Much like Paul writing to the Corinthian Church, saying that he had to give them milk, rather than meat (1 Corinthians 3:2), because they could not bare it, similarly there are some churches I preach at that there are things I just cannot say. At least not without getting stoned to death by the parishioners.
Some churches are so steeped in legalism and bondage, that the slightest hint of freedom is damned as heresy and they will cut the microphone on you as they escort you out, yelling “false teacher!” I’ve witnessed churches like these split over something as simple as if they think someone should be allowed in the building while wearing jeans to a Sunday Service. I’m not going to venture into one of these churches and preach Jesus as the Last Adam and obliterate their religious thinking inside of a 45 minute sermon. That would be counter productive.
For some of these Christians, the idea that the Church is not a building, but rather it’s the body of believers is super radical, cutting edge preaching that skirts very close to heresy. For these churches, it’s enough for me that I convey one of the basic tenants of Christianity,one seed, the Forgiveness of Sins. If you give them too much, their religious minds will not be able to bare it, and it will result in serious internal turmoil.
None the less, I’ve determined in myself, to preach the truth, to the best of my understanding, if not necessarily to the best of their understanding. What I mean is, there are certain things that I know to be true, that generally in the audience of these churches, they do not know to be true. This means I can tell them truth about something, but their thinking will interpret it in a way that they can understand and digest with minimum fallout.
I would say things, like, “In Christ, you are a forgiven person.” Or in other instances “There is no condemnation to them who are In Christ.”
To most of the legalist, the phrase “In Christ,” acts as a kind of buffer to their religious sentiment, qualifying the message of Grace to some degree and helps make it more palitable. They think, that the this radical message is for those who are “In Christ,” as oppsed to those who are “Not in Christ.” And most religious people can sit relatively easy with this, and doesn’t leave too much for their Pastor to “clear up” afterwards.
But for those of us who know what it means, this is all tongue in cheek comedy, because we understand that there is NOTHING that is “Not in Christ.”
Colossians 1:16- 17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Jesus Christ is the fabric of Creation. In Him, ALL things consist. All things, includes unbelievers, atheist, Hindus, Muslims, human beings, satanist, Satan himself, and all of creation. Everything is made of God. If something can exist outside of Christ on its own, independent of his life, that would be God.
Even the Apostle Paul, in talking to the pagans in Athens, make this quote.
Acts 17:27-28 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him [Jesus] we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
So who is in Christ, according to Paul? Anyone who is alive, can move and has existence.
To the religious, “In Christ,” is a necessary qualifier that serves as a way to classify people and partition the goodness of God according to their religious ideas. To the Grace Preacher, “In Christ,” is a meaningless qualifier, that they use to helps preach the message of God’s love to the religious without overwhelming them.
To the Grace Preacher, it is not about In or Out of Christ, as all creation is In Christ, rather it is all about being In Fellowship with Christ, or Out of Fellowship with Christ. Do you know that you are In, or don’t you? That is what matters.
1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
Don’t tell anyone, it will be our little secret. 😉
John Crowder talking about Who is In Christ.