If you’re a believer in Christ, he has baptized you in the Spirit, placing you into the body of Christ, the church. What does that mean for your life, today?
Lots of things.
First, as I noted in the previous post, you have a close association with the Spirit of God, and he is doing multiple things in you—most importantly, I suppose, he has taken up residence in your body (1Co 3.16) and is there guiding your thinking—including convicting you of sin—and teaching you as he illuminates your mind to understand his word (1Co 2.12-14), and sanctifying you—making you more like Christ—every day (2Co 3.18). He is now your animating spirit, your breath of spiritual life. This one fact is more than we can fathom.
But there are other implications. Since you have been placed into the body of Christ, you are now associated corporately with all other believers; you are kin to every other Christian in the world. Every believer you meet is gifted to influence and benefit your walk with God, and you are gifted to benefit theirs. I hope you have had, or someday will have, an opportunity to make an instant connection with a believer in a far country, in the midst of an unfamiliar culture. It’s magical. No, it’s a lot better than magical.
Most days, though, your experience of that closeness with other believers will take place in the context of your local church, with people you know—and get to know better over time—and with whom you can interact in significant ways, whether with physical help or charity, or with regular fellowship in the word and prayer, or by walking with them through a crisis—either theirs or yours. This support network is absolutely necessary for spiritual growth and for prospering in a broken world. We must not neglect it.
A third implication is that you are now one with Christ: he is the head, and you are part of his body (Ep 1.21-22). We have a corporate relationship with him as well. And the consequences of that association are vast and profound:
- The Father sees the Son when he looks at you; he looks at you through Christ-colored glasses. In you he is well pleased (Mt 3.17).
- His anger at your sin is appeased. He is delighted to see you, because Christ’s righteous life has been imputed to you (2Co 5.21).
- Union with Christ (the phrase “in Christ” occurs 30+ times in the New Testament) means that you share in Christ’s work—
- You have been crucified, buried, and risen with Him (Ro 6.6, 4; Ep 2.5).
- You are now seated with him in heavenly places (Ep 2.6).
- You share in his sufferings, and he shares in yours. “We suffer with him so that we may be glorified with him” (Ro 8.17).
- You will reign with him (2Ti 2.12).
- It means that you share in Christ’s person.
- You have the mind of Christ (1Co 2.16).
- You are one spirit with him (1Co 6.17).
- You are his ambassador (2Co 5.18-21).
This is serious business. The words you say, the choices you make, the things you do all reflect on Christ himself. It astonishes me that he has chosen to entrust his reputation to people that he knows are unreliable.
So how shall we then live?
- Live in the joy of union with Christ, with whom the Father is perfectly well pleased.
- Live in coordinated union with other believers, sharing your gift(s) with them and welcoming their sharing of their gift(s) with you. Don’t ride alone. There are always ways to work together and edify one another.
- Every day, recognize confidently that the Spirit of God, who lives in you and calls you his home, is activating and energizing all of this for the glory of God and for the certain and perfect fulfillment of his will.
This is a cause far greater than ourselves.