What Does It Mean To Be In Christ?

The Bible mentions being “in Christ,” so what does this mean, and how can we be sure to be found in Christ?

Outside of Christ

It is very clear. Those outside of Christ are outside of the will of God and have the wrath of God abiding on them as it currently stands. They are in a hopeless state. They cannot save themselves any more than Lazarus could have raised himself from the dead. He needed some help, but for all who refuse to come to Christ, they will remain outside of Christ, and that’s bad…very bad. When I hear people critique the Bible, I can say that they’re reading someone else’s mail, because it’s written “To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph 1:1). It is to the faithful and those in Jesus Christ that the Book of Ephesians is written too. We are not of the world so we can’t expect the world to love us. On the contrary, they will hate us, but it’s really Jesus Who they hate and not us. It’s the message they hate more than the messenger…but make no mistake…they hate the messenger too. We must come to recognize that just like I was, “you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Eph 2:1-2), and just as I was, “you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12), however, if you have trusted in Christ, “then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:20). If you haven’t trusted in Christ, then you are still outside of Christ, therefore you still have the wrath of God abiding on you (John 3:36b).

Praise-Outdoors

Inside of Christ

The Apostle Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph 1:3), and what are some of these blessings? Paul says it was “In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Eph 2:4c-5). God’s purpose was that “we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:12). Our hope is not in this world or even in us, but we place our hope in Christ, and by trusting Christ we are then in Christ. We believed in His name (John 1:13-14), we believe in His purpose (John 3:16; Mark 10:45), and we believe in His sinless-ness. We are now in Christ because we have placed all our trust in Christ. God then places us into the very righteousness of Christ so that God no longer sees our sins but He sees the righteousness of His Son (2 Cor 5:21). We were chosen in Him by the Father. We were sanctified by His Word and by His Son, and even though we were once in the world (Eph 2:1-2), we are now found to be in Christ. It is only “in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21b). To be in Christ is to recognize that “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18-29).

Impossible without God

Did you realize that Jesus Christ died outside of the Old Jerusalem? He died outside of Jerusalem so we could live forever in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:1-4). That’s the only way that mankind could ever be reconciled back to God. Our first parents were kicked out of the Garden and banned for life. Their going back to Eden was impossible…and it would have been impossible for us too except for the sinless Son of God Who gave His life as a ransom for us (Mark 10:45). Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt 19:26), and that’s true about the physical world, but it’s also true about salvation. If someone believes they can be a good enough of a person in this life and trust in that without trusting in Christ, they will be in for a huge disappointment when they stand before God…and we all will; either at Christ’s appearance, or after death (Heb 9:27). That makes today a great day to get this settled (2 Cor 6:2). You cannot please God outside of trusting in Christ. All your works will be rejected as nothing more than filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). You and I must have the very same righteousness as Jesus has or we can’t enter the kingdom. There is absolutely no other way to the Father except through Jesus Christ (John 6:44). When the guest tried to crash the wedding party, symbolic of the marriage feast of the Lamb of God and His bride, the church, he was tossed into the outer darkness (Matt 22:13). That’s because he was wearing his own clothes…or trusting in his own righteousness, but that is not acceptable to God. It must be the wedding garment; the white robs of the righteous of the saints, given by Christ Who purchased her with His own blood.

Conclusion

To be found in Christ means you’ve been reconciled back to God, and at death or at Christ’s return, you can enter into the eternal kingdom which descends down from heaven (Rev 21:1-4). Not only will you be in Christ…you will be in the kingdom…the glorious, eternal, and joyous kingdom, and best of all, be before the King of the kingdom. That day will see the end of all sorrow, all suffering, all pain, and even death itself because all the old things have passed away forever (Rev 21:4). Jesus has made all things new (Rev 21:5)!

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I was interested in the title, but greatly disappointed in the essay and it’s religious fundamentalism and hurtful attitude to others. I will not be reading this blog any more. As I see it, to be in Christ is to be anointed as Jesus was anointed and thus to enter the kingdom (Matthew 13:44).and not brag about it. The poor are blessed with the kingdom and thus are with Christ without any requirement of “belief”. (Matthew 5:3).

    • Jack Wellman

      I am not writing for you anyway, so I am not worried about you leaving the blog. What is wrong? What Bible verse? Who is bragging? Your “As I see it” has no Scriptural support. I stand by what these verses say about believer’s being in Christ. Who is bragging? We are all train wrecks restored only by God’s grace, so to Him and HIm alone goes all glory (Psaom 115:1; 1 Cor 4:7). So much for showing others we are His disciples by our love for one another (John 13:34-35), and to be honest, I am dissapointed at your response.

      • Pat Pickett

        God is not a God of wrath. As human beings the only way we could describe God was through our experience. As that experience evolved, we learned (and continue to learn) who and what God is. I don’t know what kind of training you have, if any, but I do feel sorry for the people who listen to you as if you have the definitive word on the mind of God.

        • Jack Wellman

          God is not a God of wrath? I suggest you see why God is a God of many things, and to excluse His wrath or any other attribute is to reduce Who God is in His fullness. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/five-truths-about-the-wrath-of-god

          • Pat Pickett

            And, Jack, if you are interested, my dissertation is on that very subject. Of course, as an evangelical, I suspect you hold that your view is the only correct one. I am sorry if that is the case. There is no point arguing. I see no positive effect in discussing anything with most evangelicals because there never, or hardly ever, is room for discussion. It is all black and white. So, so sorry for you.

