If you do a search through Scripture, you’ll be amazed at the number of times the prepositional phrase “in Christ” is used, and its implication for Christian living. Our redemption is in Christ (Rom. 3:24). We are alive to God in Christ (Rom. 6:11), and the gift of eternal life is in Christ (Rom. 6:23). The love of God is fully expressed in Christ (Rom. 8:39). We are one body in Christ (Rom. 12:5). We are sanctified in Christ (1 Cor. 1:2), and God’s grace is in Christ (1 Cor. 1:4). We are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:7). Our faith is in Christ (Col. 1:4), and we are to be mature in Christ (Col. 1:28). How we live is to be characterized by good conduct in Christ (1 Pet. 3:16). Peace is ours in Christ (1 Pet. 5:14). We can summarize with the words of Paul in Eph. 1:3; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
To be in Christ, then, speaks of those who have an intimate union, a oneness of heart, mind, and purpose, with Christ. To be in Christ is to be integrally connected to Him and His will for our lives. As Christ is spoken of as dwelling in our hearts through faith (Eph. 3:17), it is appropriate we are to be imitators of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1), having the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5) as we go about life’s activities. What a closeness of fellowship the Son of God desires to have with us! Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are to be carried out in the sphere of our connection with Christ, that all He provides can be fully realized in us. There is no aspect of life where our relationship with Him does not apply, where He is absent from us, where His will doesn’t apply to us. Truly, Christ in us is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
The point of all this is to reveal how fundamental our walk with Christ is to be to us, how joined we are to Him, how His will is essential to how we live. This is what Paul earnestly implores of the Christians in Colossae about their daily lives. “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4). The instruction to seek the things above (what is spiritual), to have a mindset on the things above (spiritual thinking) are imperatives, meaning they are to always be part of who we are if Christ is to be our life.
Being in Christ means the spiritual is infused in how we approach living physically. It isn’t who we are sometime, but who we are all the time. Is the will of God in Christ part of your decision-making process, no matter what the decision may be? Is the spiritual seen in the words you speak, with purity and holiness? Do you try to live as Christ desires? What does it indicate if in these, and other areas of life, we go about things no differently than the world around us? Being governed by God’s will isn’t just for when we’re in a building assembled together to worship, but at work, at home, while engaged in recreation, with friends, in all things. Christian living isn’t going in and out of a relationship with Christ, but always seeking His purpose as our purpose. If days, or weeks, or even months go by without thinking about our walk with God in Christ, we’re not seeking the things above, not setting our minds on what is spiritual, not having a life hidden with Christ, and, most tragic of all, not being revealed with Him in glory. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46).
Being in Christ isn’t something to do just if we feel it to be convenient. It isn’t an emergency switch to pull when our lives are falling apart, but only then. It isn’t something that happened when we were immersed into Christ, but never have given a second thought to since then. It is a deep, abiding relationship we have with Christ which speaks as much of how we relate to Him as He to us. Are you truly in Christ? “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Cor. 13:5).
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”