“To them 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
Here’s a mystery many of us may have never seriously contemplated: Christ in you! What’s interesting is that this mystery is often nothing more than a figure of speech used as part of the church’s lingo, but I’ve discovered it’s so much more.
Consider these two Biblical expressions, “In Christ” and “Christ in you.” These two expressions are mentioned 40 times in the book of Ephesians alone. And for every verse throughout the Bible that talks about Christ being in you, several more talk about being in Christ.
Are these two terms the same? The answer is both yes and no. What I mean by that is, you cannot have one without the other. These two terms, “in Christ” and “Christ in you” are two distinct elements of our salvation and yet you cannot have one without the other.
For example, I am married. Ginger is my wife, and I am her husband. I am not the wife, and she is not the husband. However, to say that Ginger is my wife also means that I am her husband. Why? Because we are married to each other. We might also say that the two terms, “in Christ” and “Christ in you” are also married to each other.
So, what are the distinct elements of these two terms?
“In Christ” has more to do with the doctrine of “Justification,” saved by grace through faith. To be justified is best understood by inserting the word into its meaning, “Just as if I’d never sinned.”
“Christ in you” has more to do with the doctrine of “Sanctification,” to be set apart, to be made holy. Now being made holy is both positional and progressive. Positional sanctification is being declared “holy.” Thus, it is complete. Progressive sanctification is the process by which one is being made “holy.” It is not complete, it is ongoing.
These two theological terms are also married to each other, you don’t get one without the other. That means you are both justified and sanctified all at the same time. It is impossible to be “in Christ” and not have “Christ in you.”
So, let’s unpack the idea of what it means to be in Christ and Christ to be in you. At the moment you first believed, the Creator of the universe entered into your being. Prior to that moment, you were separated from God because of sin. But at the precise moment you believed, the Spirit of Christ entered into your spirit for the first time. In that moment, you entered into Christ, and Christ entered into you, and you became a new creation.
No other event in your life, neither before nor after, will ever have the life-changing impact as this one moment. At that moment, the Bible calls you a new creation!
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Beliefs represented by individual authors are not necessarily shared by all members of ICW.