What Does It Mean to Be “In Christ”?

Before long, any believer will come across the phrase “in Christ” either while studying the Bible or hearing another believer talk about matters of the faith. Who is “in Christ”, and what does that phrase mean? Let me help you better understand Bible passages that use the phrase “in Christ”.


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When you search the phrase “in Christ” on biblegateway.com, here are some of the passages that come up:

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1
“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30
“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:1

What does it mean to be “in Christ”?

The phrase “in Christ” or “in Christ Jesus” refers to the state of believers. If you have asked God to forgive your sins and have declared your decision to follow Jesus with your life, you are saved. 

It is because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that our sins are covered by His blood and we are forgiven. Jesus is the reason we stand before God justified despite our sin. 

As Christians, we have in no way “achieved” eternal life with God and the forgiveness of our sins, though we enjoy these privileges. They were given to us because of Jesus Christ and what He did for us.

All believers are in Christ.

Understanding the Use of “in Christ”

It may be helpful to read “in Christ” as “because of Christ” or “covered by the blood of Christ” or “having been forgiven due to Christ’s sacrifice”.

In Christ (covered by the blood of Christ) , we enjoy the privilege of being spiritually alive. (Romans 6:11)

In Christ (having been forgiven due to Christ’s sacrifice), we have eternal life despite deserving death for our sins. (Romans 6:23)

In Christ (because of Christ), we are no longer condemned but made righteous. (Romans 8:1)

In Christ (having been forgiven due to Christ’s sacrifice), we stand before God righteous, holy, and redeemed. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

In Christ (covered by the blood of Christ), some of us are still spiritual babies instead of walking strong by the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 3:1)

Who is “in Christ”?

As the passages above show, being “in Christ” means to have been redeemed or, as Christians like to say, “to be saved”. 

In 1 Corinthians 3:1, we get the idea that it doesn’t necessarily address only mature believers or anyone who “has their act together” but rather all believers who have been made clean.

On the flip-side, unbelievers are not “in Christ”. Any statement the Bible makes specifically regarding those “in Christ” or promises available “in Christ” do not apply to every human being. They are reserved for those who “in Christ” have become His children.

Have I sparked your interest?

Download the “Who am I in Christ?” pdf from our resource library. This pdf recaps today’s blog post and provides a list of 77 Bible verses that discuss who believers are in Christ. Get access to this and many other resources by signing up below:

 

Still confused?

Are you staring at a Bible verse that uses the phrase “in Christ” and are still wondering what it means? Comment below with the Scripture reference, so I can help you out.

As always, have a Scripture-confident Monday!

Ellen