Can you explain what Paul meant when he said 'we are in Christ' to the Philippians?

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul uses the phrase "in Christ" numerous times to describe the relationship between believers and Jesus Christ. But what does this phrase mean, and why is it so important?

To understand what Paul meant when he said "we are in Christ," it is helpful to look at the broader context of his letter. Paul is writing to a group of believers in Philippi who are facing persecution and hardship. He encourages them to remain steadfast in their faith and to find their strength and hope in Jesus Christ.

When Paul says that believers are "in Christ," he is emphasizing the intimate and personal relationship that they have with Jesus. This relationship is not just a matter of belief or intellectual assent; it is a deep and abiding connection that shapes every aspect of a believer's life.

Being "in Christ" means that believers are united with him in his death and resurrection. As Paul writes in Romans 6:4, "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." This new life is characterized by a transformation of the heart and mind, as believers are conformed to the image of Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Being "in Christ" also means that believers are part of a larger community of faith. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:27, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." This community is characterized by love, unity, and mutual support, as believers work together to advance the kingdom of God.

Ultimately, being "in Christ" is a source of great comfort and assurance for believers. As Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

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Jamie Larson