          • R12.18

            I would hope God hates evil. Our world does not. But our Creator does.

          • The creator who created evil. Why would such a creator hate their own creation? Because it was a mistake? I don’t think the creator hates “evil” anymore than the creator hates volcanoes or hurricanes. “Evil” is not a simple concept, and that is why Jesus said “turn the other cheek,” not kill the so-called evil person who offended or hurt you. What do you think the word “evil” means?

          • R12.18

            I know evil exists.

            A quick dictionary search provides that evil “profoundly immoral and malevolent.”

            All things are created by God. God is good. God does not create evil. What God creates is good.

            Alcohol is not evil. Drunkeness is evil. If I’m getting drunk – that is my creation. My choice.

            We can have evil acts and evil inclinations.

            We have minds that can discern the difference between good and evil.

            There was an act of evil in Las Vegas recently. A man randomly shot at children and adults. The guns and bullets he used were not evil. He just used those things for evil purposes and an evil intent.

        • Jack Wellman

          Seven Bible verses that contradict what you said about God not being a God of wrath (and there are more than 7!): http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2015/07/27/top-7-bible-verses-about-gods-wrath/

          • pud

            Who cares what a book says? Why not care about what is TRUE!? You’re a pitiful stupid old man

          • Pat Pickett

            Jack, I also have advanced degrees in Scripture and languages. You mislead the people when you say that there is only one way to understand what is written.

        • pud

          Demonstrate that ANY “god” ever existed.

      • pud

        Yeah…everyone is garbage unless they subscribe to your ridiculous miracle cure. You’re no different than any snake oil salesman that ever traveled a dirt road peddling his fake cures to the stupid, credulous and gullible.

    • Alex Sack

      Why were you reading that in the first place? 🙂 In response to the title, I see the question much more as a matter of “Christ working through us…” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Christ

      • If we want to know real spiritual meaning, then cross cultural exploration is the only way to see the unity within the differentiation. I don’t see it as “Christ working through us” if that means “us” is separate form “Christ.” I don’t see Christ as anything other than the title “the Anointed.” So, when we are anointed, i.e., “in Christ”, then Alex Christ, Gregory Christ, and Jesus Christ are in the Kingdom all together.

        • Alex Sack

          Agreed. Semantics. We are all children of God:) The Alex Gregory Jesus are simply filters of The Light. Multiple lenses of One Consciousness.

  • jimoppenheimer

    God made us in his image. I believe God doesn’t make junk. So sorry to hear about yours, who sounds more like Isis than Xtian. Anybody who differs with your view is subject to the wrath of God. Goodness gracious, what a toxic viewpoint. A terrorist god.

    • pud

      Demonstrate that one word of your drivel is true. Who cares what you or these other lunatics “believe”…show it or you don’t know it!

  • Pat Pickett

    Like the others, i was interested in the title but totally disappointed with your fundamentalist interpretation of scripture. I expect much better from Patheos and am surprised they allowed an article like yours under their banner.

  • billwald

    There is no objective test which I can demonstrate that I or anyone else is “in Christ” which is why I stopped worrying about such things. God told us that we can not understand his, God’s, mind and his ways. Unless you and/or I are smarter than God . . . .

    • pud

      No “god” told you or anyone else anything

  • Dan Tootle

    The essential question that is not addressed in this blog article is whether we are to be “in Christ”, or to be followers of Jesus? Being a Christian is to be within a construct of those who interpreted Jesus’ ministry and teaching within their understanding of how that was to be implemented within their world and culture. We are not in their world, nor do we live in that culture, And how they viewed and interpreted how to be Followers of Jesus as “Christians” fits that time and place. Strictly applying all of the canonical scriptures that were written through the first three C.E. centuries as inerrant and totally applicable writings without understanding how today’s world and culture best responds to what Jesus has guided us to be and do is flawed to begin with. Christianity interpreted and applied in the manner described in this blog is not for this time and place.

    • pud

      There is NO “extra biblical” evidence for the existence of any psychotic jew preacher name of “jesus”

      The storybook “jesus” was a totally immoral charlatan not worthy of spit

  • If you are a Christian, is there a better way to interpret the bible than placing so much emphasis on the wrath of God? Of course, its mentioned in the bible and ought not to be ignored by Christians. But if God is love then his mercy triumphs over judgment, his grace triumphs over wrath. According to Karl Barth, Jesus is victor. He has triumphed over the principalities and powers though his death and “resurrection”.

    The Johanine Jesus claims that he is the way, the truth, and the life and no person can come to the Father but by him. It doesn’t seem to be in the synoptics. Could Jesus statement in John’s Gospel be interpreted differently? Jesus was speaking to Jews and, since they claimed to believe in Yaweh, Jesus is saying that for them, he is the only way. What about Buddhists? There is no evidence in the four gospels (or anywhere else in the NT) that Jesus and his apostles knew anything about Buddhism. So do not those Buddhists who practice a loving-kindness meditation and seek to be kind to others live by Jesus’ command to be compassionate and kind to others? And, does not, as Paul says, “love fulfil the law” And does not Christ’s death on the cross reconcile them to God, even though they have never heard of the Christian good news?,

  • pud

    Only a total lunatic could write such drivel.

