The Good News



The Gospel


The Mystery of God


The First Sermon


Joined to the Lord


Life From Above


The Spirit of Christ


The Man From Above


The Dividing of Soul from Spirit


The Living Word


The Preaching of the Cross


Evidence of Spiritual Death


God’s Only Solution


The Cross is the Power of God


The Broken Power of Satan


Dead to Sin


Glorying in the Cross


Crucified to the World


A New Kind of Life


Two Kinds of Humanity


Abandonment to God


The Work of Christ Today


The Inward Kingdom


Baptized for the Dead?


Witnesses of Christ


The Fruit of the Vine


Extensions of the Vine


The Shadow of Christ


Reconciled to God


The Finished Work


Christ of No Effect


The Galatian Solution


May 1

The Gospel


 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.  (Gal. 1:6)


     What is the gospel?  The gospel is the good news, “concerning His Son, Jesus Christ.”  (Rom. 1:3)  The gospel, therefore, is a proclamation of the Truth about a PERSON.  The good news is the proclamation of Jesus Christ – yes, what He has done, but essentially, about who He is today IN US.  The gospel is the message of salvation.  But the gospel is not merely a message of how to be saved.  Salvation is a Person.  The gospel therefore includes all of the Truth of life in Jesus Christ.


     Paul warned the Galatians, “You have deserted HIM that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.”  Can we see that Paul considered life in Christ after salvation to also be the gospel?  He affirms that the Galatians church had been saved through the gospel, but then he states, “having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?”  (Gal. 3:3)  If my Christianity is not based on Christ in me – His life and Truth – then I am under another gospel.  In short, the savlation message must be the Truth – but so must the life in Christ that results.  I must not only believe the message, but I must live in the One who is the living message


     Any presentation of Christ that distorts or omits any part of His redemptive work is a false gospel.  But this is because such error distorts Christ Himself.  Christ dwells IN US NOW:  “Christ in you, the hope of glory -- whom we preach.”  (Col. 1:27-28)




May 2

The Mystery of God


The mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints -- to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  (Col. 1:26-27)


     In NT times, a, “mystery,” was exactly what Paul describes here:  A Truth previously hidden, but which is NOW revealed.  According to Paul, the great mystery of the ages which was THEN being revealed was, “CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.”


     Paul directly states that this Truth was, “hid from ages and generations,” past.  Sure.  Jesus Christ did not, and could not, dwell in anyone until after He completed His redempitve work and ascended to the Father.  Jesus said so – He said, “The Comforter has been WITH you, but shall be IN YOU.  I must go, for the Spirit cannot be decend down from heaven until I ascend up to heaven.”  (see John 14:17 and 16:7) 


     Contrary to some Christian teaching, Jesus Christ came to dwell in people for the very first time in Acts 2 when His Spirit did decend.  Acts 2 began the New Covenant – which is CHRIST in you.  Acts 2 began the church – which consists of those in whom Christ dwells.  The day of Pentecost was fulfilled in Acts 2 -- and the mystery unveiled.




May 3

The First Sermon


Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made that same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.  (Acts 2:36)


     The first sermon given through the indwelling of the Spirit of God was given by Peter in Acts 2.  But if you read that sermon, it is all about Jesus Christ.  Today some like to point to what happened that day as a template for what God does today – people acting drunk and speaking in tongues – but Peter quickly gathers all that was happening into a message about the Person of Christ and what God now desires to do through Him.


    Peter ended his sermon with the above verse.  It carried the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Acts records, “Now when they heard, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you INTO the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” 


     What was the conclusion of the events of that day?  People being convicted of their lost condition and then being told to REPENT and be baptised through the Spirit of God INTO Jesus Christ.  That is the Greek meaning:  Immersed INTO Christ.  Joined to Him.  In other words, the outcome of the gospel message is supposed to be, yes, faith in all that Christ has done for us, but unto this end -- Christ Himself NOW, IN each of us.

May 4

Joined to the Lord


But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.   (I Cor. 6:7)


     This verse tells us HOW Jesus Christ dwells in us:  He joins our human spirit to Himself – to His Spirit.  This is CHRIST IN US.


