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 for His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
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). In Christ, God sees me as a new creation: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have peace with God and are counted as righteous before Him (verses 17–21). Rather than seeing my sin, God sees the righteousness of His Son. He sees me as justified, redeemed, sanctified, even glorified (see Romans 8:30).
In Ephesians 1:3–14 we learn some of the ways God sees us in Christ. God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (verse 3). We are equipped with all we need. We are chosen to “be holy and blameless before [God]” (verse 4). We are seen as holy and blameless because we are in Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18).
Ephesians 1:5 tells us that, in Christ, we have been predestined “for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.” This means God sees me as His child (cf. John 1:12–13). This is “to the praise of [God’s] glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). In Christ God sees me in love, and He lavishes upon me His abundant gifts and the “riches of his grace” (verses 7–8).
God sees me in Christ as an inheritor of heavenly riches (Ephesians 1:11; cf. Romans 8:17). God sees me as His own, forever. He has sealed me with the Holy Spirit as a “guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13–14).
God sees me as His handiwork (Psalm 139:13–16; cf. Ephesians 2:10); as His friend (James 2:23); and as a chosen one, “holy and beloved” (Colossians 3:12). He sees me as “dead to sin” (Romans 6:11) but “raised with Christ” (Colossians 3:1); as a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16); as a living stone placed by a Master Builder (1 Peter 2:5); as part of “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (verse 9); and as one of the “foreigners and exiles” in this world (verse 11). God sees me as part of His flock: “He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care” (Psalm 95:7).