    1. There is no evidence whatsoever that any “jesus” ever existed

    2. There is no evidence whatsoever that any “god” ever existed

    3. “jesus” never said anything…the no name authors of your stupid book claimed this and that

    4. It is absolutely absurd that a “being” (stupid term) capable of creating universes would have nothing better to do then orchestrate such a theatrical drama that includes human sacrifice of himself to himself to accomplish some nonsense

    It is only your pervasive indoctrination, your marriage to an ancient ridiculous superstitious book, your fear, guilt and shame (the hook your cult uses to offer its cure) that keeps you babbling such infantile gibberish.

    • Iain Lovejoy

      Still keeping up your self-deluding “mission” to hurl random insults at people until they rise to the bait I see. Still not able to give any rationale behind your “bizarre” mission, actually respond other than with repetitive insults or produce any of your nonexistent “arguments” or “refutations”?
      Still waiting…

      • pud

        Not “random”

        The arguments are obvious

        • Iain Lovejoy

          If the arguments are so “obvious” why not say what they are? Unless you can’t.

          • pud

            Arguments…

            #1 There is NO evidence for any “god” past or present

            #2 There is NO historical extra-biblical evidence for any “jesus”

            #3 There is NO evidence for anything “supernatural”

            #4 “god” didn’t write the stupid book, men did.

            #5 Nothing outside of a few names and places in the “bible” is true

            #6 It is delusional to “believe” anything without evidence

            etc etc etc

          • Iain Lovejoy

            #1 – Either completely ignorant or knowingly false. Either you are perfectly aware of the ontological arguments for God, the arguments through apparent design of the universe or that there is the experiential evidence of believers, in which case you are simply a liar, or you are unaware of any of these things and have zero knowledge of the subject, in which case this is an unevidenced bald assertion from ignorance. In either event there is no point responding.
            #2 – Again either a lie or complete ignorance. If you think the overwhelming consensus of recognised historians of the period that there was a historical personage of Jesus (Christian, atheist or otherwise) is wrong, say why, or alternatively you have no knowledge of this subject at all. In either case, pointless to respond.
            #3 – Define “supernatural” and then explain the relevance of this statement.
            #4 – Either deliberate dishonesty or complete ignorance. No one suggests that the Bible wasn’t written by people. The issue is whether what they wrote is true.
            #5 – Assertion without evidence, as per your usual deluded notion of what constitutes an argument.
            #6 – Couldn’t agree more. See #1 – #5. You are delusional.
            Is that all you’ve got?

          • pud

            LOL!!

            I am aware of every RIDICULOUS apologist argument and how easily each one is dismantled! Try me with your best! Put forward your best argument for the existence of any god past or present and I will destroy it right before your eyes. PUT UP OR SHUT UP

            There is NO evidence outside of the stupid book for the existence of any “jesus” NONE! I don’t care what “believers” babble…there is NO actual historical evidence…provide some if you can. lol

            Everything the religious “claim” is in the realm of “supernatural” in that none of it can be measured, validated, supported etc by any material scientific methodology…in other word…MADE UP! MAKE BELIEVE! Un- detectable is the SAME as NON-EXISTENT

            Nothing they wrote is true…nothing! It’s a storybook. You and your kind can demonstrate NO truths whatsoever…it is all assertion and claim…all of it. Show otherwise! State one TRUTH outside of a place name or character….SHOW one single truth claim as being actually true! TRY!!

          • Iain Lovejoy

            As usual, you have no arguments but only assertions. “LOL” is not a rational argument, however much you think it is. As I suspected you are not capable of putting anything forward to support your childish invective, no matter how many times you are invited to do so.

          • pud

            You are such a coward and blowhard!

            Meet me in the ring! Come on coward!

            Put forward your single best argument and I’ll waste it….stop your mindless drivel and face off!

            There is one absolute sure way to end our feud….direct debate! You put forward your BEST single argument in support of your delusional cult “belief” and I’ll knock it out of the park.

            Do it! Stop running and hiding and pussyfooting! Do it for all to see and judge! Why do you run?

          • Iain Lovejoy

            Again, you are all mouth and no trousers. You just mindlessly repeat the same insults without any attempt to say anything coherent. You had a go at putting forward some “arguments” and when I responded you just reverted to type. You’re the one coming here and calling everybody else “delusional” and “lunatics” and yet when asked to justify these statements you can’t say anything at all except repeat them over again with “LOL” and shouty capital letters added.

          • pud

            Since you’re too cowardly or too inept I’ll dumb it down for you!

            Argument….You cannot “be in christ” if there never was a “christ” How’s that?

            You cannot “be in” (whatever idiot gibberish that means) anything unless there is something to “be in”

            It is you and your mindless cult bretheren who make the POSITIVE CLAIM that there was and/or is, a “christ” to “be in”

            Because YOU make the positive claim it is incumbent upon YOU to demonstrate the truth of that claim!

            YOU are the one required to back up your assertion and claim

            I call bullshit! I say you are insane “believing” and promoting nonsensical gibberish like “being in” some made up storybook character.