     The word translated, “joined,” could be translated, “glued,” or, “cemented.”  We are  ONE with Jesus Christ through the union of our human spirit with His Spirit.  This agrees with the pictures that God gives us of our spiritual union with Christ – baptised INTO Christ; baptised INTO the name of Christ; crucified WITH Christ; planted into the likeness of His death and resurrection; and of course, Christ in us, the hope of glory.


     The spiritual union of our human spirit with Jesus Christ is the new creature in Christ Jesus.  This is what is born through the new birth.  It is the new man; the inner man.  Furthermore, it tells us how we have eternal life.  Jesus Christ IS the resurrection and the life.  Thus, when we are joined to Him, we are not joined to a THING called life, but joined to a Person who IS Life.  We are eternally alive because we are joined to the One who is the resurrection and the life.


     God has given us all things freely IN HIS SON.  And the saint is joined to Him.  This is why, “we are complete in Him.”  (Col. 2:9)




May 5

Life From Above


You are from beneath; I am from above: you are of this world; I am not of this world.  (John 8:23)


     Jesus told Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit….You must be born again.”  (John 3:6)  All who are born in Adam are born of the flesh.  Flesh is all we can ever be – and all that is built into the flesh is all we can ever possess.  All that we are in Adam was permenantely ruined through the sin of Adam.  But Jesus never suggests that the Adam race is going to be fixed.  He never suggests that there is any destiny for the Adam race except what God originally judged:  Death.  The solution, therefore, for all who are born in Adam is a NEW BIRTH – we must be born FROM ABOVE.


     Being born from above is not a matter of God fixing me, or of Him drawing from out of me some potential.  No.  The new birth is the result of receiving from the OUTSIDE of me INTO me new life – HIS LIFE.  I am born from above when I am joined to the One who is FROM above.  New life is Christ in us. 


    Many of us try to define our Christianity by what we have to give or by what we do.  God defines our Christianity by what we have RECEIVED:  Jesus Christ from above.

May 6

The Spirit of Christ


You are…in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you…. and if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.  (Rom. 8:9-11)


     In God’s Word, different terms are often used to refer to the same Truth.  Such is the case in this passage.  Paul is here using terms that all refer to the indwelling of Christ in us through the Holy Spirit.  He uses the terms, “in the Spirit;” “the Spirit of God;” “the Spirit of Christ;” “Christ be in you..the Spirit is life;” the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus;” and, “His Spirit that dwells in you.”  Since Paul states in Ephesians that there is ONE SPIRIT, (Eph. 4:4) it means that all of these descriptions refer to that one Spirit.


     This allows us to conclude that, “Christ in you,” means that we are joined to Him in by that same Spirit – i.e., our human spirit is joined to His Spirit – which is elsewhere named, “The Comforter,” or, of course, “the Holy Spirit,” or PARACLETE. 


     Why is this important?  Because so often when we read that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, or that the Spirit dwells in us, we tend to focus upon the Spirit as something or someone separate from Christ – or as a FORCE that does things to us in our lives.  This blurs and clouds the fact the Spirit in us means CHRIST IN US -- that is, Christ dwells in us by the means of the Spirit of God.  Indeed, the purpose of the Spirit of God is to reveal Christ TO us, IN us, and THROUGH us.




May 7

The Man From Above


You are from beneath; I am from above: you are of this world; I am not of this world.  (John 8:23)


    Before Jesus Christ joins us to Himself spiritually, we are 100% natural.  We are born OF this world and made of the materials of the Adam race.  There is absolutely nothing in us that is from above – we are fully from beneath.  But when we are joined to the Lord and He dwells in us through the Spirit of God, there is introduced into our makeup His life – which is from above.  At that point there occurs a separation of our soul from the presence of Christ in us – the separation of soul and spiirit.


     You will notice that when Christ joins us to Himself the natural or flesh is not obliterated.  No.  Christ is ADDED, so to speak, to the person we already are.  The power of the old man in Adam is broken – something we will have to learn and experience by faith – but not the presence or possibility.  The goal of God will be to bring all that is of the natural under the work of the Cross so that Christ in us might govern.   

