The phrase “Location is everything” is valid, especially in business. Yes, there are places where the food, merchandise, atmosphere, etc. is so wonderful and spectacular that people will travel many miles out of the way to partake. Barring that, however, if you put a restaurant or other facility in an out of the way place, unlikely or remote location, too far from the beaten track, overly difficult to find egress, it often goes under. Placement in a suitably easily accessible, parking friendly, relatively safe, highly visible and prominent spot is essential to a service establishment’s success or maintenance of it.
The same is true of the religion of Jesus Christ. Salvation is a matter of location.
The phrases “in Christ,” “in Christ Jesus,” “into Christ” occur a total of 384 times in the New Testament of the New King James version. Clearly it is an important matter to the inspired writers but why have many scholars given it so little regard?
Most likely it is because they do not grasp its significance. Salvation to them is a matter of “accepting Jesus” in some manner, usually via prayer, into the heart. They move Jesus from where He is into themselves instead of moving themselves into Him as Scripture teaches. Oh yes, they will cite Jesus knocking on the door asking admittance into the alien sinner’s heart, but in so doing they miss the entire context of it. Jesus, in Revelation, was requesting readmission into the hearts of those saints in dead or dying churches in Asia Minor (Rev. 3:14-21). He was not asking admission into the hearts of alien sinners. That makes a vast difference in understanding the verse and accurately defining its usage. Furthermore, Jesus as the “door” in the parable of the shepherd indicates the sheep enter the fold of safety through Him and into Him (John 10:7-9). Thus they have the thing backwards for alien sinners; they must to get “into Christ” before He can get into them.
Never in Scripture is it stated or intimated that one is to “believe into Christ” but that is what many teach. So to them there is no sense of urgency or need to seek an understanding of what it really means to be “in Christ.” They had rather pose the question, “Are you saved” than ask “Are you in Christ Jesus?” The entire phrase and its meaning are quite foreign; they would never be found asking it.
To be “in Christ Jesus” is to be saved, plain and simple. One cannot be saved and not be “in Christ.” Yet to be “in Christ” is to be a baptized (immersed in water) penitent (Acts 2:38), confessing (Acts 8:36-37), believer in the divinity of Jesus Christ (John 8:24).
“But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized INTO CHRIST have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:25-26).
According to the testimony of the Holy Spirit of God to get “in Christ” or “into Christ” is to have been baptized (immersed in water) having fulfilled the aforementioned commandments of Christ or His Apostles. Someone quite confidently told me something to the effect that: “There is nothing physical you do to be saved.” I wish I had replied, “Who says so? Not Jesus, His Apostles, nor the Holy Spirit for certain!” If a physical act be mistaken for something other than faith, it is not my fault. Rather, it is a faulty understanding of what faith itself is – trusting obedience to the will of God – whatever that involves and entails.
Now that you know what is meant by the expression, I end this article by asking you, “Are you in Christ Jesus?” Unless you have been baptized into Christ, you cannot be.