            YOU bear the burden of PROOF not I dummy

            Now rise to the challenge! Demonstrate the truth of ANY of your superstitious cult claims! Just ONE! Any ONE!

            waiting….

          • Rational Human

            As usual, you attempt the theist shell game of conflating arguments and evidence. They are not interchangeable. Arguments, like faith, is what you employ when you lack real evidence for your claims. That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

            Provide the evidence of extra biblical support for miracle working Jesus. Not arguments. Not apologetics. Evidence.

      • Tiny J

        “This user is blocked.”
        Also, I thought he got booted for death threats…

        • Iain Lovejoy

          Death threats? Really?! I thought he / she just went in for repetitive offensive invective?
          I am for my own amusement seeing if make him / her look stupid enough that he / she will go away. Doubt it will work, given the level of self-awareness displayed so far, but it’s quite fun trying.
          (Hi Pud, if you’re reading this: no I don’t care if you know I’m doing it, and no I’m not going to stop.)

          • Tiny J

            I guess since they weren’t directed at a single person, they don’t count? But yeah, a couple of weeks back there was an article with a pud declaring Christians should all be put to death or somesuch.

  • Gnosissorrow

    You have asserted there is a God without any evidence. I do not as you have asserted “hate God”. I do not believe that your God exist. You are simply asserting to know what you can not know. This is purely irresponsible and misleading. First prove your God exist. Them you must prove what you think you know about said God. Then I will be happy to listen. As it is you could be simply trying to convince me to listen about dribble about the real life Pinocchio.

    • Tiny J

      I don’t believe you. Nothing personal, but I’ve had this conversation more times than I remember. I give you proof, you just say the proof doesn’t count. Why don’t you prove that the wind exists.

      • Gnosissorrow

        The effects of the wind can be felt and seen. Next.

        • Tiny J

          Wait…If you already know then why are you asking?

      • R12.18

        His/her post is hilarious As if anonymous posters like “Gnosissorrow” are the arbiters of what is true and valid? Heck no! He/she chose to click on Jack’s message board. For him to insist Jack to follow his unproven assumptions and personal beliefs is pure silliness.

        I’m thinking it is a troll posting as an atheist to give them a bad name. Very few are that heedless.

  • Jacques Theron

    Just the fact that someone has to write an article to explain what it means ‘to be in Christ’ is an example of how worthless the Bible is. Together with other vague statements like walking in Jesus’s footsteps, contradictions and failed promises in the Bible as well as the the fact that people make a living out of writing books to explain a Book, was enough for me to finally realize that the Bible is no different from all other religious texts claimed to be false by Christians. Luckily I escaped the indoctrination and thankfully don’t fear the wrath of an imaginary being anymore. I finally found true peace and happiness!

    • Chrys Dan

      Jacques Theron, so glad to hear you have found true peace and happiness after being liberated from Christian indoctrination! I certainly can understand and empathize. Yet I hope you realize the indoctrination was the achievement of Church groups who distort the Bible and the message of Jesus. The FACT is, Christianity needs to begin with discover anew who Jesus is. May I suggest, when all your anger and frustration against Christianity has dissipated [I just prayed for this for you], that you sit down to read the gospels with fresh eyes to discover FOR YOURSELF, apart from all the past indoctrination, who is this man called Jesus who entered human history as a baby born in a cowshed, who grew up to be a man of SUCH influence that 2,017 years later, there are billions of people who claim to be his followers, whose lives have been totally transformed. The fact that some of these followers have distorted the fundamental message of Jesus, does not necessarily take away from the FACT of his sheer influence. Do also read the Acts of the Apostles to discover a group of people who were terrified when Jesus was arrested, and ran away for fear of being arrested. Then suddenly they become courageous and stand up to preach while the very people who crucified Jesus were still in charge. Something major must have happened to cause SUCH a transformation? I hope and prayer you will discover FOR YOURSELF the reason for whis transformation.

  • Chrys Dan

    I am amazed by the people who have entered the this discussion who clearly do not believe in God, and have chosen to rant and rave against those who do believe in God. Why bother to read such articles if you are convinced of your atheistic beliefs? Surely you have other things to do with your time? And why the anger and the sheer vitriol against believers? Don’t your atheistic beliefs give you enough peace and tranquility for you to have basic respect for people and their freedom to choose what they want to believe? I respect your freedom to choose to be atheists. Can you not reciprocate and respect me and my freedom to choose to believe in the God I have discovered in my own journey through life? I do not enter into atheistic forums to convince them that their beliefs are ridiculous etc. Why do you insist on joining Christian forums merely to rant and rave? May I suggest you find other ways to spend your time – perhaps doing what you can to make this messy world a better place?

    • pud

      If you wanted to help alcoholics where would you go? To a church or a pub?

      You are theocratic alcoholics…addicts hooked on mythology and infantile stupidity….you vote so you must be brought back to the real world

      • ChristianHedonist

        I agree but would you go to an alcoholic and tell them they are stupid for drinking? Many come to be intentionally offensive.

        • pud

          Absolutely. I don’t care about peoples sensitivity when it comes to matters like these. I would however back up my assertion proving that he is indeed stupid for drinking himself to death

          • ChristianHedonist

            and you think this would help the person?