May 8

The Dividing of Soul from Spirit


For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit.  (Heb. 4:12)


     The dividing of soul from spirit is not something that happens because God acts upon our inner makeup and divides it into two sections.  No.  This separation happens and is only possible when our spirit is joined to the Lord Jesus.  The introduction of the Spriit of Christ into our inner makeup automatically creates a separation between that which is joined to the Lord in us, and what is not joined to the Lord in us.  In short, His presence in us automatically creates the separation.


     Once we are joined to the Lord in resurrection union, we are born a new creature in Christ – “If any man be in Christ He is a new creature.”  (II Cor. 5:17)  So what is the new man in Christ?  The resurrection union of our human spirit with the Spirit of Christ.  Draw an imaginary circle around union with Christ and this is the new man.  But everything out side of that circle remains natural – remains the old man. 


     God is not working to bring life to the old man in Adam – to what is outside of that circle.  No.  He is actually working to bring death.  If we would grasp this, we would recognize that all the modern teaching about self-esteem, self-improvement, and God bringing out the best in us, is error.  What is outside of that circle – the old life – is under the Cross.  Rather than give US OUR life now, God tells us to LOSE that life.  He is working in the new creation in Christ.  God has given us all things freely in His Son.  Christ is to BE our life.




May 9

The Living Word


For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spiritt.  (Heb. 4:12)


     The Word of God is not merely the Bible – the Bible is the written Word.  But Jesus Christ is the Living Word.  Of course, there is only ONE true word, and so the Living Word will always agree completely with the written Word.  But the point is this:  God is speaking to us today IN HIS SON; He is speaking Son-wise.  (Heb. 1:1)  God is revealing Christ TO us and IN us.  This is, afterall, the why His Spirit was given.


     Jesus Christ in us IS the testimony of Jesus Christ.  He is God’s Living Word governing us to the point where we are living evidence or testimony of the Risen Christ.  People ask for evidence that Jesus Christ exists, and mock when God provides none that satisfies them.  But God is not concerned.  Jesus Christ IS the evidence of God.  (see I John 5:9-11)  And when Christ comes to dwell in us, His very presence becomes a living testimony to God Himself in us, and through us.  This is what it means to become a witness for Christ.  We have the evidence in us, and He is seen by others.

May 10

The Preaching of the Cross


For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.  (I Cor. 1:18)


      In Jesus Christ, the Adam race was brought to an end on the Cross.  God is not interested in fixing up the Adam race, or in bringing anything out of it that He can use.  This is why we are told that if want to follow Jesus, we must pick up our cross and LOSE our lives for His sake.  (see Matt. 16:24)  God is interested only in His Son, and His interest in us is as the vessels that will hold Christ, the Treasure.  (II Cor. 4:7)


     Today this is foolishness even to many professing Christians.  You hear almost NO teaching at all about Christ in us, God’s purpose to form Christ in us, and certainly almost nothing about the necessity of the Christian person losing their life under the work of the Cross in order to discover true life in Christ.  You may hear that Jesus bore our sins on the Cross.  You may even hear such terms as, “spiritual formation,” wherein people are taught how to form Christ in themselves through various techniques. But where the reality of the personal Cross is omitted, the Truths of Christ can only be applied to the OLD LIFE – and brought down to an earthly, natural level.  It may look good and will be very religious.  But it isn’t of new life – it is the old life practicing religion -- because the means of new life is omitted:  The Cross.


     The personal Cross means our the old man in Adam is shut out through death.  Only the new man in Christ matters.  It is a sure sign of apostasy when few Christians know the difference, or think this Truth to be foolish.




May 11

Evidence of Spiritual Death


For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness.  But unto us that are saved, it is the power of God.  (I Cor. 1:18)


     You will note that Paul does NOT say that if a person thinks the Cross to be foolish that God is going to punish them -- by causing them to perish.  No.  Rather, he is saying that if a person thinks the Cross is foolish that it is evidence that they are ALREADY in the process of perishing.  There is a reason for his conclusion:  The Cross is the first step to life in Christ.  Thus, if we think that the first step to life is foolishness, then we have obviously not taken it.  We are perishing.


