Colossians 2:10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

One of the keys to unlock the beauty of the gospel is to understand the expression “in Christ”.

The term “in Christ” occured 79 times when searched using a bible software. While the terms “in Him” and “in the Lord” which denotes the same idea occured approximately 80 times. The scripture repeats this term over and over again. Why? Because it is something that is indespenable to our understanding of the new covenant and our new identity before God.

This article seeks to answer the following questions:

  • What does the term “in Christ” exactly means?
  • Why is it given much emphasis in the scripture?
  • What are its implication on us?
  • How can this change my view on God and on myself before Him?

Let us start.

In Christ

Notice that it’s not “on Christ” but “in Christ”. The preposition “in” stands for a position of something or someone that is inside. While “on” on the other hand is used to denote a position just above or outside an area. So when the scripture says that we are “In Christ”, it is therefore saying that we are inside, enveloped, hidden, united, and covered in Him.

Watchman Nee in his book the Normal Christian Life used a simple illustration to explain this principle:

I take a piece of paper. It has an identity of its own, quite separate from this book. Having no special purpose for it at the moment I put it into the book. Now I do something with the book. I post it to Shanghai. I do not post the paper, but the paper has been put into the book. Then where is the paper? Can the book go to Shanghai and the paper remain here? Can the paper have a separate destiny from the book? No! Where the book goes the paper goes. If I drop the book in the river the paper goes too, and if I quickly take it out again I recover the paper also. Whatever experience the book goes through the paper goes through with it, for it is in the book.

As the paper is inside the book, we too are inside Christ. And since we are in Him, we are with Him. His experience becomes our experience.

To give a few examples, the scripture tells us the following:

…We are crucified with Him ( Galatians 2:20 )
…We are burried with Him ( Romans 6:4 )
…We were raised up and seated with Him ( Ephesians 2:6 )

We were included in everything that He did.

In Adam

Let’s delve in more to this truth by looking at the position prior to our position in Christ — we were “in Adam”.

1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

We were in Adam at one time — that is the “old man”. “In Adam” because we derive our existence from Him. That is to say, without Adam, there wouldn’t be me and you. By birth we came from Him. We were in him (Adam). And should Adam not existed, we wouldn’t also exist.

For example, if your great-great grand father died at the age of five, where would you be now? You would have died with Him as well. If we regress back in the beginning of our human existence in the garden of Eden when Adam sinned, you can also therefore say that you sinned in Him.

Since we are in Adam, what is true of Adam is also true of us. Who Adam is is who we are.

In Adam, we received everything that is of Adam. We inherited his very nature by birth. Adam sinned, and sin brought death, in Adam therefore, all died.

In Adam we are:
…a sinner ( Romans 3:23 )
…dead to sin ( Ephesians 2:1 )
…under God’s wrath and judgement ( Romans 1:18 )
…in darkness ( Acts 26:18 )

From Adam to Christ

What makes the gospel so good is the grievous state we are in “in Adam”. In fact, the good news of the gospel is our deliverance from Adam to Christ.

But how can a man be in Christ?

Jesus said, unless we are born again, we can never enter into the Kingdom of God. We came by birth from Adam and we must get out from Him by death. And to do away everything that we inherited from Him, a new creation is demanded. The old man that is in Adam should die.

Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

It is in the cross of Jesus Christ that God delivered the death blow to sin. He put us in Christ to put our old self to death. Therefore in Christ, we died with Christ in his death on the cross.

However, unless you don’t put your faith on Jesus — that is to say yourself in Him — you will die in your sins (John 8:24). As Noah gets into the ark to be saved from the flood, we too need to get in Christ to be saved from God’s justice and wrath.

Romans 6:10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

The New Man

We were in Christ not only in his death but in his resurrection. He was burried and was raised again to life. And when Christ rose from the dead, we were raised with Him as well.

Ephesians 2:5 God made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved!

The spiritually dead man in Adam is now alive in Christ. Lo and behold the new creation comes to life — You.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

You are new. All things in and of you are new. The old man is burried and gone. And just as we inherit everything that is of Adam on our first birth, we also inherit everything that is of Christ in our second birth.

In Christ we are:

…A new Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
…A son of God (Galatians 3:26)
…Given grace (2 Timothy 1:9)
…Made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21).
…Redeemed & Forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
…Dearly Loved (Romans 8:38–39)
…All of God’s promises are yes for us (2 Corinthians 1:20)
…Sanctified or set apart for a holy life (1 Corinthians 1:2)
…Our needs are supplied (Philippians 4:19)

Good news isn’t it? 🙂 Just listed a few for the sake of space. There’s a lot more to this.

The point of the matter

In Christ, we get everything that is of Christ. In Adam, we get everything that is of Adam. We inherit everything not by our choice nor actions but by nature and heritage. That is why, all that we have before God is all by his grace in Christ. Soli Deo Gloria.

Therefore

1. Since I have put my faith in Christ and his finished work, I am now in Him. Because I am in Christ, what is true of Adam is no longer true of me. And what is true of Jesus, is now true of me. “My life is hidden in Christ” Colossians 3:3.

2. I once was in Adam, but now in Christ. It is therefore important for me to discover who I am as a new creation in Christ ( Colossians 2:10 ).

3. Since Christ is everything and I am in Him, all that I have before God has nothing to do with me but has everything to do with Him. Everything comes as an undeserved favor because of what Jesus did for me on the cross.

4. The only place where we can glory is the cross of Jesus (Galatians 6:14), and the place where we find our hope anchored on is in his resurrection(1 Peter 1:3). Understanding the gospel leaves us no room of boasting aside from boasting of who He is and what He has done for us.

If you want to understand this truth more, visit the section:

The Man in Christ is a New Man

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