So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
2 Corinthians 5:17
People who write or speak a lot usually have a favorite phrase that keeps popping up. The apostle Paul certainly had his favorite, and it was “in Christ”. From the day Paul was ambushed by Christ’s love on the road to Damascus he could not stop writing about and talking about the wonder of living “in Christ”. Paul uses the phrase “in Christ” 216 times in his letters, if you include “in the Lord”, and “in Christ Jesus”. Paul also writes about “living with Christ” (Romans 6:8; 2 Corinthians 7:3), “being crucified with Christ” (Romans 6:6), “being raised with Christ”(Colossians 2:12; Ephesians 2:6), “being glorified with Christ” (Romans 8:17), “inheriting with Christ” (Romans 8:17), and, “reigning with Christ” (2 Timothy 2:12).
Paul is captivated by a believer’s intimate, indissoluble union with Christ Jesus. He sees living each day “in Christ” as the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise of the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost: “On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14:20). No wonder Paul joyfully exclaims: “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).
Paul uses the marvelous phrase “in Christ” not only of his own life and experience, but for all who are believers in Christ, from the least to the greatest. In the New Testament to be “in Christ” is synonymous with being a Christian. The believer lives in an entirely new sphere of existence. “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.” Here is spiritual math at it’s highest: 1 + 1 =1. The believer in Christ is virtually one with Christ in all that He accomplished. We have been baptized into Christ’s death (Romans 6:3), into His new life (Romans 6:4), and ascended with Him to the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:20; 2:6).
Living our lives “in Christ” means getting rid of the idea that Christ is “up there” or “over there”. The Good News is about you being in Christ and Christ being in you. Christ faces what you are facing today in all of its challenges and opportunities. Christ laughs with you in your joys, and weeps with you in your pain. You are joined to Christ as the source of new life. The life of the Vine flows through you producing fruit (John 15). You’re not trying to do something for God today, but Christ does it in you and through you. The Gospel is not about the imitation of the life of Christ, but your participation in His life.
The reality of life “in Christ”, the reality of being a Christian, comes down to this: Living in the daily awareness of Christ in you and drawing upon His infinite life for every situation you face! You can truly say: “For me to live is Christ!”
Grace and peace,