     Much of what professing Christian people say is out of ignorance.  But when someone says that we do not need to repent in order to be saved, or that we do not need to come to the Cross – is it possible that they are saved?  No.  They can’t be saved.  That is not a judgment.  It is simply a realization that if someone says the Cross is unnecessary that they surely haven’t come to it for themselves.  Out of their own mouth is the evidence that they are already perishing.

May 12

God’s Only Solution


To preach the gospel, not with words of wisdom, lest the Cross of Christ should be made of no effect.  (I Cor. 1:17)


     There is only one way to be delivered from sin:  The source must die.  We cannot be delivered from sin by merely being forgiven FOR sin – no, forgiveness removes the penalty for sin, but does not remove the sin.  There must come a death to what Paul calls, “the body of sin,” and, “the old man in Adam.”  This was accomplished by Christ once and for all on the Cross for all of us.  The way in which it becomes experintial to us is if we take our place in the Cross, pick it up daily, and come under it’s power.  The Cross is death to the old so that we might live in Jesus in the new. 


    “Words of wisdom,” cannot substitute for the Cross.  I cannot sweet talk someone into being a Christian.  I cannot logically corner them into picking up the Cross.  I cannot affirm and pat on the back the old man in Adam and to try to help him improve himself.  Neither can I substitute for the Cross by memorizing scripture, attending church, or by trying my best to live for Christ.  No.  I have to pick up the Cross and DIE – and this is exactly what I must preach to others.  Omit the Cross and you have a false gospel.


     Paul said, “When I came to you, I came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For  I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”  Adam died in Christ.  People must be shown the dreadful creature Adam is so that they will voluntarily come to the Cross and thank God that Jesus has died for them on it.




May 13

The Cross is the Power of God


The cross is…the power of God.  (I Cor. 1:18)


    The Cross is the power of God.  But in what sense?  The Cross is the power of God over the old creation, and thus, Satan.  That is because the Cross brought an end to the old through death, thus breaking it’s power over those who are raised anew in Christ.


     When Adam sinned, the earth was brought under a curse -- this means that the earthy or natural realm fell under that curse.  The god of that earthly realm is Satan. But that part of man’s makeup which is earthly is also part of that fallen realm.  This is why Satan has access to man since the fall through the earthly or natural in us all.  


     When Jesus died on the Cross He bore in His body the Adam race.  Thus, Adam died in Christ.  So if I come to Christ and take my place in His death, I am severed from the old earthly realm over which Satan rules.  But I am born anew of the Spirit – a new creation.  Thus, the death and resurrection of Christ delivers us from the realm of Satan – the earthly.  The Cross is the gateway – it is the power of God unto that end.

May 14

The Broken Power of Satan


Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.  (Heb. 2:1)


     When Adam sinned and forfeited life from God, he not only died spiritually, but the entire earthly realm over which God had given him dominion was put under a curse.  (Gen. 3:17)  From that point, nothing could be produced out of the earthly realm that was spiritual.  And even the physical that was produced required a great deal of struggle.  In addition, Satan was cast down to the earthly realm.  He is the god of this world, with access to all that is earthly.


     Jesus Christ became a human being and lived a sinless life.  He brought the human being into the fullness of what originally intended for Adam.  Then He offered Himself to bear the sin of the world – really to bear all that is earthly pertaining to humankind.  This all died when Christ died.  What was rasied was a new man in Christ.  Death had severed the old creation, and resurrection in Christ had birthed the new.


     So what we see is that those who are in Christ have a life inside of them that is not of this earthly.  Satan therefore does not have access – indeed it is resurrection life which is victory over Satan in every way.  But Satan does continue to be able to approach the natural man that continues to exist in us outisde of our union in Christ. 


     The point is this:  The ground of Satan, or his point of access, has been cut out from under him.  Not by obliterating it, but by joining us to the Lord in Spirit.  The Christian life is therefore one of living FROM new ground -- His victory of resurrection life.  The only power that remains for Satan is that of deception.  This is why we must know Truth.   




May 15

Dead to Sin


Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.  (I Peter 2:24)


     Jesus Christ did not only bear the judgment for sin – He died – but He also bore sin itself.  This was a supernatural identification wherein the entire Adam race was gathered together in Jesus Christ – and thus, His death on the Cross was the death of the Adam race.  When we come to Christ and are joined to Him, we are by faith taking our place in that His finished death, and as a result, we are raised in Him a new creature.


