What Does it Mean to be One IN Christ?

 

unity-in-christFor as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:27-28, ESV2011 – emphasis added)

We are IN Him because we were baptized (Grk. baptizo – immersed or submerged) INTO Christ by the Spirit. Many have been immersed into water in a ceremony without being immersed into Him and they struggle all their lives trying to be “good” Christians. On the other hand we who have believed into Christ (the true meaning of John 3:16) are immersed in Christ! We have put on Christ just as a swimmer “puts on water” when he dives into the pool! Do you want to put on the full armor of God? It is the armor of Christ! Put on Christ and you will be wearing His armor, too. The sooner we quit seeing ourselves as separate from and outside of Him, the sooner we will walk totally by faith in Him.

In this state of being in Christ, we are no longer separated from each other by gender, nationality, religion, distance or even age. All things that were lost by Adam and Eve in their relationship with our Father and each other when they fell have been recovered by the power of Christ’s death and resurrection as we now dwell in heavenly places in Christ just as they dwelt with the Father in the Garden of Eden.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ …and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Eph 2:4-6, ESV2011)

We might even live on a different continent and many time zones away from another dear saint that we know in Christ, but that doesn’t mean that we live separate lives if we are both in the Son. Paul wrote that in Christ’s body we are members one of another, and when one member suffers all members suffer with them. When one member rejoices, all members rejoice with them. Neither time, distance, gender, nationality nor any other earthly institution or thing can separate us when we are knit together as one in Christ. The only thing that can separate us from one another and our heavenly place with the Father is unbelief, which pulls us back down into the realm where the prince of this world reigns and can torment us.

Do we have to be good enough to be one with and in Christ before the Father? No! The Amplified version makes it even clearer.

But God–so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). (Eph 2:4-5, AMP)

The largest part of our salvation is seeing that we sit together in heavenly places in Christ and that all the “normal” things that once divided us in this world are gone! We have become a new creation, heavenly beings, because we are citizens of our Father’s kingdom (Philippians 3:20) and our fellowship is with the Father and the Son. Paul wrote something that we really need to understand and walk in if we are ever to be one IN Christ,

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2Cor 5:16-17, ESV2011)

When I was a Catholic, we were taught to kneel down and look at earthly things when we prayed. We looked at statues and images of Jesus hanging on the cross or Mary or the saints for our inspiration. The problem was that these were earthly images and we were trying to know Him “after the flesh.” Even today among Protestants we read the Bible and think on Him and His earthly ministry 2000 years ago. We say, “What would Jesus do?” as if we could conjure up an image of what He would have us do in every situation. Isn’t this still trying to know Him after the days of His flesh on earth? If we never get beyond that, we can be every bit as earth bound as those Catholics who look to images of Him. Why do we gaze off into the heavens (see Acts 1:9-11) when we now are already seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus at the right hand of the Father? Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is in our midst. If we have a heavenly walk with Christ who abides in us, we will know what He IS DOING, and walk that out IN Him. We are new creatures in Christ not by our works, but by His mighty grace and the power of His cross in our lives. It is only our lack of faith in His completed work that holds us earthbound in our sins (falling short of the glory of God). We seem to have more faith in our weakness as sinners and humans than we have in His power to lead us with His Spirit. We fail every time when we look to ourselves or to another member of His body in a fleshly way instead of looking off from ourselves unto Him and seeing them as He does. I once had a pastor who told the elders of the church to quit being critical of how I seemed outwardly and look at my heart for God had shown this man who I really was despite all my outward struggles I was going through. We must know one another in Him after the Spirit, not after the flesh.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2, ESV2011 – emphasis added)

Dear saints, let us be heavenly minded IN Christ and not earthly minded in ourselves for this is where we will find victorious living together in the unity of the Spirit.

(T. A. Sparks wrote an excellent chapter on what it means to be beyond all our earthy bounds as we walk in the Spirit and fellowship IN Him, ( Divine Life Unlimited by Time and Space )

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26 comments on “What Does it Mean to be One IN Christ?

  1. Ken Burgess says:

    Michael, This is such a powerful and timely post. Thank you for obeying Father. Sadly the majority of the modern day church is still, looking up” to other than Jesus. That “other” can be a priest, pastor, elder, bishop, etc. but all are “Anti-CHRiST” The word “Anti-Christ” does not mean “against” Christ, as it would in English. The Greek word actually means a replacement, or “instead of” Christ. Christ means “the anointed one”.
    Of them all the pastor is the most popular “go to guy,” in the today’s church. As long as we look to other than Jesus we will forever be hearing about HiM, reading about HiM and seeing someone who is supposed to represent HiM to us instead of knowing HiM as our “all in all.”

