ of death to self. What I am learning as I journey is that I continually have to confront aspects of myself, and put them to death… while I am willing to do that, I find it personally perplexing that as I continue to dig I find that there is always more that I can ‘put to death’
why do the selfish and self-centered aspects of myself remain so well hidden that only through deep reflection or life conflict do they come to the surface so that I may slay them unto The Lord? After all… I am willing… (I think…)
the other picture I have in my mind is “Christ-likeness”… this would point me directly to the practice of spiritual disciplines… of which the two authors i have come to respect the most are Willard and Foster
I am intentionally avoiding a thick theological treatment of this question… I believe its more personal than that…
I would benefit from others with extensive experience in walking closely with God through thick and thin offering their insights to this question…
It was a great comfort to me when I understood the truth that God, of His initiative, had placed me “into Christ.” As is 1 Cor. 1:30 “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”
The follow up is to learn how to progressively experience Christ’s wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. A lifelong pursuit, for sure.
It is saving grace. It is the first step and every step–from salvation through sanctification.
It is to be covered by Christ’s righteouness, though we all fall short. It is the Christ “in” us through which we are justified…no matter how sanctified we become…it is first and always the Christ “in” us.
It is our adoption papers. It is our promise of forgiveness. It is the “new creation” in us. It is our eternal hope for the day when all things will be new.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Eph 1:3-14)
In Christ we are one. We are in unity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are in unity with each other. In Christ we have access to the Father. In Christ we become a dwelling place for God.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. (Eph 2:13-22)
In Christ we gain everything. In Christ we are willing and enabled to surrender self and become conformed to the image of Christ, for the sake of others.
Praise be to God.