     You will notice that the Bible never says that sin is obliterated.  It never says the sin is dead.  No.  It says that we are dead to sin.  Sin is still present as a possibility in our natural man.  But because we are raised as a creature who is alive in Christ, we don’t have to obey it.  Sanctification is the process wherein we learn how to live out this Truth.

May 16

Glorying In the Cross


God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  (Gal. 6:14)


     Paul is using the tool of irony in this verse.  He knew that the Cross cut off every thing about himself on which he could stand, and therefore in which he might glory.  But rather than lament this fact, Paul is thankful for it  He says he will glory in the fact that he has nothing to glory in.  The Cross did this.  In short, he will glory only in Christ crucified.


     Do we realize what a freedom this is?  To have nothing to protect about myself?  To have nothing to promote about myself?  To have nothing that I need to prove to anyone, including God?  To be able to leave myself alone to God?  To simply rejoice in the fact that that Christ is in me – and that God has given me all things freely IN HIM?


    Paul is, “glorying,” in the fact that he is free from needing to seek glory.  He is saying that he knows that all that is of value in him he has received from above -- in Christ -- solely by the grace of God.  It is the Cross that made this possible.




May 17

Crucified to the World


God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  (Gal. 6:14)


     Crucifixion means death – and so Paul is stating that when he was baptised into the death of Christ he was severed from this world or earthly realm.  When Paul was joined to Christ in His death, he was severed from this earthly realm and made a citizen of the heavenlies.


     Paul is referring to the fact that we are all born of this world as members of the Adam race.  We are natural; of this earthly realm.  Indeed, we are controlled by this realm – it is all we know.  The Adam race is an earthly race that is very much at one with this earthly realm.


     But when Christ died on the Cross and was raised from the dead, what emerged in that resurrection was a life that is not of this earthly realm.  Indeed, it is a life that is completely severed from this earthly – in fact, has victory over it.


     Resurrection life is not of this earthly realm.  It is the life of Christ Himself.  Thus, those in whom Christ dwells are not OF this world.  They are of Him – and because we are planted in His death and resurrection we are severed from this earthly realm.  We no longer belong to it and need not live controled by it.  This is what it means to, “walk in the Spirit.”  We are no longer governed by the earthly, but only by Christ who is in us.


May 18

A New Kind of Life


Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (II Cor. 5:17)


     Have we realized that resurrection life in Christ is not merely the result of a reversal of death?  No.  It is the result of tasting the fullness of death and conquering it, and of passing through death into NEWNESS OF LIFE.  The life that results is a different KIND OF LIFE than what originally died.  It is life that has conquered death and can die no more.


     God has raised other people from the dead.  But in each case death was reversed and they were brought back to the same life as before.   Not so with Jesus Christ.  When He emerged out of the tomb He ushered in a new KIND OF LIFE that had never before existed – life that is eternal and the product of victory over all. 


      A person who has, “eternal life,” is not a person who possesses the same life as before – only now his life is without an end.  No.  The term eternal life is translated from words that speak, not so much of an unending life in the sense of time, but they speak of a KIND OF LIFE that is timeless.  Eternal life in Christ is the kind of life that is timeless, incorruptible -- and infinitely more.  Sure.  It is the life of Christ Himself.  Thus, a new creature in Christ Jesus is actually a new kind of human being – redeemed humanity – a different kind of human being -- because they are joined to the Lord.   


    God really has done a NEW THING.  He has closed out the old Adam race and birthed a new race of human beings in Christ. 




May 19

Two Kinds of Humanity


For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  (I Cor. 15:45)


     There are only two kinds of humanity on the earth:  Those who have been born in Adam, and those who have died to Adam and been born from above in Christ.  We are all one or the other – you cannot have one foot in Adam and one foot in Christ.


     How does a person die to Adam?  By faith he repents or renounces his old life, and takes his place in the Cross of Jesus Christ.  How does that person come alive in Christ?  Exactly the same way – for unless we are crucified in Him we cannot be raised in Him.  Yet if we are united with Him in His death, we shall be united with Him in His resurrection.  (Rom. 6:5)


     The human being that is raised in Christ is a different kind of human being than one born in Adam.  The difference is HIS LIFE – his life is now Christ.