          • pud

            I care about what’s true not someones tender feelings. If they don’t or can’t or won’t respond to truth then they should get a puppy or therapy group hugs

        • R12.18

          His reasoning is flawed. You would go to a church to help an alcoholic. Not a pub. Alcoholics who want help go to a place like a church, not a pub.

          Pud is a troll. He really doesn’t care about helping people. What he does is like a man who goes to a pub and starts stereotyping all the people in the pub as being alcoholics, and then start belittling them in a crude fashion.

          Nobody is asking Pud for help. That he imagines himself as some kind of anti-theist crusader is adorable. He is harmless, but reasonable atheists most likely wish he would shut up.

          I am grateful we have a block function. This guy seems to patrol the religious bloggers and post crude and mean-spirited things. He certainly has a lot of time on his hands. I’m glad I can mute the fool.

      • Chrys Dan

        Are you saying that EVERYONE who believes in a god is guilty of “infantile stupidity” ? Have you really met EVERYONE who is a believer? Believers are just like human beings. They are different kinds of believers and tarring them ALL with the same brush is tantamount to over-generalization which contravenes the fundamental rules of effective thinking skills. In any case, do you really believe you can help ANYONE when you are filled with so much negativity and anger? Do you really think you have even the slightest chance of converting believers into atheists when you start off by insulting them by calling them “theocratic alcoholics”? Perhaps your intentions ARE good, but perhaps you need to deal with your own emotional baggage first? You are clearly someone who has suffered a lot in life. Wounded people need to be healed first before they can “help” anyone else. Otherwise, wounded people can only wound others and increase the woundedness in society.

        • pud

          Yes I am. Anyone who “believes” anything unsupported by evidence is a delusional lunatic. Doesn’t matter if it’s Bigfoot or invisible jesus. There are no “different” kinds of “believers” Propositions are either true or untrue.

          I’m never angry. If you can’t see the reason in my posts then it’s your loss

          You cannot “convert” “believers” into atheists as atheism is a lack of belief in nonsense…it is NOT a worldview or ideology so there is nothing to convert into dummy

          My life is and has been great! Going to Austria skiing in a month!

          • Pud, the idea that “propositions are either true or untrue” is the pernicious concept of the dilemma propagated by Aristotle. The tetralemma, says, things are either true, untrue, both true and untrue, or neither true nor untrue. The tetralemma is a model logically much closer to reality than the dilemma.
            Also, the psychological fact and influence of “belief” can’t simply be swept under the rug of denial by materialist perspectives. As Carl Jung said, “The purely biological or scientific standpoint falls short in psychology because it is, in the main, intellectual only. …the psychic phenomenon cannot be grasped in its totality by the intellect, for it consists not only of meaning but also of value, and this depends on the intensity of the accompanying feeling-tones.” What is often called mere “belief” is the psyche’s (heart’s) yearning for wholeness, which the materialist dissections and analyses of modern science have only withheld from the mass culture. People like Carl Sagan tried to show how wholeness and unity of the cosmos has been part of science since Einstein, but that is a minority report compared to what the masses learn in school from elementary to university. Psychologically value laden ideas and affective symbols can’t be dismissed by saying they are the figments of the imagination or delusions of believers. Belief is dangerous when it is taken as all that is needed, not least because it then makes an enemy of doubt. But the argument goes both ways and the true believer in atheism or agnosticism is also possessed by a numinous belief that makes doubt into an enemy Doubt is the key to realization. A myth is what we take for granted as not needing to be questioned. If a person takes “God” for granted as unquestionable, then that person is in the grip of the myth of God. Likewise, if a person takes atheism for granted as unquestionable (e.g., atheism as a lack of belief in nonsense), then that person is possessed by the myth of rationality expressed as belief in godlessness If a person takes materialism for granted and unquestionable, then that person is ensconced within the myth of matter. Doubt is what gives us the freedom to investigate and liberate ourselves from the chains of our own personal myths as we have incorporated them from the collective mythos.

          • pud

            What horseshit babble.

            There’s no such thing as “belief” in “atheism”…it’s not a proposition or a truth claim. You can’t “believe” in a lack of “belief”…dude…smoke another bowl

            Your word salad is about a month old and should have been thrown out days ago

          • guadalupelavaca

            What is it like going through life with such hate? So people here believe in God and they are happy. And you come along just to spew vitriol. Why? You hate, so you want to criticize and condemn those who love? What happened in your life to harbor such hatred? We here have found love in Jesus Christ and our lives are filled with happiness. And that seems to bother you. It’s been said that atheists hate God, but that’s not true. They hate the fact that so many have found love with God and they are jealous that they are missing out. Atheists don’t hate God…they hate themselves.

          • pud

            No “hate”…it’s “contempt”

            Sorry but I don’t debate the truly stupid…cheers!

          • guadalupelavaca

            Because you can’t debate…

      • HamburgerHelperAgain

        Yes! Calling people ‘idiots’ and ‘stupid’ will definitely persuade people to become atheists.

