"Are you saved?"
This question dominated my Christian thinking when I was growing up. I thought this was the end all be all question of faith. Don't get me wrong, this is an important question. Knowing whether or not Christ's righteousness is yours is extremely important and one can never overstate its importance. I just got caught up in thinking it was the only or most important question of faith.
"Are you in Christ?"
I think this is a far better question of faith because it covers the issue of salvation but also delves far deeper. Let me show you what I mean from Colossians chapter two.
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
Christianity is far more than a conversion experience. I had a conversion experience but that is only part of my story, an important part but a part. Christianity is about living in Christ each and every day. Jesus taught about this in John 15 when He spoke about the vine and the branches. We are to be in Christ.
Let me give you another picture of how we are in Christ.
We are to be "rooted and built up in Him." I love this imagery. We are to be like trees. Trees are don't grow by moving around and chasing food sources. Trees grow by being rooted in soil and extending those roots as deep and as wide as necessary to get the water and nutrients needed to grow and to be strengthened. Trees grow higher as they grow deeper and they overflow with fruit or nuts or whatever they produce when their roots are absorbing the goodness from the soil.
We are to be like trees. Christ is the soil and we must be rooted in Him. We must be unmovable but growing. We, like trees, need to grow into Christ deeper and wider so that we can get more of His inexhaustible living water and nutrients needed to grow upward. I don't ever notice the roots of my trees unless they get into the septic tank or something, I notice the height and girth and acorns from the trees. So it is with others; others will notice the outward growth in your life, but you will know that your roots are deep into the soil. If your roots are deep you will display strength and you will overflow with thankfulness.
The church at Colosse thought that they would grow outwardly by adding human regulations and religious rules to their lives. Paul wanted to free them from that thinking by confirming that growth came from being in Christ and growing deeper there, not from circumcision or feast days or by not eating some sort of food. We need to realize the same thing. Religiosity doesn't grow fruit, being in Christ does.
Are you in Christ? Or are you trying to grow on your own? Are you in Christ? Or are you trying to earn grace that's given to those who hide themselves in Christ?
The Christian life is about more than being converted. The Christian life is about being planted in Christ and growing right there. "Continue to live in Him" today.