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If you study the Bible regularly, you can become so familiar with its language that you don’t stop and ask “But what does that mean?”
Take, for example, the simple phrase – “in Christ”. You’ll read that many, many times in the New Testament. Sometimes the meaning of ‘in’ is obvious, such as when we are exhorted to have faith “in Christ.” That meaning is clear, because we are familiar with the idea of having faith or confidence ‘in’ something.
But in other places, the use of that little word ‘in’ is not so obvious. Look at Ephesians chapter 2:13 for example. Paul wrote, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
What does ‘in’ mean in that context? How can you be ‘in’ Christ Jesus?
Here is an analogy that helps me understand. One of my very good friends in England is a member of several very exclusive clubs. And when I say exclusive – I do mean exclusive. Membership is a rare privilege. These clubs do not just allow anyone in. You have to be proposed, and if even one existing member decides that you do not belong, you are not accepted.
On occasion, I’ve been invited to dine with him at one of these clubs, but I can’t just walk in. A door attendant meets me, and unless I mention my friend’s name, I am politely, but firmly refused entry. I am not one of the ‘in’ crowd, and I must stay out. But of course, once I do mention my friend’s name, I am accepted as a temporary member of the ‘in’ crowd.
I will never be a member of these clubs in my own right. However, we are members of an even more prestigious club. That is what Paul is telling us in Ephesians 2:13. This message would have rang loudly to the Gentiles, who lived in Ephesus, to whom Paul was writing. They were considered to be unclean and separated from God by the religious ‘in’ crowd of their time.
In his earthly ministry, Jesus totally undermined that idea. He made a point of including all who were not a part of the ‘in’ crowd - Gentiles, tax collectors, slaves, women, lepers – he accepted any and all who were outcasts. That was hard for self-righteous religious people of the time to accept – and it still is.
Jesus was a member of the most exclusive club of all – the fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, he came to open up the way for all of us to be included in that fellowship – to be allowed to participate in the life of the Kingdom of God, and to share in God's own purposes, priorities and work.
No human being should ever worry about being left out of that ‘in’ crowd. Jesus has “Included” us, and invites us to join him in His Kingdom – now and forever.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.