Christ Lives With, In Us, Through Us
In Colossians one, verse 27, these words appear: “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.”
It is difficult to overstate the importance of the proper understanding of “Christ in us.” A great deal of the preaching of the day centres around the fact that Christ suffered on Calvary for us and this is properly so. He did suffer on the cross for us. A good deal of the singing of the day emphasizes the fact that Christ is with us. And it is wonderful also to know this—that He is with us in everything that comes our way. But it is of tremendous importance that we understand that Christ not only died for us and walks with us but lives in us. As this verse says--“Christ in you the hope of glory.”
There’s an old story about a man who kept a studio full of works of art. One of the items in that studio was a miniature cathedral, very beautifully done, but for some reason, overlooked by the great numbers of the people. One day, by chance, someone placed a light in the door way of the model cathedral and the transformation was startling. There was beauty and brilliance which had never been seen before. This led to the placing of a permanent light in the cathedral and it became the centre of interest to all who came into the studio. What caused the difference? It was the light within. So, in the life of the believer, the presence of Christ within is a transforming, radiant and beautiful thing.
The indwelling Christ will make a difference in every area of life. He will enable us to face up to problems and trials, to meet difficulties and even disaster with inner sinew and spiritual strength that will cause us to be victorious. The indwelling Christ is the divine dynamic which makes an ordinary man extraordinary, which makes things that would naturally be considered despised and of low estate among men, to be come facts which cannot be ignored.
In these days, let us be sure that we understand—and experience—the reality of Christ dwelling within our hearts. Let us be sure that we are not satisfied merely to know something about Christ, our substitute on the cross, but let us be sure that we experience Christ, our Lord, living in our hearts and lives.
Paul deals with these very important facts in Christian living in Colossians 2:6-7. He writes, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”
We know that the first and fundamental thing is to receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord of the life. And let it be clear that we receive Him not only as Saviour, but as Lord, or our profession of Christian grace and faith is far from being a reality.
Now, the Apostle says, we are to be rooted and built up in Him and stablished in the faith. There are some who can look back on the early days of Christian experience and remember how, at first, their roots were not strong and their spiritual strength was so small that it seemed that they could never survive the withering blasts of temptation and testing that came. But, as time has gone by, their roots have deepened in God and they have become established in the faith, anchored firmly in Christ and His grace. Where does this strength come from? How are we rooted and built up in Him and stablished in the faith? Everyone who knows anything about New Testament teaching knows that this increasing strength comes by daily feeding upon God’s Word, absorbing the nutrition and nourishment which the Word of God provides for us. It comes by earnestly and faithfully seeking God’s guidance and grace, seeking His help and blessing, His benediction and directions, in prayer.
The development of such habits of the devotional life may not be an easy thing, but it is absolutely essential if we are to become strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
In Colossians 3, verses 1-3, the Apostle further enjoins the Christian, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
Here the Scripture emphasizes an understanding of the new nature of the Christian and the new interests which are to occupy his attention. He is now dead to sin, having placed his faith in Jesus Christ and having been raised from the death of sin with Him. The apostles commands the believer to seek the things which are above, no longer to be absorbed and interested in the things of this present world. It is a mark of spiritual immaturity and, I am afraid, sometimes a mark of an unconverted heart when we occupy ourselves with the things on earth, and set our affections on things which are a contradiction and repudiation of the Lordship of Christ and the will of God.
The Apostle certainly does not mean, as he counsels us to set our affection on things above, that we are to take no interest and have no concern for the conditions of our neighbourhoods, and communities, of government and such things. Not for a moment. He does mean that our personal affections, the basic, deep interests of our lives, are to be in the things of God and the will of God and the purposes and plans and designs of God for us.
In Colossians, chapter 4, verses 5-6, we read, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
Important counsel this is — “Walk in wisdom” …walk circumspectly.” Much damage has been done, much reproach has been brought to the cause of Christ by those who were careless concerning their daily walk and testimony. Those who love our Lord and are concerned about His cause have had occasion to bow their heads in sadness and shame because of the fact that some have held the cause of Christ up to public shame and have openly crucified the Lord of glory again. But many times we may give our Lord a bad name and we may present our Christian faith in unfavourable, even shameful terms, not only by open sin, but by the lack of traits and qualities which ought to be “built in” every Christian’s life.
Patience, sympathy, understanding, a sense of humour, moderation in speech and dress are all comprehended in this injunction of the Scripture, “Walk in wisdom towards them that are without.” There is hardly any responsibility greater in the Christian life than that his character and conduct may be a fitting and worthy demonstration of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ which he professes.
George Mueller was asked, “What is the secret behind all you have done?” He said, “There was a day when I utterly died, died to George Mueller, his opinions, his preferences, his taste and his will. Died to the world, its approval or censure. Died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends. And since then I have studied to only to prove myself approved unto God.”
To review—receive Christ as Saviour, grow in His grace by the daily nurture of the soul, make Him the centre and core of all your interest and ambitions and, last of all portray Christ to those about you by letting His light, His life, His presence and His power flow through your life and personality, unhindered and unchecked.