In my last post I wrote about how, for those who are “in Christ” there is no longer condemnation. So what does it mean to be “in Christ”? The term “in Christ” was coined by the Apostle Paul. Its used in the New Testament 216 times. Now if someone tells me something 216 times it its safe to assume that its very important and its something that ought not to be forgotten. Though Paul coined that phrase, the concept behind it was not new. Jesus used a similar analogy in John 15:5. It’s the analogy of the vine and the branches. The branches are wholly dependent on the trunk or vine for survival. In a very real sense the branches need to be a part of, or “abide in” the Vine to survive. That’s a powerful picture of what it means to be “in Christ”.
Being in Christ is a continuous, constant state of relationship. While that starts with salvation, it does not end there. What Paul and Jesus imply is a state of relationship, a loving mutual relationship, not a cold “legal state of being”.
So what does it mean for us who are in Christ?
Identity in Christ:
The branches take their identity from the vine. Once part of the vine, the branches share of the vine, it is part of the vine, its identity is derived from its relationship with the vine. Its no longer thought of separately.
Who we are is no longer defined by anything other than Christ. We might have been defined by our preferences, race, language, background, either positively or negatively. But right now our identity is entirely rooted and secure in Christ. He defines us and gives us meaning. We are complete in Him. No matter what happens we are still part of the Divine Vine.
Nourished in Christ:
The branches are nourished by the Vine. They bear fruit. It will dry and wither out without the sustaining power of the Vine.
The same is true for us who are in Christ. We can do nothing without Him. He nourished and sustains us and enables us to bear fruit. It’s essential for us to be in communion with Him. For apart from Christ we are dead, with no hope for survival. Let us yearn to be like Paul, who counted himself dead apart from Christ (Galatians 2:20).