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What does being ‘in Christ’ really mean?


Description: Being 'in Christ' is easy to say, but what does it mean in practical everyday living? Discover the transformative power behind this simple expression.


Introduction

Interestingly, there’s a recurring phrase in Apostle Paul’s letters: Christians being ‘in Christ.’ This seemingly simple expression holds much spiritual insight and transformative power. So let's delve a little deeper and explore what being ‘in Christ’ means and how it might shape our faith journeys.



Before digging in, we should remember that our acceptance by Christ doesn’t depend on us doing everything perfectly. It’s about placing trust and belief in Jesus as our Saviour. Embracing his unconditional love opens the door to a life of joy, love, and grace. With this very much in mind, the suggestions at the end of each header below are simply included as possible approaches you may wish to reflect upon.

1. Spiritual Union in Christ

Being ‘in Christ’ speaks of a profound spiritual union between believers and Jesus. Just as a branch draws life from the vine, we are connected to Christ. This defines our identity, purpose, and destiny – and it’s not at a distance. It's an intimate relationship that offers comfort, strength, and guidance in every aspect of life.


Suggested reflections:

  • Practice presence: cultivate moments of silence and/or prayer specifically to sense the presence of Christ in our daily lives,

  • Abide in his word: regularly read and meditate on the Bible to deepen understanding of Christ's teachings and character.

2. Redemption and Reconciliation in Christ

Through faith in Christ, we experience redemption and reconciliation. Sins are forgiven and we are brought back into a harmonious relationship with God. This restoration is made possible by Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Being ‘in Christ’ means actively participating in this redemptive process and sharing in the blessings of his sacrifice.


Suggested reflections:

  • Reflect on grace: regularly remind ourselves of the magnitude of Christ's sacrifice and the grace we've received,

  • Extend forgiveness: embrace Christ's example by forgiving others and seeking reconciliation in relationships.

3. New Identity in Christ

When we are ‘in Christ,’ our identity is transformed. We're no longer defined by our past mistakes or any labels. Instead, our identity is anchored in Christ's righteousness. The old has passed away, and a new creation emerges within us (2 Corinthians 5:17). This new identity empowers us to live with purpose, confidence, and a renewed sense of worth.


Suggested reflections:

  • Strengthen our identity: counteract negative self-talk by speaking positive affirmations that are grounded in our renewed identity in Christ,

  • Renew our minds: replace old thought patterns with God's truths about our worth and identity.

4. Spiritual Growth in Christ

Being ‘in Christ’ isn't a static state; it's a dynamic relationship that invites us to grow and mature. Through the Holy Spirit's guidance, we develop a Christ-like character and bear the fruits of the Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). This growth process shapes us into the people God intended us to be.


Suggested reflections:

  • Set growth goals: identify areas of our lives where we want to grow and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit,

  • Practice spiritual disciplines: engage in regular prayer, Bible study, and fellowship to foster spiritual growth.

5. Access to Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Ephesians 1:3 reminds us that being ‘in Christ’ grants us access to every spiritual blessing. As we walk our Christian journey, we experience God's grace, wisdom, and love in abundance. These blessings equip us to navigate life's challenges and serve as instruments of God's goodness in the world.


Suggested reflections:

  • Count our blessings: regularly reflect on the spiritual blessings we've received through Christ,

  • Share our blessings: look for opportunities to support, respect, encourage, etc. others with the abundance we've received from God.

6. Participation in Christ's Mission

Being ‘in Christ’ aligns us with his mission of reconciliation. We become his ambassadors, extending his love, compassion, and hope to a hurting world. By sharing the Gospel and living out its truths, we continue Christ's work of bringing salvation to all.


Suggested reflections:

  • Live purposefully: approach each interaction with mindfulness, seeing it as a chance to radiate Christ's love and convey his message of hope and transformation to others,

  • Serve with compassion: engage in acts of service that reflect Christ's compassion for those in need.

7. Community and Unity in Christ

When we are ‘in Christ,’ we are part of a dynamic spiritual community. Just as a body has many parts, we each play a unique role in the body of Christ. This unity fosters mutual support, accountability, and a shared purpose. Through this community, we can experience the beauty of God's family on earth.


Suggested reflections:

  • Prioritise fellowship: engage actively in our local church community to build meaningful relationships,

  • Support and encourage: be a source of encouragement and support for fellow believers, fostering unity.

8. Hope of Resurrection in Christ

Being ‘in Christ’ assures us of the hope of resurrection. Just as Christ was raised from the dead, we have the hope of eternal life through Him. This hope sustains us through trials and uncertainties, reminding us that our ultimate destination is a glorious union with our Saviour.


Suggested reflections:

  • Anchor in hope: when facing challenges, remind ourselves of the hope of resurrection and eternal life,

  • Live with purpose: let the hope of resurrection inspire us to live with purpose, knowing that our efforts are not in vain.


Conclusion

The concept of being ‘in Christ’ relates to a profound and transformative relationship with Jesus. It's a reminder of our spiritual union, redemption, and transformation – a journey that empowers us to live out our faith, extend grace to others, and find our true purpose in Christ. Our challenge is to allow these insightful realities to guide our actions, thoughts, and aspirations.



Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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