    (Note: I placed the word “pastor” in front of John’s name to drive home the point about looking to “others.”
    Jesus said to the religious folk in John 5:31-40, “If I testify about Myself, My testimony is not valid.[g] 32 There is Another who testifies about Me, and I know that the testimony He gives about Me is valid.[h] 33 You have sent messengers to, [pastor] John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 I don’t receive man’s testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 [pastor] John[i] was a burning and shining lamp, and for a time you were willing to enjoy his light.

    36 “But I have a greater testimony than [pastor] John’s because of the works that the Father has given Me to accomplish. These very works I am doing testify about Me that the Father has sent Me. 37 The Father who sent Me has Himself testified about Me. You have not heard His voice at any time, and you haven’t seen His form. 38 You don’t have His word living in you, because you don’t believe the One He sent. 39 You pore over[j] the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. 40 And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.

    As our Father’s kingdom is advancing throughout the cosmos and into the hearts of men at light speed and beyond, I truly believe it is time for us to prepare to receive our “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” in the earth. Totally annihilating the kingdoms of this world and the false kingdoms of and to self that we have set up in our hearts. Amen? Amen!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Good to hear from you, Ken. You wrote, “As long as we look to other than Jesus we will forever be hearing about HiM, reading about HiM and seeing someone who is supposed to represent HiM to us instead of knowing HiM as our ‘all in all.’” And the last verse you quoted goes with it, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40, ESV2011).

      The scriptures are good as long as we see them as a love letter from our Father to us about the One who gave all that He might obtain for Himself a bride, a living organism, not thousands of dead organizations tainted by the hands of men. All too often men use Bible verses to point to themselves and their “ministries” instead of lifting HIM up and letting HIM draw all men nigh to Himself. But it takes the Spirit of God to open eyes that are blind even to the wonders we have in Christ that are recorded in the Bible in a new and life-giving way. Pride in our knowledge of scriptures, spiritual gifts, Biblical titles, even pride in our standing IN Christ kills any further progress in His kingdom. Humility before Him opens every door to spiritual progress. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.”

      Liked by 3 people

      • Ken Burgess says:

        Michael, thank you for finishing my thoughts re: “The scriptures.” Sometimes I get off track and forget to finish a thought or bring out into the light what I see. “The same people who, “search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40, ESV2011). This same people have made an idol out of the written word, forgetting it IS a “love letter” from our Heavenly Dad to us about Jesus. Most of the christians we interact with have no clue that the word is a man and HiS name is JESUS. Grace is a man, victory is a man, hope, love, peace, joy, righteousness, etc. are all HiM and HiS name is JESUS.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Ken,

        I know what you are up against, my brother. In the Bible Belt of the American south-lands where you live, there is so much boasting about the Bible that you would think that John chapter one reads, “In the beginning was the Bible, and the Bible was with God, and the Bible was God. The Bible was in the beginning with God. All things were made by the Bible; and without Bible was not any thing made that was made.”

        When people call the Bible “The Word of God” there is an inference that when they read it and preach from it that they have the full power and understanding of that written word just as it was when God spoke it. As we see from what Jesus told the Pharisees who searched the scriptures, there was no light or life coming into them from their efforts and they were blind to seeing that all these passages that they studied were speaking of THE WORD whom they denied and who stood right in front of them! If we read the Bible and do not hear Christ, the very WORD OF GOD speaking to us through the testimony of the Spirit, the Bible can become to us a lie that fits the dishonesty of our hearts. This is why we have over 41,000 different denominations and Christian sects disagreeing with one another, who all claim the Bible is “the Word of God.” Without the light of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus said is the One who leads us into all truth, we are blind and will lack spiritual wisdom no matter what we read or who we sit under for teaching.

        As I read the end of your reply these verses came to mind,

        “And of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1Cor 1:30-31, KJ2000)

        “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Rom 11:36, KJ2000)

        “And again, The Lord knows the thoughts and reasonings of the [humanly] wise and recognizes how futile they are. So let no one exult proudly concerning men [boasting of having this or that man as a leader], for all things are yours [in Christ],” (1Cor 3:20-21, AMP)

        Greet your family for me,
        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Pat Orr says:

    Michael, thank you for the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Ann says:

