Essay / Theology


When Paul wants to describe salvation, he tells what happened to Jesus, and then annexes believers to that. We died with Christ, were raised with Christ, and are alive together in Christ.

Paul even found the shortest possible way of making this point: By taking the main verbs of the story of Jesus and putting a “with” prefix on them. We are co-crucified, co-raised, co-seated in Christ in a place above all earthly powers.

In Ephesians 1:20-21, Paul says that God displayed his great power “in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion.” Then in Ephesians 2:5-6, Paul takes those same actions –raising, seating– and adds the co- prefix to them (actually it’s syn- in Greek). “When we were dead in our transgressions, he made us alive together with Christ” (that is, he co-enlivened us, syn-ezoopoiesen, with Christ) and raised us up with him (that is, co-raised us, syn-egeiren) and seated us with him (that is, he co-seated us, syn-ekathisen) in the heavenly places.

Elsewhere, using the same constructions, Paul says he is co-crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:21), and that we are co-inheritors with Christ (Rom. 8:17).

Salvation is what God did in Christ, and believers co-that. Co-all of that.

The verbs of Jesus and the prefix that annexes your fate to his: The good news. “By God’s doing we are in Christ, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

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