Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
In Church or In Christ? I ask this question because, we are at a critical time in the history of the world in which we live in. There are staggering events happening all over the world, it seems every hour of every day; for instance, I read in the newspaper that over the Fourth of July weekend in 2014, in the City of Chicago, there were 53 shootings and of those shootings 14 individuals died. The newspaper stated that was more than New York City and Detroit combined. There is mounting tension between nations. The world’s economy is out of control. In the media world, there is no restraint as to what is said and what is done on broadcast television. People are confused as to what their sexual orientation is. Families are falling apart, not only in the world, but also the same is happening in the Church. We live in an age where many believe “Truth” is relative.
As we look at the course of events that are happening all over the world, we must remember the words of Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1, “This know also, that in the last days perilous time shall come.” We are now living in those perilous times. Seeing the turbulence we are in the midst of it is crucial for every individual that attends a strong, sound Bible teaching Church where Jesus Christ is the preeminent priority, to make sure that you are not just occupying a pew, and going through the motions; but that you are sincerely pursuing an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Seeing all that is happening in the world around us, it is necessary to know where we stand regarding our relationship with Christ. The question is, do we have a genuine relationship with Him or is it a fraudulent relationship? Am I genuinely “in Christ” or am I “in Church?” I want you to understand that there is a difference between being “in Church” and being “in Christ” which is being in the “Body of Christ.” Being “in church” can mean that one actively participates in the activities of the Church, and not have a genuine relationship with Christ Jesus. Their confidence is in the activities/works. They base their salvation on their works; there is no self-examination. In other words, these individual has never been Born Again. Jesus directly addresses their condition in Matthew 7:21-23. He addresses those who make a profession, and are living in a constant state of sinfulness, with no thought of confessing and forsaking his or her sin and pursuing after righteousness.. These individuals are self-deceived. Jesus declares in verse 21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” The key to what Jesus said is regarding those who make an empty profession is that they are hearers only. James 1:22 warns those who are hearers only, he says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” This characterizes those who are “in Church” and not “in Christ.” There is no desire to know the Word of God and live there in obedient to it.
Those that are “in” Christ are characterized by genuine love for the Savior; a desire for His Word; hungering and thirsting for righteousness; a genuine love for the people of God. The individual that is “in Christ” has a desire to glorify God, seeks to please Him through his or her life. The individual that is “in Christ,” desires to know God’s Word and live in obedience to it. Those “in Christ,” constantly evaluate their spiritual condition. Paul told the Corinthians, “But let a man examine himself…” (1 Cor. 11:28a). The word “examine” is a present imperative which calls for continuous and repeated action; it means to examine, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not) (Thayer’s Lexicon). Not only do those “in Christ” examine themselves continuously, they are honest with themselves when they see an area in their lives that is in opposition to the Word of God they repent and move forward. The individual that is “in Christ,” has an insatiable desire to worship The Lord both privately and corporately.
I know the only way to endure the swift transitions of this life is to be firmly rooted “in Christ” not just being one who is “in Church.” Life can be hard, and only Christ can help us in this life.
As you can see there are many things that distinguish those that are “in Church” or “in Christ.” It is time for you to ask yourself the question, am I “in Church” or “in Christ?”
Your servant in Christ,