Musings – Christ in You, the Hope of Glory

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:
Col 1:28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Col 1:29  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Christ in us is our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27; 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Peter 1:3), not our works or knowledge (1 Peter 1:18-21). Christ in us (Colossians 1:27) is His Word in us (Psalm 119:49-50, 81, 144; 52:9; Colossians 3:16; 1 John 2:14; Hebrews 8:10), His Spirit in us (Ezekiel 36:26; Romans 8:9-11; John 15:26; 14:16-18).  It is Christ dwelling in us that gives us hope, it is this hope that purifies us (1 John 3:2-3), and saves us (Romans 8:24) not our works or knowledge (Psalm 143:2; 146:3; Jeremiah 17:5; Romans 3:20, 28; Titus 3:5; Acts 13:39; Galatians 2:16; 3:10-11).  Good works are the effect of salvation (Christ/Word dwelling in us), Him dwelling in us is the cause (John 15:1-10; 1 John 3:9-10; Hosea 14:8; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:11).  Why then do we judge and condemn others who are standing in the same hope?

It is God working through us, according to His will that brings us to where we are (Philippians 2:13).  If we judge our fellow believer in whom God is working through, we are judging Him (James 4:11-12).  Rebuke/correction/admonishment should be done to edify in peace (Romans 14:19) and love (1 Corinthians 8:1), not condemn and cut off others (James 3:14-18).  We are to be faithful to Him, following what the Spirit has taught us and convicted us of (John 16:8).  We can’t force our convictions on others but must be tolerant of their understanding (1 Corinthians 13:7) as the Lord has been patient and tolerant with us.

Toleration is from the Latin ‘tolerationem’ which is a “noun of action from past participle stem of tolerare” which means forbearance.  We must recall that while we were yet sinners and enemies of God (Romans 5:8-10; Ephesians 2:1-6; Colossians 1:20-21) He showed us His great forbearance in sending His Son to bring reconciliation between Himself and us (Romans 2:4; 3:25).  As a result, we are also to be “tolerant” to others who are overtaken in sin and extend His goodness to them (Romans 2:1-4).  We are to seek to restore one overtaken in a fault, bearing one another’s burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-3).

We must never tolerate sin (Psalm 97:10; Proverbs 8:13; Amos 5:15), yet we must never be intolerant to the sinner (Leviticus 19:17; 1 John 2:9-29).  Tolerance comes from the Latin word ‘tolerantia’ which means to “bear” which compares with the Greek word στέγω ‘stego’ (bears) of which love performs (1 Corinthians 13:7).  Love “beareth” all things, yet love does not rejoice in iniquity (1 Corinthians 13:6).

‘Tolerantia’ traces back to the Hebrew word תלה ‘talah’ which means to lift up and hang as in the Messiah being lifted up (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13) that mankind might be reconciled to the Father while we were yet in our sins (Romans 5:8).  Messiah is the epitome of toleration.  He who was without sin (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5) tolerated the presence of sinners and bear our burdens/sins that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  As a result, we are to carry this same “toleration”, the ministry of reconciliation, hating the sin of the world, yet never hating the sinner (1 John 2:9-29).

Works of the law/religion does not bring Messiah into our hearts (Galatians 3:2-5), faith does (Galatians 2:16).  The law was designed to lead us to Him (Hebrews 10:1), revealing our sins (Romans 7:7) and condemning us (Romans 7:5-23; 1 Corinthians 15:56) that we might turn to Him by faith and receive His gift of grace unto salvation (Romans 5:20; 7:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:57).  Through faith in Him, we receive His Spirit (Galatians 3:5, 14) to work through us (Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 3:20; Hebrews 13:21) and guide us (John 16:13; 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13) that we might walk by the Spirit of the law unto life, becoming His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9).  If we walk in the letter of the law by our own power (works of the law) we will die (Galatians 3:10; 2:16).

