Col 1:27 "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:"
The mystery was hidden until the revelation of Jesus Christ and the new Covenant came into being. It was what the Old Testament prophets longed for, and sought to understand. It is what, even today, so many fail to understand, even as believers.
We try so many ways to approach God. We try to earn His acceptance. We try to keep His law. We try to keep all kinds of religious regulations that man has made. But none of this is what brings us to the intimacy with God that He Himself is pleased to have with us. Yes, God Himself wants to have the most intimate place in your heart and life. He made you for that purpose. He made you in His image, body, soul, and spirit, in order that He might dwell within you and have intimate fellowship with you.
Christ in you, the hope of glory....wow! Why would we strive for anything less than such a perfect way that He has provided to know Him? Inspite of all the many ways we can try to improve ourselves, none of them can make us good enough for God, and none can be acceptable to Him, but what He Himself has provided, that we can only know by faith. "...Without faith it is impossible to please God..." Heb. 11:6
The law shows us that God requires perfection. It also shows us that man fails everytime in trying to keep that law of perfection. He can never do it. It reveals to us that we are hopeless sinners before God. God has provided the solution. He Himself is the fulfillment of that law, in perfection. He fulfilled the law, not that we might continue to try to fulfill it with His help, striving to keep it, but that He Himself would be our righteousness, indwelling us. He Himself comes to live in the heart of those who see their helplessness to ever be able to live up to His standard, to those who see they are hopeless sinners, to those who know they need forgiveness, and who will trust that He alone, coming to live in their hearts and render powerless their sinful nature, giving them a new nature...His very Spirit, will be their life. It is Christ in you, as you believe in Him, that is your only hope of glory.
"For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], so that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]." Rom. 8:3-4 (amplified Bible)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor. 5:17-18,21. (NKJV)
Instead of our Father demanding from us according to the law, by grace He ministers to us from the One who is our life in glory. "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8).
THE LAW AND THE NEW NATURE -- Our new nature is that of the risen life of the Lord Jesus Christ. The purpose of the Law being to reveal sin and condemn the sinner, it has nothing to say to the new man in Christ Jesus. "For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law but under grace" (Rom. 6:14).
(1) As each of us was separated from the Adam-life by means of the Cross and the Tomb, we were delivered from the realm of law. We rose from the Tomb into newness of life--out of the grip of law into the freedom of His resurrection. 'Now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the prompting] of the Spirit in newness [of life]' (Rom. 7:6, Amp.).
(2) Law has to do with works--the works of the flesh. The new creation has to do with life--the life of the Son. Abiding in Him, our nature will grow and manifest the fruit of the Spirit. 'You have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God' (Rom. 7:4, Amp.).
THE CHRISTIAN AND THE NEW NATURE -- Our Lord Jesus Christ, seated at the Father's right hand in glory, is not under law of any kind. His life is subject neither to commands nor to the principle of law. It is holy by nature. We, having been born into Him, now share His life. 'For to me to live is Christ' (Phil. 1:21)."
Unfortunately, even as Christians, we forget the "hope to which He has called us," and "the power that is within us," and we live the Christian life by trying to follow Christ's example, instead of trusting Him daily to be our life. We live by trying to keep up to a certain code, rather than living by faith in Christ in us moment by moment trusting in the power of His righteousness in us, abiding in Him. We may have very good motives, and truly want to please our Lord, but we can never please Him by anything but faith...faith that He alone is our righteousness, and is the complete sacrifice for us, and can alone fulfill the requirement of righteousness in our daily lives. Our own works are just that...our own works. As we learn to abide in Him daily, His Spirit guides us and lives in us and through us, and true fruit of the Holy Spirit will come forth in our lives.
Look at the example of the vine and the branches that Jesus Himself gave, (John 15). What does the branch do but simply abide in the vine, drawing all it needs to be all that it is required to be, and to produce perfect fruit. The fruit comes from the nourishment of the Vine...not from anything the branch has or does in itself. What a perfect example our Lord has given us of the Christian walk! How beautiful! And what happens to those who fail to abide in the vine....they dry up and are withered and are thrown out. We can do nothing apart from His Spirit abiding in us and directing us, that will please the Lord.
Oh if only we could see that we can never please our Lord more, than by trusting Him completely to be our life. He is the mystery of godliness. Christ in us...our hope of glory.
When the Bible speaks of our glory, it speaks of our honor and dignity, and praise.
From the Bible dictionary..."Concerning man, it is the manifestatioin of his commendable qualities, such as wisdom, righteousness, self-control, ability, etc...."
What is the only hope of our ever realizing that glory that is commendable to God? Only by Christ in us! Only faith in Him alone to be our life. Only faith in His resurrection power, His righteousness, and all He alone does and is within us. He is our provision. He is our righteousness. He is our life. He is our hope of glory.
