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In Two Places at Once


Colossians 1:1-2

They say that you cannot be in two places at once, but that is not strictly true when it comes to the Christian. A look at Paul's introduction in his letter to the Colossians points to the fact that every church and every Christian has two homes, and two habitats. The Colossians were said to be "in Christ" and "in Colosse" (Col. 1:1). The idea of two homes is to be found in other places in the New Testament (Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Rev. 1:9-10). The great truth that comes out of these verses is that the Christian lives in Christ while simultaneously living in the world. Just as branches are in the vine, and just as limbs are in the body Paul sees us being "in Christ" (John 15:1-8; 1 Cor. 12:12-31)! The Christian life therefore is a common life in Christ. Colosse was the sphere in which the saints lived but Christ was the source of their living. They lived from the inside out. The "who" on the inside, namely Christ, and not the "what" on the outside, namely circumstances, determined the quality, momentum, and focus of their lives. For them to live was Christ, and the life they lived was by faith in the Son of God (Phil. 1:21; Gal. 2:20).

Perhaps an illustration will help make the point. Many of us have flown internationally and spent a night 35,000 feet up in the air. That was our physical location. But, thankfully, whilst we were 35,000 feet in the air we were also inside an airplane. It was only because we were inside that pressurized tube that we could be in the air. The airplane was the more significant reality to us, enabling us to get off the ground and stay in the air, free from the debilitating effects of the outside temperature and pressure. We were in the air, but safely in the aircraft.

So Christ should be the sphere in which we live, wherever we live and whatever we do. To be "in Christ" is to be in a living and lasting relationship with Him, to have our daily lives shaped and sustained by His life (Phil 4:13). He is the well from which we draw all that is necessary for life and godliness. The Christian lives in two places at once. First, there is their physical location, but, second, there is their spiritual position (Eph. 1:3ff). Therefore the weak Christian finds their rest in Christ. The persecuted Christian finds their security in Christ. The baffled Christian finds their clarity in Christ. The anxious Christian finds their peace in Christ. The Christian must remember who they are "in Christ" wherever they are, and whatever they are facing!

I read that during an interview with a group of astronauts, the crew was asked, "What do you think is the single most important key to successful space travel?" One of the astronauts offered the following response: "The secret to traveling in space is to take your own atmosphere with you." Living in Christ must be the Christians atmosphere!