    Great post~ No offense to Catholics, but it is wonderful you have found a direct relationship with Him..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Mary Ann, I have found that if we talk in a personal way about our relationship with Jesus, most Catholics will listen about how personal Jesus can be with us and even ask questions. It was hearing the personal testimonies of encounters with the Living Christ that broke the hold that religion had on me for I wanted that, too! Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth and if you want to get a horse to drink water, you put salt in his oats. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Michael, I received the email notification of this post while I was with my mom today. I read it to myself and then out loud to her. It was powerful both times. The Spirit is speaking. My mom said this is something we need to read every day. A timely reminder for both her and I’s journey. Thank you for being faithful to write this.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Wow, Becky! What a blessing it was to hear this. I had no clue as I was writing this whether it would bless others. I know that your mom spent many years as a pastor’s wife and heard thousands of sermons, so this is really saying something. God is so good! Thanks for sharing this with me, dear sister, and tell your mom, “Hi” for me. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael, yes, God IS so good! As you may recall He has had me on a journey of deep spiritual revelation with regards to Christ and Who and What He is and Who and What that makes us. In reading Andrew Murray’s book The Holiest of All since last September, He has unveiled much to my heart; beyond what I ever could have thought or imagined was True. The book takes the Letter to the Hebrews verse by verse and I got stuck on the chapter where Murray delves into Heb. 10:25. Having been brought thus far I know that it is to our detriment to take anything in the Bible at ‘face value,’ mixing it with our traditions and preconceived notions; making it say what we mean it to say, rather than allowing the Spirit to reveal to us what it actually says and means. And, so, about ten days ago I stopped reading and have been praying for the Lord to open the eyes of my heart. Last weekend I came across a commentary on 1 John 1-1-4, the author wrote:

        “God’s desire is not to bring death, destruction or condemnation, but life, healing and release. This life can be experienced here and now, for it is received as one becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ. Through the proclamation of the word of life, that is, the message (word) about Jesus (the life), subsequent generations of believers come to know about and ultimately to appropriate life for themselves (compare Jn 4:42). Even as God became visible and tangible in Jesus, so for all subsequent generations of believers, the word of life is that visible and tangible witness to Jesus (Culpepper 1985:7).

        Because the message that is proclaimed serves to mediate knowledge of and fellowship with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ, John finds it necessary to stress that this message has not changed. The truth has been the same from the beginning. The word was the truthful message that was proclaimed by Jesus, heard by the eyewitnesses and now handed on to subsequent generations (1:1, 5; 2:6-7). The warning to the church is implicit: “The baton is being passed to you–don’t drop it!”

        Apparently the message has been changed in unacceptable ways by some members of the congregation, to the extent that the message they preach no longer can be called the word of life. And those who do not adhere to the Word of life cannot have true fellowship together with those who do. For ultimately the fellowship that believers share together is not simply that of an accidental conglomeration of people with some things in common. Rather, what believers in Christ have in common is fellowship with God. Those who know and love God are joined to each other as well.”

        “Rather, what believers in Christ have in common is fellowship with God. Those who know and love God are joined to each other as well.” Wow, wow, wow! I noted these things on a separate paper and attached it to the chapter in Murray’s book I have yet to read. We need new eyes to see the truth. And, as you replied to Ken above, I can attest to in my own life: “But it takes the Spirit of God to open eyes that are blind even to the wonders we have in Christ that are recorded in the Bible in a new and life-giving way.” Yes, Michael! YES!

        Just this morning I have added on the very page in Murray’s book where the chapter on Heb. 10:25 is expounded on, I have copied down your words from this post: “The largest part of our salvation is seeing that we sit together in heavenly places in Christ and that all the “normal” things that once divided us in this world are gone! We have become a new creation, heavenly beings, because we are citizens of our Father’s kingdom (Philippians 3:20) and our fellowship is with the Father and the Son.”

        I share all of this to encourage you for the next time you have no clue as to whether your writing would be a blessing to others…He blessed me here in ways I have yet to fully comprehend.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Wow!!! These are really great quotes from this commentary, Becky! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂 If someone is interested, here is the link if someone wants to read more.

        https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Life-Experienced

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you, Susanne! It never occurred to me to add the link.

        Liked by 2 people

      • You are very welcome as to the link , dear Becky. ❤ I added it because I know that some of our readers are no bloggers and not that familiar with the internet, either. And sometimes they want to read more…

        Liked by 2 people

      • Alas, I found the commentary looking for a description of what the “Word of Life” is. The message of Jesus. Wow, huh?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Dear Becky,

        What a struggle we have when we try to have “fellowship” with those who are not intimately connected to the Father and the Son. As you have discovered, putting hundreds of people in a building once a week at the same time is not the same as, “…and our fellowship is with the Father and the Son.” In the church today people come together around a man’s teaching/preaching skills, around a common pet doctrine, around a political mindset, out of fear of displeasing God by missing Sunday church, or even for hundreds of personal agendas that they hope to fulfill among their fellow Christians. BUT before there can be real fellowship with the saints of God we each must have a personal fellowship with the Father and the Son in an intimate way. If we are not each connected with them in the unity that they share, we are “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” You can gather a pile of leaves together with a rake, but they are not fitly joined and assembled together to make a tree. So it is in the body of Christ.

