In Christ

NOTE: This is Day Two of the devotional guide of our church, Filinvest Community Christian Fellowship for the “Significance” series (a verse-by-verse study of the book of Ephesians). 

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What does it really mean to be “in Christ”?

As we read Ephesians, note that Paul uses the phrase “in Christ” (or its equivalent like “in Him”) about 35 times. That’s more than the combined use of all other New Testament books. (Read, for example, Ephesians 1:1-7, 11-13.) That’s one of the most important phrases in Ephesians. 

According to one Bible scholar, being “in Christ” points to our “being joined to Christ in one spiritual body so that what is true of him is also true for us”.  In “The Message of Ephesians,” evangelical author John Stott explained that 
To be “in Christ” is to be personally and vitally united to Christ, as branches are to the vine and members to the body, and thereby also to God’s people. For it is impossible to be part of the Body without being related to both the Head and the members. … According to the New Testament—and especially Paul—to be a Christian is in essence to be “in Christ,” one with him and with his people. [1]
Notice that when we are in Christ, we are not only united with Him but also united with other believers. 

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Romans 12:5 tells us that we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. We share a common life in the Lord. That’s why the church—the entire body of Christ since the Holy Spirit came down until the second coming of the Lord—is very important in God’s eternal plan. According to Ephesians 3:6, And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT.) When we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are joined to Him and to the church.

When we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are joined to Him and to the church. Image credit

One practical result of this teaching is that we need to grow in our relationship with another in order to grow in our relationship with the Lord: “And this makes sense because in order to remain faithful to Christ, we need the support of His people—and they need ours.” [2]

Significant Step

Reflect on the truth that we need each other as well as we need the Lord. Take time also to thank God for supportive brothers and sisters in the faith! Find ways to express your appreciation for them creatively.

[1] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Ephesians: God’s New Society, The Bible Speaks Today Series (IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979), 22-23. Emphasis added.

[2] Charles Swindoll, Becoming a People of Grace: An Exposition of Ephesians Study Guide, (CA: Insight For Living, 2001), 17-18.


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