“My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,” Galatians 4:19
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27
In Galatians, Paul says he wants to see that, “Christ is formed in you” (Gal 4:19). He also says that we are “baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:27). So which is it? Are we in Christ or is Christ in us? If you were to do a survey of all of Paul’s letters you would find that he describes our lives in both ways frequently. What do these two descriptions teach us about formation?
It is in these kinds of questions that we often discover interesting insights into life with Jesus. At a macro level both descriptions speak of intimacy with Jesus, he is in us and we are in him. If you take a closer look, there could be something deeper going on here. There is something mysterious that takes place when we embrace Jesus as king and savior. We are said to be, “in Christ.” Paul speaks of this in numerous places. Our new position in him is what allows us to fellowship with God again. The second idea of Christ being in us is one that is fleshed out as we continue in relationship with Jesus. Over time, we begin to look more like the savior who loves us and who we are growing to love. That is expressed by this idea of Christ being formed in us. Salvation saves us, but it also transforms us from the inside out.
Which image resonates most with you? Take a few minutes to contemplate being in Christ and also Christ being in you. It may help you to focus by trying to diagram this mysterious reality on a sheet of paper. What is Jesus saying to you through these ideas?
By Aaron Bjorklund