Thursday, November 17, 2011

“In Christ”…before Paul!

If the church, the body of Christ, started with Paul, how can there be people ‘in Christ before’ him?

Romans 16:7
Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

It is my understanding from scripture that the Apostle is not saying that these people are members of the body of Christ, but that they were members of God's "church" before the body was revealed, that is, the Messianic kingdom church of Matthew through early Acts.  These people who were "of note among the apostles" and Paul's "kinsmen" were Jewish saints who trusted Jesus as their Messiah way before Paul came on the scene.

Early in Paul's ministry, the Lord Jesus used some of those Messianic kingdom saints to help Paul labour in getting this new program out (Barnabas, for example).  Just because their kingdom program was on hold does not mean that God did not use them to serve him until they all died off, and many of them helped the Apostle early in the book of Acts.

As far as them being "in Christ before" Paul, that just shows that they had faith "in him." Even in the kingdom program to Israel, the Lord made it clear that those members of his little flock were saved "in him."

Isaiah 45:17, 25
But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.   

In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

John 6:56; 14:20
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

1 John 4:13; 5:20
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

So all true believers are "in Christ" whether in the kingdom program of time past and the age to come, or today (but now) in the body of Christ in the dispensation of grace, all who trust him are said to be "in him," although we today are in his "body" which was a Mystery until revealed to and thru Paul.

Hopefully this helps!

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