About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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The 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 Christ."  

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 Christ."    


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 "in Christ." 


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.   


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