        Paul said of Jesus, “That I may know Him… and the fellowship of His sufferings.” Now, THAT is intimate! How many Christians in their Sunday meetings who compel us to gather with them by abusing Hebrews 10:25 (out of context)… how many of them desire and walk in this kind of intimacy with Jesus?

        Jesus was ridiculed by the orthodox Jews for not keeping the law and their traditions and they finally killed Him because He said that He would “tear down the temple and raise it up again in three days.” He told them that they had turned the house of God into a den of thieves instead of a house of prayer. How many times I have seen Christian businessmen use church gatherings for making business contacts and getting new customers! Like Paul said, “When you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you.” As long as we gather together to fulfill our own agendas and are not in one accord, obedient to the Spirit, it is not joining together in the fellowship of the Father and the Son. A good look at the verses leading up to verse 25 will show us what this verse is really talking about:

        “Sacrifice and offering you desired not, but a body have you prepared me:” -members fitly joined together by the hand of God with Christ as its Head.

        “He takes away the first (temple worship), that he may establish the second (fellowship in the Father and the Son).”

        “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest [most holy place] by the blood of Jesus, BY A NEW AND LIVING WAY, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience…” -draw near to what? It is obvious this is not about the old method of temple worship, coming together on special days, but about drawing near to our Father with pure hearts because of the sacrifice of Jesus our High Priest.

        We must first be assembled into Christ’s body, obedient to Him as our Head before we can come together and edify one another. Frankly, I have found better fellowship with many of my fellow bloggers on the internet than I have ever found staring at the back of hundreds of heads while being lectured by a man up front. At least here we can “stir one another up to love and good works” instead of sitting silently with no voice in a “church service.”

        Becky, what you and others have shared with me as they have been moved by the Spirit to write has been stirring me up to love and good works (vs. 24) and encouraged me to keep listening to His voice and writing what He gives me to share. As far as I am concerned Hebrew 10:25 has been seen here in action on this comment string. ❤

        Your brother in the Son,
        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Michael, this is an excellent experiential article on the profound mystery of oneness in Christ with God! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    By God’s grace we will get there! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Yes, dear sister, as we have our fellowship with the Father and the Son in heavenly places, we WILL find ourselves going from glory to glory in lives growing ever closer to them and to one another in their love. Thanks for all your encouragement in the Spirit. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fred says:

    Thank you, as of the past few days some of this is what has been shown to me lately. I was walking way to much in the flesh and looking way to much inward. GOD has been trying to lead me out of that for some time. I have had a lot of struggles in the flesh as you have seen by my comments. Thanks to you and Susanne [for] pointing a few things out. I know now I am once again heading in the correct direction.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      It is good to hear you are doing better, Fred. Getting our eyes off of ourselves is a great start. ⭐

      “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:2, NIV)

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fred says:

        By the way does any one else constantly fight temptations?

        Usually the day starts off good and then as the day progresses I feel exhausted from fighting temptations.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Fred, I waited to see if anyone else felt led to reply to your question and what He might have me write. Temptation only works when we are drawn away by our own fleshly desires. Getting our eyes off ourselves and back on Christ and praying with our minds set on Him is key. Jesus resisted the temptation by the devil to walk away from going to the cross in such a great battle that He sweat great drops of blood. He won that battle by keeping HIS mind set on the Father and HIS will, not His own, no matter what it would cost Him personally.

        “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Heb 12:3-6, ESV2011)

        Like

      • Fred says:

        Thank you. I need to focus on Jesus as well as ask for help in over coming these temptations just as he says to do.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Michael, I cannot find a spot to reply to your latest response to me. And I have nothing to share really, I only wanted to say thank you. “He takes away the first (temple worship), that he may establish the second (fellowship in the Father and the Son).” Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Becky, I am so happy that you heard His voice through what I shared. Remember, wherever two or three of us are gathered together in His name, Christ is there. It doesn’t get better than that. God is more interested in the quality of our gathering with Him with our hearts than He is interested in the crowds distracted by their worldly mindsets. He taught the crowds in parables, but only revealed the meaning of His words to the 12 disciples. And of these only three got to see Him with Elijah and Moses and hear His Father speak and tell them to listen to His Son. And at the end there was only one of them of whom it was said, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” as he laid his head on Jesus’ breast. It is where our hearts are at that God is interested in. And for this He has to give us NEW hearts that can receive Him and His love and reciprocate with that same quality of love. Quality! Always quality!

      Liked by 2 people

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