Grapes on the vineWhen the Apostle Paul was in prison in Rome, among other letters, he wrote to the church in Ephesus. A common theme in that letter is the concept of us being “in Christ.” Paul wrote, “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:11–12)

The phrase, “in Christ,” or, “in Him” is repeated numerous times in Ephesians:

  • God has “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (1:3)
  • “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” (1:4)
  • God has freely given us His glorious grace in Christ. (1:6)
  • “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (1:7)
  • God “made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ.” (1:9)
  • “In Him we were also chosen.” (1:11)
  • We have put our hope in Christ. (1:12)
  • “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth.”(1:13)
  • “When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” (1:13)

I think you get the picture! But what does it mean to be “in Christ”? In John 15, Jesus described our relationship with Him as “organic.” Jesus likened our relationship with Him as branches on a vine. “I am the vine; you’re the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

And using the analogy of marriage and that the husband and wife become one flesh, Paul explains, “Whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:17)

To be “in Christ” means so much more than merely to say, “we’re Christians.” We truly become one with Him. As a branch on the vine, we are totally and utterly dependent on Him. We take on His DNA. Our sustenance comes from Him and the “fruit” we bear comes from Him.

When Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus so identifies with His church (us) that Jesus asked Paul, “Why do you persecute Me?” (Acts 9:4) “In Christ” we are His family, His children, and therefore one with Him and with each other (John 17:21). In fact, just as Christ is one with the Father, so are we with Him and with each other.

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:1–22

Personal Application

When you read the Scripture reading above, what else do you learn about what it means to be “in Christ”? What impact does being “in Christ” have on the way you live? When you have time, read the rest of Ephesians to understand more of what it means to be “in Christ.”

Jim and Wendell signatures Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton

We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5