CHRIST IN YOU, YOU IN CHRIST – What does it really mean? How does that work?

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CHRIST  IN  YOU  –

 

                  YOU  IN  CHRIST! 

 

Some time back, I found myself at a point in my Christian experience …

 … well, I wonder if you’ve ever been there, too.  You’re regularly studying the Scriptures in earnest; learning and growing.  And then God’s Spirit shows you      one brand-new, morsel of Truth – and the light goes on;  the bell rings.  A whole new dimension opens up, along with the opportunity to   then   re-examine the entirety of your previous understanding    in this new light!

It was 1989.  One morning, after church, two younger men whose theology I trusted, asked me whether I understood the Apostle Paul’s many references, throughout the New Testament, to being “In Christ”.  I said I had presumed it to mean that we’re trusting in Christ as our Savior.  We’re    “in”   Christ.

One gentleman smiled and replied, “Would you like to take a deeper look into what it means?” and handed me an audiotape and a paper containing numerous Scripture passages. I still have it! Much of what I’ll share here is the fruit of my research, back  into God’s Word,  for a firmer grip on this foundational Truth.

 

I.  We’ll begin with The Family of Earth – “All in Adam”

Genesis 2:7 “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (literally, ‘lives’, as in collective ‘life’) and man became a living soul.”

The name “Adam” means “mankind” or “humanity”.  The Creator vested in Adam the power to generate life   in his own likeness, meaning Adam is the common biological father of the whole human family, and all the life that’s   ever  been generated on this planet     is Adam’s flesh.

Adam was the first representative man; “corporate man”, because all were “in Adam”, and all who’ve ever drawn breath   are   extensions of Adam’s life; we are partakers of Adam’s flesh, and are thus   members of his body.

Eve was “in Adam”. The very substance that comprised her body – tissue, cells, DNA – was taken from Adam.  Remember, Adam called her “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh”.  She, and their children, and their children’s children, and so on,    were Adam’s flesh.  The whole human race – the entire “flesh-pool” of mankind was in Adam – all partakers of Adam’s life.  Our origins are in Adam.  We are his generations – we are literally one flesh, one family, all     in one

This is reinforced in Genesis 5:2, where we see God referring to the collective human family on earth as “Adam”: It says, “… He called their name ‘Adam’ ”.

Acts 17:24-26 “God … gives life and breath to all …  and has made of one (blood) all nations of men.” The word “blood” was supplied. The original text reads, “has made of one all nations of men.” And that “one” would be Adam.

Now, Adam was given   conditional   immortality; created to live forever; entrusted with free moral agency. Freedom of choice did not originate with Burger King. Free choice is the gift of God   from Creation; it was surrendered in Eden,  and then, redeemed forevermore   at Calvary.

But Adam failed; separated himself from the Creator, choosing to disobey God’s clear counsel.  And Scripture says that we, the generations of Adam – like father, like son – have inherited that wayward nature, with the tendency to do our own thing;  the propensity to trust in our own judgment, and rely on man’s wisdom – now, there’s an oxymoron:  man’s wisdom!.

Your own Bible will testify of our indictment:

Romans 3:10 “All are guilty – there is none righteous, not one.”

Isaiah 53:3 “All we like sheep have gone astray – gone our own way.”

Romans 3:23  “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard”

Exodus 34:7 “God will by no means     clear the guilty”

And Romans 6:23  “the wages of sin   is death …”

In fact, Ephesians 2, the second and third verses, tell us that we are,  by our very nature,  “the children of wrath,  fulfilling without restraint    our own self-serving desires.”

II. But there is a Second Adam – “All in Christ”

The first father of the human family, Adam, failed, so God sent a Second Adam.  Paul refers to Jesus as “the Last Adam”; the second Corporate Man; the second Representative of all humanity, in Whom was all flesh.  We are the First Adam’s flesh, which Jesus took upon Himself.  Hebrews 10:5  “A body hast Thou prepared Me.”  He put on Adam’s flesh, and He became “we! 

Ephesians 1:10 “that in the fullness of time, He might gather together into One all things, in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth.”

Ephesians 5:30, referring to the Church, which Scripture calls the Bride of Christ,We are members of His body,  and of His flesh,  and of His bones.”  Remember, Adam’s bride, Eve, was “flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone.

Listen: I Corinthians 15:45   Paul says: “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the Last Adam was made a quickening (or a life-giving) spirit.”

