Chronicle of Faith: Examining the language and relationship of living “in” Christ


The plan of redemption was revealed to the apostle Paul in a supernatural encounter with Jesus. This led PC Nelson to declare Paul’s letters to be the advanced teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul uses the terminology “In Christ” about 130 times in his letters as a technical term to describe how Jesus saved mankind and what the believer now has as a result.

One author said the key to the gospel is found in prepositions. Prepositions are apparently little words in the English language that denote a relationship. If you change the preposition, you change the relation and thus change the image.

For example, you might say, “I walked into the house.” Or you can change the preposition to say, “I walked ‘through’ the house,” “I walked ‘over’ the house,” or “I walked ‘with’ the house.” See how the preposition changes the picture?

“In Christ” is simply a preposition and the word Christ. It denotes our position once we believe in Jesus. It also shows us the method God used to bring about salvation in man.

In his book, “In Christ Jesus”, AJ Gordon makes the following statements: “No word of Scripture, excepting those, ‘God manifested in the flesh,’ contains within itself a deeper mystery than this simple formula of the Christian life. , ‘in Christ.’ Yet however great the mystery of these sayings, they are the key to the whole system of doctrinal mysteries, like the famous Rosetta Stone, itself a partial hieroglyph, and thus providing the long-sought clew of hieroglyphics. Egyptians, these words, by their very mystery, unveil all the mysteries of the divine life, letting us in on secrets that have been hidden for ages and for generations. And so, through these two words “in Christ”, we obtain a profound insight into the divine method of salvation God does not act on the soul by himself, bringing upon it, while it is still in its alienation and isolation from him, a discipline such as will make her little by little fit to be reunited with him. He begins rather by reuniting her with himself, in order to communicate to her by this union that divine life and energy, without which all discipline would be perfectly futile. The method of grace is precisely the opposite e of the method of legalism. This is holiness to unite with God; the first, union with God in view of holiness.

Every religion requires holiness first before attaining the presence of God. But Christianity begins with union with Christ. Through union we receive a new heart and the power to change. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. »

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah), he is a new creation. The word “new” here is a Greek word which means new in nature, not new in time. So the believer is actually a new type of person – a person inside God. It is this grafting into Christ that gives eternal life to the human spirit.

I heard the story of a firefighter whose hand had been badly burned and the doctors thought it might have to be amputated. As a last resort, they decided to open her side and insert the hand into her own body. He walked around with his own hand sewn into his side for a few weeks. Once opened, they saw that a new skin had started to grow. This is how God saves the sinner. He opened Christ and placed us in Him.

Jason Haskell is pastor of New Creation Church in Craig and missionary to the nations. He can be reached at [email protected].


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