“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 1:1, NASB95)
I don’t know how long I have ended emails and other correspondence that I write to other believers with the words “in Christ” or even how long Robin and I have had it as the main part of our email address which has remained “jrbinchrist” regardless of the host server. What I do know is that it has been a long time. In using it I am constantly reminded that I not only have been saved and set apart because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, but that I have also been made alive in Him by His resurrection and placed in a body of other believers who share that same connection with Him and each other. I am alive in Christ, joined with other believers in His church, and am called to be faithful in response to Christ both in my individual life and as I build up and encourage others who are in Christ themselves.
Being “in Christ” is an incredibly rich truth with numerous facets and benefits. In just a simple search of the New American translation I found no less than 88 occurrences of the term “in Christ” and an additional nearly 20 references to being in Christ with the term “in Him.” This is far from exhaustive and does not include the wide variety of other phrasing used even in this letter which Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus. As we walk through this letter we will see many of the facets of being “in Christ” unfold.
Being “in Christ” is a big deal. Without getting any deeper, just in the next few verses we read that in Him we are chosen by God. In love God predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ. We are blessed in the beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood. In Him we have obtained an inheritance. In Him we were sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit, and this is just a quick and not-exhaustive run through the first chapter. But besides what it means to be in Him it also means a great deal not to be dead in my trespasses and sins (2:1).
Being “in Christ” means that I am 100% absolutely guaranteed by God that I have been forgiven of my sins and given eternal life. Jesus Christ is my Lord and He is the head of the church of which I am part of the body. The Holy Spirit has been given to me to be in me full-time to be my help from Christ. When any accusation comes against me, it is Jesus who intercedes and says that I am His.
Looking to the meaning of the word “in” I find that it is a preposition denoting position, and according to God’s unfailing promise I am firmly positioned in Christ and He will not let go. There is no greater gift and no greater hope that being called to be His.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13, NASB95)