Identity in Christ
Christ in Disciples
A mystery in the bible is not a “whodunit” as in a mystery novel, or a “what happened” as in “it’s a mystery to me.” A mystery in scripture is something not yet known and later revealed. So, the mystery Paul had to share was something that had yet to be made known to the believers.
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 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: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Colossians 1:26-28 KJV
There was a mystery that was hidden from the generations before Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul reveals it in his letter to the Colossians. The mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
To clarify, it is Christ in us, not Jesus physically residing within our bodies. Christ was a title for Jesus which identified him as Anointed One, Messiah, Christ; the definition of the word used here, Christos. The identification of Jesus dwells within us, which identifies His authority in us. We see this position in other passages of Scripture as well.
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Ephesians 2:6 KJV
Believers are identified as being together with Christ Jesus. Are we physically seated with Jesus at the right hand of the Father? Are we physically existing in heavenly places, that being of another dimension or place?
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
Mark 16:19 KJV
Jesus, the Christ, physically ascended to heaven after His resurrection from the dead. Mark’s gospel tells us where he went. Our spirit and the Spirit of Christ Jesus are to work in unity with one another. It is when our flesh gets in the way, or when our soulish behavior gets in the way, of that unity, we fail to maintain the preferred level of being in Christ or of having Christ in us.
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.
Romans 8:11 KJV
Paul writes to the Ekklesia at Rome that Holy Spirit dwells within the believers. His Spirit communes with our spirits. To “be in” represents a position of standing. It is a position of right and authority. It is through knowing our identity in Christ that we can learn our position, our rights, and our authority in Him. He gives them to us that we may follow Him and do what He did as we live here on earth and as we follow Him after our death. He is our example in every way: in life and in death of this mortal body.
because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 John 4:4b KJV
The apostle John was talking to believers about discernment of spirits; those of Christ Jesus versus those of an antichrist spirit. There is none greater than the spirit of Christ which John wrote was in the believers.
Almighty God and Satan, Christ Jesus and antichrist, are not in some war that has a victor and a future that are in doubt and will be resolved by whoever wins the battle. We need to get this notion out of our thinking. The evil one cannot and will not win. He is already a defeated foe and is kicking up as much disturbance as he can until his appointed end arrives. The battle is for the individuals he would like to prevent turning to God.
So far we know:
- Paul revealed a mystery
- The mystery was Christ in us, the hope of glory
- We have been raised up together in Christ
- We are seated in Christ in heavenly places
- The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us
- The Spirit will quicken our mortal bodies
- Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world
Knowing this, we can act with confidence as we live a life that is pleasing to God and serves His Kingdom. The key is to learn how to do that without falling back into our old ways.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know
that we are not reprobates.
2 Corinthians 13:5-6 KJV
We must examine ourselves to be sure that we are in the faith. That is not to say that we have faith or have been faithful, rather, that we are in the family of God, having been given the right to become children of God.
Reprobate: a morally unprincipled person; unworthy of the things of God
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Romans 8:10 KJV
We must reckon our body dead; our sinfulness has killed it. It is our spirit that is alive because of the righteousness of Christ. We are to be so in tune with Christ that He lives through us. Our bodies and souls are subject to the desires of our spirits.
And he said to them all, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Luke 9:23 KJV
We are to take that instrument of death and use it daily to put to death our lusts and selfish desires. We deny our bodies and souls that which is not in line with Christ and the will of God. It is the cost of discipleship.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this
treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7 KJV
God will be glorified as we become disciples of Christ. This treasure, the mystery which Paul revealed, was planted in us by God and will be made complete by God. Jesus redeemed us and brought it to life in us. Holy Spirit is bringing it, and us, to maturity and God will be glorified in it.
But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen;
Galatians 1:15-16a KJV
Like He did for Paul, God called us at the right time and by His grace we believed in the gospel as the Son was revealed to us. We now give testimony to the grace of God and the work of the cross through which Jesus provided for the forgiveness of our sins, thereby giving us who would believe, the right to become children of God.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for
Galatians 2:20 KJV
Through the work of the cross, Christ Jesus gave Himself that we may receive eternal life. By faith we confess our sin and our need for a savior. By faith we receive the free gift of salvation from God, the forgiveness of our sins. Daily, by faith, we lay down our own lives that Christ may live through us. This faith and trust are placed in Christ Jesus who loved us and gave Himself for us. Our spirits may rise up to co-labor with the Spirit of God as our bodies and souls are subjected to our spirits in service to the Kingdom of God.
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
Galatians 4:19 KJV
Paul expresses to the Galatians his desire to see Christ formed in them. He longs to see their spirits birthed anew in the love of God. Our spirits come to life within us when we accept the loving gift made available to us through Christ Jesus.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and
to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19 KJV
By faith we receive the love of Christ and of God as well as the gift of salvation through the work of the cross and the shedding of His blood for the forgiveness of our sins. As we grow in faith, we gain a greater understanding of the love of God and we gain a deeper appreciation for what God did for us. In doing so, we enable the love of God to flow through us to others, thus, Christ living in us.
When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
2 Thessalonians 1:10 KJV
Paul is speaking of the time when Christ returns, and He will be glorified in those who believe. Will we be in that group who believe and who have given ourselves to Him?