What is it Like to be “IN” Christ?
Romans 8, verse 1 tells us; “Therefore, there is now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans chapter 6, verse 23 tells us; “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God, is eternal life, IN Christ Jesus our Lord.” So then, if we are IN Christ, we won’t experience condemnation, but rather, we’ll experience eternal life.
You see, to be IN Christ, is to be in a particular “condition”. You’re not in a “place” when you’re IN Christ, but you’re in a condition. And it’s a very good condition that you’re in, when you’re IN Christ. Think about the condition that Christ is in. Here’s how Acts 2:33 describes Christ’s condition; “..Having been exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father, the promise of the Holy Spirit..”
The “promise” of the Holy Spirit is eternal life. That’s a pretty good condition to be in, isn’t it? To be exalted by God, and to receive eternal life.
The phrase, “by the right hand of God”, is really a metaphor. It means “by the power of God”. Christ was exalted by the power of God. And now He has eternal life with God in heaven. Christ has “re-taken” His original position in heaven, hasn’t He? That’s what the word “received” means in this verse. It means to take hold of again, that which you once had; Christ “took hold of”, the eternal life, that he had from eternity.
Here’s what it says in Philippians 2:6 & 7? Speaking of Christ, it says; “Who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God, a thing to be grasped.” (or, “held onto”) But He emptied Himself, taking on the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men.”
Can you imagine that? Christ really did humble Himself didn’t He? He existed in the form of God! He WAS God! But yet He gave that up, and became a man. Would you do that? Would you give up the absolute bliss of heaven, to come and live here on this earth? Boy, talk about humbling yourself.
And as if that wasn’t enough, listen to verse 8, of Philippians 2; “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself..” (he had already humbled Himself, now He’s going to humble Himself even more) “..He humbled Himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death of a cross.” I don’t know if you or I would have done that.
But because HE did that, God exalted Him. And that’s exactly what God promises to do for us, He promises to exalt us, IF we will humble ourselves. Like it says in 1 Peter 5:6; “Humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God..” Remember how Christ was exalted by the “right hand” of God? The “right hand” is the same as the “mighty hand”. It means by the power of God. “Humble yourselves therefore, under the power of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time.”
You see, God treats us, the very same way that He treated His only begotten Son. That’s because we are also sons, and daughters, if we’re IN Christ. That kind of makes me feel good, knowing that the Almighty God of heaven, treats me, and He treats you, just like He treated His only begotten Son. It makes me think of Psalm 8, verse 4; “What is man, that Thou does take thought of him, and the son of man, that Thou does care for him?”
Let’s think about Christ’s “condition”, and our “condition”, if we’re IN Christ. Acts 2:33 said; “Therefore having been exalted by the right hand of God (just like we’re going to be) and having received from the Father, the promise of the Holy Spirit..” Christ received the promise of the Holy Spirit. That’s what we’re going to receive! Right? Isn’t that what God promises us, in Acts 2:38 & 39? Listen.. “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the PROMISE.. (the gift is the promise) ..the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.”
When Christ was exalted by the power of God, in other words, when Christ ascended back to heaven, He received from the Father what had been promised. Christ was able to “take back”, the eternal life that He had once had, when He existed in the form of God in heaven, before He was found in appearance as a man.
And even though Christ was God, and we are simply the creation of God, through Christ, God has the same thing in store for us, that he has already given to Christ. When we believe in God the Father, and in Christ the Son, and when we repent of our sins and are baptized INTO Christ, we are then in the same “condition” that Christ was in, when He lived on this earth. We are all saved souls, just like Christ was, preparing for eternity, by doing the will of God.
Jesus always knew who He was, and why He was here, and exactly where He was going. Jesus always knew that He was the Son of God. When he was just twelve years old, He said, in Luke 2:49; “Did you not know, that I had to be about My Father’s business?” He knew His Father was the God of heaven. And Jesus always knew that He was going to be crucified. Early on, in Christ’s ministry, He said to Nicodemus, in John 3:14 & 15; “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.”
And even before that, Jesus had told the Jews, who were selling things on the grounds of the temple; “Destroy THIS temple, and I will raise it up again in three days.” (John 2:19) And we’re told in verse 21; “But He was speaking of the temple of His body.” So Jesus knew, that even though He was going to be raised up and crucified, He’d also be resurrected.
And Jesus knew that after He was resurrected, that He’d ascend back to heaven, and “receive” His eternal kingdom. He said in Mathew 16:28; “..There are some of you standing here, who will not see death, until you see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” Jesus had always had the knowledge of the promise, that He would return to heaven, and once again take His rightful place in eternity, as the God of heaven.
