We all live in a particular physical location; my family lives in a three bedroom, two bathroom brick house located at 7065 Flora Rd., Rockford, IL, 61101. Though it has issues (what house doesn’t?!), we love our little house and are so grateful to live there when we’re not out traveling. This is my physical location where my physical body dwells – I eat there, I sleep there, I spend time with my family there. But did you realize that as believers we have a spiritual location that God has placed us as well? It is a position that God has secured for us and that, theologically, we can never move from. Our location or position is in Christ.
New Testament writers use the phrase “in Christ” over 80 times. The phrase “in him” is employed over 100 times. Below I have highlighted just a few of those instances:
Romans 8:1 – “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. . .”
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. . .”
Ephesians 1:1 – “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus”
Colossians 2:10 – And ye are complete in him. . .”
Philemon 6 – “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus”
1 John 5:20 – “. . .and we are in him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ”
The person and life of Jesus is the main location that Christians have. While words such as justified, sanctified, adopted, reconciled, redeemed, and glorified speak of what has happened or will happen to a believer, the phrase “in Christ” speaks of where all those truths take place. It is because we are in Jesus that all of these things become reality. 2 Corinthians 1:20 states, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” That means that Jesus is the fulfillment of everything God has promised, and everything God has done and is doing for us He does in Christ!
Now, just because every believer is in Jesus, and that cannot change (we are eternally secure in Him – Jn.10:28-29, 1 Pet.1:3-5), that fact does not mean that we practically experience those benefits on a daily basis. There is a sense in which we can neglect the life that we have in God and live outside of our position. The Bible speaks to believers about dwelling in death (Rom.8:6, 1 Jn.3:14); you see, when we live in unbelief and disobedience to God’s Word, we have moved from our spiritual home! The flesh lives in death, or separation from God. The Spirit, who is God, moves in the realm of true life. This is our true position in Jesus, being united to Him and experiencing His life within us. As believers, it is vital to daily live in this position, to make sure that what is being produced practically in us on this earth matches up with the heavenly realities about us.
Living in your position means living with the new man of Christ that you’ve been clothed with (Gal.3:27). This can happen every day as we yield to His Spirit who resides in us; as we deny ourselves and what our flesh can produce, we trust Jesus within to live out His holy life through our human body. God expects us to exercise faith and obedience in our Christian walk, and when we choose to do that we are filled with His very life (the fruits of His Spirit – Gal.5:22-23) and are living in our spiritual inheritance. On the contrary, when we choose to not believe God in some area or disobey some revelation in His Word, we have stepped outside of our proper spiritual location.
I’m fearful that many who sit in good churches are not living in their true spiritual position. They are in Christ spiritually because God has put them there, but they are not presently living there, in the sense of experiencing the blessings of God through the life of His Son. Most of us have heard the illustration of someone being left a wealthy inheritance and of never having a need to work another day in life. And yet, that person continues to live subpar, tirelessly working for what he already has, never enjoying what is already his. He is still living like a pauper instead of a prince. My friends, how sad this picture is! And how sad it is that countless born-again Christians daily struggle with the externals of Christianity instead of simply walking with the Christ Himself! They are not drawing upon the resources of Christ, but are content with man-made religious activities (even of a conservative nature). Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not implying the Christian life is not a battle or that we shouldn’t be involved in external activity (see Gal.5:17 and Eph.2:10). I’m saying that we are already on the victory side and everything in our lives must flow out of the fact that we are in love with Jesus and depending on Him. His life ought to be our permanent location. Our position in Him ought to cause us to walk like He did (1 Jn.2:6).
I’d like to quote from Cary Schmidt in his wonderful book “Real Christianity”, because I think he hits this right on the head. He says,
“It’s easy to start living for Jesus rather than living in Jesus! These are very different things. One is performance driven, the other is Spirit-led. . . . .going forward, your effort in the Christian life will either be self-driven – in which case it will be fruitless and phony – or it will be Jesus-driven – your yielding to Jesus, in which case He will produce authentic fruit to His glory.”
I love the way our brother puts it; am I just living for Jesus, trying really hard in my flesh to make myself holy and keep all the commandments, or am I living in Jesus, being led and empowered by His Spirit and thus bearing true fruit for God’s glory?
Understand, in Christ are all of God’s resources (Col.2:9). In His location (wherever He abides), is His life – and, spiritually speaking, it is lavish and luxurious and never lacking. When you abide in Jesus, then you have whatever you need to face today, and much more! Whether it is love or forgiveness or purity or patience or wisdom or anything else, it is there for the taking when you exercise faith in Jesus. Without Christ or apart from Him, you can do nothing (Jn.15:5), but with Christ or in Christ you can do all things (Phil.4:13). So which way do you want to live?
Thinking about my physical home, as an evangelist there are many times that I leave my home and I obviously cannot take it with me. But the wonderful truth about my spiritual home is that I take it with me wherever I go! I am always in Christ positionally, and I can always be in Christ practically through my faith and obedience. Christian friend, there is no need to move from your spiritual home. Jesus is shelter (Ps.91:1-2, Prov.18:10), He is rest (Matt.11:28-30), He is bread and water (Jn.6:35, 7:37), He is joy and satisfaction (Ps.16:11). In other words, He is the best home we could ever have and we can just go ahead and settle down in Him! Let’s keep living in our true position today!