Believers, Do You Know What It Means To Be ‘In’ Christ? (are you sure?)

I hear many people say that they are ‘in Christ.’  I used to wonder, what — exactly — does that mean?  You see, I never knew or understood what it meant because no one I knew understood it, either.  But then I read the Scriptures (novel idea, huh?).  Now I know what it means.  What I wonder now is, how many others who claim to know and be ‘in’ Christ know what it means?  More importantly, how many realize the terrible cost of being wrong?

I’d like to take you Scripture surfing.  Let’s start where this phrase starts in the Scriptures:

Exodus 23:20-22

Conquest of the Land

20 “Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him. 22 But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.

There is a lot we could unpack in this passage, but let’s just focus on two things.  One, YHWH tells the Israelite that His name is in this Angel (this is the Angel of the Lord — Yeshua).  And, although the passage does not expressly say so, it is negatively implied that this Angel has YHWH’s Authority to forgive sins (by saying the Angel will not pardon, it implies that the Angel actually has the authority to do so).  Now, if you know Scripture, you know that only YHWH can forgive sin.  This is what it means to have YHWH’s Name in this Angel: it means YHWH’s character, power, authority, etc., is part of this Angel, which is how and why we know the Angel of the Lord is Yeshua.  But let’s hop on our Scripture surf board and go find the passage(s) that prove this is the correct understanding.  Are you familiar with either of these?

Matthew 9:6

But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins—then He *said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.”

Mark 2:10

10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins—He *said to the paralytic,

OK, so, YHWH’s name is in Yeshua, and this is why Yeshua has the authority to forgive sin (because He is YHWH).  Now, let’s see where this can take us next.  Do you remember this passage?

John 8:54-58

54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; 55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

Once again, we could unpack a great deal from this passage.  But let’s just focus on the words in bold print.  Yeshua says He knows YHWH because He obeys YHWH’s commands.  He also says that the Pharisees do not know YHWH because they do not obey His commands.  When I first came to understand what it means to be ‘in’ Yeshua, this passage caused my blood to run cold.  Do you know why?  Because the first passage that came to mind once I understood was this one:

1 John 2:3-6

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

Do you see why my blood ran cold?  If you do not obey Yeshua’s commands, you do not know or love Him; and, if you do not know Him, you do not abide in Him; and, if we do not abide in Him, He does not know us, either.  Where do you suppose my Scripture surf board took me next?  How about here?

Matthew 7:21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

If you do not obey His commands, Yeshua does not know you: you practice lawlessness.  But I thought the Law was dead?  Do you have eyes to see where this is going yet?  The question now, is…

How much more do we (myself included) misunderstand?