Christ in You and You in Christ

by Rudi Steenhuis

Concerning believers in the grace gospel, Paul says these two things: (1) you are in Christ, and (2) Christ is in you.

"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:" – Colossians 1:27-28

The phrase "Christ in you" is found in Col 1:27 (above), and in the next verse every man is presented perfect "in Christ Jesus" (Col 1:28).

What do these seemingly opposite but similar sounding statements mean?

What's the difference between 'you in Christ' and 'Christ in you'?

(1)             In Christ
(Created as a new being and are clothed in the righteousness of Christ and are perfect before God)

To be 'in Christ' is where you are placed at the moment of your salvation. Your new position is in Christ.

"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" – Ephesians 2:6

The imputation of righteousness by faith is due to you being in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). It is his righteousness imputed to you.

'You in Christ' concerns (1) you as a new creature; perfect, blameless, and fully complete in Gods eyes, and (2) you being placed in his body, the body of Christ, thus being IN Christ.

We are completely regenerated and placed into one body by the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), in a fellowship with Christ (Eph. 3:9), when we trust the gospel of Christ. Christ has many members, and we all are in him according to the mystery. This position is spiritual, and we receive and understand it by faith. It does not affect our physical bodies or human nature.

Once you come to be "In Christ", the Bible provides description of how God sees you. God sees you as a new creature, God sees you as been brought near by the blood of Christ, God sees you without condemnation. There are many scriptures that describe what you have become now that you are "in Christ".

So, when 2 Cor.5:17 mentions you are a 'new creation', it is describing qualities of your positional reality before God. A new creation is a DESCRIPTION of the result of being "in Christ".

Let's look at some scripture examples,

Colossians 2:10 ...and you are complete [description] [new creation, you cannot be improved any more, perfect, Eph.2:10] in Him [Christ] [pos.reality], who is the head of all principality and power.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus [pos.reality] you who once were far off have been brought near [description] by the blood of Christ.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation [description] to those who are in Christ Jesus [pos. reality], who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

"In Christ" does not relate to our current physical life. It is spiritual, and a heavenly concept, it is a POSITIONAL REALITY, it is who we are before God right now (and the Word describes what that new positional reality is in character and qualities).

(2)            Christ in You
(Relating to our physical life; walking or being led in the Spirit, our path of sanctification in obedience to the work of the Spirit within us)

If 'you in Christ' is where you are placed according to God's purpose, then 'Christ in you' is where He (Jesus) is placed according to God's purpose.

If all that is Christ's belongs to you when you are in him (Eph.1:18-21), then all that is yours belongs to Him when He is in you.

Just like you are placed in Christ at salvation, so you also received Christ in you when you heard and trusted the gospel of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:13; Col 2:6).

Paul prays that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith (Eph. 3:17), and that we walk according to His 'lifeforce' (inspiration, compulsion), having received Christ in us (Col 2:6).

"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." – Romans 8:9

If 'you in Christ' is about His body, then 'Christ in you' is about your body. Your members are now his (Rom 6:13; 1 Cor 6:19-20).

'You in Christ' concerns what Christ HAS DONE in you, it is His cross-work accomplished in you. It is ALREADY DONE! 'Christ in you' is what Christ IS BUSY DOING in you and is what you allow Him to accomplish through you. It is currently BEING DONE DAILY.

Upon salvation, we are not only moved to a new spiritual place in Christ as a new creature, but we are changed in body and attitude and emotionally from the inside out with Christ in us.

(For more detail see: ‘The Anthropology and Anatomy of Man’ at: )