“Together With Christ” In His Cross-death and Resurrection

By Arthur J Licursi

From a state of death, with regard to our sins and the uncircumcision of our flesh, God has made us alive together with Christ having forgiven us of all offences, as well as all sins. (Rom. 5:1-2, 8:35; Col 2:13; Eph 2:5). It is the phrase made alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4-5); this is key to the Christian life.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ [i.e., made us alive together with Christ], (by grace ye are saved;)” Ephesians 2:4-5 (KJV)

1. Who is Paul writing to?
Paul begins his letter, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:” (Eph. 1:1) The Greek word for ‘saints’ is hagios which means ‘holy’ or ‘sanctified ones’ Christians are different from the world because we are inwardly, that is in our spiritlike the Lord. This is so because Paul is writing to believers in Christ Jesus,” that is those in a spiritual union with the resurrected Christ as He now is.

2. What was the former spiritual condition of the Ephesian believers before God made them alive together with Christ? Paul writes, “And you hath he quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” Ephesians 2:1-2 (KJV)

Without Christ’s life, we were “dead in our trespasses and sins.” We inherited our spiritual “deadness” from being “in Adam” (Genesis 2:16-17, 3:6). Romans 5:12 says, Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” At that time we were “in Adam,” in union with Adam’s life. But as believers we are “in Christ”together with Christ wherever we are and whatever we are doing, even when we misuse His life in us.

Trespasses are a lapse or deviation from the truth, a slip-up, or an error that can be unintentional or willful. Sins are thoughts, words, or deeds where we miss the mark or target of perfection.

3. Even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins, before we were in Christ, God loved us. In eternity past, God’s divine attributes of mercy, love and perfect justice appealed to God’s wisdom, moving Him to plan for and provide for our salvation without compromising His justice and perfect righteousness (Ephesians 1:3-5, 2:4-5, Colossians 2:13-14).

Knowing the “wages of sin is death,” He could not rely upon fallen humans in their helpless sinfulness. So, His plan called for another way to pay for ALL sin. Romans 5:8 tells us, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus said about himself, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have [His] everlasting life. 17 For God sent NOT his Son into the world to condemn the world; but That The World Through Him Might Be Saved. (John 3:16-17)

4.Together with Christ,” God made us Alive. Ephesians 2:5 tells us believers that God has made us alive together with Christ. In the Greek, the verb does not just say “made alive.” It says, “made alive together with. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines this verb, suzóopoieó (sood-zo-op-oy-eh’-o), as “to reanimate conjointly with, (figuratively) -- quicken together with.” As believers “IN Christ,” we now identify with and by faith are con-joined with Christ in his resurrection.

We were “made alive with Christ’s resurrection life” the very moment we first believed – in that moment the Holy Spirit baptized us or set us into union with Christ death and with His resurrection life. Thus Paul wrote;

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were [dry] baptized into Jesus Christ were [dry] baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3-4
“For by one Spirit are we all [dry] baptized into one BODY [His sacrificed body at the Cross], whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit [of life, cf. Rom. 8:2].” 1 Corinthians 12:13 (KJV)

NOTE: The word “BODY” here above in 1Cor 12:13 is NOT “the church” called “the body of Christ;” it is the body of His flesh (see Col, 1:22, Rom. 7:4) that was sacrificed on the cross not only FOR US, but also AS US’ … to free of from the presence of Sin.

Paul summarizes our present status this way:

I am [not was] crucified with Christ: nevertheless I Live; Yet Not I, But Christ Liveth In Me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith [pistis, faithfulness] of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me [to be the new me].” Galatians 2:20

5. When God makes us “alive together with Christ,” He gives us a new kind of life. It is Christ’s very own everlasting resurrection life, with His righteous nature. When we believe into Jesus Christ and into his resurrection, God makes us alive together with Christ’s life.

God gives us a new quality of life – His eternal life (Romans 6:23). Eternal life for the believer begins when they put their faith and trust in Christ alone, and continues after the resurrection in our glorified body (Philippians 3:20-21). This is His spirit-life that is called “the spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:2). His resurrected Spirit is con-joined to the believer’s “spirit of man,” (Zech 12:1), thus making us “one spirit” with Him.”

“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:17

Thus Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about a Spiritual rebirth for the Nation Israel.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:6

The Nation Israel has never yet been reborn to its calling of His spirit … but today’s individual believers of all races (individual Jews and Gentiles) are “regenerated by the same resurrected Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” Titus 3:5 (KJV)

Being made alive with and in Christ results in a new quality of life. It is the very life of the triune Godhead. The Greek word for eternal in eternal life is aionios, which means perpetual, unending, age-long (Strong’s Concordance). Aionios includes the character of that which lasts for an age, as contrasted with that which is brief and fleeting. “Aionios does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age it relates to. Every genuine believer who is alive spiritually in Christ are living by and in Christ’ eternal resurrection life right now, experiencing and living the quality of God’s life now as a present possession.

We of “the church, which is His body” (Eph. 1:22b-23a) have a high and heavenly ‘calling and hope’ “far above” all heaven. We were chosen for this before the world began.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings In Heavenly Places In Christ:” Ephesians 1:3 (KJV)

One day soon, we will be resurrected (the living and the dead) to dwell and reign in ‘heaven’ as our home.

“For our conversation [Old English for ‘citizenship’] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious [resurrection] body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3:20-21 (KJV)

“When Christ, Who Is Our Life, Shall Appear, Then Shall Ye Also Appear With Him In [Heaven’s] Glory.” Colossians 3:4