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Author: Ron Graham


In, With, Under
—Prepositions and propositions

Prepositions are words that indicate position. There are not many of them, however they are very powerful words. This lesson uses three of them as key words.

The American phrase about government of the people, by the people, for the people, is memorable for its prepositions as much as for its propositions The Bible uses prepositions in that way. Here's just one example:

Prepositions are powerful words because they express relationships. This may not be noticed in something commonplace, such as, "The log is in the fire". But how much is packed into one small word when we say, "The saved are in Christ".

Our entire relationship with God is very well expressed with three prepositions: We are in Christ, with Christ, and under Christ.

That sounds like a slogan, and perhaps it is a slogan, and a very good one. Let's look at each of those prepositions and the relationships that they express.

1 In Christ

Union and Involvement

The first of our three prepositions is "in". The phrase "in Christ" was coined by Paul, and I think he must use it at least 100 times in his letters. I guess he took it from Jesus, who prayed for his disciples, "May they also be one in us... as we are one, I in them and you in me" (John 17:20-23).

So the theme runs...

The preposition "in" expresses not only union, but intense involvement. We know what it is like when someone is "in love" don't we! If you are truly in Christ, you are taking up your cross daily (Luke 9:23-24).

2 With Christ

Fellowship and Loyalty

The second preposition in our threesome, is "with". Although it is not used as much as "in", there are some very forceful statements about us being with Christ. Here are some examples...

The preposition "with" expresses not only fellowship but loyalty. We are with Christ when we are 'on the Lord's side'. If you are truly with Christ, you will "fight the good fight" (1Timothy 6:12).

3 Under Christ

Submission and Protection

The third preposition of the three is "under". It is used least of all, yet still packs a punch. Here are some examples...

Being "under" Christ means recognising his sovereignty, not only in word but also in deed, as he himself says, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46). Speaking of our being under Christ expresses our submission and obedience to him as his bondslaves.

However there is also the idea of protection. When we are under Christ, we have a ward against evil because we are under his care and protection from the evil one. To use the lovely Old Testament metaphor, we are "under his wings to seek refuge" (Ruth 2:12, Psalms 17:8).


Webservant Ron Graham

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