Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.2 Corinthians 5:17 ASV
A phenomenal blindness is the only thing that could account for the total absence from the writings of so many scholars of any reference whatever to this little prepositional phrase which is nothing if not THE VERY EYE OF CHRISTIANITY.
Paul used this expression, or its equivalent, 169 times!
The marvelous blessings “in Christ” are of God, because God was in Christ, Christ being called GOD no less than ten times in the Greek New Testament.
Failure to appreciate what Paul means by this is to misunderstand everything. Paul had just written that all people are dead spiritually, a deadness that shall never abate unless they are risen again IN CHRIST.
In Christ, a new spiritual life is given to the convert; in Christ all of his previous sins are cancelled; in Christ he is endowed with the Holy Spirit; in Christ a new and glorious life begins; in Christ old values are rejected, old standards repudiated, and old lusts are crucified; in Christ are “all spiritual blessings” (Ephesians 1:3); out of Christ, there is nothing but death, remorse, hopelessness and condemnation; in Christ there is the life eternal!
In the light of the above, how is it that one can read 57 commentaries and find not one single reference to the all important question of “How does one find the status of being `in Christ'”?
The answer to this question is the concern of every man ever born, or at least it should be.
As many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ (Galatians 3:27).
For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body (1 Corinthians 12:13).
The baptism “into one body” in the third reference above is exactly the same as being baptized into Christ, because the one body is the spiritual body of Christ.
Because there is none. Baptism is the only way.
But, it is alleged that “faith in Christ” saves; and so it does, but notice the meaning of this oft-repeated and frequently misunderstood expression. “Faith in Christ” means faith exercised by a believer who is “in Christ,” having been baptized into him.
The preposterous assumption that one who is not “in Christ” at all may have, in fact, “faith in Christ” is an utter impossibility.
These are among the significant reasons why the dominating expression in this marvelous verse is in the words “if any man is in Christ,” which appear at the head of the verse.
Not a word subsequently appearing in the verse applies to any person in heaven or upon earth who is NOT “in Christ.”