“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ,” Ephesians 2:13.
Someone said that there are three keys to becoming successful in business: location, location, and location.
Where you are is vitally important. It is even more vital in the spiritual realm. In fact, it’s critical. Paul wrote of people who had been “separated from Christ” — “strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world,” Ephesians 2:12.
However, because they are “now in Christ Jesus,” those “who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ,” Ephesians 2:13. That is why Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me,” John 14:6. One must be “in Christ Jesus” in order to have hope of heaven.
So how do we get into Christ? When Jesus suffered, shed his blood, and died on the cross, he paid the sin debt for all the world. He did what we could not do. That means we do not get into Christ by moral transformation. That actually comes later. Rather, we get into Christ through His blood, which was not shed for a select few but for all. John wrote, “He is the propitiation (the appeasing sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world,” 1 John 2:2. Regardless of what you’ve done or how long you’ve done it, Christ died for you.
But even though the price has been paid for all, the entire world will still not be saved. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few,” Matthew 7:13-14. Most of us will choose the wide and easy gate that leads to hell. Only a few will find and choose to walk on the narrow, hard way to eternal life in heaven.
This is what the narrow gate requires. The Bible teaches that to be saved and get into Christ where salvation is, we must believe in Jesus, repent of our sins, and be baptized in water (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 8:35-38). Paul says it like this, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ,” Galatians 3:26-27.
Some have questions about the role baptism has in saving us. Our faith is not in baptism. Faith is in Christ when we are baptized. We are baptized because Christ said such is necessary to be saved (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21). Biblical baptism is immersion, not sprinkling or having water poured over you. Paul describes it as being “buried with Him through baptism” (Romans 6:4). Baptism does not achieve anything of merit for us. It is a matter of trusting God to do what he said he would when we do what he tells us to (Colossians 2:12).
Once we exit the waters of baptism after having believed in Jesus with all your heart and chosen to repent of your sins, we are in Christ. So how do we stay in Christ? We stay in Christ by clinging closely to Him, by obeying Him and trusting Him. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” John 8:12. John wrote, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin,” 1 John 1:7. Staying in Jesus is a matter of following Jesus. If you’ve taken your eyes off Him, re-focus and follow Him again.
Are you where you need to be? Just trying to be good won’t do it. Finding your “own way” to heaven won’t get you there. Great blessings are waiting for you … but you’ve got to be in Christ. Email me at email@example.com to study more.
Jon Mitchell is the minister at Calhoun Church of Christ.