For as in Adam all die, so in
Christ all will be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:22
I've been a Christian for much of my life and learned early on that, as a believer, I am in Christ. But what does being in Christ mean?
Jerry Bridges says in his book, Who Am I? Identity in Christ (p.18),
The term "in Christ" is the apostle Paul's shorthand expression for being united to Christ. It is one of Paul's favorite expressions, and (including similar expressions such as "in him" or "in the Lord") Paul uses it more than 160 times in his letters. Clearly this is an important concept in Paul's theology. And it should be an important concept for us because all the remaining answers to the question "Who am I?" are based upon the fact that we are in Christ, or we are united to Christ.
This of course begs the question, what does it mean to be united to Christ? To answer it, we begin with 1 Corinthians 15:22, "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." Note the two expressions "in Adam" and "in Christ." And again in 1 Corinthians 15:45, Paul refers to "the first man Adam" and to "the last Adam," who is clearly Christ. What Paul is getting at in these two verses is that in God's way of dealing with humanity, there are only two men, Adam and Christ. All the rest of us are represented before God by one or the other of these two men.
All humans are created beings and either in Adam or in Christ. That's the way God sees us.
Everyone is born in Adam, and everyone who is in Adam dies (1 Cor 15:22). When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone has sinned (Rom 5:12). When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree that God told them not to eat from, they instantly died spiritually, and later they died physically. From that time on, everyone born was subject to sin and death.
Before we were in Christ, Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us what our condition was:
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil--the commanders of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else.
Whereas God appointed Adam to represent all humanity, He also appointed Christ to represent all who put their faith in Him as Savior. Romans 5:18-19 puts it this way:
Yes, Adam's one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. but because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.
Everyone is in Adam when they are born, but only those who believe Jesus is the Savior are in Christ. You are either in Adam or you are united to Christ. You cannot be both. When you believe, the Bible calls it being born again. You are not who you used to be. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me..." The "old you" is gone, and the" new you" is in Christ. The "old you;" the "in Adam" you, cannot receive new life or ever be made right with God. That's why Jesus told Nicodemus, "no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again."
There is so much more! We will continue to talk about our identity in Christ in future posts.
Source: Jerry Bridges: Who Am I? Identity in Christ