Overcoming, Ch 1, part 2

Understanding our Position

When we think of the phrase, “in Christ,” we often hear Pauline theology. To be sure, Paul wrote much about this. He reminded us that if we are “in Christ,” we are a new creation. He let us know that there is no condemnation for those who are “in Christ Jesus.”

Yet, in our study of the overcomer, we are dealing with the Apostle John. What did John understand about the believer’s position in Christ? How did he relate this vital union to the victory we possess as believers? Was he even aware of this positional truth?

In John’s writing, the phrase “in Christ” does not appear. Nevertheless, we find statements about abiding such as “He that abideth in me, and I in him…” (John 15.5). Here, John speaks relationally, as well as metaphorically, using a vine and its branches to describe our position “in” Christ.

In 1 John 2.5, John challenged those believers to keep God’s word. He concludes by saying, “…hereby know we that we are in Him.” Continuing that argument in the very next verse, John comes back to the “abiding” principle, encouraging his disciples to walk like Jesus walked.

For John then, it’s safe to conclude that this position of being “in Christ” is captured by the phrase abiding. He uses this word meno (also translated remain) nearly twenty-five times. It’s a significant part of John’s theology.

From John’s perspective, a believer experiences victory not because of what he had done, nor – in a sense – because of who he is. For John, victory is experienced because of where the believer rests. To say it another way, Paul emphasizes our theological position: we are in Christ. John, on the other hand, emphasizes our daily responsibility: we must abide – live out – that theological position in our daily life. Both are true.

In the next post, we dissect the “miracle of the moment.” What happens to us as believers when we accept Christ as our Savior? The short answer: a lot!

Just joining us on the journey? Follow the links below to see the previous posts.


  1. Part 1: Click here
  2. Part 2: Click here
  3. Part 3: Click here
  4. Part 4: Click here

Chapter 1

  1. Part 1: Click here

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