Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 16 No. 7 July 2014
Page 12

Being in Christ

Paul Clements

The significance of being “in Christ” is seen in the fact that all spiritual blessings are in Him. God is certainly to be praised for providing “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). For clarity, the phrase “in the heavenly” refers to the spiritual realm. In Ephesians 1:3, “the heavenly” likely refers specifically to the church, the spiritual body of Christ.

One “in Christ” is the beneficiary of many wonderful blessings (Ephesians 1:3-7). Those “in Christ” are chosen in Him (v. 4). Those “in Christ” are adopted as sons through Jesus Christ (v. 5). God’s grace is “freely bestowed on us through the Beloved” (v. 6). “In Christ” we have redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins by the grace of God (vs. 7-8). If you’re keeping count, that’s at least five specific spiritual blessings that are to be found only “in Christ”!

It is important to know what the Bible teaches about how one comes to be “in Christ.” The apostle Paul very clearly and distinctly taught, “for as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). How does one get into Christ? We are baptized into Christ. The brethren in the churches of Galatia “were baptized.” That is, they were immersed, and therefore, they were “in Christ” wherein lie all spiritual blessings.

To be “in Christ” one must have accepted the evidence presented in Scripture that Jesus is the Christ, confessed faith in Christ, repented of sins, and have been baptized to put on Christ. When one is baptized into Christ, he is raised from the watery grave of baptism to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3ff). When one is baptized into Christ, he is a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul said “our old man was crucified…” (Romans 6:6). We must put away or put off the old man and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:5-14). We must put on as those chosen in Christ “a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering” (Colossians 3:12). When we are clothed “in Christ” (Galatians 3:27), we are to take His character to be our own. We assume the character of Christ. Those “in Christ” must have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). We must conduct our lives in humble submission to the will of the Father as did Jesus (John 6:38).

The scriptural concept of being “in Christ” must have been important for the apostle Paul to use that phrase or one similar more than 100 times in his writings. Some examples follow. The church is one body “in Christ” (Romans 12:5). There is no condemnation to those who are “in Christ” (Romans 8:1). Those who live a faithful Christian life will fall asleep [die] “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:18). These examples should suffice to make the point that being “in Christ” is a very important subject. If anyone desires to enjoy the spiritual blessings such as redemption and forgiveness of sins, he must be “in Christ.”


Bind Us Together

Royce Pendergrass

Royce PendergrassWe had friends (husband and wife) visit with us. Mind you, though, they are not just “friends, “but they are “friends!” Like me, he is a preacher, and the reason for their visit was not a good one as he was here to preach a funeral of another friend. However, it gave us a chance to remember “the good ole days.”

These friends were like family. (1) We worked together. At one time, he and I owned a used car lot together; we worked and served in the Lion’s Club together; we worked for the Lord side by side. (2) We played together. As we’ve gotten older, we don’t do much “playing” any more, but at one time, about once a week or so, several friends would all get together to play games, eat meals or treats and visit. (3) We shared good times together. As kids growing up and traveling around together, we had friends and acquaintances in common, etc. (4) We shared bad times together. We cried together at the loss of family and friends; we shared disappointments when things didn’t go so well; we ached together as we struggled with health problems, etc.

In a word, we shared all things in common. That’s exactly what Luke said of the early Christians in Acts 2:44ff, “All who believed were together and had all things in common. They sold their possessions and goods and parted them to all men as every one had need. And, continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.” Times have changed, and we don’t find needs so great these days that we find it necessary to get rid of what we have to help those who are in need. In fact, we need to save and be frugal with what we have in order to be able to have the means from our income of giving to those who stand in need. Christians are the best people in the world for doing such. Rest assured, though, that if the need arose, Christians would be willing to liquidate assets to relieve pain and suffering for others.

Did you notice that the early Christians “had all things in common”? They worked and played together as well as shared good times and bad times together. They were a family of Christian people who loved and shared, not only with each other but with those outside as well. That’s why the church grew so rapidly in the first century. They were saved by the love of God and moved to share the joy of their salvation with those around them. We know they were sharing the good news of Christ with others because they were adding “to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).

These New Testament Christians were instructed: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). By reading the verses preceding this one, we know that “these things” were what they would eat, drink and wear. In other words, they were not to worry about material things. They were promised that, when they put God first, what they needed would be provided; point being, they would all succeed by doing God’s will and working together.

That’s still true. Our love for God, Christ and His church provides us with not only the love and friendship of old acquaintances but with Christian people everywhere whom we love dearly. There is nothing more beautiful than the binding relationships that we enjoy as God’s children. We do share our losses, joys, hopes and faith; we do laugh and cry together. We do look forward to an eternity together! We truly do have “all things in common.”

We sometimes sing a song, “Bind us together, Lord; bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. Bind us together with love.” May we be bound with cords that can’t be broken in this life or the one to come.

 


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