Foundational Truth #3

Christ Manifested

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by David A. DePra


But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be OF GOD, and not of us.  (II Cor. 4:7)


The above statement, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels,” is just another way of saying, “Christ in you.”  Note also that Paul adds that, “the power,” is all of God, and none of it is of us.  This echoes what Paul says in the next chapter of II Corinthians:


Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are PASSED OVER; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are OUT FROM God.  (II Cor. 5:17-18)


In an earlier chapter, we saw that when we come to Christ, we are joined to Him in spirit – but only in spirit.  We are not joined to Him with our natural, soul man, or with our physical body.  This creates a separation between soul and spirit in each believer – there is a separation between that which IS joined to the Lord, namely, our spirit, and that which is NOT joined to the Lord, namely our natural man and physical body.


In the above passage from II Corinthians 5, we see this clearly stated, once we account for the true Greek meanings.  This spiritual union of a believer and Jesus Christ – i.e., Christ in us – constitutes the NEW CREATURE.   The natural man and physical body – i.e., “old things – are PASSED OVER as it pertains to this new creature.  In other words, the natural man and physical body are NOT incorporated into the new creature in this age.  No.  For as noted, these are NOT joined to the Lord.  Paul gathers all of this up and states that all of the things that are NEW – all new things are from OUT OF GOD.


So, not only are we told in II Corinthians 4 that, “the power,” is all OF GOD, but also in II Corinthians 5 we are told that all things of the new creation are OUT FROM GOD.  Can we see that if we are in Christ, that we bring NOTHING to that spiritual union, but that Christ brings ALL?  Indeed, Christ is THE LIFE, and there is nothing outside of HIS LIFE – except death.  He is all to the believer, and we are recipients of Him.


Now, all of this being said, it is not just doctrine or fact.  It is the Truth – but must be experienced, have an impact upon us, and then be lived.  Thus, Paul says:


[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  (II Cor. 4:8-10)


When we come to Christ, and are joined to Him in spirit, we continue to carry our natural man and physical body.  And these must be brought under the governing power of resurrection life in Christ – even though in this age they are not joined to the Lord.  Paul describes how this happens.  He says that we must, “always bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”  In other words, as a believer, we have already been crucified with Christ, but the fact that we have been planted into His death must have an impact – there must be a work of the personal Cross upon that which is not united with the Lord.  This work of the Cross will not eradicate the old nature – it will still be present; we can yield to it.  But as we take our place in His death – on a daily basis in life – the life of Christ will be made manifest -- Christ in us under the power of His resurrection will break the power of the old nature, not by eliminating it as a possibility, but by manifesting a greater power – by manifesting Christ.  We than can choose to abide in Christ by faith.


Now, obviously, none of this happens independent of us.  God does not, “act upon us,” or, “do things to us,” without our choice of faith and obedience.  No.  God works through our circumstances and experiences – both inward and outward – to bring LIGHT.  He brings us to the point of, “losing our SELF to Him” -- in order that we might FIND Christ in a new measure.  As we turn to Him by faith – and this requires that we ask Him to do, “whatever it takes,” to bring us into the Truth – we will begin to have a renewed mind.  Our minds will be renewed according to Christ. 


Don’t think of a, “renewed mind,” as merely renewed brain power.  More than that, we WILL see things in a new light – the light of Christ.  But in the NT Greek, “the mind,” also involves the will and intent.  If we unconditionally surrender ourselves by faith to Christ FOR HIS WILL – we are, in effect, turning to THE LIGHT.  We will SEE all else in HIS light, and as we continue in faith, our old will and intent will be exposed as corrupt – and we can relinquish these to the Cross.  We will begin to experience a renewed freedom – and will more easily make our choice to live for Christ in the outward.


You will note that Paul said that we bear about, “in the body,” the dying of the Lord Jesus.  This, “body,” is the natural man.  The power of that natural man will be broken.  But he also says that, “the life of the Lord Jesus,” will be made manifest in that mortal body.  In other words, as the power of the natural man is broken, there will come a release of resurrection life from the Christ with Whom we are inwardly joined, and this will not only be manifest in our inward man, but will be manifest in our entire person.


Religion – even Christian religion – gets this backwards.  Religion tries to change the inward person by applying outward laws, principles, and rules.  Religion suggests that we can, “look like Jesus.”  But God always works from the inside out – or better said – God always works from CHRIST within outward.  That is why Paul said, “All things are OUT FROM GOD.”  The believer is not to, “look like Jesus.”  Rather, the believer is to be crucified out of sight so that Jesus might be manifested IN and THROUGH that believer.


The believer is on a journey wherein we might DECREASE that HE might INCREASE.  Or, as Jesus said, we must pick up our Cross daily so that we might lose OUR life in order to find HIM as our life.  It is not that we receive more of Jesus.  Rather, it is that the Christ we have received in fullness might be discovered, experienced, and made manifest.


Christianity, at the core, is CHRIST IN US.  The Christian life that grows out from Him is best described by Paul in Galatians:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)

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