Q: What does it mean to be “in Christ”?
Suggested Daily Reading: John 15:1-12
A: Jesus uses the example of a vine and its branches. If a branch is connected to the vine it is healthy and produces fruit. But what happens if the branch is separated from the vine? In a short time it dies and its fruit withers. A branch cut off from its vine no longer receives the life-giving sap and nutrients it needs to live. A branch on its own, not connected to its life-source, is good for nothing. It will be discarded.
To be “in Christ” means to abide in Him. It means to be connected in a living way to Jesus. We are like branches. If we are connected to Jesus then His life flows into us and we live spiritually and bring forth fruit to God’s glory. What fruits honor the Lord? Fruits of love to God and love to others. If, however, we are separated from Jesus Christ, then like branches cut off, we wither and die. Then we will not produce any good fruit, but only sin. We will be good for nothing, but instead like dead branches, only gathered to be burned.
How can you know if you are abiding in Christ? Read verse 10 again. The more we abide in Christ, the more we will love the Lord, His will, His Word and His commandments. When we love to keep God’s commandments and our deepest desire is to love Him above all and others as ourselves, then we know that we are abiding in Christ. The only way our branch can produce such spiritual fruits is when we receive spiritual life from the spiritual vine, Jesus Christ. Separated from Jesus, we only produce sin and its fruit, which is death.
Despite your sins and failures, if your heart’s deepest longing and prayer is to live more Christ-like, to love God more, and to produce more fruit to God’s honor, then you are connected to the spiritual vine, Jesus Christ. You are abiding in Him.
Are you abiding in Christ? What means can you use to become connected with, and to deepen your connection with the Lord? How can you improve your personal use of God’s means of grace?