|Monroe County Community College|
The key to living the Jesus Life is found in two little words - "in," and "with."
Paul, in his letters to the various Jesus-communities, uses the phrases "in Christ" and "with Christ," and their variations, over 200 times (e.g. "in him," Christ "in us," and so on).
"In" is a container metaphor. Every Jesus-follower is "in Christ." This means union with Christ. I am in Christ and Christ is in me.
Consider "with Christ."
- Jesus-followers have died with Christ,
- have risen with Christ,
- and will appear in glory with Christ on his return.
- When Christ died sin was defeated; t
- herefore I, in Christ, am dead to the rule and reign of sin.
- Sin has, for Christ and therefore for me, lost its power.
- When Christ was raised death was defeated;
- therefore, because he lives, I also live and am alive in Christ.
- Where he moves I move;
- where he goes I go.
- I am a new creation, living in a new metaphysical location.
Sadly, the default flesh-system of "religion" is to ignore this core Gospel reality, and instead preach and teach the Moral Code and the utilization of human flesh-power to keep it (what Richard Foster has called "will worship"). Craig Keener says that the best imitations of Christ are just “flesh.”" (Keener, here)
"In" and "with" tell us that living the Jesus life is not about trying harder. N.T. Wright writes:
"The possibility is staggering: that I, a creature, might have my life linked—actually, organically, eternally linked—to the Son of God himself. Like a freight car coupled with an engine, where Jesus goes, I go. What happens to him, happens to me. I follow him and share his life, his character, his suffering, his future, his inheritance, even his reign with the Father.