But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this one is not his. But if Christ is in you, on the one hand the body is dead because of sin, but on the other, the Spirit is life because of righteousness (my translation).
“Union with Christ is really the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation not only in its application but also in its once-for-all accomplishment in the finished work of Christ” (Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, p. 161). At the moment we are united to Christ, several blessings become ours. While we lack space in this article to comment on them, it is worth listing them, so that we know the richness of what it means to be in Christ.
- We become part of the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). To say this another way, we participate in Christ’s death and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:11-12; 3:1-4).
- We are justified or declared right with God (Romans 3:24; 8:1) and our sins are forgiven (Colossians 1:14).
- We are adopted, with the position of adult sons in God’s family (Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 1:5). This supplies a relationship with God and his people in a family sense. We belong to God and one another.
- We are sanctified or set apart to God (1 Corinthians 1:2). Since we are sanctified, we have a basis to live lives set apart for the glory of God.
- We are sealed with the Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 4:30). Our spiritual position is secure.
- We are called into fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 1:9).
- We have the privilege of bold access to God (Ephesians 3:12). The throne of grace is always open for us.
- We have God’s grace for strength (2 Timothy 2:1).
- We have freedom (Galatians 2:4; 5:1). God has released us from bondage to sin, Satan, and the law covenant, so that we can freely serve one another in love.
- We are seated in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6). This provides security in the tumult and spiritual warfare of this world.
- We are built into God’s temple, the church (Ephesians 2:19-22). In addition, we become part of a holy priesthood to serve God through Christ (1 Peter 2:5).
- We have fullness (Colossians 2:10). We have all we need for life and godliness. We’re already equipped for a spiritual journey and not on a quest to become equipped.
Since we have all these blessings in Christ, what kind of people should we be?
The reality of being in Christ by this Spirit-produced union is the essence of salvation, from first to last. Every step from before the beginning of the world through all the ages of future glory is by grace through our union with Christ. The Holy Spirit applies these blessings to us.
- We were elected in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-4)
- We have redemption in Christ (Ephesians 1:7)
- We are a new creation in Christ (Ephesians 2:10)
- Our present life is in Christ (Galatians 2:20; cf. 1 Corinthians 16:12-20)
- We die in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
- Our resurrection is in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22)
- We will share in Christ’s glory (Romans 8:17)
Are you united to the Lord Jesus Christ? Are these benefits yours? Why should you live in spiritual death and poverty when you can be a child of the King? God offers you great blessings. Will you turn your back on him and refuse him? I plead with you; do not act so foolishly. Trust in Christ today for salvation. If you know the Lord and are in Christ, live by faith in the power of the Spirit as richly blessed people ought to live.
Grace and peace, David