So, the Second Adam began right where the First Adam fell. Jesus was born of a woman. He was born under the Law of sin and death. Paul says of Christ, that He was incarnate  in fallen human flesh.  Jesus took, or He “put on”, Adam’s humanity, our carnal flesh, which is the flesh that   so  requires redeeming.  

Jesus divested Himself of the glory and the majesty that was His with the Father   from time immemorial; and He plummeted to the very depths to which mankind had fallen.  He descended through 4000 years of de-generation,  to begin at ground-zero  His ministry of reconciliation   and the restoration of the human family, back to the image of God. 

The most powerful, the most indefensible, and most valid criticism of pop- theology  –  from non-believers, from atheists, agnostics, and in recent years from Islam in particular,  is that it is unjust and utterly ridiculous – they say it’s laughable  – to believe – and to teach – that one individual  can bear the guilt, and receive the due punishment   for the offenses of another person.

Well, what do the Scriptures say?  The prophet Ezekiel 18:20:  “… the soul that sinneth, it shall die.  The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, nor shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”

We 21st Century westerners are very individualistic in our thinking, whereas our Heavenly Father employs what we’ll call corporate reckoning:  The population of the earth He calls “Adam”, the name of the individual from whom all descended.   The collective generations of the patriarch Jacob  He refers to as “Jacob”.  And then, when God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel”, the tribes of all his generations became known as “Israel”.  Watch this: in Genesis 25:19-23, God says to Rebecca,“two nations are wrestling in thy womb”, referring not only to the two fetuses – the unborn twins, Jacob & Esau – but also to the entire tribes and nations   that would descend from each child! 

Then, there’s Paul’s statement that Levi paid tithes to Melchisedek, the High Priest – which is simply a physical impossibility!  They did not live at the same time.  Levi wasn’t even a gleam in his daddy, Jacob’s, eye in the time of Melchisedek – they were generations removed from each other.

However, speaking through inspiration, the writer says that Levi   was in the loins of his father    when Abraham    rendered his tithes to the High Priest, Melchisedek.  Therefore, Abraham’s actions are attributed also to Levi, because he was “in Abraham”!  and what Abraham did,     Levi did “in him”.

I’m so glad our Heavenly Father dispenses His grace and His justice through corporate reckoning, because without such merciful accounting,  the Cross would avail us nothing as individuals, and Adam’s race would be forever lost.

God’s corporate reckoning is “all-in-One”,  rather than “One-for-all”.  An excellent example would be a legal class-action.

My grasp of the intricacies of the law is limited, but the following should adequately illustrate the point:

In a typical class action, you have a legal representative standing before the judgment bar on behalf of an entire group, or class, of people.  The individuals who comprise the “class”  are afforded the opportunity to choose to take part in the action,  or to decline participation.

Question:  Should the attorney representing the class    win judgment in their favor,  will every individual in that class   benefit from the victory?  The answer is  Not necessarily.  The reason?  Because it’s more than likely   that not everyone in the class will take part, for a litany of reasons (such as: it’s too good to be true; I don’t have time; there’s probably a catch!  and so on).  The end of the matter is that    only those who have elected to participate in the class action   will have the legal right to share in the benefits.

Question: What if every individual had elected to participate?  would it be necessary for that attorney to return to court for any further litigation?  Well, no!  Because, when the attorney won the case,  he won the judgment for potentially every single individual in the class that he represented.

Our Advocate, Jesus Christ, stood before the Judgment Bar of Heaven on behalf of the entire class of Adam’s fallen race – and He was victorious!  Robed in corporate human flesh, clad in our carnality, He gained the victory for us, as us.  He represented the entire human race!  He was the human race!

Now, here’s the question: Will every individual  benefit from Jesus’ victory?  And that answer is  No!  Why?  Because, sadly, not everyone has elected,  or ever will choose to participate in this cosmic class action.    (John 3:16)

And here’s one more: If, by some astounding miracle, suppose every individual should say, “Yes, Lord!  Count me in, too!”  Would Jesus have to go back to Calvary and shed any more blood?  Of course not!  And the reason?  Because His spilled blood and His judgment death on the Cross  was,  and still is,  sufficient for every human being in that class that has ever borrowed breath from His Maker.  (Hebrews 10:10; I Corinthians 15:22)

That is  precisely what Jesus did at Calvary.  He won the class-action for us, and he accomplished it as us!  What makes Christ’s class action victory even better news   is that His victory is already a done-deal!  It’s past-tense, a completed fact!  It’s also a no-brainer!     Think of it.  You’ve been invited, after the fact – knowing fully well that you’ll be on the winning side – should you opt in – to share in the eternal benefits of His judgment at the Cross!