May 20

Abandonment to God


How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?  Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die.  (I Cor. 15:35-36)


     This verse contains a principle about resurrection that is applicable to our Christian walk:  Abandonment to God includes a relinquishment of knowing the outcome.  We must sow by a death, but we don’t determine what is raised.  We know generally that if we lose our lives that we will find true life in Him – but until this actually happens, it is all expectation and not yet realization.  It is foolish to think we could fully grasp what is not yet raised.  The birth has not yet happened.  We cannot know the child.


     Abandonment to God in faith is like that.  We abandon ourselves to God – usually through some situation.  True abandonment means I take my hands off and leave it to God.  That is a death in me in faith TO God over the situation.  I may have hopes of what God will do.  But I cannot know until there is a resurrection what God intended.


     Of course the situation over which I surrender isn’t the issue.  I am the issue.  A situation isn’t raised from the dead as much as I am raised.


     This can happen within this age.  But there is much in this age that we abandon to God -- but is never raised HERE.  The fruition of our abandonment never seems to come about.  But God is saying that all of it has a release in the eternal ages.  What seems like a little faith here may carry great life within that is only released there.  God may be forming Christ in us NOW, but the fullness of what He has formed will be released in the resurrection THEN.




May 21

The Work of Christ Today


For he must reign, until he has put all enemies under his feet.  (1 Cor 15:25)


     This verse describes what Christ is doing today – He is building His kingdom by putting all of His enemies under His authority.  His enemies once included US:  “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. “(Rom 5:10)  The Greek word translated, “reconcile,” means, “to exchange emnity for friendship.”  This is HOW Jesus prefers to put all enemies under His feet:  By saving them.  And then by driving out all that is at emnity to Christ from out of the lives and makeup of His people.


    There is only one way in which God builds the kingdom of God.  He does it by first building His kingdom -- which is His sovereignty – IN US.  This is done by forming CHRIST IN US.  Jesus is the King.  His life is His sovereignty or realm of God.  Jesus will not return until He has filled up His purpose this age, fundamental to which is  forming of His Body – which is the people in whom dwell the kingdom or realm of God.

May 22

The Inward Kingdom


And when he was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God does not come in a way that you can see.  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.  (Luke 17:20-21)


     The Jewish concept of the kingdom of God of that day was a physical kingdom headquartered in the Jerusalem temple, ruled over by the Messiah.  This was also the concept of the disciples – and because of that, everytime Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God they interpreted it along those lines.  But here Jesus tells us the kind of kingdom He is talking about all through His ministry:  Not one you can see, but a spiritual, inward kingdom.


    The kingdom of God is the rule or realm of God.  It isn’t a certain place over which God rules, but rather, it is God’s rule itself – over any person or place.  In the OT, God used the idea of a kingdom to convey to them what He wanted to reveal to them during that time.  But in the NT, there is a great mystery finally unveiled that was not revealed to prior generations:  Christ in you, the hope of glory.  WE are the temple of God in which He rules as Lord.  Thus, the picture of a kingdom is the picture of the indwelling of the Person of Christ:  Christ in you, the hope of glory, is the essence of the kingdom.   


     Jesus Christ in us equals the kingdom of God in us.  Jesus is Lord and the sovereignty that extends from His Person and His Life is the kingdom of God.  As for a coming reigning and ruling in the eternal ages, God will only populate His kingdom with those in whom He has established the kingdom through the indwelling of Christ.




May 23

Baptized for the Dead?


Otherwise what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?  (1 Cor 15:29-30)


     There have been a number of silly interpretations given to this passage, but in context, Paul is talking about Jesus subduing all of His enemies under His feet so that He can return and all of the dead in Christ can be raised. 


     “The dead,” for whom we are baptized are those same saints who are asleep.  We are not baptized so that they might be saved, but we are baptized into our own death – figuratively in an ongoing way – so that the life of Christ that emerges from this can add to the Body of Christ, of which both they and we are part.  “Death in us, but life in you.  (see II Cor. 4:12)  Paul referred to this same work in Colossians:  “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church.”  (Col 1:24)  The fruition of this, of course, will be only fully realized when we are all raised together at the Second Coming. 