        • pud

          You can’t become an “atheist” Atheist isn’t a thing or a worldview or an ideology or a cult like you belong to. Non belief is stupidity, irrationality and superstition isn’t something you become it’s the default position. Everyone is a non believer in your crap at birth. It’s only the gullible weak minded that get indoctrinated into your fantasy which is why “idiot” and “stupid” is so appropriate

    • Perry Widhalm

      Good comment and good point. I suspect the primary reason most people who do not believe in a divine being post comments on Patheos because they are trying to help free other people of their superstitious beliefs. For instance, I was raised in a rural, strict Roman Catholic family with all the accompanying catechism. Naturally, as a child, I believed what I had been taught by my family and community but as I grew older and learned other lessons in anthropology, world history, mythology, literature, evolution, ecology, etc. I began to understand what I had been taught as a child was a set of myths and legends that became a religion over hundreds of years. There is little difference between the Christian God and Santa Claus. They both originate in the same basic mythos. Anyway, if you take a similar journey of education and travel, most likely, your understanding of Western culture, traditions and religion will mature as well. Interestingly, I have never met a single person who understands evolution, ecology and basic cultural anthropology who believes in any god. Why is that?

      • R12.18

        “I have never met a single person who understands evolution, ecology and basic cultural anthropology who believes in any god. Why is that?”

        Perhaps you need to get out more. People who believe in God have contributed greatly to our understanding of evolution, ecology and cultural anthropology. For example, if you decided to learn more about any of those subjects by enrolling in college classes, there is a good chance you will have a professor leading you in one of those subjects who believes in God.

        I was raised in an atheist household. I went to secular schools for 17 years. I openly identified as an atheist from the age 16 for 20+ years. I now believe in God. And it is nothing like believing in Santa Claus. They do not originate in the same basic mythos. If you imagine proselytizing things like that helps anybody – you are fooling yourself. Such fallacious logic says more about you than those you profess need your help.

        • Chrys Dan

          Yes, I endorse your notion that Perry Widhalm needs to “get out more.” And yes I too agree that believing in God is NOT like believing in Santa Claus – what a ridiculous notion.

          • R12.18

            Yea.

            It would be like me saying all people who do not believe in God are exactly like people who don’t believe that man landed on the moon.

            As soon as you do to them what they like to do to you – they don’t like it.

      • Chrys Dan

        I respect your journey and all that you have discovered. I hope you are not saying that EVERYONE needs to following the SAME path as you, AND that, if they did, they would arrive EXACTLY where you have arrived? Given then people are different, and extremely unique, surely it is more likely that people would each arrive at different points? It is because of this fundamental distortion of the reality of people’s individual journeys that you are making the ASSUMPTION that believing in God automatically means that I am not “mature”. I am VERY curious: which definition of “maturity” are you using? And are you really saying that just because YOU have not met “a single person who understands evolution, ecology and basic cultural anthropology who believes in any god” no such person exists??? For your information, I am one such person. So if it only takes one black swallow to disprove the notion that all swallow are white…..

    • R12.18

      It is a very interesting phenomenon. Atheists and theists have labeled people who do what you describe as being “internet atheists”. Urban Dictionary presents some accurate and humorous definitions on these folks:

      “Not to be mistaken for an atheist who merely uses the internet, an internet atheist is someone who is ubiquitous when it comes to websites or forum threads related to religion. They will often poke fun at religion and religious people, especially Christians and Muslims, but they have a sort of “search and refute” thing going on with Christians, whereas the Muslims usually only fall prey to internet atheists when they happen to come across them. Of course many internet atheists have the habit of searching for Muslims, too.

      They usually lack any sense of humor if jokes are made about them, but they find nothing wrong with being incredibly offensive to the point of being disgusting when making jokes about religious people. They also love to show off their knowledge about any subject they might know something about.

      They will often make snobby attempts to annoy or insult religious people, sometimes calling them names, but will immediately condemn someone who bothers atheists, homosexuals or liberals if they don’t have a legitimate reason. Even if they do have a legitimate reason that justifies their bothering it might not matter. They will also claim they don’t discriminate, but they are usually far more polite and accepting if they think you’re a fellow atheist. “

      Spot on.

      It is also fair to note that Albert Einstein noticed this a long time ago, so this is nothing new. He called them “fanatical atheists”.

      https://internetatheism.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/bobseidenstickeratheist.jpg

      These are the bottom of the barrel atheists. Look at the replies you got. They justify shoving their beliefs down your throat as being helpful. Poor folks are wading in their own confirmation bias.

    • Jack Wellman

      That’s a very good point my friend. I don’t see believer’s running to atheist forums or reading their articles disparaging the fact that they don’t believe. That’s their priviledge. I have no business trying to convince (or brow beat) others into believing what I do. Thank you Chrys.

      • Daniel G. Johnson

        You spell badly.

      • Bruce Robertson

        Get off your high horse there Jack. You tell children and other intellectually vulnerable people they are going to be tortured for eternity unless they follow the rules of your cult. Children don’t invite you to threaten and abuse them in this way, but you see fit to do it anyway. Shame on you.

    • guadalupelavaca

      Because they are Hatetheists.

    • Bruce Robertson

      This is an important thing to do. You have a disease of your mind and you are willfully attempting to spread it. This holds back humanity and causes much suffering at so many levels. Of course I will call you out on your superstitious fantasies and nonsense. While you are likely lost to your indoctrinated delusion of whatever religion you were fed as a child, I do care about the next generation – yes, atheists care and are willing to work on a cause for no reward of eternal life or threats of eternal punishment! We are good like that.

