Spotlight 04: There is more to being "in Christ"
"Joy in Christ" is the motto for the year—not "Rejoicing in Christ" or "Joy over Christ". So what is the difference here? That is the question District Apostle Wolfgang Nadolny (Berlin-Brandenburg / Russia) explores in this article.
Naturally we also rejoice in and over Christ. However, such a formulation assumes a certain distance between Jesus Christ and the beholder. We look up to Jesus Christ and rejoice over Him or take joy in Him and His great deeds. We rejoice when we read about Jesus Christ in Holy Scripture, when we think about the bridegroom of our souls, and when we reflect upon our magnificent future.
Joined together with Christ
However, to have joy in Christ implies far more than merely rejoicing over Him or in Him. Let us take a look at some statements from Holy Scripture in order to make it clear that there is more to being "in Christ" than merely rejoicing in Him or over Him.
Apostle Paul writes as follows concerning the unity within the church of Jesus Christ: "...so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another..." (Romans 12: 5). In this image of the church of Christ as one body, we see a little more clearly what it means to be "in Christ". Here the members have grown into Him—they are inseparably grown into one another and bound together.
Established in Christ
The Apostle formulates this similarly in his second epistle to the Corinthians: "Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God" (2 Corinthians 1: 21). A body in which the individual members are not firmly interconnected and grown together is either very limited in its functioning or even dead. To be established in Christ signifies that we draw life, power, and strength from the Son of God, and thereby live.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (excerpt from 2 Corinthians 5: 17). No human being could ever become a new creation just by looking up to Christ and rejoicing in Him or over Him! The creation is interwoven with Christ. It is rooted in Christ and is nevertheless independent.
Living in Christ
In his letter to the Galatians, Apostle Paul describes this interaction: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2: 20). We are in Christ and Christ is in us.
He describes the return of Jesus Christ in Thessalonians 4 and other passages as follows: "...And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them..." (from verses 16 and 17).
And now let us look at one last passage. This is the greeting of Apostle Peter at the end of his first epistle, which is also to mark the conclusion of this article: "Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus!" (1 Peter 5: 14).
Photo: Daniel Rudolph