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,

  • 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.
    – alvoutila
    Jul 21, 2014 at 8:53
  • The community will have to explain more about why they closed your question, but I suspect it would be re-opened if you were to specify some specific branch or denomination's view: e.g. How do Catholics answer these questions? Or, How do Evangelicals answer these questions? Or even, How do Orthodox Christians answer these questions?
    – user22553
    Aug 31, 2016 at 23:31

3 Answers 3


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).

  • 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?
    – alvoutila
    Oct 30, 2013 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)! Oct 31, 2013 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?
    – alvoutila
    Nov 5, 2013 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. Nov 5, 2013 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.
    – alvoutila
    Nov 6, 2013 at 9:01

In his article Mysticism in the Early Church, early twentieth century theologian Arthur C. McGiffert describes what Paul means by "in Christ".

The Christian man is he in whom dwells divinity. By faith, the mystical bond of union, he is brought into complete oneness with God, so that it is no longer he that lives, but the divine Christ that lives in him (cf. Gal. 3:27; 4:19; Rom. 8; Eph. 2:22; 3:17; Col. I:27 ff.; 3:3). It is a genuine physical or metaphysical unity of which Paul speaks -not simply a oneness of spirit, or disposition, or will, but of substance. Jesus Christ, who is himself divine, or the Spirit of God, who is one with Christ, enters into the believer and substitutes for his fleshly nature a spiritual and divine nature, so that he is a new creature altogether. The result of the divine indwelling is not simply union, but identity. It is not that the man and Christ are brought into intimate association, but that they become one, so that the man dies with Christ unto the flesh, and rises with him unto a new life, unto the spirit; so that what Christ does he does, and what Christ has he has.''

Consider what Paul has said earlier to the Romans.

Romans 6:3-11 (NASB) 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.

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

This inclusion in Christ is strictly by the action of God, and not of man.

1 Corinthians 1:30 (NASB) But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

  • 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.
    – alvoutila
    Sep 21, 2014 at 20:48
  • @laovultai Indeed, it is good news to all.
    – Andrew
    Oct 5, 2014 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.


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