    • pud

      You clearly are an idiot. “A”theism is the LACK of belief it is not a “belief” system or world view. So you don’t even know what you’re talking about right out of the gate. We rational people oppose you delusional death cult members because you can’t keep your stupid delusions to yourself! You lie to children, propagate falsehoods, are psychotic and you vote! Unfortunately. That’s why you must be opposed tooth and nail. The world has seen what life is like when you lunatics ran things and we’re not going back there.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    The article is disappointing, in that the title suggests that it is about how to be in Christ, or what being in Christ experientially is like, but all it really does is assert that God’s wrath is on everyone who isn’t (without really backing this up or saying what it means).
    I find a lot of your blogs interesting and often insightful but you do seem impeded by an interpretation of the “good” news that it is God saying “Love me or I will hurt you.”

    • pud

      His blogs are asinine, infantile, false, imaginary, mindless, irrational and outright delusional.

      He makes his living LYING to children instilling fear, guilt, shame along with constant gibberish about imaginary “beings” serving as celestial dictators bent on wrath and destruction unless his stupid gullible flock buys into the entire nonsensical dysfunctional meme.

    • R12.18

      Jesus Christ warned:

      “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

      The Bible describes hell as a place of darkness, despair, loneliness and hopelessness. Jesus Christ spoke about hell. A lot.

      This isn’t “love me or I will hurt you”. That is a New Atheist invention. I’m sure you’ve seen their numerous memes proclaiming so much.

      We send our selves to hell. The doors lock from the inside. It is cutting yourself off from God and humanity.

      CS Lewis noted:

      “Hell . . . begins with a grumbling mood, and yourself still distinct from it: perhaps criticizing it. . . . Ye can repent and come out of it again. But there may come a day when you can do that no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood, nor even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself going on forever like a machine. ”

      That is scarier than punishment from a scorned lover god you describe.

      • Iain Lovejoy

        I (to an extent) agree with you, although I have to say “love me or I will hurt you” is in no sense a “New Atheist” invention: it is sadly an invention of the Christian church, arising out of penal substitutionary atonement and in particular Calvinist theology (which Jack unfortunately buys into) and well preceding the New Atheists, and arguably a disgust at this is part of the reason for widespread atheism to arise.
        CS Lewis’s description of hell being locked from the inside seems bang on the money to me: if I take issue with it it is because it omits the salvation of Christ who dies so he can come in there with us and lead us out, so that no-one may be lost as Lewis describes.
        Jesus doesn’t actually talk about hell. He mentions punishment, judgement, fire and “outer darkness”, to be sure, but when he expressly says what he is talking about he refers to “Gehenna”, not hell. Gehenna is a Hebrew word and a specifically Jewish concept, and is where those who have sinned go for a set period of corrective punishment / reformation, not a final resting place or place of eternal torment.

        • R12.18

          Gehenna, punishment, judgement, fire and “outer darkness” = hell

          CS Lewis also pointed out:

          “In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell is itself a question: ‘What are you asking God to do?’ To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But he has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what he does.”

          “All that are in hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.”

          “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”

          You can reject Jesus Christ’s gift. He will not force himself into your locked room if you don’t want him there.

        • Jack Wellman

          To state the gospel as you believe I have stated it as “love me or I will hurt you” is untrue. Jesus was hurt so that He could show His love for us. CS Lewis was a great writer, but none compares to Jesus’ own words, and to say “love me or I will hurt you” is like complaining about the big gash on the Titanic while ignoring the good news that there are lifeboats available. Don’t complain about the gash in the sinking boat…rejoice in the lifeboats God has provide in Christ.

          • Iain Lovejoy

            No, I am complaining that (if you were right) God would be expecting us to be grateful because he provided a lucky few with lifeboats when it was God who sunk the ship in the first place.

          • Jack Wellman

            It was human choice that sank the Titanic. The captian is responsible. That’s like blaming the iceberg for the sinking of the Titanic when it was sheer negligence on the part of the crew who were trying to steam across the Atlantic in record time!

          • Iain Lovejoy

            I was referring to your analogy, not the actual boat. Your theology has God rescue people from himself.

    • Jack Wellman

      I am glad you like my blogs and so thank you, but please explain to me what you mean by I am impeded by the interpretation of the good news. May I suggest what Jesus says and is not of my personal origin….John 3:18, John 3:36, and dozens of other similar ones. It is only good news placed against the backdrop of God’s judgment. A diamond shines more brightly when placed against black velvet. Are not these verses part of the gospel as is Luke 13:3?

      • Iain Lovejoy

        “A diamond shines more brightly when placed against black velvet”
        And heaven is more delightful serenaded by the tortured screams of the damned?

  • R12.18

    Good words, Jack. In my experience, hope in Christ is better than hope in my self or in this world.

    • Jack Wellman

      Well said my friend. Hope in Christ or there is no true hope.

  • Nimblewill

    What about those who have never heard the name of Christ?

    • Jack Wellman

      Please read this. https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-happens-to-people-that-have-not-heard-the-gospel-of-jesus/ If you are interested in those who have not heard of Christ, share Him with as many as you can, but after reading the article, you’ll see that they have no excuse (Rom 1:18-20).