Dear Lord, help us to see more clearly each day, how to live by faith in You alone, trusting You to be all in us and through us, for every trial, everything we must accomplish, everything we must surrender, everything that has anything to do with our life at all! Be all in us, dear Lord. Teach us to trust You in child like faith to be truly our hope of glory, living in us.
"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." Col. 3:4 (NKJV)
Rom 8:9 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
Rom 8:10 "And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness."
Rom 8:11 "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 dwelleth in you"
If Christ is our life, how does that affect our Christian walk? What does that mean for my everyday life as a Christian?
If you are a believer you have Jesus Christ indwelling you by His Spirit, and empowering you to live this Christian life just as Jesus did when He walked this earth....completely dependant on the Father, not trusting in our own flesh, but trusting moment by moment in His Spirit to be all in us, and for us, and through us.
I remember one morning when my son was a toddler sitting in is highchair, and being very ornery about everything. He was fussing, not wanting to cooperate with me that morning at all! I was irritable, and in a hurry to feed him and get on with my day. I gave him a bowl of cereal and he threw it back at me, cereal everywhere. I shot up a prayer, "GOD! I don't have the patience for this today!!!!!!!!!!" Just as quickly God shot this into my heart..."You do if you want it, in me."
Do you need patience? Jesus is perfect patience. Do you need wisdom? Jesus is perfect wisdom. Do you need love? Jesus is perfect love. What ever godly character we lack, or need or whatever grace we need for our day, even in the little irritations and challenges of our day...Jesus in you is that. We don't have it apart from Him.
It's not that we ask Him to "help us have patience"...it's that each time we have a situation where we need patience, we call on His patience in us and yield to it, surrendering to Him our own impatience, trusting Him to produce true patience in us by His Spirit. He does! We cannot have these things apart from Him. They are only ours through abiding in Him. As we abide in Him, He abides in us and His Character is formed in us, producing true fruit that is full of goodness...His goodness, and not ours. It is only He that can take our impatience, selfishness, lack of love, etc. and crucify it, as we surrender it to Him, that He might fill us with Himself.
You know, the struggle I had was that I didn't really believe He would come through for me. We don't, do we? We pray, "Lord, give me wisdom", or, "Lord give me patience", or, "Lord help me to love that person". But we forget it is never a part of our nature or flesh to be able to do any of those things. It is His nature alone that is unselfish, loving, patient, kind, longsuffering, gentle, and has self control. It is the fruit of His Spirit not the fruit of our striving to attain them or work them out in our own life, but it is HIS!
I gave the illustration that Jesus gave of the vine and the branches last week. How does the branch produce fruit? It can't on it's own!! What if you plucked the branch from the vine and said, "ok branch, ask the vine to give you some fruit so you can go out and give your fruit to others"? The branch could ask the vine for fruit, but the branch now is not attached to and drinking from the vine, so it can only have what it has in itself, and cannot partake of the vine, the vine is no longer able to give what it has to the branch. Very soon it will shrivel up and die apart from the vine. It has no life in itself. We also have no good thing in ourselves. Nor can we ever have godly character in ourselves no matter how much we work to attain it.
We must remember that we are "crucified with Christ; 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 for me." Gal. 2:20
Therefore it is no longer my lack of patience, or my lack of wisdom, or my lack of love, or my self-driven nature that I am living by, or trying so hard to reform--it is Christ in me who already is perfect in all these things and more, that is now my life and I live by Him! I cling to Him! I trust in Him! I adhere to Him! I rely upon Him! I can look at myself and say, "nope, I don't have patience...but Jesus does, and I live by faith in Him now to be patience in me." He always answers our faith!
Whatever we need to live godly in Christ Jesus, He has provided for us! Do you believe it? He has left nothing out of His plan for your salvation. He equipped you with all you need!
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ," Eph. 1:3
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 1 Peter 1:2-4
We are partakers of His divine nature. We don't develop our own. We partake of His by faith.
Think of all the things in your life you fall short in right now. Think of the daily struggles you are facing, and think of what you need from Him to endure or overcome, or get through those things. Make a list if it helps you. Next to the list of things you need, write, "Christ in me is...."
Ask Him to be that in you, then abide in Him, trusting moment by moment, day by day in Him. When you see too much of yourself and your own weakness, let it be a reminder that you cannot be anything different than that in yourelf, and look again to Him acknowledging His power in you to be all.
Our dear Abba Father, You have provided well for your children. You did not provide half-way, telling us to live a certain way, knowing it was contrary to our nature, and then leaving us on our own, but You Yourself became the fulfillment of what You required of us! Help us to grasp that and walk in it more and more in this life, that You may be truly glorified in us.
