In the NASB Bible the term “In Christ” appears 90 times and “in Him” 97 times.
I will seek to find how the term is used regarding the association between man and God. Specifically asking, how is the term used from God’s perspective? For instance, 1 Corinthians 15:22 states…
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22
God’s perspective is that all people are either found in Adam or in Christ. In Christ in this verse is placed in contrast to in Adam. In Christ all will be made (future, passive, indicative) alive while in Adam all die or continue dead.
Since this verse clearly states that all those in Christ will be made alive, two questions we must answer therefore are, 1) how does one get in Christ and 2) how long does he/she remain in Christ?
1. How does one get in Christ?
This is an important question that we must answer based on Scripture and not feelings or emotions since, as we said above, we are looking to see God’s perspective on this. When does God see us as in Christ?
but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31
So, God (by His doing) put us in Christ Jesus so that no one may boast before God but rather boast in the Lord. It is clear that no one is born naturally in Christ.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:1
Everyone is born dead in sin (Eccl 7:20, Rom 3:23). In other words, no one was born in Christ therefore alive from God’s perspective. So the verse that states we are chosen in Him before the foundation of the world cannot be talking about being placed into Christ but rather God’s purpose for those who would be in Christ. The choosing was not done in Adam to be placed into Christ but rather for all those who would one day be in Christ to have certain things established beforehand.
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24
Since a person is not born in Christ, it is imperative that he/she believe that Jesus is the Christ, meaning what the Scripture foretold about the One that was to come. He would be God’s chosen one, come from heaven (God’s son) that would die for our sins and rise on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
Placed in Christ is synonymous with being baptized into His body.
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13
After hearing the Gospel message and placing our trust alone in Christ alone, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13-14). This leads us to our next question…
2. How long does one remain in Christ?
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
The Spirit was given us the moment we believed. He was given us by God the Father as His promise to us of our guaranteed inheritance.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30
The Holy Spirit resides in one who believed (aorist) (Eph 1:13-14) for the day of redemption. The sealing did not take place until we sinned or with conditions of good behavior but rather unconditionally to guarantee our redemption (Rom 8:30).
This is why Scripture tells us plainly…
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
It is not conditional upon our faithfulness,
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13
We can clearly see that God places the individual in Christ the moment he/she believes in Him. We can also see that once he/she is placed in Christ, having received the Holy Spirit, God sees him/her in the person of Christ eternally.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God is Christ Jesus…(Rom 8:39).
Since this is the believer’s reality from God’s perspective, we are encouraged in countless passages (Col 3:1-3, Rom 6:1-10, Eph 1-3) to see ourselves this way (in Christ as His doing) and allow that to transform our way of thinking.