And Acts 2:33 tells us that indeed, Christ was exalted by the “right hand of God”, by the power of God, and that indeed He did receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. And we also, have that same promise made to us. We are in virtually the same “condition” condition that Christ was in, when He was on earth. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel good. It gives me encouragement.
We know, what Christ knew. We know, from Mathew 16:16, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And we know that he was crucified, and buried, and raised again on the third day, as we’re told in 1 Corinthians 15;3 & 4. And we know that He has ascended back to heaven. (Acts 1:9) And we know from Romans 8:34, that He is “at the right hand of God”, and that He “intercedes for us”.
Now I want to say something about the phrase, “AT the right hand of God”. If we say that Christ is “AT” the right hand of God, it really doesn’t convey the proper meaning of the verse. Again, the phrase “the right hand of God”, means the power of God. But Christ isn’t simply “at” a place where God’s power is. The word “at”, is a poor choice of words. The proper meaning is that Christ is “with” the power of God, and that Christ “IS “the power of God.
Remember John 1, verse 1, where it says; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was WITH God, and the Word was GOD!” Well, Romans 8:34, is a lot like that verse. Christ is not only WITH the power of God, but Christ IS the power of God! Let me read Romans 8, verses 33 & 34; “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies, who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes rather, He who was raised. Who IS the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” Christ is WITH the power of God, and He is a PART OF the power of God, and He IS the power of God.
When Christ ascended back to heaven, He truly once again became ONE with God, in all respects. He “emptied Himself” when he came to earth as a man. But when He ascended back to heaven, you might say, He was re-filled, with the same power, and the same eternal life, which He had from eternity.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and we are His brothers and sisters. Jesus once said; “Who is My mother, and who are My brothers? (Mat 12:48). In verse 50, He said; “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother, and sister, and mother.” If we are IN Christ, we’re in a “condition”, very much like Jesus was in. Jesus went through this earthly life, doing the will of God the Father, and knowing that he was destined for heaven. “My meat, My food.. He said, “..is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34)
That’s exactly how we should be going through this life; Doing the will of our Father, and accomplishing His work, knowing that we are brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, and knowing that we are destined for heaven if we remain IN Christ. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared (it’s not been shown to us) as yet, what we shall be. We know, that when He appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)
We ARE like Christ WAS, in this life, and we’ll BE, like Christ IS, in eternity. But God hasn’t revealed to us yet, exactly what Christ IS like, right now. We know what he WAS like, when He was on earth, but what’s He like now, in heaven? Maybe God hasn’t revealed to us exactly what Christ is like NOW, and what we’ll be like THEN, because we don’t have the ability to understand it now. But God says that we will understand it at the proper time.
When Christ is revealed from heaven, “we shall see Him as He is”. We’ll “see”, so to speak, His condition. What does a spiritual body “look” like? We don’t know now, but we will know then. What is it like to be in the very presence of God? We can’t comprehend that now, but we’ll comprehend it then.
But on the other hand, what would it be like to be completely separated from the presence of God. We can’t comprehend that, because we’ve never been, totally separated from God’s presence. God is all around us, isn’t He? And that’s all we’ve ever known. But when we leave this earth, the world that God has created for us, and when the resurrection comes, then, many will find out what it’s like to be totally separated from God. Luke 13:28 says; “And there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being cast out.”
I don’t want to be in that condition, do you? I want to be “IN Christ”. I want to have “put on Christ”. I want to belong to Christ. That’s the condition that I want to be in. Galatians 3:27 says; “For all of you who have been baptized INTO Christ, have put on Christ.” Verse 29 says; “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahams’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
If we belong to Christ, then when we see, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the others, in the kingdom of God, THEN we’ll be right along side them, in the same condition as Christ, in the kingdom of God.
Even though we can’t know exactly what we’ll be like in heaven. We do know this; We’ll be like Christ, because we’ll see Him as He is. And we’ll obviously recognize Him! And do you know who else we’ll recognize? We’ll recognize Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets. We’ll recognize them, even though we’ve never, ever seen them before. But yet we’ll know who they are. AND, “When you see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.. In the kingdom of God”, you will also see everyone else who is in the kingdom of God. Do you have loved ones, who are in the kingdom of God? You’ll see them in heaven. And you’ll know who they are. Do you have friends, who are in the kingdom, but have passed from this life? You’ll be seeing them in heaven. You’ve got God’s word on it!
The thought of that makes you want to believe God’s words, doesn’t it? And it makes you want to repent of your sins, so that you can be baptized and be forgiven of those sins, so that you can “clothe yourself with Christ”, and so that you can “belong to Christ”, so you can see them in heaven! And it makes us want to confess Christ’s name from the highest mountain, and to remain faithful, even unto death.
Will you do those things now? This is your opportunity, so that you can know Christ as He is, and know your fellow Christians, throughout eternity.