As I was reading the Bible today, I saw something in Galatians 1:16 that the Holy Spirit prompted me to read over again, “To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen…..” It was that simple word “in”. I thought, why didn’t Paul say, “to reveal His Son to me?” Of course, I had to go study it out using Strong’s Concordance and other reference materials. Like me, most people today would probably think such a common little word such as “in” would not be that important, but what I found opened up to me greater depths of understanding of Scriptures containing this “mighty” little word.
The word “in” is the Greek word ἐν. The same Greek word is also translated “by”, “with”, “among” “at”, “on”, “through”. It is used 2800 times in the KJV of the New Testament in these various forms with “in” being used some 1,902 times. According to Strong’s, the root word ἐν is a primary preposition denoting a (fixed) position (in place, time or state). Thayer’s Lexicon greatly expands how this word is often used…, “of the person or thing on whom or on which some power is operative; of that in which something is manifest; with, among, in the presence of; of the instrument or means by or with which anything is accomplished; of the state or condition in which anything is done or anyone exists and acts; of that in which any person or thing is inherently fixed, implanted, or with which it is intimately connected; of a person to whom another is wholly joined and to whose power and influence he is subject, so that the former may be likened to the place in which the latter lives and moves (so used in the writings of Paul and of John, particularly of intimate relationship with God or with Christ, and for the most part involving contextually the idea of power and blessing resulting from that union.”
There’s much more that could be added, but I think this clearly describes Paul’s reasoning for using this particular word in Galatians 1:16. He saw that he was “in Christ”…. that he was intimately connected to Him, that Christ was the force moving and working in him to accomplish all he was called to do, that Jesus was being manifested through him to the world, and that, “in Christ”, Paul lived, and moved, and had his being (Acts 17:28). We see this throughout Paul’s writings where he uses the words “in Christ”, “in Him”, “by Him”, “through Him”, etc… (Galatians 2:4; Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:16; Romans 6:11).
Just a side note… Christ is not Jesus’ last name. The Greek word “christos” means “anointed”. Acts 10:38 tells us, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Jesus was, and is, the Messiah…the anointed of God. So, when Paul writes about us being “in Christ”, he’s referring to being in Jesus, the Anointed One and His anointing!
Like Paul, we too should see ourselves “in Christ”. Once we confess Jesus as Lord, from that moment, we are intimately connected, implanted, and fixed in Him. Jesus should be the influence on everything we think, say, and do. As Paul said, “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28). The word “being” means “we are”. So, we could read the passage this way, “In Him we live, and move and we are!” That’s why Christianity is not just another religion… IT’S A RELATIONSHIP… with the King of kings and Lord of lords. You’ve probably heard someone say, “The only Jesus some people will ever see is the Jesus in you.” Well, that’s more true than we might imagine, therefore, our lives should be so intimately connected with Christ that His life is manifested in us and through us for the whole world to see, and that’s what Paul knew….that’s why he could confidently say, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace; to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen…..” (Galatians 1:15-16)
The Bible speaks in many places of there being a “rest” (resting place) in God, and tells us to labour ( to hasten, make haste; to exert one’s self, endeavour, give diligence) to enter into that rest (Hebrews 4:11). We see in Hebrews 4:3 that, “For we which have believed do enter into rest.”
According to Strong’s, the root word ἐν (in) also indicates a relation of rest between two other Greek words… εἰς which means, into, unto, to, towards, for, among; and ἐκ which means, out of, from, by, away from. Looking at what Paul said, “To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen…..” I saw a spiritual process in action. When a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, Jesus moves towards them spiritually and comes into their heart (εἰς)….. their spirit is reborn. That person has then entered into the rest, or resting place, of God (ἐν)….. and as that person lives their life for Jesus, He flows out of and from that person to the world (ἐκ). In other words, Christ, the Anointed One and His anointing, is revealed in that person! What an awesome God we serve!
I would encourage everyone to read through the writings of Paul and see how often He uses the words, in Christ, in Whom, through Him, by Him, etc….. I believe your understanding of the relationship we have with Jesus will be greatly increased and strengthened!