      • Nimblewill

        Are you suggesting that God has the ability to save them through Christ but doesn’t want to? If sharing with those who have not heard is the key then I am responsible for their salvation. Or at least that’s what it seems like to me.

        • Jack Wellman

          Hello Nimblewill. This goes into detail about the very good questions you asked: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2017/11/01/10421/ By the way, Jesus said we must repent and believe (Mark 1:14-15) so people have to choose (John 3:36), meaning they are responsible for their rejection of Christ, and not God.

  • HamburgerHelperAgain

    For all the theologians and biblical scholars out there Eerdmans has just published a new book “In Christ in Paul:Explorations in Paul’s Theology of Union and Participation”

  • R12.18

    That is some extremely narrow-minded dogma that you follow. Unfortunately your biased and subjective explanation is far to simplistic and filled with too much rhetoric for me to take seriously. But those are your personal beliefs. Your opinions. And I disagree with them.

    If you want to be an intolerant bigot – go for it. I do know there are toxic religions. And you seem to have adopted the same kind of mindset of those who have a toxic religion. You are no better than the people you profess to be superior to. You are capable of being just as horrid and vile as you describe them – without a religion.

    All religion is not the same. You can stereo-type it as such all day long. You can patrol message boards like this one seeking out people to try and belittle. You cherry-picking only examples that agree with your unproven theory doesn’t change that. All you have done is proven to me how narrow-minded you are.

    I can list out examples of vile and horrid anti-religious people and actions, just like you did for the religious. I can charge you as guilt by association just like you did for me. But why? I don’t want to make idiotic arguments like that. You can keep on doing that. But you are not proving anything. And by your own standards you should reject what you are preaching.

    • pud

      All religions REQUIRE “faith” in lieu of reason and knowledge. All REQUIRE “belief” in lieu of knowledge.

  • R12.18

    And you provided another example of the anti-religious mind at work. Should I pull out all the bad examples that history has provided of those with the anti-religious mind like you did for the religious mind? While ignoring anything that contradicts that? Because that is what you did. And I don’t care if I or you are an atheist, deist, anti-theist, none, religious, irreligious, agnostic or seeking person – only focusing on the negative of the other mind while ignoring the negative of my own mind is not very impressive.

    • pud

      No one has ever harmed another human being in the name of non belief. Religious wars were never between religious cults and non believers only between competing religious lunatics.

  • R12.18

    Or perhaps because of your indoctrination and dogmatic mind you are the one being unreasonable and not very logical.

    I point out there is harm in religion, too. So what? But religion itself is not inherently harmful. You personally believe that it is inherently harmful – but there is no evidence of proof to support that claim.

    My argument was not that “Atheists can do bad shit too”. Atheists can be religious. I know some who are. What I said was that anti-religious people can be bad for the same reasons you say you oppose all religion. Religion is not the problem, because people like you can adopt the same kind of mindset you are trying to brand every single religious person as holding.

    You don’t know me. But you keep pretending like I fit into your stereotype of a “religious mind”. There is nothing reasonable or logical about that. Your arguments are fallacious in nature.

    If I were to adopt your unproven theory – which is incredibly biased and subjective – how could I reconcile the fact that there are religious minds who have proven they have a better grasp on topics like logic and reason than you do? You say you are on the side of logic and reason. But your actions don’t support that belief of yours. I would have to ignore facts, history and evidence that debunks your theory. I can’t. If you can that is your problem.

    • pud

      Religion IS inherently harmful. It is substituting the supernatural superstitious for the rational. It inhibits learning and retards humanity. It promotes false hope and wish thinking. It is a mental illness

  • R12.18

    I know what atheism means. I lived as an atheist for many years. I was born in a secular state with parents who were not religious.

    I’m grateful they were also not as narrow-minded or bigoted as you are. Nor did they embrace fallacious logic like the “genetics fallacy” that “you are only a ___ because you were born in _____” employs.

    I appreciate you sharing your beliefs, theories and opinions with me. But you just made an extremely odd comment to start your rant with.

    Atheism is a lack of belief in God or gods. Not a lack of belief in religion. There are religions that are compatible with atheism. Most atheists are not anti-religious like you are. They tend to be more reasonable than you. I am grateful for that.

    Nothing you share is original. You are embracing a rhetoric that is promoted by anti-religious organizations and regimes. Hopefully you won’t be as immoral, vile or murderous as those who promoted such rhetoric in the past. I don’t think you have any power to carry out your bad ideas. So instead you choose to come on Christian forums and stereotype others while attacking a straw man. By your own standards I have to reject what you preach.

    You can do better. There are atheists who present more compelling arguments that don’t embrace fallacious logic. Nor run a smear campaign against “religion” as if it is just what you want it to be.

    The evidence debunks your claims. Sorry. I disagree with your opinions.

    • pud

      Nothing has caused more suffering and grief than “religions” “Religion poisons everything” CH

  • pud

    No “atheist” has ever harmed another human being in the name of non belief. Not believing in the absurd, the ridiculous, the childish is not an ideology or world view that one is compelled to inflict on those around him. The religious lunatics can’t seem to get this through their heads