Today we continue our devotional series on In Christ Alone: What Every Christian Needs to Know More Deeply and Experience More Profoundly. There are 31 devotionals that highlights the truth of what it means to be “in Christ.”
Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
The truth of being “in Christ” was an absolute reality for Paul. Actually, it still is! Paul could’ve easily written this sentence without adding “in the Lord” or “in Christ.” Yet, he didn’t do so. Why? I believe there are two main reasons why he continually stressed this truth.
First of all, there’s no salvation apart from being “in Christ.” From the very beginning of our salvation till endless ages of glory, the experience of each part of God’s salvation is only “in Christ.” He’s “all, and in all” (Col. 3:11).
Secondly, Paul stressed it to safeguard God’s glory. Man is prone to attribute things to himself. Being “in Christ,” though, eliminates all boasting. The classis verses are: “And because of him you are in Chris Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (1 Cor. 1:30-31). We receive everything from Jesus.
To remind Philemon that the benefit is “in the Lord,” and that his refreshing of Paul’s heart is “in Christ,” is to emphasize that he couldn’t truly be beneficial to Paul or refresh his heart apart from the Lord. That’s why Jesus so clearly stated: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Nothing means nothing!
That’s an important lesson. We cannot be truly beneficial to others or refresh them apart from Jesus. All the benefits and all the refreshing that we receive from our brother and sisters can only come from Him. He uses His body to convey the benefits and refreshing. That’s what it means to be fellow workers with Him. His life flows through His body.
Paul had a way to address Christians to be and act in a certain way, living according to God’s word, while also stressing that such behavior and acting can only come from Jesus. That’s why He deserves all the glory, including for the blessing we are to others and the blessing others are to us.
The Devotional Writer
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