What does it mean to be “in Christ Jesus?” Paul uses the phrase “in Christ Jesus” here and in dozens of other verses in his letters, so it must be important. Let’s look at some of those verses.
1 Corinthians 1:30 – We are in Christ Jesus because of God.
Romans 6:3 – We were baptized into Christ Jesus. We were also baptized into His death.
Romans 3:24 – Redemption is in Christ Jesus!
Romans 6:11 – We are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:23 – Eternal life is in Christ Jesus!
Romans 8:39 – The love of God is in Christ Jesus.
Romans 9:1 – Paul says he is speaking the truth in Christ.
Romans 12:5 – We are one body in Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:2 – The people of God’s church have been sanctified in Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:4 – God’s grace was given to them in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 3:1 – The spiritually immature are infants in Christ.
1 Corinthians 4:10 – One can be wise in Christ (but be sure it’s true wisdom).
1 Corinthians 4:15 – Paul became the Corinthians’ father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
1 Corinthians 4:17 – Paul sent Timothy to remind them of his ways in Christ, as he taught them in every church.
1 Corinthians 15:19 – We have hope in Christ!
1 Corinthians 15:22 – All who are in Christ shall be made alive.
2 Corinthians 1:21 – God establishes us in Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:14 – God leads us in triumph in Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:17 – Paul speaks in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation!
2 Corinthians 5:19 – In Christ, God reconciled the world to Himself.
Galatians 1:22 – The churches of Judea were in Christ.
Galatians 2:4 – We have freedom in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 2:16 – We have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be justified by faith in Christ.
Galatians 3:26 – In Christ Jesus, we are all sons of God, through faith.
Galatians 3:28 – We are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 5:6 – Only faith working through love counts for anything in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 1:1 – The saints are faithful in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:6-7 – God seated us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so He might show His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:10 – We were created in Christ Jesus for good works.
Ephesians 2:13 – In Christ Jesus, we have been brought near to God!
Ephesians 3:6 – Gentiles are partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
Ephesians 3:11 – God has realized His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:26 – Paul said the Philippians could have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus because of Paul’s returning to them.
Philippians 3:3 – Paul gloried in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14 – The upward call of God is in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 – God will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 2:14 – Paul tells the Thessalonians to imitate the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – It is the will of God in Christ Jesus that we give thanks in all circumstances.
1 Timothy 1:4 and 2 Timothy 1:13 – Faith and love are in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 3:13 – Faith is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:1 – The promise of life is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:9 – God gave a holy calling in Christ Jesus before the ages began.
2 Timothy 2:1 – Grace is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:10 – Salvation is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
2 Timothy 3:12 – We will be persecuted if we desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:15 – The Scriptures can make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Philemon 1:23 – Paul and Epaphrus were prisoners in Christ Jesus.
There are still more verses, but what does this all mean? If we consider three broad questions, we can begin to get a picture of what Paul means when he speaks of someone or something being “in Christ Jesus.”
I. What is in Christ Jesus?
- Wisdom of life
- The love of God
- The upward call of God
- God’s holy calling
- God’s grace
- In kindness toward us
- His church
- God’s will
- Faith and love
- Faith working through love is the only worthy faith.
- God’s riches in glory
- Eternal life
There are many more verses in Paul’s writings in which he used the phrase “in Christ Jesus” or simply “in Christ.” The few dozen verses looked at here are sufficient to show us that in Christ are found far greater treasures than anyone could possibly find outside of Christ.
2. What are we in Christ Jesus?
- Spiritual infants or maturing learners
- Dead to sin and alive to God
- Sons of God through faith
- Established by God
- Speakers of truth
- One body
- Examples to others
- Created for good works
- New creation
- Partakers of the promise through the gospel
- Potential prisoners
Again, there are many other verses that talk about who we are in Christ. Combined with what is in Christ (and, therefore, what we have in Christ), these verses should be sufficient to establish our identity in Christ.
III. Where are we in Christ and why?
- Brought near to God
- Seated in the heavenly places
- Because of God
Considering all that we have and are in Christ and where we are in Him, perhaps the next question is the most important: How do we get into Christ? Romans 6:23 and Galatians 3:27 say we were baptized into Christ. This raises several questions about baptism to consider in a future study.
Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. -Acts 17:11 (WEB)