In Christ identifies the church age believer’s relationship with Jesus Christ. The term comes from the New Testament phrase “in Christ” which is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 and many other passages.
In Christ begins when a person believes in Christ. At that point the Holy Spirit puts the believer in relationship with Christ, identifies him with Christ’s body the church, and the Holy Spirit indwells him (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 12.13).
Believers are God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:9). The building is based on the believers union or relationship with Christ (Ephesians 2:20ff). We are placed in him. This is brought about by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:3; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27). Union with Christ is simultaneous with the sealing of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). All believers, carnal and spiritual, are identified with Christ and never get out of Christ. Spiritual gifts are dependent on the believer’s relationship or union with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:11-31, especially 1 Corinthians 12.11, 12, 18). Each believer has at least one spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 18).
The central Scripture for position in Christ is 2 Corinthians 5.17. Others that define and describe positional truth include John 17.20-23; 1 Corinthians 12.13; Galatians 3.27-28; Ephesians 2.4-6, 10; Colossians 3.1-4.
Descriptions of position in Christ include the following.
Position in Christ is the same as positional sanctification.
Position in Christ means that we are members of Christ’s spiritual body on earth. He is the head in heaven.
Position in Christ is the basis for the uniqueness of the church age.
Position in Christ has two parts. The first looks back to the cross with the result that believers are redeemed and the legal authority of our sinful nature over us was removed. The second looks ahead to our present life with Christ in which we are identified with Christ in his resurrection, ascension, and seating at the right hand of the father, and therefore we possess the spiritual resources to live the Christian life.
Benefits of position in Christ.
God’s righteousness is imputed to each believer (2 Corinthians 5.21).
We have Eternal life (1 John 5.11-12).
We are sanctified (1 Corinthians 1.2; Hebrews 10.10).
Each believer is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5.17).
We are no longer under the sin nature’s legal and condemning control so that we no longer need to serve sin (Romans 8.1-2).
We are God’s heir (Romans 8.16-17).
In Christ guarantees our eternal security (Romans 8.38-39).
Our destiny is to be like Christ (Ephesians 1.4-5).
We have redemption (Ephesians 1:7).
In Christ guarantees physical resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4.13-18).
In Christ is the basis for spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1.1-7).
We are members of the church (1 Corinthians 12.13,27 with Ephesians 1.21-23).
In Christ belongs to all categories of believers—carnal, spiritual, immature, mature (1 Corinthians 1.2, 30).
God has a plan for each believer to serve him (Ephesians 2.10).
We can be strong in grace (2 Timothy 2.1).
In Christ is the foundation to be able to live the Christian life (Romans 6.1-11).
What position in Christ is not.
It is not something we feel and so is not proved by emotion.
It is not progressive; it cannot be improved in time or eternity.
It is not related to human merit or ability.
It is not changeable by man or angels.
It is not obtained gradually while you grow in grace; it is obtained completely at salvation.
It is not known apart from the Word of God.
It is not our possession because of what we do or fail to do; it is ours because of what God has done.
Some applications of the doctrine of position in Christ include the following.
This is the basis for me to live the Christian life successfully and correctly (Romans 6).
Remember that I am a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5.17).
Accept as true that I am dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6.11).
Am I living day to day depending on and following Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:1-2; Colossians 2:20).