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Day Nine:  The Blessings of Being “in Him” or “in Christ”

Day Nine: The Blessings of Being “in Him” or “in Christ”

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In Him We Have Redemption Through His Blood

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins,
according to the riches of His grace.
Ephesians 1:7

As we continue praying through Ephesians, sometimes phrase by phrase or even word by word, we come to the beginning of another long sentence that takes up four verses (1:7-10).  And in each of these verses, we see some profound truths revealed about His grace, our redemption and the forgiveness of our sins, the mystery of His will, and the gathering of everything, and I mean everything, in Christ.  I know, it’s quite a mouthful.  So read it for yourself.

We are also introduced, in a bit more detail, to the term, “in Him,” which occurs five times in this first chapter.  And in each of these instances, it shows the source of the blessings we are promised and have received.  Consider the following:

•   We are chosen “in Him” before time began to be just like Christ, “holy and without blame” (1:4).
•   It is “in Him” we receive redemption and the forgiveness of our sins, and in no one else (1:7).
•   In the fullness of time, everything— both in heaven and on earth, shall be gathered together— “in Him” (1:10).
•   Our inheritance we receive is only found, “in Him” (1:11).
•   And we are sealed with the Holy Spirit because we believe the “gospel of our salvation,” which is only found by faith “in Him” (1:13).

But there is so much more to discover.


What Does it Mean to be “In Him” or “In Christ”?

The phrase, “in Him,” is found 26 times in the letters of Paul.  And, even more amazing, Paul uses a similar phrase, “in Christ,” over eighty times in his writing.  This again begs the question: What does being “in Christ” mean, or what is the Spirit trying to tell us by having Paul use this phrase to describe our relationship with Him?

Let’s begin with salvation.

Salvation

According to the Scriptures, salvation is all about being united or reunited with God (and there is much that must take place for that to happen).¹  It’s a process where those He chooses are rescued and redeemed from a life of sin, which made them enemies of God (Rom. 5:10, Col. 1:21), and instead, He brings them into a life in harmony and fellowship with Himself, described as “holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4)— as a member of His family, and adopted as sons (Eph. 1:5).  But there’s more.  God also transforms or re-creates us into something new, something we were not before our redemption in Christ.  This is called regeneration, and it’s when we are “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29) or, as Jesus called it, being “born again” of the Spirit (John 3:16).  So much so, that when God sees each of us, what He actually sees is us in His Son, “in Christ”— clothed with the imputed righteousness, not of our own, but of His Son.  And this was something the Father did for us by grace.

For He (Father) made Him (Son) who knew no sin to be sin for us, (why) that we might become the righteousness of God (how) in Him (or “in Christ”) – 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Let that sink in for a moment.

This is why God never promises to make you better, but to make you new.  The old man, the unregenerated man born in sin (you before Jesus came into your life), must be crucified and put to death (Gal. 2:20).  And only then will He, God, resurrect you into a new creation, someone created in the image of Jesus who is now capable of having a relationship with Him as a child of God (1 John 3:1).

This brings us to the practical aspect of being “in Christ,” which is sanctification.

Sanctification

Sanctification is the process by which we, as redeemed, regenerated believers, are progressively transformed into the likeness of Christ in our daily lives, and given the freedom to choose to surrender to Him and follow Him in every aspect of our lives (Gal. 5:16-17).  Sanctification is the means of experiencing the “abundant life” Jesus promised (John 10:10), as we are “set apart,” or sanctified for His purpose.  And it’s where we become more like Him and less like us, and in doing so, bring glory to His name (Matt. 5:16).  Bottom line, sanctification is what brings joy in the Christian life— becoming more like the One we love.  And it allows God to work in and through us, as we remain connected to Christ, the Vine, and “bear much fruit” for the Father’s glory (John 15:8).  Again, read it for yourself in John 15.  It’s the perfect picture of a sanctified life.

Sanctification is a work of God’s grace that begins at the moment of salvation and continues throughout our entire lives.  It’s what defines your devotion to Him and is the tangible, visible product of being “in Him” or “in Christ.”  Let me explain.


Being “In Him” and Not “In Me”

When we come to understand the incredible honor and privilege we have of being, or living, “in Christ,” the blessings in our life begin to open up like floodgates from heaven.  We can then see how our Father did not leave us alone, as orphans, to somehow find our way back to Him by the sheer determination of our will.  But, as Jesus promised, He remains with us, within us, in the Person of the Holy Spirit who, in every aspect, is fully God, just like Jesus and the Father (John 14:16-18).  This makes us truly invincible to the attacks of the enemy (1 John 4:4; Eph. 6:11), since we are “in Christ” (Jas. 4:7).  Let that sink in for a moment.  If it helps, try to envision physically being “in Christ” or being clothed with Christ (Gal. 3:27): Satan would have to get through Jesus before he can lay a hand on you, since you are “in Him”— which we are.  And what a blessing that is!


But There is More

Being “in Christ” also has some practical blessings that are often overlooked, especially in our culture of shame, degradation, and others constantly trying to erode your confidence in… well, everything.  Consider the following.

Identity:  We now know our identity is found in Christ rather than in our accomplishments, failures, or what others think of us.  This realization provides a great sense of security and confidence in this troubling culture of self-promotion (Gal. 2:20).

Purpose:  When we recognize and embrace that we are united with Christ, it gives our lives meaning and purpose.  Just think, we are called to live for Him and to advance His kingdom (Phil. 1:21).  What could be a grander purpose than that?

Strength:  When we face trials and challenges (and we all do), we can draw strength from our relationship with Christ, knowing that He is with us and will never forsake us because we are “in Him” (Phil. 4:13).

Relationships:  Being “in Christ” also means being part of His body, the church.  This understanding leads to greater love, unity, and service within the Christian community and His Kingdom (1 Cor. 12:27).

Eternal perspective:  Our union with Christ gives us hope and assurance for the future, knowing we will one day be with Him for all eternity (1 Thes. 4:16-17).  And if that doesn’t put a smile on your face, nothing will.

In addition, being “in Christ” means we share in Christ’s death, resurrection, victory over sin, and eternal life (Rom. 6:3-8).  It also means we are adopted into God’s family (Eph. 1:5) and are made new creations in Him (2 Cor. 5:17).  And the list goes on.  Everything, it seems, that is good in our life comes from being “in Christ”— who is the source of all our blessings, our righteousness, our future, and our life.

So rest in this amazing truth today.


Time to Pray

As you pray, remember all you have because of all He has done for you and given you.  And thank Him for not allowing you to aimlessly wander this life alone, but for placing you “in” His Son, “in Christ,” and imputing the perfect righteousness of His Son to His now “adopted” child— you.

And we will talk more later.


Notes

1. Such as regeneration, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the other aspects of salvation that are, not to sound too simplistic, all included in the one package.  See Romans 8 for some of these.

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