In Him – 1 John 2:5-6 08/09/20
The concept of the Christian being “in Christ” has come up more than once as we’ve been studying our way through the letter to the Colossians. Since Sam Uch will be filling the pulpit for me this week, I thought we might spend a little time exploring what it means to be “in Christ.”
The idea isn’t hard to find in the New Testament, one example among many is 1 John 2:5-6 ~
5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
What does it mean for us to be “in Him?” To begin with, the Apostle John says that we can know we are in Christ if we walk, or live, the way Jesus did. To determine what that means, we have to take a look at how Jesus lived. Jesus defined His lifestyle in John 8:28-29 ~
29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
Jesus’ life was focused on doing the Father’s will all of the time, when it was easy, when it was hard, when, from a human perspective, it made no sense. So we have this external measure of living in Christ. But I submit to you that there’s more going on than our trying to do the Father’s will. In fact, it takes precious little time trying to do that before we realize this is beyond us. Are you familiar with the expression, “Crash and burn”?
If that’s the case, are we presented with an impossible situation? We sure are, if your goal is to tough it out and live the Christian life based in willpower, determination, and personal righteousness. The Prophet Isaiah made this pointed observation about human righteousness; Isaiah 64:6 ~
6 But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.
So where does that leave us? Dead to the possibility of ever living “in Him” based on our efforts. I’ve struggled with this since my conversion; my personality is such that I am a natural “do-er.” I’m driven to make things happen, I’m driven to excel, and as a result, I’m driven to fail. We need to do something different if living “in Him” is going to be a reality.
We have to stop trying and die. Galatians 2:20 sums it up very well ~
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
This isn’t symbolic language, this is a truth-statement that every Christian has to take to heart. Crucifixion is required, our old lives, our old natures, are going to fight against the life of Christ ruling our lives. Therefore, it is necessary that our old lives, the Apostle Paul calls it the “flesh” in many places, our fallen natures, need to be done away with. Crucifixion is a great word to describe this, because our old fallen natures don’t die easily, it takes time, it hurts, it is a process. But it needs to happen.
Rather than striving to be good enough, we are called upon to surrender and allow the life of Christ to live through us… by faith. That little word “faith” is a bugger. It means we accept the reality of it when we don’t feel like it, when we see God working and when we don’t, we make the conscious and intentional moment by moment decision to allow the life of Christ to be lived through us.
How? Just as children need to learn to walk, as a Christian we need to learn to walk, that is, to live, in Christ. The Christian life requires that it be Christ’s life, no one else can live it. So we begin to learn how to do this. Falteringly, slowly, we learn to submit to His Lordship in all areas. As the Spirit reveals additional areas of our life not under Jesus’ supreme control, we decide to submit these additional aspects of our life to Him.
The simple reality is this; if you are a Christian, you’re already “in Christ.” Now you have to learn how to live in that reality. You might take the time to look up all the passages that refer to being “in Him,” “in Christ,” “alive to God,” “in the Spirit,” “walking in the Spirit,” and then meditate on what that means.
This is true revival as we are remade in Jesus’ image. We don’t try to mimic Him, almost by accident our lives begin to look like His.
 The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 1 Jn 2:5–6.  The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Jn 8:28–29.  The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Is 64:6.  The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Ga 2:19–20.