World English Bible translation
1:27to whom God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory;
Normally we don't go back and cover verses out of context. I firmly believe that in studying the Bible you have to put everything in the context of why the scripture was originally written in order to begin the process of understanding what God would want you to know. Hopefully yesterday's lesson helped to place this verse in context for many of you. But, my wife and I both agreed that this verse has made such an impact on our understanding of our relationship with God that it deserved a second look for its own sake.
One of Paul's favorite phrases is "in Christ." Read anything that Paul has written. Being "in Christ" or "Christ in you" is never far from anything he wrote. The concept is not unfamiliar to the other writers of the New Testament, but for Paul it was an obsession. Would that all of us could develop Paul's obsession! There is nothing that can impact your Christian experience more profoundly that the conviction that Christ is alive and living in you.
What does it mean that Christ lives in us? It means that each believer has a personal, intimate relationship with the Son of God. There is no place that we can go where He does not accompany us. There is nothing that we can do that excludes Him from our lives. If you are chosen by God for salvation, then Christ lives in you. That is the meaning of salvation. God cleanses the house and then He comes and lives in it. He crucifies all of the sin in your life, He raises you from the dead and implants the very life of His Son in you and then God comes and dwells in your life for eternity. That is the good news of the gospel. That is the salvation that Christ offers.
But the impact of the concept does not become truly profound until we realize that not only does God live in us, but also that God lives in us! When Paul writes to these Gentile believers that their only hope of glory is Christ in you, it is the same Christ that he has just written about in verses 15-20. It is the Christ that has supremacy in all things. It is the Christ that created the heavens and the earth and who is supreme over all of our existence. There is nothing that can affect your life in the slightest fashion that is not completely under the control of the Christ that lives in you.
Control is an illusion. We think that we are in control of our world and our actions. Yet, we cannot even control our own thoughts for more than the briefest moments. Christ, on the other hand, is in complete control. If Christ lives in you, then you have no need to concern yourself with control. Christ is in charge. Christ is in control. Nothing can occur that He does not cause or allow. Paul once wrote, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Everything that we encounter should be regarded as coming to us as a gift from Christ. Every experience that we have is under His control.
God is with us. We need never be fearful or weak again. We can trust that God will see us through our difficulties because He has promised to never desert us. That does not mean that we will not experience suffering. It was in the context of Paul's personal suffering for Christ that this verse was written. But, when we suffer, Christ is our strength and our consolation. We can overcome our pain and loneliness because Christ is with us. He overcame pain and loneliness, and yes, even despair. Whatever sadness we can encounter, Christ has overcome.
If you have faith in His sacrificial death, Christ can and will live in you too. His presence in your life is your only hope of glory. Christ is with you to guide you and strengthen you through every moment in your life. He is closer to you than the air that fills your lungs. He stands ready in all things to lead you closer to the Father. But, make no mistake, wherever Christ lives, Christ reigns. Jesus Christ was not only called the Lamb of God but also the Lion of Judah. He is both Savior and Holy Judge. He can be loving and tender and yet be as strong as granite. This is not a God that can be tamed and put in a box somewhere. Here is the God that created heaven and earth and yet wept at the grave of a friend.
Christ makes you this offer today. If you will trade everything that you are, He will give you everything that He is. If you will give Him your future and your past, your failings and your successes, He will give you an inheritance grand beyond measure. He will give you His very life. Christ will come and from that very moment, Christ will become your life. Everything that you are, for everything that He is. Your life for the life of Jesus Christ. That is the meaning of Christ in you, your only hope of glory.
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