"For 'who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Cor. 2:16
Did you know you have the mind of Christ in you, if you are His? But so many times we don't feel like we do or our experiences tells us the opposite. We have trouble with our thoughts, we have thoughts that we don't want in our minds, we are tempted by lustful thoughts, we have sinful thoughts of our brother or sister, we have fearful thoughts, obsessive thoughts, thoughts full of anxiety, anger...etc. Why are all these things in our minds if we belong to Christ? Where is the mind of Christ in me??
Well...it's where you keep it. Do you ignore that mind in you, or do you give yourself to His mind, clinging to Him, learning from Him, being filled with His mind?
"..as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:3-4 (NKJV)
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." Ephesians 1:3 (NKJV)
It is not our mind that can ever be holy, or pure, or sound. It is our mind that must be surrendered to the Holy Spirit completely, so that we may partake of His and that His mind will be one with ours and we can walk accordingly. It is in Christ alone and He in us alone that gives us a sound mind. It has to come through our abiding union with Him, our surrendered life to Him, and our relying completely on Him in faith.
I know all too well, the battle of the mind. I've been to the brink of suicide and back, had dark oppression in my life to overcome, and irrational fears. God was my only counselor. He was all I had to turn to. I cried to Him with all the desperation a helpless baby would cry to his mother when abandoned. I thought I was losing my mind. My greatest fear was that I would. I would go to sleep at night and have the same recurring dream. I would feel the devils hands around my throat, and hear his voice laughing and see nothing but darkness. I would try to cry out for Jesus, but would hear the devil laugh louder and say, "Jesus can never help you again! There is no hope for you!" I would feel opressive walls closing in on me, and then I would wake up. When awake I would again feel that evil presence still in my room. I was afraid to be awake and afraid to be asleep. Why was I having these things happen to me if I was a Christian? I felt condemnation all the time and lost the assurance of my salvation.
I went into a prayer room at the Bible college I was attending at the time. I brought a blade with me and told myself I must do this, I had to talk myself into it. There was no longer any hope for me. I had to do it! I would sit there day after day holding it to my wrist, telling myself that. Each time I would do that I would hear a still small voice in my mind tell me "NO! I still have life to give you." Then I wouldn't be able to go on any further. Again the next day I would try, and the voice would come again. Finally, I cried out to God, "Is that You, Lord!!??" Do You have life for me? If You do, then take my hand now and show me." His life was all I really wanted! It wasn't death I wanted! I thought death was all I had.
I stepped out in blind faith, took the hand of my Lord, and felt nothing change. But each time I woke up from one of those dreams, I would say to the devil, "No..God has life to give me." I found a Bible verse in Psalm 85:8 "I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people"...
I determined no matter how I felt inside or what crazy fearful thoughts were in my mind, I would only hear what the Lord said. Every time the irrational fears came, and the condemnation came, and depression and wanting to die came, I would tell myself over and over, "I will only hear what the Lord my God speaks to me. He speaks peace to His people, and He has life to give me."
It took me a year of clinging to Him that I finally came through and was healed and delivered of that terrible oppressive time in my life. And God manifested His life to my heart. But I had to learn to walk in faith. There would be many times ahead that depression and fear would hit me again, and the Lord gave me the foundation for my being able to cling to "the mind of Christ" and get through those times, and each time I became stronger in Him. Eventually I believe the Lord led me to make a tape of scripture promises and I would listen to it day and night. After I did, I would be free from all depression and fear, and strong in His Word, my shield of faith, trusting in His promises...it is by them that we are partakers of His divine nature.
The only times I would have problems with depression and fear would be when I would become spiritually lazy, allow things into my mind, such as TV or movies that were contrary to God, or stray from spending time in His Word and abiding in Him. My mind, and the mind of this world would always drag me down. Then again, I would have to remember...it is not my mind...but the mind of Christ that is my life. Again I would cling to His Word, ignore my feelings, the world, and the devil and what they were telling me, and trust, and rely on His Word. Soon the feelings line up with the truth of His Word when you do that, and you see what you thought was reality...(your feelings) for the unreality they really were. You stand firm, your mind filled with His truth, nothing can shake you because your mind is as His...full of truth and light. You have the "helmet of salvation" protecting you, the "shield of faith"!
God's Word is healing. It is the healing balm of our mind. We can not get the mind of Christ through the counsel and philosophy of the world, no matter how good it sounds. Even some with scripture mingled with it. The pure mind of Christ is in His Word. If you are a child of God...FEED ON IT! Don't feed your mind on the things of this world. Don't feed it on the junk food out there that makes you feel good temporarily. The reward is great for those who turn to the mind of Christ and let His mind be in them. We must want His mind to be in us. We must give ourselves to His mind. We must be nourished by His mind. We must trust, and cling to His mind! We must first give up our own. When we do, we find such pleasant and wonderous thoughts and promises and a peace that passes all understanding. We find a oneness, a fellowship with Him that we never knew would be possible. We find confidence in His Word, and His salvation, and all that He is in us. We are not swayed by anyone or anything.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 1 Tim. 1:7 (NKJV)
Our dear Abba, Father, we come to You and ask that You teach us to live by and cling to the mind of Christ that You have given us. Give us the faith dear Lord, to put our trust completely in that mind, and not our own, and give up our own dependence on our mind.
