Skip to main content

In Romans 8: 1, Paul tells us that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Writing to the Corinthians: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

In Christ Jesus. What does that mean?

Paul also speaks of us being with Jesus: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). And we have a third point of view with the revelation that Christ is also in us: “God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

Professor N.T. Wright, referring to Paul’s writings says, “Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah God promised to Israel. If that is so, (Paul) can see all those great narratives from Scripture, rushing together to one point, so that now, in and through Jesus himself, it has all come true and it will all come true.”

The entire span of history, from Genesis to Revelation, the Patriarchs, the Exodus, the Promised Land, the Exile; the promises of one to come – a Messiah, God’s law written on human hearts, a new and powerful work of the Holy Spirit; all are fulfilled in and though the life and death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is in Christ’s life, death and resurrection that the great plan of salvation is complete.

When we believed the Gospel story and confessed our sins through a simple prayer, we became part of the new creation of God’s family with Jesus as the head. We were caught up in the new assembly of God’s redeemed people. Our lives became entwined into the great story of Jesus bringing everything together towards the promise of God dwelling among His people.

When Paul reminds us that we are in Christ, one of the truths he is imparting to us is that we are in His story and now part of His eternal purposes. We are no longer lost or “dead in our transgressions and sins” (Eph 2: 1). Forgiven and cleansed, we are adopted, never to become unadopted. Where He goes, we go. We have joined the Glory train en route to a new Promised Land with him.

When Paul declares that we are with Christ, he is pointing out that we now occupy the same spiritual ground and authority that our spiritual head holds. Christ is seated in the heavenly realms, raised to the right hand of the Father. He has lifted us to the same position. Our prayers therefore carry weight and authority.

When Paul speaks about Christ being in us, he is describing the presence of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit in our very souls. Every day. Every moment.

No wonder Paul needs different ways of describing the earth-shattering truths of our new relationship with Jesus. In Christ, with Christ, Christ in us – all elements of a beautiful tapestry depicting our rescue from spiritual death to becoming children of God.