January 9, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, I talked about how being “faithful in Christ Jesus” involves more than believing the right things about him. Faithfulness in Christ is trusting in him fully and living out that trust reliably each day.
This unique relationship we have with Christ is represented in Ephesians by the simple phrase “in Christ.” We aren’t just faithful, we are faithful “in Christ.” This phrase, or something similar, appears twelve times in verses Ephesians 1:1-14. Not only are we faithful “in Christ,” but also God blessed us “in Christ” (1:3) and chose us “in him” (1:4). God has given his grace to us “in the One he loves” (1:6). “In him” we are redeemed (1:7) and so forth.
What does the phrase “in Christ” (en Christo in Greek) mean? Many scholars argue that “in Christ” should be thought of in terms of location: believers in Jesus, though dwelling in this world, are also living “in Christ” as if he were a kind of place. Biblical scholar Constantine Campbell has shown that the phrase “in Christ” describes our union with Christ and participation in his life. Being “in Christ” therefore is more than living in a new region. It is our sharing in a new life, the very life of Christ himself. Therefore, God’s blessings come to us en Christo, not just because we somehow live in the space defined by Christ, but also because we live in Christ, united with him, sharing in his life and love. (For a more detailed discussion of “in Christ,” see my commentary on Ephesians 1:3).
Our being “in Christ” can and should be the defining relationship of our life. Whether we are at work or at play, whether we are teaching children or caring for aging parents, whether we are beginning our careers or well into our “third third,” we are blessed to share in the life of Christ, experiencing his presence and power, his grace and peace. Because we are “in Christ,” we participate not only in his life but also in his mission, living as his people in every sector of life.
Something to Think About:
In what ways or in what contexts do you experience the life of Christ?
How do you share this life with others?
Something to Do:
Be attentive to Christ’s presence in your life today, especially in places where you might not expect Christ to be. When you sense his presence, thank him for making himself known to you.
Gracious God, thank you for the amazing gift of being “in Christ.” Thank you for allowing us to be saved by him, to live in him, and to share in his life so deeply. Thank you for the ways you make the life of Christ known to us. Thank you for times of reverent quiet. Thank you for the community of your people. Thank you for times of worship and times of witness.
Dear Lord, may I live today truly “in Christ.” May I share in his life throughout this day. May I share his life with others through acts of grace and love. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Hymns about Work
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.