About those who are saved Paul says these two things: you are in Christ, and 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, 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’? The difference is important to see as it concerns the very mystery of Christ.
You in Christ
You in Christ is where you are placed according to God’s purpose. Your position is in Christ.
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” – Ephesians 2:6
When you dwell in a house, you call it your house. Since you are placed into Christ, then Christ is yours, with the high calling, spiritual blessings, inheritance, and power that Christ possesses (Eph 1:18-21).
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 you being in his body, the body of Christ.
We are all put 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.
“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” – Ephesians 5:30
It is the mystery of God’s will that eventually all things will be in Christ so that his power, blessings, and grace can be given to all things in him (Eph 1:10).
Christ in You
If you in Christ is where you are placed according to God’s purpose, then Christ in you is where he is placed according to God’s purpose.
If all that is Christ’s belongs to you when you are in him, then all that is yours belongs to him when he is in you.
You 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 in him 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).
What drives a man is what is inside him. Faith resides in the inner man. The Spirit of Christ dwells in you (Rom 8:9). When your flesh fails, it is the power of Christ that rests upon you (2 Cor 12:9).
‘You in Christ’ concerns what Christ does toward you, ‘Christ in you’ is what Christ performs in you and through you.
A Great Mystery
Upon salvation, we are not only moved to a new place in Christ as a new creature, but we are changed from the inside out with Christ in us.
We are not placed into Israel, covenant, nor into a religion, but into Christ!… and there by grace.
What is put in us is not the law in our heart, the power of positive thinking, nor the hope of feelings and healing, but Christ! …and Him by faith.
This is the great mystery of Christ and the church. It is our job to come to a knowledge of it, and to make all men see it.
“This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” – Ephesians 5:32