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Christ In You, the Hope of Glory
By David A. DePra
people often put their faith -- put their hope -- in the THINGS they expect God
to do. This is not necessarily wrong, for God does promise many THINGS, and does
tell us to ask. Yet when everything is said and done, ALL of the things of God
are found IN CHRIST. God simply says, "Christ in you, (who is) your hope of
glory." (Col. 1:27)
God doesn't want to give us things to the exclusion of Christ. Rather, He gives us Christ IN WHOM are all things. Seek first Christ and you will become rightly related to God in such a way that you will be safe to receive those things which serve God's purpose for you.
Much of the Christian life is a matter of God reducing us through the work of the Cross so that we can simply receive what He has in Christ on solely on the basis of grace -- not through our works, or through our working, or though our striving, but solely on the basis of the finished work and Person of Jesus Christ. It is the most ironic thing -- that God's promises have always been there. It is simply a matter of God reducing us to the place where we can enter and take possession solely on the basis of His Son.
God makes it very simple and clear -- perhaps so simple and clear that we miss it. He tells us outright what is the hope of a Christian: Christ in us. Not hope in a Christ off in heaven somewhere. Not merely hope in a Christ who will come back someday -- although He will come back. But no. The hope of a Christian is CHRIST IN US -- NOW -- Christ in us, who IS our hope of glory.
We speak much of what Christ has done FOR US, and rightly so, for His finished work is the basis of all Redemption. But Christ is not merely an historical figure who did an historical work FOR US. He is a living Lord and Savior who lives in us NOW. Thus, our faith, while resting upon what He has done historically, must just as importantly rest upon who HE IS today. And what IS Christ today? Paul says:
But of him (God) are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord. (I Cor. 1:30-31)
Christ accomplished all of these THINGS for us, and made all of these THINGS
possible for us. But God's revelation goes much further -- Jesus Christ IS
presently all of these realities IN US.
Note the implications: We have no righteousness of our own. Christ IS our righteousness -- that is, God has not only IMPUTED to us the righteousness of Christ, but God has IMPARTED to us Christ Himself. Christ in us is the only righteousness we have. Likewise, Christ IS our sanctification -- that is, God is not making US into a wonderful specimen, but is crucifying us out of the way so that Christ, who is in us, might be seen through us. It is a fact that Christ seen IN US is the only sanctification God desires:
we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may
be of God, and not of us....For we which live are alway delivered unto death for
Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal
flesh. (2 Cor 4:7,11)
Christ Himself IN
US is likewise our Redemption. Have Christians realized that God has not given
us a THING called salvation, or done a THING to us called Redemption, or merely
given us THINGS? No. God has given us CHRIST -- in whom are all things. God
says, through Paul, "Christ who IS our life." (Col. 3:4) Jesus said,
"I AM the Way, the Truth, and THE LIFE." Christ in us IS our
salvation. "The Lord is my light and my salvation....." (Ps. 27:1)
No wonder Paul calls this a MYSTERY. A mystery in the NT is not a hidden Truth. It is a Truth that is presently revealed -- but can only be revealed by God. It cannot be reasoned out. Christ in us is not the product of human imagination, a religion to follow, or merely a doctrinal fact. Christ in us is Christianity itself. Christ in us is the basis of everything -- all that God is doing starts with Christ in individuals, and then by extension, Christ in His Body.
This is Truth that has a present impact upon the lives of those born from above. For example, Paul the apostle knew that Jesus Christ was crucified FOR HIM. Yet, on the basis of that finished work of Christ, Paul was able to say, "I am crucified WITH CHRIST, nevertheless I live, yet NOT I, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME." (Gal. 2:20) Paul is referring to more than the historical work of Christ. He is talking about the present impact of Christ in us. How many of us know about this kind of Christianity? Yet it is all through the NT.
"Christ in us," is the very definition of Christianity. Christ in us is THE hope of glory -- He is THE hope of eternity for those who are born from above. We are ONE with Him through His Spirit, and what we call Christian growth is nothing more than the impact of Christ in us upon every aspect of our lives. Christian growth is NOT us being made LIKE Christ. Rather, Christian growth is us being crucified out of the way in order that Christ might be seen in us.
Christ in us constitutes all that God has -- "for you are complete IN HIM." (Col. 2:9-10) Thus, despite the fact that Christian growth is a process that takes a lifetime and more -- it does not happen all at once -- we DO receive Christ all at once -- and IN HIM are all things. If you have Christ in you, you have everything that God has to give. From that point, it is a matter of LEARNING CHRIST, and a matter of coming to manifest HIM. But this is not a matter of US becoming strong. It is a matter of US becoming weak and out of sight, so that Christ might be seen.
Jesus said, "The kingdom of God does not come in a way that can be observed with the eyes....behold, the kingdom of God is IN YOU." Well, the kingdom of God is Jesus Christ as Lord -- the kingdom is constituted because of THE KING. Christ in us is the core of the kingdom of God. This is why God is able to say, "Seek you first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness." -- seek you first His present rule and Lordship of Christ IN YOU NOW -- and all things will be added. If we seek first Christ, then all things that are in Him -- both temporal and spiritual -- can be added to us. It only stands to reason that if we seek first the rule of Christ in us that we will become rightly related to God and thus able to receive His will for our lives within the context of Jesus Christ as our personal Lord. Again -- God has wrapped up all things in Christ. By His Spirit He wants to make Christ real TO us, IN us, and THROUGH us -- to HIS glory.
As Christian people, we sometimes err by putting our faith in our own works, or upon temporal things, or in other people. Often we pray and try to walk with a God who seems distant or difficult to reach. Or we try to convince God to meet us on the basis of our own working. But all of these issues are resolved once we realize that the very definition and core of Christianity is CHRIST IN US. Right now. He is our hope of glory -- and He is in us, that is, one with us, through the Spirit of God. This is our hope of for the future, but is a present Truth. Christ has not merely given us life -- CHRIST IS OUR LIFE. And since all of this is the product of His complete victory over death, there is nothing that can UNDO what God has finished in His Son.
When the only begotten Son of God became a man -- became the God-man -- He made it possible for human beings to become one with God. Just as the Son of God took up residence in the womb of Mary, so through the new birth He takes us residence in those who relinquish their old life to Him. What does it mean to be born from above? It means to receive a life from the outside of you INTO YOU that is not of this world below. It is life -- a Person -- from above. IN HIM is life. It means to receive a PERSON whose very presence in us who constitutes our entire hope. Christ in us, THE hope of glory. We need not look unto anyone else, or to any thing else to find hope. Christ in us IS that very present hope.
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