When you think of yourself being “in Christ” what do you think of? How would you explain this gospel truth? It is much easier to understand Christianity in terms of believing in Christ, or following Christ or knowing Christ. Yet this “in Christ” terminology is favoured by the New Testament writers, Paul especially. It is also packed with the wondrous grace of God shown in the gift of His Son.
If you want to understand better what it means to be IN Christ then this book is for you.
Published in 2012 and written by Australian pastor Rory Shiner “One Forever: The Transforming Power of Being in Christ“ explores so many facets of what this phrase means, in just seven chapters. His writing is conversational and friendly, accessible to most adults and probably many youth. His illustrations are easy to understand, yet the concepts are deep and his pastoral heart is clear. Rory wants us to have the confidence and certainty of being IN Christ, even if our faith is small.
Here are some of the main ideas he explores:
1. To be a Christian is to be in Christ.
“To be a Christian is to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to believe into him. It is to clothe yourself with him.” p40
2. The size of your faith does not matter. The power of the one you have faith in does.
3. Justification is not up to us or our efforts.
Justification is objective. “Justification was not achieved in my heart but on a cross outside Jerusalem”.
“Justification is one of the great joy factories of the Christian life”. P46
4. We are united with Christ in his death and his righteousness and his resurrection.
If we only think of ourselves as following Christ or knowing Christ or being near Christ then we don’t capture what union captures. p58. “Union with Christ is our defence against the playground bullies of sins and temptation.” p56
5. We are right before God because we are in Christ and HE is right before God.
“To stand in Christ is to stand in a place where the wrath of God will never be felt because wrath of God has already been there.” p36
6. Christians aren’t just ‘not perfect but forgiven’, they ‘forgiven and they are united to christ . . . indwelt by the Spirit of God, and they are empowered by God to live a new life. p 62
7. Christ identifies so closely with the Church, His church is His body, He is the Church. When his church is persecuted Christ is persecuted p.70, 68, “Church is the most concrete expression of your union with Christ.” p.73.
“The distinction we make between how we treat Christ and how we treat his gathered people is not a distinction that Jesus makes” (p74).
8. In the case of the weakest and most broken members of our churches, their very brokenness is their gift to the church. They gift to the church their brokenness, and as we are drawn out of ourselves to serve them, we learn how to be the body of Christ. p.72
Now if that has not whet your appetite to better understand the treasure of what it means to be “in Christ”, check out the video below which is designed to explain a little more. And you can find the book at Matthias, Koorong, and Amazon. I hope it will be a blessing to you!