Jul 19

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Having reached the conclusion that the physical body of Jesus is no more, as the eleven watched him, “he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9) and Son of God took his rightful place, as he: “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). There Jesus will remain, “till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:25-26). Therefore, so long as death is present with us, Jesus will remain “at the right hand of the Majesty on high!”
Paul will help us understand the nature of the change, from the physical body to the spiritual body. As he wrote the Corinthians, and it is necessary to remind the reader, that Paul writing to children of God; about the two different bodies: “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:49). This was also true of Jesus, he had an “earthy” body but as he left this earth, he underwent a change, from the “earthy” to the “heavenly.” Paul went on to write: “It is sown a natural (in the grave, frw) body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1Cor. 15:44). Now we have written all this to help us understand that no one can be in the physical body of Jesus, as “in Christ,” as it is no more! This being true, when we write/talk about being “in Christ,” the subject must be about his spiritual body and not his earthy body! However, even this causes us to question, just what spiritual body are we addressing!
Are we addressing Jesus’ spiritual body which is in heaven, where he is seated “at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” or does the question relate to another spiritual body and not the personal spiritual body? This brings before us to our question: “What does it mean to be in Christ?” The phrase “in Christ” or its equal is used about twenty-seven times (according to one count) by Paul in his letter to the church at Ephesus. In this regard, Paul wrote to the Romans: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). What a powerful statement! Nevertheless, we still need to know what it means to be “in Christ?” To the called out in Ephesus Paul wrote: “to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1). Looking at the letter to the Ephesians, let us note the following: “in him” (verse 4), “In whom” (verse 7), “In whom” (verse 11), “In whom” (2:21), and “In whom” (2:22). The antecedent to these pronouns, used by Paul, is Christ! As we try to understand what it means to be “in Christ,” this should help: “This expression ‘in Christ’ is one of the hinges of the epistle….denoting the intimate vital union through faith between Christ and his people” (The Pulpit Commentary). The expression, “in Christ,” refers to what?
As we think on these things, The Pulpit Commentary, when writing about being “in Christ,” denotes “the intimate vital union through faith between Christ and his people” (The Pulpit Commentary) gets us away from the thought, that we are some how in the spiritual body that Jesus has as he is seated “at the right hand of the down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” The writer correctly noted that it is “through faith,” and this brings us to the fact, that faith comes by means of the report of the inspired writers in the New Testament! Separate and apart from the inspired writings, “the teaching of Christ,” no one can be “in Christ!” To be “in Christ” is tantamount to being in his teaching, and not the spiritual body seated “at the right of the Majesty on high!” The called by the gospel of Christ are also called into the gospel of Christ and out from among the lost and into those who are saved here on earth! Now get this please, this spiritual body is not made up of our physical bodies, but our spirit/soul!
This is a point that is so often missed, it is just not understood; it is not our physical body that is saved, but our spirit/soul, that is saved! If we read the New Testament while applying the beautiful text to our physical body, we are going to think incorrectly, and we have missed “the teaching of Christ” (2 John 9). In Christ is spiritual and not physical! There is no greater question than: “How does one get in Christ?” Boldly, it is written here, that no one of accountability, is saved who is not “in Christ!” Thus, can there be a greater subject, a more important question: “How does one get into Christ?”
As it is learned, how one gets into Christ, it will also be understood what it means to be “in Christ?” May this get under your thinking caps, as into your mind; salvation is “in Christ” or is not out of Christ? Most of the world is out of Christ and this goes hand in hand with Peter’s statement when writing about those who were saved physically during the flood: “while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (1 Pet. 3:20). Sadly, but true, most of those who have lived and will live, are lost! If this is sad to your ears, think how sad it is to God!

Frank R. Williams

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