We can only be pleasing to Him, and hear Him say ‘well done good and faithful servant,’ (Matthew 25:21-23) if Christ is living through us, the hope of Glory (Psalm 147:11; 33:18; 1 Peter 1:1, 13; Jude 1:21).  Messiah always did the will of the Father, the things which were pleasing to Him (Luke 3:22; Matthew 12:18; 17:5; John 5:30; 8:29; Psalm 40:7-8).  We are to submit our lives to Him (Romans 6:13) that He might live through us (John 17:21-23), just as the Father lived through Him (John 14:10; 15:1-10; 2 Corinthians 5:19).

If Christ in us is the only way we can please Him, where is the boasting (Romans 3:27)?  Where is the uplifting of self over another?  If we are boasting because of our works, we are making Messiah of none effect and are bringing ourselves into condemnation (Galatians 3:10).  He alone is to be exalted (Isaiah 2:11, 17), we are to bend the knee in the same manner as everyone else (sinner and saint alike) (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10).  Our knowledge of doctrine and the performance thereof, if gained and performed properly, comes from Him, not by our own strength/righteousness/worthiness (Philippians 2:5-13).

Our only boasting should be that we know Him (Jeremiah 9:23; 1 Corinthians 1:31), yet even that only comes through His grace (Galatians 1:15; John 6:37-44), not our worthiness (Romans 3:23).   We are only made worthy through His work (Colossians 1:22; John 17:19; Acts 26:18), and God working in us to present us blameless and sanctified in His sight (Philippians 2:13; Jude 1:24; Ephesians 5:26-27; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Christ came to save, not condemn (1 Timothy 1:15; Matthew 9:13; 18:11; Mark 2:17; John 3:17; 12:47).  He came to serve in love (John 13:13-17; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 3:18; Philippians 2:5-8), patiently (Romans 15:5; Revelation 1:9) and meekly (Matthew 11:29-30; 2 Corinthians 10:1; 1 Peter 2:23) (not angrily frustratingly forcing His will on others – Matthew 15:14).  In Matthew 15:14, Messiah says to let the Pharisees (representative of believers bound by the religious spirit) alone.

Mat 15:14  Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

In Greek, the word ‘let them alone’ is ἀφίημι ‘aphiēmi’ which also means to forgive (Matthew 6:12, 14-15; 9:6; 18:21 etc).  We shouldn’t try to force other believers to see as we see or to follow Messiah as we follow Him.  If we can’t come to agreement on an issue, ‘let them alone.’  If they are truly following Him, He will guide them to the truth.  If they are walking in blindness they will fall into the ditch where He will be to lift them up (Psalm 37:24; 40:1-2; 50:15; 145:14).

He led people to the truth in love, gently and meekly (Ephesians 4:15; Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 12:16-20).  Hence, we are to work out our own salvation with meekness and fear (Philippians 2:12), preferring others over ourselves (Romans 12:10) and seeking to edify them in love (1 Corinthians 8:1).  Edifying in love prevents us from condemning in pride.  Serving in love prevents us from lifting ourselves above another through perceived knowledge and works.

To Christ, everyone He met was filthy, dull in heart, deaf, blind, lame and wicked in comparison.  He came to heal, but also let the blind continue in their blindness if that was their will.  We cannot judge others and condemn them because they appear to be filthy, dull and heart and blind in comparison to us, lest we be condemned for being the same in comparison to Him (James 4:10-12; Luke 6:37; Matthew 7:1-2; Romans 2:1-2; Romans 14:3-4, 10-16; 1 Corinthians 4:5).

We are unified by our hope in Him (Ephesians 4:4-6), regardless of our differences (denominations, movements etc).  We are unified by His Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4), Christ dwelling in us (Romans 8:9).  The saved are unified by the Savior (Hebrews 2:11), not by their works or their perceived superiority to others.

When it comes to doctrines, Biblical controversies and the like, we are to be faithful to the guidance of His Spirit (John 16:8, 13), but are not to condemn and cut off those who do not see as we do (Romans 8:1; Luke 6:37).  We are to edify in love (Romans 14:19; 1 Corinthians 8:1) and accept when another does not want that edification.  Messiah came as a Physician to those who knew they were sick but did not force His healing upon those who thought they were well (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; John 9:39-41).

