Is Christ an afterthought, or the heartbeat of our life?
I have been studying the letter of Ephesians in the Bible and Paul’s address and opening statements makes us think about what it means to be “In Him” (i.e. in Christ).
Paul repeatedly explains what believers are and have “in Him.” In Him we were chosen, that we should be holy and blameless (v.1:4). I can really drop the ball on the “holy and blameless” part! In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace (v.1:7).
It is grace precisely because we do not deserve it! He lavished this on us according to His purposes He set forth in Christ and in the fullness of time all things will be united in Him, things in heaven and on earth (v.1:8-10). As chapter 2 will clearly lay out, this is not universalism, but redemption and judgment. In Him we have obtained an inheritance (v. 1:11). In Him, if we have heard and believed the gospel, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (1:13). If we are His, our identity is found in Him.
In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. In Him, God is glorified by the unfolding story of the cross. In Him, we live, move, and exist. In Him, shall the Gentiles hope. In Him, we are enriched in everything, in all speech and in all knowledge. In Him, the promises of God are confirmed. In Him, our sin is taken away and we become the righteousness of God. If we are taught in Him, we can lay aside our old manner of life and live an new life. In Him, all things hold together. In Him, all the fullness of God dwells in bodily form and we are made complete. In Him, there is no darkness.
So the question that must be answered be each one of us, “Am I in Him?” If we believe in Him, we shall not perish, for in Him is everlasting life for those who believe. Without this surrender, we can never live in Him. Believing in Him means we recognize the reality and gravity of our sin. This sin separates us from God who is holy, forever. Our culture tells us that as long as we are a “good” person, we are o.k. with God, if there is a God at all. The truth is, there is a God and His standard is NOT that our good deeds outweigh or out number our bad deeds. His standard is that we shall be holy, for He is holy. Any sin, one sin, puts us below this standard.
We must admit our sinful ways and believe that what Christ did on the cross paid the just penalty we deserve for our sin. Then we confess this belief and receive the forgiveness that is already waiting for us. Then, just as Christ rose from the dead, we too can walk in newness of life, now and for eternity. This new life is in Him!
For those of us who have settled the question of forgiveness, are we living each day in Him?
He has given us all we need for life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him.