In Christ

Q. Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. What does “in Him” mean? Why did Paul add “in Him”?

A. “In Him” is Paul’s favorite phrase and occurs 31 times in 30 verses in his epistles (Romans to Philemon) alone. “In Christ” or “in Christ Jesus” occurs another 86 times in 83 verses. I won’t cite all of them to show the breadth of what Paul considered benefits when a person is in Christ, just the verses immediately preceding and after Eph 1:4 to show its meaning in context:

  • Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus
  • Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
  • Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.
  • Eph 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 
  • Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
  • Eph 1:9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 
  • Eph 1:10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.
  • Eph 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 
  • Eph 1:12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 
  • Eph 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

What is made available to those who are faithful in Christ Jesus (1:1), who are chosen (1:4) and who hope in Christ (1:12)?

  • Every spiritual blessing (1:3);
  • Grace (1:6);
  • Redemption and forgiveness of our trespasses (1:7);
  • Knowledge of His will (1:9);
  • All things (1:10);
  • Inheritance (1:11);
  • Sealing with the Holy Spirit (1:13).

All the above benefits, the ends, are wrapped up in Christ. But how do you get these benefits, by what means? By trusting and hoping in Him, being chosen by Him. In short, Paul believes everything good is summed up in Christ. If you are in Christ, you have everything. If you are not in Him, you have nothing. Nothing else matters. No wonder he sees Christ as most valuable and is willing to give up all that he had to gain Christ:

  • Php 3:8-9 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

May I suggest to you that not until you view Christ as Paul did, you won’t be totally committed to Him and you won’t be fruitful for Him.  

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