We perform His will by Him working through us, not by our power/works/knowledge (Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:21; Mark 16:20; Ephesians 1:11; 2:9-10; 3:20; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Corinthians 12:6).  Did we receive His Spirit by faith or by works (Galatians 3:2-7)?  Through faith we have an unction/anointing of His Spirit (1 John 2:20), Christ’s Spirit dwells in us (Romans 8:9-10) and we are guided by Him (John 16:13).  If we don’t have His Spirit then we don’t belong to Him (Romans 8:9).  If we are not doing our works by His Spirit, then we are doing them by our own power (Galatians 3:5) and we are walking in the works of the law, we are denying Him (Romans 9:32-33; 10:3-10; Galatians 2:16-21) and going down the path of destruction (Galatians 3:10).

We are to take up our crosses (Mark 10:21; Luke 14:26-33), dying to the self (Philippians 3:10; Romans 6:4; 1 Corinthians 15:31; Galatians 2:20; 5:24; 6:14-15) that He might live through us (John 11:25; Romans 6:7-18).  If we refuse to die to ourselves and continue to walk by our own power, we will die (Romans 8:13).  If Christ dwells in us, sin is dead and we are new creatures (Romans 6:7-18; Galatians 6:14-15).  Sin is the transgression of the law/Word (1 John 3:4), hence if we walk in Him (the Word made flesh) we will not walk in sin (1 John 3:9-10; 5:18; 2 Timothy 2:19).  If we do sin, it is sin dwelling in us (Romans 7:17-25), not Him.  It is the old man which has already died with Him (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9).  If we do sin, we have and Advocate with God (1 John 2:1).  As believers, we should be walking in the footsteps of this Advocate (1 John 2:2-6), helping others out of sin while considering our own weakness in the flesh (Galatians 6:1-3).

As believers, our job is to walk with the Defender of the brethren, Messiah Jesus (Luke 22:31-32; Romans 8:31-34; Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:15-16; 1 John 2:2-2), not the accuser (Revelation 12:11).  Those who accuse others and slander others are walking in the footsteps of the adversary.  In the New Testament, the word for devils is διάβολος ‘diabolos’ which is translated as false accusers (2 Timothy 3:3) and slanderers (1 Timothy 3:11).

Believers are called to walk in the footsteps of Messiah (1 John 2:6; Ephesians 5:1-2).  Putting on the breastplate of righteousness that we might stand together against the devil.  Defending one another, loving one another as love covers all sins (Proverbs 10:12; 17:9; 1 Corinthians 13:4; 1 Peter 4:8).

A breastplate is a tool of defense.  The breastplate of God is righteousness, faith and love (Ephesians 6:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).  We are children of light (1 Thessalonians 5:5), called to stand in His love, wearing His breastplate of love (1 Thessalonians 5:8).  We are not appointed to wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9) for Messiah took our sins upon us that we might live together with Him (1 Thessalonians 5:10).  The accusations of the devil are powerless against us (Romans 8:1, 33-39).  As a result, we are to edify one another in love (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Romans 14:19), not tear down each other in condemnation (Ephesians 4:1-32).  We are called to forgive one another in love, that the adversary not get an advantage on us (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).

The Lord is transforming us from glory to glory by His own power (2 Corinthians 3:18), not by our religious doctrines and movements.  It is His job to perfect us and recreate us in His image, not ours (Psalm 57:2; 18:32; 138:8; Ephesians 4:4-13).  It is not our job to overcome the flesh by our own power.  Our job is to yield unto Him that He might work through us (Romans 6:7-19).  Hence, all praise and glory and honor belongs unto Him (Romans 6:17; Revelation 5:12-13; 7:12; Isaiah 42:8).

“The moment we glorify ourselves, since there is room for one glory only in the universe, we set ourselves up as rivals to the Most High.”  {Charles Spurgeon}

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