That is the question. To be Christian is a declaration of the Spirit of God, not a claim established by you or me.
It has taken over two years, at our family-pace, to study through the concepts presented in the book Claiming Christ. The final chapter summarizes what the Bible demonstrates that it means for a believer to be “in him”. To be in Christ is a positional reality, declared by God upon those who put a biblicly valid faith in Jesus. That means that such believers will (as Scripture commands) show an enduring faith that lives in line with what it means to truly believe in the Lord.
To claim faith, but to live defiant, is to be deceived. It is a sad reality that the Narrow Way is found by few, while claimed by many.
And while the book emphasized the pointing of Scripture at what God expects of those who say they follow Christ, there must be a conclusion greater than anything discoverable in man. The truth about being in him culminates in the Supremacy of Christ, in a manner that seems shockingly opposite to all we seem to have been emphasizing.
So reads a closing paragraph from Claiming Christ:
The greatest part about being in him is what Scripture
addresses as the “mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints” (Col 1:26). The entire plan of redemption points toward ultimate divine oneness between believers and God. It is not simply about us dwelling in him, but principally about him dwelling in us. “This mystery…is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (v.27, italics added). God himself desires to live and abide in you. This is what Jesus prayed for on behalf of those who “will believe in me,…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us…I in them and you in me” ( Jn 17:20-23, italics added).
To be Christian is to live in Christ, as if every detail of our existence resembles him, and for Jesus to live in us, as if every detail of his existence resembles God-with-us:
Immanuel. To Him be the glory!