Sometimes we use a phrase so much, it loses its meaning. Greetings are the most obvious; phrases like: “Good morning, isn’t it?”, “How’s it going?”, and “What’s up?” come to mind. I wish I had a nickel for every time somewhat asked me those questions without pausing for a moment to hear my answer. Let’s face it: We say some things without really knowing what we mean, or really expecting an answer. I think it has something to do with our hurried life.

Some phrases are more important than others. One in particular has caught my attention… and won’t let it go. So, I think I will bring it to yours.  I hope you will slow down enough to consider the deeper meaning of it.

The phrase I have in mind is a particularly Christian one. It is simple, but profound. We Christians read it, hear it and say it all the time. I am not sure we always consider all that it means.

“In Christ”

This short phrase may be the most important in all the New Testament. Check out the following passages:

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 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

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Romans 12:4-5

It is “in Christ (Jesus)” that we are alive to God, and free from the law of sin and death. It is there that we find the gift of eternal life; without condemnation. “In Christ” is where we are if we are a member of the body of Christ, children of God, redeemed, saved and being saved.

Take a moment and let that sink in. Whatever you call – and whatever you mean by – being a Christian, it is equivalent to, and encompassed by: “In Christ”.

Now, I am not sharing this with you because I think it is a neat discovery (though it has been for me); and I am not sharing “in Christ” as just another philosophical or religious concept. I am sharing “in Christ” with you because I believe it has flesh-and-bones significance for the normal Christian life. And I mean that quite literally. Let’s go back to the Romans 12 passage.

 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Romans 12:4-5

It is “in Christ” that we are the body of Christ; and members of one another. Furthermore, and this is my main point, we are “in Christ” (and all that means) when we are in one body – the body of Christ – and we are members of one another. I encourage you to challenge that deduction. Make sure it is true for you. Make sure you believe it.

The obvious application here is for those that have chosen to live the Christian life outside Christian fellowship. I believe they are greatly deceived and destined for disaster. I believe the Father desires their return; and will use us to draw them back into the body.

Of course, I am not the first to encourage the body of Christ in regards to His wandering sheep. Actually, that is not where I intended to go with this article. But it is the heart of God; and I know he has encouraged you to reach out in your spheres of influence.

The Point Points Somewhere

The point – being “in Christ” means being in fellowship with other followers of Christ – actually points somewhere; a somewhere that we ought to be moving towards. Being in fellowship is not a static position in the life of a follower of Christ. Being in fellowship is a process.

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of ChristEphesians 4:11-13

Christ is building His church; and He has invested much in her. One day soon, she will appear; and the Heavenly Host will rejoice.

And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!  Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”  And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Revelation 19:6-8

This is where the point is pointing – to the marriage supper of the Lamb. It will not occur until “His wife has made herself ready.” This should be one of the strongest desires of our hearts.

God has given us great encouragement for this in His word. The New Testament has much to say about “in Christ”. A simple search on produces 94 references. Here are a few of them:

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 2Corinthians 2:14

… the veil is taken away in Christ. 2Corinthians 3:14

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation… 2Corinthians 5:17

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ… Ephesians 1:3

…and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus… Ephesians 2:6

Triumph, revelation, new creation, every spiritual blessing, sitting together in heavenly places; all the reality for those who are “in Christ”.

So, how do we get there? How do we respond to the LORD’s encouragement with movement in an eternally positive direction?

Closing Propositions

In closing, I offer three propositions for your consideration:

First, I propose to you that the “in Christ” promises of God are conditional, and proportional, to our pursuit and attainment of the one another fellowship described in the New Testament.

Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another. Mark 9:50

“Have peace with one another” is not an option; it is a command of our King. Note His use of the word “with”. Our peace is to be found with one another, not in avoiding one another.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

We must love one another… as He loved us. Lest we forget, that love was sacrificial, even unto death on a cross. It is a condition of our being His disciples.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another… Romans 12:10

Giving preference means letting the other choose, not choosing for them. This type of love requires humility and trust in our Father. One another fellowship encourages our spiritual maturity.

Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Romans 15:7

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:13, 26

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! James 5:9

It is for God’s glory that we receive one another (i.e., to grant another access to one’s heart). One of the saddest things to see are fellowships in close geographic proximity living apart from one another. Rather than serve each other, they glory in themselves. Satan uses this to set in motion a cycle of vain glory pursuit, envy, and one-upmanship.

Secondly, I propose that the normal Christian life – the life of “exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think” – is pursued and attained in fellowship; and is unattainable without it; and, furthermore, that an increase in one another fellowship produces an increase of the life of Jesus Christ in His followers; and the eternal rewards of that life.

Lastly, I propose that we get on with the work of being made one in Christ. His wife will not be dismembered. Those that are not passionately a part of Christ’s church will not be “in Christ”. Don’t settle for the comfortable fellowship you are in right now. Know there is more; much more. Know and believe that He desires our complete unity; that He is eagerly waiting for His wife. Act on your faith in this. Do not settle for anything less that our Master’s passionate desire for His wife.

Humbly yours and His forever,