29th September 2013

In Christ 

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Ephesians 2:13 (NIV UK) 

If you study the Bible regularly, you can become so familiar with its language that you don’t stop and ask “But what does that mean?”  Take, for example, the simple phrase—“in Christ”. We read that many, many times in the New Testament. Sometimes the meaning of ‘in’ is obvious, as when we are exhorted to have faith “in Christ”. That meaning is clear because we’re familiar with the idea of having faith or confidence ‘in’ something. 

But in other places, the use of that little word ‘in’ is not so obvious. For example as Paul writes (above). What does ‘in’ mean in that context? How can you be ‘in’ Christ Jesus?  Here is an analogy that helps me understand. One of my very good friends in England is a member of several very exclusive clubs. And I do mean exclusive! Membership is a rare privilege. These clubs don’t just allow anyone in. You have to be proposed, and if even one existing member decides that you don’t belong, you’re not accepted. 

On occasion I’ve been invited to dine with him at one of these clubs, but I can’t just walk in. An attendant meets me at the door, and unless I mention my friend’s name, I am politely, but firmly refused entry. Once I do mention his name, I’m accepted as a temporary member of the ‘in’ crowd. 

I’ll never be a member of these clubs in my own right. We are, however, members of an even more prestigious club. That’s what Paul was telling us. This message would have rung loudly to the Gentiles who lived in Ephesus, to whom Paul was writing. They were considered to be unclean and separated from God by the religious ‘in’ crowd of their time. 

But in his earthly ministry Jesus totally undermined that idea. He made a point of including all who were not a part of the ‘in’ crowd—Gentiles, tax collectors, slaves, women, lepers—he accepted any and all who were outcasts. That was hard for self-righteous religious people of the time to accept—and it still is. 

Jesus was a member of the most exclusive club of all—the fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He came to open up the way for all of us to be included in that fellowship—to be allowed to participate in the life of the Kingdom of God, and to share in God’s own purposes, priorities and work. 

No human being should ever worry about being left out of that ‘in’ crowd. Jesus has “included” us, and invites us to join him in His Kingdom—now and forever. 

Prayer
Holy Father, you have done everything to make us acceptable to you, to be able to draw near to you and to be friends with us through what Jesus did for us. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen
 

Study by Joseph Tkach

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About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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