One cannot study the writings of the Apostle Paul without meeting with the concept of being “in Christ.” He uses the phrase 74 times, that of “in Christ Jesus” 38 times, and “in Jesus Christ” 4 times. But he never uses the phrase “in Jesus.” That is because the phrase “in Christ” always refers to the resurrected Christ, not the earthly Jesus. It denotes our position, not simply our relationship. We are “in” Him. It is a spiritual position, not a physical one, independent of time and space, indicating our secure and eternal identification with and in the risen Christ. Being in a church does not make one a Christian, any more than being in a garage makes you a car. Being a Christian is only from being “in Christ.” This is only possible “by grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8), then and only then can we be “created in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 10).
Being “in Christ” is the basis of the believer’s unity, not only with Christ, but with each one who is “in Christ.” All are one body in Christ (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13). Each true believer, regardless of church affiliation, race, sex, creed, or nationality, is united “in Christ.”