In Christ: Position & Identity Unparalleled, Considered Exegetically: Colossians 2:3-3:4. By Ron Merryman. Orland, Florida: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2007. 185 pp. Hardcover,
Finally someone has written a book on the church age believer’s position and identity in Christ! While not very long (only 30 pages; 43 pages including the appendices) it packs a punch. I am not aware of any other book written specifically on this topic; so this is one everyone should want in their library.
The author introduces the topic by stating that position and identity in Christ (positional truth) are one of two critical truths for new believers to help them through life. I would not limit this to new believers. All believers should be taught and reminded of positional truth.
As the title suggests the author covers his topic exegetically by examining Col. 2:3-3:4. Those who like an expository and exegetical style will appreciate what the author has done. Consequently, the author’s approach is less likely to lead to taking passages out of context, which happens too often in topically oriented books.
While the book contains many points, there are several that stand out. First, positional truth is unique to the church age. It is a privilege that we have today what those of the Old Testament did not. We are brought into living union with Christ through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The author clearly explains the truths of this Baptism, even devoting an appendix to it. Grace is communicated throughout the book emphasizing the fact that believers contribute nothing to the marvelous privileges given by God in Christ. Towards the end, the author writes, “One cannot improve upon the completeness that God provides in Christ, but this does not prevent humans from trying….”
The book includes six appendices, all related to positional truth. For amateur Greek enthusiasts like me, the appendix on periphrastic participles will delight. There is also a study exercise and brief discussion of Christ’s present Session.
A lot of debate about the assurance of eternal life has occurred in the free grace camp of late. While this book does not address assurance directly, it does address it implicitly. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the believer’s union with Christ presents a firm basis for eternal security and assurance of eternal life. We can be sure we have eternal life if we know that we are in union with Christ and the union can never be broken or dissolved.
The author concludes with an exhortation to keep seeking the meaning and significance of our (believer’s) identity and position in Christ. I agree and I highly recommend this book.
Long Beach, CA