But,   tragically, not everyone will benefit from His gift of redemption!  Some will simply   allow it   to pass them by. 

 

III.  Now we’ll look at the Family of Heaven

Just as there is a human family, there is also, in the Heavenly realms, a familial hierarchy, that is referred to in Scripture as “the Family of Heaven”. Ephesians 3:14, 15 “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”  I John 3:1, 2 “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God … Beloved, now we are the sons of God …” 

So we have the Heavenly Father, and the Son, Jesus Christ,   and we are the children of God,  the “sons” of  our Father – and Jesus is our Elder Brother.  BTW: You’ve heard it said that God has no grandchildren?  We are all   either God’s children – or we’re   the other guy’s!  I want to belong to ^ Him!

Jesus was made  sin, He became, sin for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin;  (Why?) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him  (in Christ).” KJV 

By our very nature, we are sin.  By His very nature, Christ is  righteousness.  Yet He became sin; He was made One of us, One like us; He became the embodiment of the totality of the sins of the Human Family. And on that Cross, He destroyed sinful human-ness,  so that we may become the righteousness of the Father; may be restored, glorified   in Him.  And the operative term here is “in Him” – “in Christ”. Rather than “One-for-all”, it’s “All-in-One”

Here’s the sum and substance of it all: “What Jesus Christ did in the flesh, we did in Him.  And this is the most glorious truth in Christianity.  It is … the very core and life and heart of Christianity.  He took our flesh,  and our humanity was found in Him;  and what He did,  humanity did    in Him.” 

That’s from W.W. Prescott’s In Christ – The Divine-Human Family, written 1895, when Holy Scripture was still regarded as valid and authoritative!

I Corinthians 1:30 says, referring to God  “of Him (of His doing) are ye in Christ.”  Thru no action or merit of our own, but by God’s action;!  The Creator, put His whole creation   into one Man, Jesus Christ – and then put Him to death at Calvary – and in doing so,   He put Adam-1’s entire fallen lineage  to death  in Adam-2, when Jesus took you and me to Judgment  at the Cross.

Paul expresses it this way: “For as in Adam, all die; even so in Christ, shall all be made alive.”  I Corinthians 15:22  Good news!

And, true to His promise,  God has by no means cleared the guilty.  Instead, He has put every guilty soul to death – the just wages of sin – in Jesus Christ

The Apostle sums it up,“When One died,  all died”.  Corporate reckoning! Justice was fully served, yet in that process God’s wonderful grace came to all!

So,  how do we fit into this picture?  How does this work for you and me?

We “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and “the wages of sin is death.  Moreover, as Hebrews 9:22 clearly states, “without shedding of blood,   there is no remission,”  But … the good news is that Jesus consummated, in His flesh, the death of Adam’s entire race – all of Adam’s fallen generations. And the blood that He shed  (without which there is no remission) was that same  “one blood”  referred to in Luke’s Gospel, of which “all nations” are made – Adam’s life-blood.  At Calvary, Jesus, “in Whom was all flesh.”  was the whole human family.  

His  death is your death;  His shed blood is your blood! And You were there in Him, while He was in you!

Hebrews 2:9  “But we see Jesus, who was madefor the suffering and death … that He, by the grace of God,  should taste death  for every man.” 

And Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ (or in Christ); and it is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me;” 

Now, in II Corinthians 5:19, Paul reveals that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself”

And listen to Jesus’ words in John 14:11: “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;” KJV

God in Christ; Christ in the Father; you in Christ and Christ in you – the family of heaven and earth is reunited,  is reconciled  in the Person of Jesus. That’s God’s “corporate reckoning”.  All in Adam,   all in Christ,  all   in   One.

My very favorite Bible passage: Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Because He took our condemnation  while He was in us, and we were at Calvary in Him!

And the Good News just keeps getting better:

Ephesians 1:4, 5 We were “…chosen in Him before the foundation of the world,”   Your salvation was God’s purpose from the very beginning!

