About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Meaning To Being In Christ
In our postmodern
influenced western world church we tend to use Biblical words and phrases
that we often do not understand. The
words "in Christ" might be one of these phrases.
In 1 Peter 5:14 the
Apostle Peter encouraged his readers to greet those who are "in
In 2 Corinthians
5:17 the Apostle Paul said that anyone who is "in Christ" is a
new creation. In Ephesians
2:26 he said that those of us who are "in Christ" are seated in
heavenly places. In 1
Corinthians 15:22 he said that those who are in Adam die while those who
are in Christ live.
In attempting to
understand what "in Christ" means we should know what "in
Adam" means. Romans 5
helps us with this. There,
Paul detailed some differences between Adam and Jesus.
He said that sin and death entered humanity through Adam (verse 12)
while grace entered humanity through Jesus (verse 15).
Death rules through Adam while righteousness rules through Jesus
(verse 17). Adam's
disobedience brought condemnation to humanity while Jesus' obedience
provided justification for humanity (verse 18).
Both Adam and Jesus have had a profound impart on
humanity; Jesus for the good; Adam for the not so good.
In Romans 6 Paul
explained how a Christian relates to Jesus in terms of the death that
entered humanity through Adam. He
did so as he refuted allegations that he was encouraging people to sin so
God's grace could abound in their lives.
Paul told his readers not to sin because they had died to sin
(Romans 6:2). In verses 3 and
4 he explained this by saying, "don't you know that all of us who
were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death
..." Here's my
understanding of this passage to date.
When we read the
word "baptism" in this passage we probably think of water
baptism, but I think it means more than that.
Paul is relating water baptism to Jesus' death.
He calls it a "baptism into death."
Baptism into death is easily understood when we think that when
Jesus was buried in the tomb he was buried, or baptized, into death.
Being buried is part of the meaning of the Greek word
"baptizo" that is translated as "baptize" in the New
Testament. So, one could
logically conclude that when Jesus was buried, He was baptized into death,
but there's more.
Paul went on to say
that we were baptized or buried with Jesus when He was placed in the tomb.
That sounds weird but it's easily explained. When
Jesus died on the cross and was buried in the tomb He died and was buried
in the place of every human who has ever lived and who ever will live.
So, when God saw Jesus on the cross, He saw you and I on the cross.
When God saw Jesus in the tomb, He saw you and I in the tomb.
In the mind of God, when Jesus was baptized into death, so were we.
Right now in real time, when God looks at Jesus, He sees you and I
as if we were actually inside of Jesus because right now Jesus stands
before God on our behalf. In
photographic terms, God sees you and I through the filtered lens of Jesus.
In this sense of the word, you and I are in Jesus, or, "in
The Bible teaches
that every human is either seen by God as being "in Adam" or
"in Christ." All
that is ascribed to Adam in Romans 5 applies to those who are in Adam.
All that is ascribed to Jesus in Romans 5 applies to those who are
Baptism that we
read about in Romans 6 is more than symbolic imagery.
It is a public acknowledgement that in the mind of God you and I
have been buried and baptized into Jesus' death in order that you and I
might be raised into a new life. Because
we were buried along with Jesus, we are now found to be "in
Christ." We now reap all
of the benefits of our new found status.