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Who Am I?

I am writing today to believers. I am writing to those who are feeling small and insignificant. I am writing today to those who feel like no one cares. I am writing today to that precious believer that feels that everything has somehow went wrong. I am writing to that one that feels all alone, overlooked, defeated, discouraged and perhaps distraught.

You are amazingly important to the One who matters most…..God!

The truths which I am about to share with you are profoundly stabilizing truths. Your identity and your value are not to be found in yourself, and your accomplishments; Nor in anyone else’s valuation of you. Our position in Christ gives us a sure and stable foundation upon which to build our lives, transforming our existence into one with significance and meaning!

The specific phrase “in Christ” is found 78 times in the Bible (All listed below). When related terms are considered, the idea is found over 200 times in the New Testament, especially in the Pauline writings. It is a rich study looking at everything that we, as believers, have and everything that we are “in Christ.” I would encourage you to study each passage. Here are some ideas from some Commentators

Commentator Insights

Theological Aspects of Paul’s Usage

R. David Rightmire states, "Paul more often than any other New Testament author combines the preposition 'in' (en) with some designation for Christ. The phrase and its cognates occur some two hundred times in Pauline literature. The apostle uses the term in more than one sense, and scholars have attempted to interpret the concept in a variety of ways (e.g., mystical, existential, sacramental, local, eschatological, and ecclesiastical). In places, the words 'in Christ' can be understood as just another way of designating a Christian (Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2; 1 Thess. 4:16). The idea of instrumentality or causality is an alternate usage of the phrase (Rom. 14:14; 2 Cor. 3:14; Gal. 2:17; Phil. 4:13). It is clear, however, that the words 'in Christ' also have soteriological meaning for Paul (Rom. 8:1; 2 Cor. 5:19; Eph. 1:20). Being “in Christ” is presented as the only basis for justification and glorification (Col. 1:27). This is not a mysticism of absorption, the losing of human identity in the divine, but rather an intimate communion with God through Christ.

R. David Rightmire, “Union with Christ,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, electronic ed., Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996), 789.

Mark Seifrid makes the following observations - "Although there is considerable overlap of the various types, the occurrences of the expression may be divided into five broad thematic categories:

(1) More than one-third of the 151 references affirm something that God has done or does through Christ for salvation (e.g., 'the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,' Rom 3:24). As we have noted, in Colossians and Ephesians this is expanded to include creation and its consummation.

(2) Approximately another third have to do with exhortation or commendation of behavior or character (e.g., 'Rejoice in the Lord always,' Phil 4:4; 'Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,' Rom 16:3).

(3) About twenty occurrences of the expression describe the present state of believers in view of Christ’s saving work (e.g., 'we, who are many, are one in Christ,' Rom 12:5).

(4) A final dozen or so describe specific persons or particular situations in relation to salvation. Among these are six statements that simply affirm that certain ones are 'in Christ' (Rom 16:7, 22; 1 Cor 1:30; Gal 1:22; 1 Thess 3:8; 2 Cor 12:2).

(5) Two references in Colossians have to do strictly with the nature of Christ (Col 1:19; 2:9).

The expansion of the phrases in the vocabulary of Paul’s letters and churches is very likely the product of two basic concerns:

(1) In varying ways Paul found it necessary to assert the exclusivity or distinctiveness of God’s saving action through Christ. To describe God as having acted 'in Christ' or redemption as being 'in Christ' succinctly conveyed this thought ('the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,' Rom 6:23).

(2) It was also important to Paul to define how believers were to live under Christ’s saving lordship. In statements which call for, describe or commend obedience, 'in Christ/the Lord' communicates simultaneously the gift of salvation and the accompanying divine demand (e.g., 'stand firm in the Lord,' Phil 4:1). The phrases therefore became a vehicle for Paul to describe the life of faith under Christ’s lordship in a world where other powers and temptations were present. To act “in Christ” is to act in faith and obedience in the face of false alternatives: 'In Christ Jesus neither circumcision or uncircumcision has any force, but rather faith working through love' (Gal 5:6)."

e.g. exempli gratia, for example

Mark A. Seifrid, “In Christ,” ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 436.

If you are not “in Christ,” then write to me (on the blog there is a way to communicate with me), or come and visit me at new Haven Baptist - 247 Dot Johnson Drive, here in Summerville. Let me know of your interest on learning more about how to get “in Christ.” I will be happy to share more with you.

What does it mean to be in Christ? Study with me and rejoice if you are truly in this valued place and condition.

Here are the answers to the above fill in the blanks if you are having trouble with any of them!

Here are the 77 passages where the phrase "in Christ" are found

And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.

Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.

For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

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

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.

And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:

And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,

Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

that the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,

There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus;

Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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