“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:9
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” John 3:19-21
“For with Thee is the fountain of life: in Thy light shall we see light.” Ps. 36:9
There is no light aside from the cross of Jesus Christ. We must come to His cross and leave our own ways, our own darkness there, letting HIs light expose our evil deeds, putting them to death, before we are able to receive His light. It is painful, yes....death is. Once having received that light, we need to walk in that light, daily letting our hearts be exposed to it.
When we have invited Jesus into our hearts, He enters in and becomes our Saviour in every way. All that is in us, all that is darkness, now has His light, and His Spirit, His life...making all things new. Without Jesus we were in darkness. We even loved that darkness and didn’t want to leave it. But now that we have come to Him, we hate the darkness, and when darkness somehow comes into our lives, we by instinct, want to run towards His light and to be made to see again.
Many things in our Christian life can bring darkness, so that we can’t see our way. But we are never away from our source of light…..Jesus. He lives in us if we are His children.
Sometimes we neglect our source of light and try to make it down the path of life in our own light. Perhaps we’ve “stood in the counsel of the ungodly”, or the counsel of false teachers, or we have fallen into sin. Then we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot see the way. We’ve lost that close communion with God we once had and no longer feel His presence in our lives. When this happens confusion usually comes in and it is as though we are in a fog and can’t seem to find our way. I believe God allows this to once again reveal to us that we’ve been trusting in our light, or the false light of the world, which is really darkness, instead of Him…our true light to guide us and direct our paths and keep us walking close to Him, trusting in Him. Sometimes He removes His manifested presence from us only that we may seek Him and be made aware of the darkness in our lives that has led us away from Him. But never for a second has He departed from us. He is there working in our lives, to once again lead us back to His light.
He always gives us warnings before we get to that point. We will feel something in our spirit that tells us this is not right, or we have a “bad feeling” about something or about a direction we are about to take. But then an outside force, or person continues to persuade us and we continue to quench that gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit until we have quieted Him altogether. Soon the light of someone else sounds more right to us then God’s Word even. We become persuaded by trusting our own mind, or our own light, instead of His.
We even tend to shun His light at times, because we have taken our own way and to come toward His light is painful…revealing and exposing the darkness in us or that we have even embraced and don’t really want to give up. It is painful to see that we have been walking in darkness, when we, in fact, thought we were walking in light, but it was only the world’s or man’s light…..not true light at all. But, it has more of an appeal to our flesh, or perhaps to our "religious flesh".
If we would walk in His light everyday, abiding in the Word to quicken us, teach us, counsel us, comfort and protect us, working in us a true holiness, yielding to His Spirit, then we recognize the darkness for what it is and we shun that. We want no part of what the world would call light. We see it for the darkness it really is. It is exposed to our hearts and our minds by His pure Word and His Spirit continually.
What do we do if we find ourselves in a fog of confusion or darkness and can’t find our way. What if we realize somehow we have slipped away from His light and we can’t see the direction we are to go. We long for the communion with our Lord we once had, or we hear others have, but don’t seem to have ourselves.
We come to Him the same way we did the very first time we found His light, in repentance, and surrender to trust completely in His ability to guide, and give light again. It is in Him alone. It is by faith that we walk. Faith is a choice, and by choosing to put our faith in His Spirit and His Word, we have come into His light, just as if we had turned on the light switch in a room.
He reveals His will to those who choose His will. If you are undecided and double minded, you won’t find it.
If your heart is surrendered to His will, and to His Word, yielding to all His Spirit shows you, His light is in you and guiding you. Even though you may still feel you can’t see the way ahead in a particular situation, and you can see no solution to your immediate problem, His light is in control and guiding all the way. He is not only guiding your footsteps, but He is working in every circumstance to work together for good all things concerning you that they may work out according to His will and your being conformed to the image of His Son. Continue to walk, trusting.
Be persistent in choosing His light, moment by moment, day by day. No matter what your feelings tell you, trust in His light, His Word, and His Spirit, never walking away from Him. He will be light to you! But only as you abide in Him. It’s He Himself that is your light.
Dear Abba, I pray today that all who may read this would choose to walk in Your light alone, and walk away from the false light that world claims to have for them. I ask for Your light to guide us and direct our paths daily that we would not fall into sin, or deception, or ever put any trust in ourselves or this world. You are our light Lord Jesus! We thank You with all our heart for Your light in this dark world!