Philip Melanchthon, a contemporary of Martin Luther observed, “To know Christ is to know his benefits.”
When we are in a relationship with Jesus Christ, there are benefits that we should claim as our own.
Paul frequently uses the phrase “in him,” “in Christ,” or “in the Spirit” to describe a living relationship with the Lord. In the text below, I will emphasize these phrases and show how they describe the benefits of living in a relationship with him.
Benefit #1 – “In him” (Jesus), we experience the fullness of God’s benefits.
Colossians 2.9-10 – For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.
Paul warned his readers in verse 8 to not be taken captive by empty and deceptive philosophy. Their teaching about “fullness” was “not according to Christ.”
The first-century teachers used the phrase “fullness” to describe God’s pure spiritual nature. They claimed to have secret knowledge that enabled people to return from a lost state back to God’s presence.
Paul countered the deceitful teachers and said that God’s fullness could only be found in Jesus.
A secret knowledge does not provide access to God, but a relationship with Jesus does.
This discussion may seem distant and irrelevant to today’s issues. Expert knowledge of other religions or philosophies is not necessary. However, a personal relationship with Jesus is essential to knowing God.
Benefit #2 – “In Christ” we are united with the Head over every ruler and authority.
The Old Testament prophets had definite opinions about earthly authorities. They should not be objects of worship and allegiance, and neither should they be feared.
Paul declared that Jesus “is the head of every ruler and authority” (verse 10). When we are “in Christ,” we join him in his rule.
The benefit of being “with Christ” is that we are intimately connected to the Head over all rulers and authorities.
Paul wrote, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2.6).
Because this is our position, we need not fear nor worship earthly powers.
Benefit #3 – We are most alive when we are in a relationship “with Christ.”
Circumcision removes a small piece of flesh, but in baptism, we die to our former broken way of life so God can raise us up to the best life possible.
Colossians 2.11-14 – In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by the removal of the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ;
When you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses,
Erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross discusses the relationship between circumcision and baptism. Rudy is a Jewish follower of Jesus and is well versed to talk about the importance that circumcision plays in his heritage.
The loss of blood in circumcision is an image of the sacrificial system, which shows us the connection between shed blood and forgiveness.
Hebrews states, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9.22).
Baptism pictures both death and resurrection. Both men and women participate in this sign of God’s new covenant with people.
When we place our faith in the finished work of Christ (shown by baptism), we join the family of God and are made alive “with him.”
Because of the crucifixion and resurrection, the guilt of rebellion is forgiven and God’s life is granted.
Benefit #4 – “In Christ” we share in his triumph.
The defeat of an enemy was cause for a parade in Rome. The enemies’ plundered gold and silver headed the parade.
Next, came the prisoners who walked behind the conquering army in chains. If the king were still alive, he was paraded at the very end of the procession.
After the parade, the king was executed before the crowd in the most humiliating manner.
Jesus is the King of all kings but was treated as a conquered foe by the Roman government.
The irony is that Jesus turned the most horrible event the world has experienced into a victory parade of his own.
Colossians 2.15 – He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.
Rudy reminds us that the world had to wait three days before God made Jesus’ victory evident. The resurrection is proof that Jesus is Lord.
The words “in him” and “with him” are prominent in Paul’s letters. Let’s pay attention to the benefits that our ours in a relationship with Jesus.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. Rudy adds a great perspective to the discussion. You can listen to the video on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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