Ephesians 1 continues – verse 6:“…thru the glory of His grace, by which we have been accepted in the Beloved,”   Have you wondered    whether you will be accepted?  You have been accepted – it’s done!  It is finished!  It has been completed in the Beloved; that’s  in Jesus.  We are  accepted in Christ.  And there’s more:

Ephesians 1:11  In Him, “we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose”.  Our inheritance of eternal life has been           predestined in Christ.  It’s His plan!  You can’t “spin” that any other way!

Would you like further assurance?  Our inheritance comes with a warranty!  The Apostle Paul says that Jesus is our Surety – our Bond – and His Holy Spirit is our Guarantee of the resurrection and of eternal life.  This is found in Ephesians 1:13.  It says that we are sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is given as a pledge  of our inheritance and our redemption …”   Right there is God’s warranty, and His promise is: “My covenant will I not break, not alter the thing that is gone out of My mouth.” Psalm 89:34    He has spoken, and it stands forever! 

Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father; and thus, our flesh is already in the presence of God, in the glorified body of Christ!  We are members of His body!

What more   could our Father,   could our Savior,   could His Spirit  possibly do in our behalf?  King David expresses his gratitude this way: “What shall I render unto the LORD   for all his benefits toward me?”  Psalm 116:12 

There’s a line from an old hymn, “My God, Thy benefits demand more praise than I can give!”  This is  a stewardship issue!  God has delivered the entire package! What’ll we do with it?    with His grace?  What will we do with His wonderful redemption in Christ,  and new life in Him?

His deepest desire is to continue to abide in us – and we in Him – day-to-day, moment-by-moment;  and thru His Spirit,  to  reproduce His character, His temperament, His walk   in us  –  to recreate in us His image – the image  lost in Adam-1,  and restored thru Adam-2,  thru our re-Creation in Christ.

John 15:4 “Abide (stay) in Me, and I in you.”   Seek His face, invite His presence!  Verse 5: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me   you can do    nothing.”  Nothing of any eternal consequence.  This is stewardship!  It’s God’s invitation to join with Him in what He’s doing.  He has a wonderful work for us to do, in and through Jesus Christ.

Ephesiansd 2:10 “ …we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained  that we should walk in them.”   What kind of “works”?

God wants to reproduce in us    the good works that He produced in Christ, while He was in us – when He  was   ”we”!  

Listen! John 14:12 “He that believeth on me, the works that I do  even shall he do also;  and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father.” 

Our relationship with Jesus, and with the Heavenly Father, and with the Holy Spirit,  is a most-unique    “one-ness”:

          Christ is in us  – robed in glorified humanity, in the presence of the Heavenly Father, and we are there   in Him

          The Father is in Christ,  and Christ is in the Father

          And the Spirit of Christ abides within us.

Scripture refers to this   “one-ness” as the Mystery of God,  Christ in you!  You’ll find this complete reference in Colossians 1:26, 27. 

And Philippians 4:13  “I can do all things thru Christ, Who strengthens me.”    … who dwells within me,  who enables and empowers me. 

God laid the foundation of His eternal Church on some common fishermen; one fellow with an exceptionally-big mouth; a couple of guys known as the Sons of Thunder; a tax-collector; and a hooker.   But He was able to use these precious souls   mightily   because they were willing – willing to surrender, willing to receive His Word  and to abide in Him.  They were willing to labor together for His Kingdom!  They were   in Christ,   and He was in them!

Are you willing to surrender?  to be God’s instrument?  to labor together for the Gospel?  Perhaps God has been your co-pilot …   Remember those license plates that said, “God Is My Co-Pilot”?   Well, if God is your Co-Pilot … you’ll want to move over  and give Him the driver’s seat!  Use His GPS system! Let Him drive!

And  this  is how common, ordinary blue-collar folks like us   will be able to  make   the   Invisible   God     visible!  … that others will see Christ   at work  in us!

 

Our Father in Heaven: 

Please   accept our invitation   to establish Your Kingdom deep within us.  May we be found in You, and You in us,   that we might partake of Your divine nature,   think Your thoughts, speak Your words, and be motivated by Your purposes.  Finish   the Mystery of God, Christ in us, that He may come   soon.  In the worthy, holy name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.    Amen

 ( Benediction: )  Father -

Empower us to honor You and to walk in Your ways, and to seek your presence, moment by moment, until that Day when You appear in clouds of glory.  We ask these things in Jesus’ name,   Amen

Genuine thanks to -
W.W. Prescott, Jack Sequeira, Frank Gonzalez, Dale Martin, and The Holy Spirit, Who has been sent to give us understanding and to lead us into all Truth!

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