May 24

Witnesses of Christ


But you shall receive power because the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)


     What did Jesus say, in John chap.14- 16, would be the work of the Holy Spirit?  The work of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Jesus Christ TO us, IN us, and through us.  In other words, once Christ dwells in us by joining us to Himself through the Holy Spirit, the work of that Spirit is to form Christ in us.  (Gal. 4:19)  To have Christ, “formed,” in us means for Him to be, “inwardly realized or expressed.”  And as Christ is formed in us, we are changed and adjusted so that we can be, “formed together with Him.”  (Rom. 8:29)


     Paul described to the Corinthians a little more about how Christ is formed in us.  He said, “Always bearing about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus, so that the life of the Lord Jesus may also be made manifest in our body.”  (II Cor. 4:10)  Well, if Christ is formed in me and I begin to manifest Christ, then I am a witness to Him.  In other words, I am EVIDENCE of the risen Christ.


     You will note that the purpose of the Holy Spirit was never to take hold of us and make us to look like Jesus.  No.  The purpose was to crucify us so that Christ Himself might be seen.  That is a witness of Christ – a living evidence of Him.




May 25

The Fruit of the Vine


I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  (John 15:5)


     To ABIDE in Christ is possible only if I am first IN HIM.  But once that is so, I have to live FROM HIM – I have to live drawing upon His life.  Of course this is done by faith.  But it also requires that I lose my life.  Christ cannot be my life if I am still alive in myself.


     Jesus said that if we would abide in Him in that way – as a branch abides in the Vine -- that we would bear much fruit.  Now let’s ask:  What effort does a branch have to put forth to bear fruit?  None at all.  A branch does have to grunt real hard, or become all self-conscious as to whether it is bearing fruit.  To bear fruit, the branch need only abide in the Vine.  And if it does, then the fruit is not the fruit of the branch, but OF the Vine.


     The way to bear Godly fruit is by living in the Vine.  Someone once said that those with the most Godly character are those who are the least conscious of it, and that those with the least Godly character are the ones most conscious of themselves.  This is a fact.  If we see the truth that we can do nothing of ourselves, and by faith fully rely upon Christ as our life, we will leave ourselves alone.  The fruit will come.  But it won’t be our fruit.  It will be HIS.  Our life will be hid with Christ in God.

May 26

Extensions of the Vine


If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.  (John 15:7)


     You will note that this promise begins with the word, “IF.”  Jesus promised that IF we abide in Him, and HIS words abide in us, THEN, “you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.”  Well, if the words of Christ abide in us – which means His Truth is living in us – then what will we ask Him to do?  We will ask from out of His words that abide in us.  All of our asking will be the by-product of our fellowship and life in Christ.


     The saint who knows Christ is going to ask Him to do HIS will.  Would we seriously want to ask God to do something He does not want to do?  Would we actually want Him to answer that?  No.  The saint wants God to do HIS will, and only HIS will.


    The purpose of God here is clear:  We, as a branch, are to grow to where we are extensions of the Vine.  As extensions of the Vine – or we might say members of His Body – we are going to grow to where we ask Him to do His will.  To, “ask,” comes out of a readiness and desire to embrace.  And He will do it because He always desires to do His will – that is why it IS His will.  There is no picture of struggle here.  It is a branch growing to be so much one with the Vine that the Vine can do His will in and through the branch.  The branch will ASK for this.




May 27

The Shadow of Christ


For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.  (Heb 10:1)


     If you were standing outside next to a friend on a sunny day and their shadow was being cast on the sidewalk beneath you, would you carry on a relationship with their shadow?  Nope.  Why?  Their shadow is a true representation of them, isn’t it?  It is actually only there because they are there.  So what is the problem?  Well, the shadow isn’t alive.  It isn’t the person themselves.  You cannot know a shadow or have a relationship with them.


     The Old Covenant was a shadow of Christ.  It truthfully represented Him.  But it was not alive.  Under the OT, the Spirit could be WITH people.  But the Spirit could not be IN people.  The New Covenant is not the shadow, but the reality of Christ Himself.  This is why all through the NT we are told that to try to remain under the law is death – Christ will be of no effect to us – it will be like He isn’t even in us.  It will be like trying to live in a relationship with the shadow of Christ.  Christ is not a shadow.  He is Life Himself – the Living embodiment of all that was in the OT.  The New Covenant is Christ in us.

