Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Christ in us

There is a scene in the 2003 film Luther that captivated me the moment I saw it. In the scene, Luther (portrayed by Joseph Fiennes) steps down from the pulpit and goes to each member individually as he preaches with passion.

“He does not live in the bones of dead saints or relics. Christ lives in you!” Luther says pointing to each member of the laity in a church marred by tradition and superstition.

Paul boldly declares that his own self died in baptism and in its stead Christ lives in him.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20 NASB)

In Romans 8:9 Paul says that the Spirit of God dwells in us. And he says, in verse 11, that through this dwelling of the Spirit we receive life.

Today Christians are marred by a different kind of superstition. In the 1990s a trend started among the youth in America, ‘WWJD – What Would Jesus Do?’ Evangelical Christians began to wear bracelets with the initials ‘WWJD’, and they would contemplate on the question before each and every action of their day to day lives. These practices, in the light of Biblical truths, deserve nothing more than a face-palm reaction.

Believers act as though Christ is a mere person who lived and died two thousand years ago, but scriptures tell us that Christ is alive… and not just alive! Christ’s magnificent and wondrous story continues today by His indwelling Spirit in us.

When Christ came to earth in human form He often preached about ‘eternal life’. What is this ‘eternal life’ that Christ so often spoke about? Is it our ‘ticket’ to heaven? Most people assume that it means nothing more than immortality. Christ says in John 10:10, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Again, what is this ‘life’ that Christ spoke about?

John, the beloved disciples, writes:

"The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us." (1 John 1:2 NIV)

Jesus says:

“I am the way and the truth and THE LIFE" (John 14:6 NIV) emphasis mine

That same Jesus, who turned planet earth upside down and spinning, is the same – magnificent, wondrous, almighty, powerful – Christ who dwells in us! The eternal life is none other than Christ Jesus – the beloved Son of God.

Colossians 1 and 2 speaks volumes of the vastness of Jesus Christ. The titanic image of Christ grows more and more when Paul says all creation is held inside Him (Colossians 1:16-17). All creation, even time itself, is inside the Giant that is Christ Jesus! Indeed, Christ does say "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (Revelation 22:13 NASB). It is this indwelling of Christ’s life in us that truly humbles us.

Through our sinful nature we deserved the death that resulted from it – alienation from the fellowship of God. God, through His Son Christ Jesus, reconciled us to His fellowship by dying a torturous death on the cross. But the real eternal purpose lay not only in salvation, as so many think, but in that God made His dwelling among us (Ephesians 3).

People tend to think that eternal life is separate from God. It is not separate from God but it is in Christ Jesus Himself. It is a ‘Gift IN Christ Jesus’ according to Paul in Romans 6:23. When we are baptized into the death of Jesus Christ it is no longer we who live but Christ in us.

"For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory." (Colossians 3:3-4 NASB)

Let us then rejoice that Christ Jesus abides in us. He doesn’t look upon us from far away but moves wherever we move, just like the song goes “Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go.” Let us be joyful as Christians in a church which is in fact a colony from heaven, for Jesus has promised to be with us forever.

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b NASB)

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