Chapter 6–GOD HIMSELF HAS UNITED YOU TO HIM
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. John 15:1
“You ARE in Christ Jesus.” Like infants in the faith, the believers at Corinth were still immature and focused on worldly things. Yet, at the outset of his instruction, Paul aims to convey to his audience the profound truth that they are genuinely united with Christ Jesus. Our entire Christian life hinges on clearly recognizing our position in Christ. To remain in Christ, it’s crucial that we daily renew our faith’s assurance, “I am in Christ Jesus.” All effective teaching to believers must begin with this point: “You are in Christ Jesus.”
But the apostle adds another idea of almost greater importance: “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus.” Paul wants us to always remember our link to Christ, emphasizing that it is solely the work of God and not our own doing. As the Holy Spirit helps us to grasp this, we’ll see what a source of confidence and strength it can become for us. If it’s only because of God that I am in Christ, then God Himself, the Infinite One, becomes my guarantee for all I might need or desire in trying to remain in Christ.
Let me try to grasp what it means, this remarkable phrase “It is because of Him.” Two roles will be played when we become part of the union with Christ. God does His part, and we do ours. God executes His role by inspiring us to perform our part.
God’s work is invisible and quiet, while our part is easily understandable and tangible. Actions like conversion, faith, prayer, and obedience are conscious acts that we can clearly explain. At the same time, the spiritual awakening and empowerment from above are mysterious and beyond human understanding.
So it happens that when a believer tries to say, “I am in Christ Jesus,” they often think more about the work they’ve done rather than the amazing secret work of God that united them to Christ. When embarking on the Christian journey, it often follows such a pattern. “I know that I have believed” is a valid testimony. It is essential to understand that when we turn to God, believe in Him, and accept Christ; it is the result of God’s powerful influence at work in our lives. God guided us without our knowledge, watched over us, and carried out His loving plan by uniting us with Christ Jesus.
As a believer starts to understand this divine aspect of salvation, they will learn to praise and worship with fresh joy and to appreciate more than ever the sacred nature of their salvation. As they contemplate each step, they hear the song rise up within them: “This is the doing of the Lord.” The Almighty Power is carrying out what Eternal Love had planned.
This truth extends even further and higher, back to the mysteries of eternity. “Whom He hath predestinated, them He also called.” Our earthly calling is a manifestation of a heavenly purpose. Even before the world was formed, God had set His gaze of sovereign love on you in His election of grace, choosing you in Christ.
Knowing yourself to be in Christ is a stepping stone to fully understanding the phrase, “It is because of Him that I am in Christ.” Alongside the prophet Jeremiah, you’ll declare, “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'”
You will see your salvation as part of the “mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.” With that perspective, you will join the collective body of believers in Christ, saying, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” Nothing magnifies free grace more, compelling humanity to humble itself before it than the knowledge that it is God that put us “in Christ.”
This understanding profoundly impacts the believer seeking to abide in Christ. Resting their claim to Christ and His fullness on nothing less than the purpose and work of the Father provides a solid foundation. We have considered the metaphor of Christ as the Vine and the believer as the branch, but let’s also recall the precious phrase, “My Father is the gardener.” The Savior said, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots,” but every branch He has grafted into the True Vine shall never be plucked from His hand.
Just as Christ owed all He was to the Father and found His strength and life as the Vine in Him, the believer likewise owes their position and security in Christ to the Father. Just as the Father watches over His beloved Son with love and delight, He also watches over every member of His body and every individual in Christ Jesus with the same care.
Our faith in Christ gives us the assurance we need to feel safe and capable of accomplishing anything God calls us to do. The branch is as much under the care and keeping of the gardener as the Vine; his honor is as much tied to the wellbeing and growth of the Vine. The God who chose Christ to be the Vine fully equipped Him for the work He was to do as the Vine.
The God who selected me and united me with Christ has committed to ensure that I live up to the standards of Jesus Christ if I choose to surrender myself to Him. Oh, if only I could fully realize this! What a surge of confidence it would bring to my prayers to the God and Father of Jesus Christ! Consistently relying on God and maintaining constant prayer is essential for my life. Through my connection to Christ, God will work in me to accomplish His divine work and give me the desire and ability to carry out His will. I am confident in my dependence on God to guide me toward fulfilling His purpose for my life.
And what a catalyst this would be for the highest activity level in sustaining a fruitful branch life! Motives hold great power, and keeping them clear and focused is crucial. Truly, this is the ultimate truth: “You are God’s masterpiece, made in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Through Him, you are united with Christ to produce an abundance of fruit.
Whatever God creates is exquisitely suited to its purpose. He made the sun to give light: how perfectly it does its work! He created the eye to see: how beautifully it fulfills its purpose! It is truly amazing how wonderfully equipped the new man is for performing good works, all thanks to his creator.
“I am in Christ” and have been recreated as a branch of the Vine, fully equipped to bear fruit for God. If only believers would stop focusing so much on their old nature, lamenting their weakness as though God had called them to something for which they were ill-equipped! If only they would accept, with faith and joy, the extraordinary revelation of how God, by uniting them to Christ, has taken responsibility for their spiritual growth and fruitfulness!
If people genuinely trusted in the faithfulness of Christ, their weak indecision and laziness would disappear quickly. This powerful motive would inspire them to embrace and fulfill their magnificent destiny with their entire being.
O, my soul! Yield yourself to the mighty impact of this truth: “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus.” Our connection to Christ is the foundation of our existence. Through Him, God has made us all that we need to be.
With this assurance, we can confidently look towards the future, knowing that God will continue to mold us into all He desires. Devoting time to meditation and worship can help illuminate your being with the light from God’s throne. It’s a way to truly understand the power and significance of your connection to Christ, which is a testament to His almighty Father’s incredible work.
May each day be a celebration as you allow God to be the heart of your life. May you embrace all the responsibilities, aspirations, and blessings that come with it and experience complete joy and fulfillment in doing so.
See Jesus, as He speaks to you, “Abide in me,” pointing upward and saying, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus.” And let your answer be, Amen, Lord! From eternity Christ and I were ordained for each other; inseparably, we belong to each other: it is God’s will; I shall abide in Christ. It is of God I am in Christ Jesus.