'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
The last few weeks we have discussed as an overview the Christian’s journey. The journey from conviction by the Holy Spirit, to being convinced in the mind by the same Spirit, and the receiving into the human spirit the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This constitutes a new beginning, a new creation, as a child has his/her beginning in the womb of the mother. The process of growth and development in the womb is typical of our growth as we live a life of surrender and maturing to finally be completely born into the family of God, by instant change (if still alive), or at the resurrection, when Christ returns.
As is obvious, the span of time from the receiving of the Holy Spirit until the resurrection varies. But it is during this span of time that all that can be said or known about the Christian life transpires. For some, their appointed time to grow and develop may be only a few years or less. For others, it may be decades. It all depends upon Christ's design for each of our lives. For each, there is time to grow in the womb of the church, as God’s begotton children, until the appointed time to be fully born again in the eternal adopted family of God.
All of this is the reason we are not just taken away to be with Christ the instant we receive the Holy Spirit. There must be time for growth and maturing in the womb. As this process begins to develop, there will be a change taking place - actually, many changes taking place. Some will occur slowly, almost imperceptibly, until finally we become a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This creation begins at repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. But it progressively develops more and more into the image of Christ Himself.
When the life as a Christian begins, the Christian becomes more and more aware - aware of shortcomings, aware of past sins and mistakes, wrong attitudes and desires, goals, conduct - even the thought patterns, and system of thinking - will become matters of concern. New values are being brought to the surface of the conscience. New areas of life will begin to require decisions. Decisions that were not thought of as being required, before beginning to live only for Christ.
The commandments of God become more and more a judge and measure of actions, feelings, thoughts, and responses. It is more and more comprehended that rather than being a fence to keep a person in, the commandments of God are designed to keep sin out. The teaching of Jesus becomes more logical now, and desirable. The new Christian begins to experience the proper fear of an almighty God and Christ. A proper fear of God is the beginning (Proverbs 9:10). Someone has said that without a genuine fear, real repentance is hardly possible. The Word of God - the Bible - becomes the Christian’s guide in all things.
As the Christian grows over time, slowly it is seen what the Law of God really is. It is here that belief and faith can be challenged and much distress can begin to occur. Jesus summed up all the Law and the Prophets with two commandments: “Master, which is the great commandment in the Law? Jesus said unto him, You shalt love the Lord your God with all thy heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”- Matthew 22:36-40 This condensed application of the Law by Jesus begins to be written into the heart, mind and spirit of the true Christian, as long as the Christian remains yielded to the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
The Christian eventually grows - if growth is taking place - to a point that reaches past the letter of commandments. God’s ways are beginning to be written into the heart. The more mature Christian begins to do unconsciously what God’s Law requires. As Oswald Chambers said, it becomes a kind of conscious unconsciousness. This is because the nature is being changed into God’s nature. More and more, Jesus Christ is being formed in him. The Apostle Paul had this in mind in writing to the Galatians about his concern for their growth, when he stated: “But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.” The whole purpose of all that Paul was striving to do for the Galatians was to enable them to have Christ “formed” in them.
One of the two commandments that Jesus stated to the Jews is summed up by the Apostle Paul when he says: “Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it].” - Galatians 6:2 (AmpBible) All of God’s commandments for Christian living are summed up in Jesus Christ. This is the reason Paul stated above that he travailed until “Christ be formed” in them. Jesus is the embodiment of the Law, in every detail. When He came to earth, He was broken and died, because we have broken the Law of God, and deserve to die. Our Law breaking fell on Him.
This now enables those who have Jesus Christ to have the Law. It is not the Law written on tablets of stone, but Jesus Christ Who is written into the heart of flesh (Jeremiah 31:33). True Christians are now part of the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16), under the new covenant. Christ - Who is Himself the Mediator of that covenant (Hebrews 8:6-7), and the activity of the Law, now writes the terms of that covenant into our very being. Jesus Christ - Who is now the Law - is writing not only the commandments into our hearts, but the very nature of God whereby we become like Christ in all of His nature and obedience (2 Corinthians 3:3-4).
From this we see the life of the Christian. If Christ is dwelling in us by the Holy Spirit, the requirements of the Law are fulfilled in us more and more. Jesus Christ is God. God is Love. Christ is Love living in our hearts. Therefore, Jesus is the Law of Love. Love is the fulfilling of the Law (Romans 13:8-14).
The Law of Christ fulfills all the requirements of God for eternal life. He is continually fulfilling that Law in those in whom He lives.
Are you living according to the Law of Christ?
“In it I became a minister in accordance with the divine stewardship which was entrusted to me for you [as its object and for your benefit], to make the Word of God fully known [among you]--The mystery of which was hidden for ages and generations from angels and men], but is now revealed to His holy people (the saints), To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of [realizing the] glory. Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One).”- Colossians 1:25-28 (AmpBible)
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