Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi,
together with the overseers and deacons :
Philippians 1:1 (NIV)
As you read the writings of the apostle Paul it soon becomes clear that his favorite way of expressing his relationship to Jesus is “in Christ Jesus”. This simple two word statement is rich in significance as we reflect on it.
When the apostle writes he is in prison and awaiting almost certain death. He is imprisoned for his love of Christ and for preaching the Good News of salvation in the Lord Jesus. As we read further in this little letter to the Philippian Christians we marvel at how he speaks of rejoicing and being happy in Jesus when in such a dreadful situation.
Prisons in Paul’s day were places of filth, disease, sweating hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. How is it then that Paul, waiting for an unjust death by the sword, and existing in such horrible conditions could speak of rejoicing?
The answer is most certainly found in this expression, “in Christ Jesus”. When Paul uses this expression he is referring to being within the sphere of the cross work of Christ Jesus.
Hear what Paul says elsewhere about being “in Christ Jesus”. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1 (NIV) Paul knows he is likely to be condemned by the Roman court and executed. However, by being “in Christ Jesus”, he is eternally safe from the sentence of death in the court of God.
What can we say then? If God is for us who can stand successfully against us? Whatever the world does to us we are forever safe because we are “in Christ Jesus”.
Do you have this assurance today? Are you able to look past the present dreadful difficulties and thank God that you are “in Christ Jesus”? Is your eternal safety that you possess worth all the hassles and sorrows of this life?
Perhaps this is where you need to begin your work of dealing with the trauma facing you today. Examine your relationship or lack of relationship to the Lord Jesus. Read once more the Gospel of John and consider the enormous amount of suffering that Jesus endured to free His people from condemnation.
That work of rescuing us from the guilt and condemnation of sin is more precious, more valuable than any treasure on earth. Too many people today who confess the Lord Jesus think very little of their position in Christ. If only we could recognize the immense wealth to be had in Jesus we would be wanting to go to church every day of the week to sing His praise.
Will you look away from the difficulties that plague you today and think about this Person Who has inspired countless numbers of His followers to walk with Him through sorrow, grief, torture and even death for His sake. Being “in Christ Jesus” is the place to be during this life and forever in eternity to come.