May 28

Reconciled to God


God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.  (II Cor. 5:19)


     Reconciliation is the bringing of two parties together – the Greek word means, “to exchange enmity for friendship.”  But you will never read in the Bible that God ever needed to be reconciled to man.  No.  Man needed to be reconciled to God.


     Jesus Christ reconciled the world to God by His finished work.  But not by changing God.  No.  Rather, He changed the human race by making a new creature.  Everything that stood between God and man was IN MAN as a race – and Jesus took that upon Himself on the Cross and died.  Indeed, Jesus not only did a work that reconciled man back to God, but HE IS that reconciliation in each believer.  Those who believe become one with God through Jesus Christ.


     Now, you will note that Jesus completed this work of reconciliation for the entire world – not just for believers.  But we do need to believe and be raised in Christ to enter into that reconciliation.  Thus, it is possible to refuse to believe – possible to refuse reconciliation to God.  In that case, there is nothing more God can do for us.




May 29

The Finished Work


God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.  (II Cor. 5:19)


     God has already forgiven the entire human race because of Jesus Christ.  Because Jesus Christ has FINISHED His redemptive work, God is finished forgiving.  And His forgiveness is total for every sin ever committed, or that will be committed.


     Our faith does not contribute to this finished work.  Nor can our unbelief subtract from it.  It is a finished reality for us -- regardless of whether we believe it or not.  Thus, our faith doesn’t convince God to forgive us.  Rather, by faith we embrace this Truth that He already has.


      No one is really going to believe and embrace God’s finished forgiveness for them unless they know they need it.  This is why we must be convicted of that need and brought to repentance and to the renunciation of the old life.  Faith in Christ is not merely a religious tenet to follow.  It is the outcome of seeing the Truth of God in Christ.


     The gospel of Jesus Christ states that in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself – completely apart from our faith or works.  That forgiveness is full and final in Christ.  But only those who believe will be joined to the Lord and be saved by His life.
May 30

Christ of No Effect


Christ is become of no effect unto you, whoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.  (Gal. 5:4)


     The words, “of no effect,” actually mean, “as if you are separated from Christ," in NT Greek.  This is the result of living the Christian life on the basis of my own righteousness – using rules, laws, and standards.  That was the Galatian error.


     We are encountering a Truth here that is very serious – life in Christ depends on it -- not in the sense of WHETHER I am saved, but in the sense of Christ as my life AS a saved person.  If I try to live under law I may as well be separated from Christ.  He will not function AS my life.  But if I live under grace, then all my union with Christ will result in a flow of Christ AS my life.


     Now, do we actually think that Paul is talking about doctrinal issues?  That all we need to do is understand the doctrine of law and grace, give assent to it, and we have it?  No.  This is a faith issue.  And again – whether Christ is functioning AS OUR LIFE is at stake.


     Paul states this same Truth in a positive way elsewhere:  “I suffered the loss of all things, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of law, but that which is through the faith of Christ.”  (Phil. 3:8-9)  We have to lose all righteousness based in anything about ourselves – and only then will the life of Christ within us actually function as our life.  Indeed, only then will we be found in Him.




May 31

The Galatian Solution


Christ is become of no effect unto you, whoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.  (Gal. 5:4)


     If Christ is of, “no effect,” to us, we may as well be separated from Him.  Christ will not be our life.  We will have carved out another life, based on law-keeping.  This is what happens when we replace CHRIST IN US with the keeping of laws as the means of living the Christian life.  What could be more serious an error?


    If we try to live on the basis of ourselves and our works, then we are deceived – and by definition Christ cannot be formed in us because we are forming ourselves according to law.  This Galatian error had only one solution.  Paul said to them, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you!”  (Gal. 4:19)  The phrase, “formed in you,” here could read, “inwardly realized and expressed.”  This is God’s purpose in His people and the solution to all things – it is what happens if we walk with all of our faith solely in Christ as our life. 



The Good News