It is an incomparably weighty matter to be either in Christ or outside of Christ. In fact, the most crucial question of your life and mine is this question: Am I in Christ? The New Testament emphasizes the significance of being “in Christ” in a variety of ways. Consider a few of them, adapted from a sermon by Jesse L. Sewell, a gospel preacher of the 19th century:
- Salvation is exclusively for the person who is in Christ (Acts 4:11-12).
- One is a new creature only if he is in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- There is no condemnation for the person who is in Christ (Romans 8:1).
- Redemption and forgiveness of sins are given to the person who is in Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14).
- Answered prayer is a privilege of those who are in Christ (John 15:7).
- Those who are in Christ when they die are the ones who are prepared for what comes after death (1 Thessalonians 4:17; Revelation 14:13).
Someone might ask what it means to be “in Christ.” Think of it this way: The soul or spirit of a person inhabits or is “in” his body (1 Corinthians 2:11). We would expect, therefore, that if someone is “in Christ,” that he would be in the body of Christ. Indeed, this is precisely what we find in the Scriptures. The body of Christ is His church, and those who are saved in Christ are those who are in the church.
- Colossians 1:18. And he is the head of the body, the church.
- Ephesians 1:22-23. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Those who are Christians are in Christ, members of his church, which is His body. We get into Christ by being baptized into Him (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3), based upon our repentance and confession (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9-10). Here again is the crucial question: Are you in Christ or outside of Him? Brother Sewell concluded his sermon with these words, and I echo them:
“[P]onder well this important subject. Your salvation is involved in it. If you are not in Christ already, resolve never to be satisfied, or stop until you are baptized into him, and put him on. There is safety there, and there is none anywhere else. There you have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. Farewell” (David Lipscomb, Life and Sermons of Jesse L. Sewell, 3rd ed. [Nashville: McQuiddy, 1891], 214).