4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,
5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;
6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
- Philemon 1:4-6
Paul mentions in his letter to Philemon that he thanks God for him personally mentioning him by name in his prayers. He was also thankful for what he heard about Philemon’s signature qualities of love & faith for not only the Lord Jesus Christ but also toward all the believers. Then Paul mentions his prayer request, his hope that Philemon’s open dialogue with others about his faith may energize those around him through the acknowledging of every good thing he has “in Christ Jesus.” The phrase “in Christ” is mentioned at least 75 times in Paul's letters. When he says “in Christ” he often has in mind our position in Him just as when he writes to the Ephesians that we are blessed “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” or that He “made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:3, 2:6).
The list below, although not complete, gives us an idea of so many wonderful spiritual blessings we have as believers “in Christ:”
- We are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 3:24).
- There is now “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).
- “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2).
- Nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:39).
- We are “one body in Christ” (Rom 12:5; Gal 3:28).
- We can be both “babes in Christ” and “wise in Christ” (I Cor 3:1, 4:10).
- We have “hope in Christ.” (I Cor 15:19).
- “In Christ shall all be made alive” (I Cor 15:22).
- Love can be with us all in Christ (I Cor 16:24).
- God establishes us in Christ, causes us to triumph in Christ, and we are a new creature in Christ (II Cor 1:21, 2:14, 5:17; Gal 6:15).
- We have liberty in Christ Jesus (Gal 2:4, 5:1).
- We are His “workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph 2:10)
- We, who are in Christ Jesus, “are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13).
- We are “fellowheirs,” and “partakers of his promise in Christ” (Eph 3:6).
- We have abundant rejoicing in Jesus Christ (Php 1:26, 3:3).
- In Christ we may have consolation, comfort of love, and fellowship of the Spirit (Php 2:1).
- We have a prize and “a high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Php 3:14)
- Every man may be presented “perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col 1:28).
- The “grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (I Tim 1:14).
- We can have “great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (I Tim 3:13).
- We have the “promise of life which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim 1:1).
- God “hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Tim 1:9)
- We have faith, love, grace, and salvation with eternal glory in Christ Jesus (II Tim 1:13, 2:1, 2:10).
Finally, now that we turn back to the Philemon letter, we’re reminded of Paul’s prayer request, that Philemon would acknowledge every good thing that is in him in Christ Jesus. He means for Philemon to share with others all the many spiritual blessings we listed, which Philemon has in his position in Christ as a result of his salvation through faith in the blood of our Savior on the cross at Calvary.
May we do the same. :)