Several places in Scripture refer to believers being “in Christ” (1 Peter 5:14; Philippians 1:1; Romans 8:1). Colossians 3:3 gives a little more insight: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” When we come to Christ as broken sinners, He exchanges our sin nature for His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). We cannot remain as we were and enter into the presence of a holy God. We must “die” to self and be “hidden” in the righteousness of Christ. Galatians 3:27 says, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Here the purity of Christ is presented as a garment we wear when we repent and accept God’s offer of salvation.
Imagine this scenario: A powerful king sits on his throne, judging the people. Guards attend him, and commoners wait in long lines for an audience. Suddenly, the doors of the throne room burst open. Heads turn, and everyone gasps. There stand two little boys. One is clean, but one is covered in mud and crying. With brazen boldness the unsullied boy tugs the other down the red carpet toward the throne. The guards pull their swords, waiting for a nod from the king to get rid of the intrusion. But the king holds up a hand, and his face softens into a smile.
The first little boy stops at the king’s knee and pulls his buddy into the circle of his arm. “Dad, this is my friend. He’s scared and hurt. I told him you could help.” The king opens his arms to envelop both boys, not caring that mud is smeared on his royal robe. He looks into the frightened eyes of the muddy waif and says, “Any friend of my son’s is welcome here. How can I help you?”
We cannot come to God on our own merit. We must be escorted by His Son. No amount of self-cleansing can make us pure enough to warrant the attention of Perfection. The Bible says that in our natural, sinful state we are enemies of God (Romans 5:10). But, escorted by the Son, we are welcomed into His presence. Through repentance and acceptance of Jesus’ death on our behalf, we are even called His children (John 1:12; Galatians 3:26). God no longer sees our imperfections; He sees the righteousness of His own Son instead (Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 8:12). Because we are in Christ, God sees Christ’s righteousness covering us. Only “in Christ” is our sin debt cancelled, our relationship with God restored, and our eternity secured (John 3:16–18; 20:31).
 Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.