By F.B. Meyer
THE sponge, as it expands in its native seas, is in the clear warm water; and the water is in it. Thus there is a double In-ness between the Lord and the soul that loves Him. He is in the believer, as the sap is in the vine, and the spirit of energetic life in the body. But, in a very deep and blessed sense, the believer is in Christ. Of each of these sides of this marvellous truth there are many illustrations in this Epistle, so specially devoted to the study of the preposition in. We are dealing now with those passages only that assure us, as believers, of being in the Beloved.
WE ARE IN CHRIST, IN THE FATHER'S THOUGHT (Ephesians 1:3, 1:4, 1:9, 1:11)
The disclosures made to the apostle Paul of God's hidden things, hidden from ages and generations, are perfectly overwhelming. He tells us that our connection with Christ, in the thought of God, is not a matter of yesterday, nor of the day before, but of eternity.
The foundations of the earth were not laid in a day. But, ere the aeons of creation began to revolve in their vast cycles, before the earth or the world was formed, God chose us in Christ. He chose Christ, and all those who, down the far vista of time, should answer to the attraction of his Spirit and become one with Him in a living faith.
How startling it would be if, according to a suggestion made by another, the geologist, mining deeply into the earth, should suddenly find, amid the footprints of animals long extinct, the initials of his own name cut in the primeval rock! How came those initials there? They must have been graven by the finger of the Creator! Ah, what a rush of awe would fill the breast! But a greater marvel than this awaits us here. For we learn that our names were engraven on the breastplate of the great High Priest before the amethyst or jacinth was wrought in the laboratory of Nature, among her oldest and rarest treasures.
Is there a doubt that we shall be ultimately holy and without blemish, when the stream that is to bear us thither started in eternal ages from the Father's heart? Let us at least get comfort from the thought that He who foreordained works all things after the counsel of his will.
BUT THE ETERNAL PURPOSE DOES NOT EXHAUST THE MARVELS OF THIS REVELATION (Ephesians 2:10)
"We were created in Christ Jesus." It is as if the conception of the Man Christ Jesus, the Head, with the redeemed as his body, were an eternal thought in the mind of God. It is as if they were created in the thought and purpose of God, long ages ere they took shape in mortal form. It is as if the new creation were already accomplished in the intention of Him who calls things that are not as though they were. In his book all Christ's members were written when as yet there was none of them.
WE WERE IN CHRIST ALSO AMID THE MARVELS OF HIS DEATH (Ephesians 2:6)
In Him we paid the debt in Him we lay in the grave, and broke from death, and sped on the heavenly track home to the bosom of God. In Him we sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High, and sit there still.
TIME IS THE ELABORATION IN ACTUAL FACT OF THE THOUGHTS AND PURPOSES OF GOD (Ephesians 3:9-11)
Slowly the divine conception has taken shape in the formation and education of the church; just as of old it took shape in the making of the world. And it is a great help to us to catch a glimpse of the direction of the Divine movement. The explorer who, from a commanding headland, is able to descry the set or lie of a country, confers a lasting benefit on all who follow him; and it is one of the inestimable benefits of revelation that it removes the obscurity which drapes our mortal lives so closely, and makes all men see the dispensation of the mystery.
IN CHRIST THE BLESSINGS OF REDEMPTION ARE STORED. (Ephesians 1:3, 1:6, 1:7, 1:13)
All conceivable spiritual blessings needed by us for living a holy and useful life are stored in Jesus. We must therefore be in Him by a living faith to partake of them; as a child must be in the home, to participate in the provisions of the father's care. It is only they who know the meaning of the life hidden with Christ in God, and who abide in Christ, to whom God gives the key of his granary, and says, "Go in, and take what you will."
How can mortal man exhaust the wonderful gifts of our Father's grace? But they are all freely bestowed in the Beloved, in whom we also stand accepted. Who can estimate the meaning of redemption, which begins with the forgiveness of our trespasses, and ends in the rapture of the sapphire throne? But it is to be found only in Him and through his blood. What do we not owe to the sealing of the Spirit, by which our softened hearts get the impress of the Saviour's beloved face, and are kept safe until He comes to claim us? But the sealing is only possible to those who are in Him. All things are ours, but only when we are in Christ.
WE ARE IN CHRIST AS THE SPHERE OF DAILY LIFE AND EXPERIENCE (Ephesians 1:1, 3:17)
It is the intention of God that we who believe should ever live in Christ Jesus, as the very element and atmosphere of our life; never travelling beyond the golden limits established by his Love, or Life, or Light: in Him as the root in the soil, or as the foundation in the rock. Always in his love, because never permitting in speech or act what is inconsistent with it. Always in his life, because ordering our activities by the laws of his being. Always in his light, because saturated by his bright purity, and illumined by his gentle wisdom. Oh to be always one of the faithful in Christ Jesus, and to be able to say with the Psalmist, "I have no good beyond Thee"! (Psalm 16:2).
THEN IT WOULD BE EASY AT ANY MOMENT TO HAVE ACCESS WITH BOLDNESS INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD. (Ephesians 2:18, 4:21, 5:20, 6:10)
Confident that what we asked was according to his mind to give. Then we should sit at his feet, and be taught in Him, even as the truth is in Jesus, learning the secret of putting away the old man and putting on the new. Then it would not be so hard always to give thanks for all things in his name. An artesian well, fed from Heaven's deep joy, would then make. perennial gladness in our hearts. Then we should never lack strength, our slender supply being fed from his Almightiness, on which we could draw perpetually. Spirit of God--Divine Anointing which we have received of Him--teach us concerning all things, and especially how to abide in Christ (1 John 2:27).
IN CHRIST AS THE CENTRE OF UNITY (Ephesians 1:10)
It is the evident purpose of God to finish as He began. He began by choosing us in Christ. He will end by summing up all things in Him, both the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth. All the landscape focuses in the eye; all creation finds its apex in man; and all the story of the ages shall be consummated in our Lord, the Divine Man.
THAT UNIFICATION IS NOW IN PROGRESS. (Ephesians 2:13, 2:15, 2:21; 3:6)
The sheep are gathering up the mountainsides to stand together as one flock, beneath the care of the one Shepherd. Those who were far off are being made nigh. Those who were at enmity are being reconciled, because the middle wall has been broken down. Those who were strangers and foreigners are recognising each other as fellow-members, fellow-partakers of the promise, and fellow-heirs. Amid the many churches, the one Church, which Jesus purchased with his blood, is being formed. From the ruins of many structures the one Temple is being built.