The reality of being “in Christ” is not just a nice concept, it’s an absolute practical truth, not just in how we relate to our Father, but also to one another.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
As stated before, many times Paul could’ve made his statements without adding “in Christ.” “As God forgave you” makes the exact same point. However, he added “in Christ.” The reality of being “in Christ” is vital, not only in relation to understanding and experiencing God’s relationship to us, but also our relationship with one another. Let’s consider both.
God relates to us as being “in Christ.” There’s absolutely no other way for Him to relate to us favorably. That’s why Jesus stated: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). In other words: no one can truly relate to the Father apart from being “in Christ.”
Since we’re in Him, God counts us as perfectly righteous because Jesus is perfectly righteous. God also doesn’t remember our sins anymore—He freely forgives them—because Jesus died for them. He treats us the same way He treats Jesus. That’s absolutely mind-boggling. Unfortunately, many times we don’t truly live in this great reality and we also fall short in relating to one another as such. Didn’t Jesus even say: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40). He fully associates Himself with His body—with all who are “in Him.”
Not only are we to grow in our understanding and experiencing of being “in Christ” in relation to God, our Father, but also in relation to our brothers and sisters. They have the same blessings and gracious benefits that we have. Consequently, we’re to relate to them accordingly.
That’s what Paul clearly stated in this verse. As God is kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to us “in Christ,” even so are we to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.” There’s a definite connection between truly living in the reality of being “in Christ” and how we relate to one another. The more we realize how God treats us “in Christ,” the more we will treat our brothers and sisters accordingly, reflecting God’s kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness.
The Devotional Writer