And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Ephesians 1:13a
Being included feels good. It boosts our fragile self ego. We can clamor for inclusion into a club, honor society, a particular circle of friends, or even a ministry in church. Striving for inclusion can wear you out very quickly (trust me, I’ve been there).
However, no matter what you have ever desired to be included in, STOP!!, take a deep breath and rest in the fact that if you are a believer, you have been included ‘in Christ.’
Nothing compares to being included in the Kingdom of God through Christ. The requirement is acceptance of God’s open invitation in John 3:16. Those who receive Christ and believe in his name are then given the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
So now that you know how to get included ‘in Christ,’ what exactly does it mean to be ‘in Christ?’
What does it mean to be included in Christ?
To discover who we are as children of God, we need to understand the phrase ‘in Christ.’ These two powerful words appear multiple times in the Epistles (the letters written to the church and to you as a believer). Sometimes, the expression ‘in Christ’ is used. At other times, similar expressions with the same meaning such as ‘in Him,’ ‘in whom,’ ‘through whom’ ‘through Christ’ etc are used.
1. ‘In Christ’ explains our relationship with God through Christ
Our Christianity is based on a personal relationship with Christ. Before we were in Christ, we were in sin, separated and alienated from God (Ephesians 2:1-2). However, God loved us so much that he devised a plan to take away this nature of sin in us and give us his nature of righteousness through faith in the finished work of Christ upon the cross. The result is that we become his children and enjoy fellowship with him.
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:5
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
2.’In Christ’ explains our identity as children of God
All that we are and all that we have is based on the truth that we are ‘in Christ.’ Our self-esteem should never be based on our outward appearance, level of education, financial status, children, spouses etc. Our self-esteem and self-expression instead, should be based on our position as children of God through Christ Jesus.
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. Galatians 3:26
For in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
3.’In Christ’ means that because of Jesus, we are victorious
God has empowered us through Christ to fulfill our calling in life. No plan of the enemy over us will ever stand.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us. Romans 8:37
4.’In Christ’ points to Jesus as the key to the abundant blessings and resources which God has provided to us as His children
He has provided everything we will ever need (both spiritual as well as physical needs) and deposited them into our accounts. The key to the reservoir of our blessings is found in Christ.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 ‘Who has blessed us.’ Is past tense. Meaning that he has already done it!
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:20
5.’In Christ’ also implies that we are vitally connected to Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives reflect the life and nature of Christ
On our own we can do nothing but because we are ‘in Christ,’ the Holy Spirit who lives and dwells in us enables us to walk in the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience….
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation: old things have passed away: behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
6. Because we are ‘in Christ,’ we have eternal life
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
In summary, your identity, self-esteem, self-expression, self-worth/the value you place on yourself should never be based on anything else but solely on who you are, what you have, and what you can do ‘in Christ Jesus.’
This article is only the tip of the iceberg and obviously does not address all ‘in Christ’ scriptures. I’ll strongly encourage you to do a personal study by reading through the Epistles and outlining all the ‘in Christ’ scriptures you find.
My prayer for you is that as you discover each treasure, you will accept and believe God’s word so that through the power of the Holy Spirit, you will walk in the light of the truth that you have been included ‘in Christ Jesus.’
Except where indicated, Scriptures are taken from the NIV.