Jul 27

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What a grand subject, “What does it mean to be in Christ?” Is there a greater blessing, than to be “in Christ?” I think not! That is, if we understand what it means to be “in Christ.” In this fifth article under the above heading, we will continue to look at this grand subject! Following the conclusion of these articles, we will have a series on the subject: “IS ‘IN CHRIST’ EQUAL TO BEING ‘IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST?”
The motivation to be “in Christ” comes from the fact that all those who are not “in Christ,” are lost, save those who are not of accountability. In doing “personal work” as we sometimes call it, this subject should be addressed! Therefore, what does it mean to be “in Christ?”
If there is an urgency to be “In Christ,” and there is, there must be a reason(s), that is greater than all other things, to study it! Man has many opinions to entertain his mind and desires other than being “in Christ” but not one of them or all of them put together can come even a “fortnight” in closeness! Turning here our attention to the beautiful words found in Ephesians chapter one, verse three: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” No matter how one looks at these words, it must be a thrill to the heart, to the depth of its ability to reason!
In the simple thought, God has blessed his people; and the saved today are his people! The text is not without debate, however, as to just what it means. Young’s Literal translation of this verse reads: “Blessed (The Greek word “eulogetos” which comes from the root word “adorable, added by frw) is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who did bless us in every spiritual blessing (The Greek word, “eulogia” which will be looked at later in this article, added by frw.) in the heavenly places in Christ.” What is the point, just here? It is to call attention to the past tense of the text, as in “did bless.” It is not looking at future blessings, but at those blessings that God has already given to those who are “in Christ.” There is a relationship between these words and the words which follow. The following words are: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world (kosmos) (Please note, Paul used the “word” (kosmo) and not the word earth (ge) frw), that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (verse 4). Here is what Albert Barnes wrote: “The meaning of this phrase is, that God has laid a foundation for gratitude for what he has done. The ground or reason of the praise here referred to, is that which is stated in the following verses. The leading thing on which the apostle dwells is God‘s eternal purpose – his everlasting counsel in regard to the salvation of man.” (Notes on the Whole Bible). It will help if our minds go all the way back to Genesis, chapter three and verse fifteen: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” These words introduce mankind to God’s plan of salvation and we must see that it is much larger than what we generally refer to as the “The five steps of salvation.” (May I add, as we deal with this thought, that there is nothing wrong with using these words!) All things which God had prepared for the salvation of man, is included in the words, “all spiritual blessings!” Thus, God the Father is to be praised by man! Mankind should fall upon bended knees and worship at the throne of God!
Are we beginning to get the idea, as to what it means to be “in Christ?” We are those who have received “all spiritual blessings in Christ.” Therefore, let us rejoice! Nevertheless, it must never be forgotten that “all spiritual blessings” are “in Christ!” So, when we ask: “What does it mean to be in Christ?” The answer is that those and only those, who are “in Christ,” are the ones who have received “all spiritual blessings!” Paul is not writing about what the saved will be receiving but he is addressing those “spiritual blessings” which have been received by the child of God. The text is not forward looking in this sense but backward looking; as in “hath blessed!” In that Paul used the word “blessed,” just what does this word mean? The word is most interesting! It is the Greek word “eulogia” and means: “elegance of language; commendation” among other things (Strong). Thayer would add to the thoughts, these words: “an invocation of blessing, benediction” (Among other things). This word itself, points to the end, as in “eulogy” which is given at the end of life, and not at the beginning. Thus, the word “blessing” is addressing what has already been given and received by those who are “in Christ!” The child of God, therefore, should never be found, looking for a reason to be grateful to God, not thanking God for what he/she has received!
More will be written on this part of the subject in the next article! However, we have been given much to think about and study about in this article!

Frank R. Williams

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