Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

How do one get to be in Christ? Is it same as to be righteous before God? I consider Romans 8:1 as axiom.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by fredsbend the Grinch, Caleb Jun 29 at 5:30

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
I asked; how to get to be in Christ, not what it means to be in Christ. But because I have read answers for this question, I gues that you get be in Christ when you accept/receive Him as your lord and saviour(joh.1:12) after hearing gospel and having possibility to repent and to reject or accept this offer/altar call. –  laovultai Jul 21 at 8:53

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted
+100

That little word in is packed with profundity, significance, and comfort for believers in Jesus Christ.

One way of approaching this little word is via one of the many names for the Church Universal: the Body of Christ. A body, of course, is composed of many parts (viz., appendages and external and internal organs), and so it is with Christ's body, the church, of which He is the Head. All of the parts of the physical body are in the body and are thus joined to the whole body. Each part has its function, but they all function together. The main point of the analogy of the body can be summed up, I feel, in the expression

"Unity within Diversity."

To be in Christ, then, is to be a part of His body.

Theologically, the word in signifies where a believer is, positionally in the eyes of God; namely, in Christ. To be in Christ is to be united with Christ in His righteousness.

"For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21, my emphasis).

We who are sinners saved by grace are anything but righteous. Moreover, Isaiah tells us that

"For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away" (64:6).

In other words, even the best we have to offer God cannot outweigh in the divine scale of justice our uncleanness, filthiness, and iniquities. Along comes Jesus, however, and His righteousness tips the scale in the opposite direction, so to speak.

Think of a zillion-pound weight being on one side of the teeter totter. That's our sin. Our righteous deeds piled up to the sky on the opposite side utterly fail to budge the zillion-pound weight one scintilla.

Jesus' cross death, however, means that God, when He imputes our sin to Jesus and then in turn imputes Jesus' righteousness to us when we believe, tipped the teeter totter as far as it can go in the opposite direction, as if the zillion-pound weight were but a feather! Aren't you glad you're in Christ? There is no safer place to be in all the universe, because when God sees us, He sees us in His Son. And as Paul reminds us,

"Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old has passed away, and all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17, my emphasis).

share|improve this answer
    
So to be in christ means that we are become righteousness of God in him through faith given to me? This faith is faith in Him? –  laovultai Oct 30 '13 at 17:19
1  
@laovultai: Yes, you expressed the thought very well. God gives us the faith to believe that Jesus died for us (Ephesians 2:8,9). Once we believe and trust that God will do as He promises, our sin-debt is gone and God credits us with Jesus' righteousness. God's charges against us because of our sins are nailed to Jesus' cross, and we no longer bear any condemnation in Christ (Colossians 2:14)! –  rhetorician Oct 31 '13 at 2:59
    
@rhetorician.. Does God give faith to believe the fact that Jesus died for me, or to believe in Him, or to believe that God will do as He promises or all of them? Is the promise of God that you mentioned, promise that our sin-debt is gone and God credits us with Jesus' righteousness, when we are given faith? –  laovultai Nov 5 '13 at 21:43
1  
I think "all of them" is my answer, though they need not be in any particular order. Each of us believes in Jesus and receives Jesus in slightly different ways. God is not as interested, I believe, in how or when you come to Jesus, or even in the words you use to ask Him to save you. The Holy Spirit has a way of nudging us and encouraging us to listen to, and obey, His promptings. The tax collector's prayer (Lk 18:13) is a great one. In English, it's only seven words long: "God be merciful to me, a sinner." What did Jesus say of him? He went home justified; his God-given faith saved him. –  rhetorician Nov 5 '13 at 23:55
    
I have recently thought that we are saved by faith in Jesus, but you said that faith is in the fact that Jesus died for us. –  laovultai Nov 6 '13 at 9:01

What does it mean to be in Messiah?

Consider this interaction between Jesus and his disciples in John 14:

If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but it is the Father, abiding in me, who is doing the work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.

Jesus reiterates his teaching:

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my words and the Father will love him, and we will come to him and abide with him. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my words. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

To summarize, Messiah teaches his disciples that by result that he is in the Father,

  1. To see the Messiah is to see the Father.
  2. The words Messiah speaks carry the authority of the Father.

The Greek word meno means to stay, remain, or dwell, and is often translated to the English abide. We should consider abide in to mean “continuously be in” or “ever-be in.”

Jesus continues in John 15:

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the Grower. Every branch in me that is not bearing fruit he takes, and every one bearing fruit he prunes, so that it bears more fruit"

"I am the vine, and you are the branches. The one who abides in me bears many fruits, but apart from me you can do nothing."

  1. To abide in Messiah is to bear many fruits. (effective)
  2. Apart from Messiah (not in Messiah) one can do nothing. (ineffective)

We see that the writers of the Epistles, namely Paul, also contemplated this notion of being in, as the state of being in Messiah is given significant consideration in the New Testament:

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:5)

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

  1. Those in Messiah have life.
  2. Those in Messiah have perpetual life.
  3. Those in Messiah are unified.

These numbered lists are of qualities and effects that result from being in Messiah, but do not determine what it is to be in Messiah. Paul gives a concise definition of what it is to be in Messiah:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

To be in Messiah is to have Messiah abiding in you, to have him living through you. It is to be one with Messiah, like Messiah is one with the Father, and the Father is in Messiah, and the Father lives through Messiah. Again, Jesus says:

Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but it is the Father, abiding in me, who is doing the work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.

What Messiah says here of the Father is the same thing Paul says in the previous verse (Gal 2:20) of Messiah.

How does one get to be in Messiah?

Calling. Those who are in Messiah call upon Messiah and are called by God to be in Messiah.

To those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:2, incomplete)

Election. Those who are in Messiah were chosen by God to be in Messiah.

For [God] chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in [Christ]. (Ephesians 1:4)

God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

Faith. Those who are in Messiah have heard and believed the Gospel of Jesus, who is Messiah.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Obedience. Those who are in Messiah keep his words.

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to abide in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:3-6)

An important note to end on

In addition to the notion of being in presented here, there is an ancestral notion of being in. For example, Levi is described by the Hebrews author as in Abraham (literally, "in his body" or "in his loins") in Hebrews 7:9-10:

And to speak literally, through Abraham even Levi, the one receiving a tenth, pays a tenth because he was still in his father when Abraham met Melchisedek.

Levi was in Abraham, and also in Adam, as all are in Adam. This is significant to this question as the two aspects are contrasted by Paul in 1 Cor 15:22,

As in Adam all men die, in Christ all are restored to life.

It is notable that the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews applies this reasoning to a payment that was required under the law. Paul applies the same logic to the aspect of being in addressed in detail above, and describes it as the way for both justification of the sinner according to the payment required under the law of sinners, namely death, and also sanctification of the flesh.

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Romans 6:3-7)

share|improve this answer
    
This is relevant to me. So to be in Christ means that Messiah is abiding in you? Also it might mean that you are made righteous? I now know that you get to be in Christ( in other words you are born again/saved/child of God/made righteous?) by calling[1 cor.1:2], by election[Eph.1:4&1 Cor.1:30], by faith[eph.1:13-14], by obedience[1 john.2:3-6]. It's good news to know that you get to be in Christ when you are called, elected, believe in your heart and obey. –  laovultai Sep 21 at 20:48
    
@laovultai Indeed, it is good news to all. –  Andrew Oct 5 at 5:40

It's just an alternative way to express that you have accepted Christ as Savior. It generally is used communally --"together in Christ" -- representing the way Christian belief unifies us.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.