Summary: Christians need to be incredibly positive and encouraged because of the reality of Christ alive in us.
Christ in You (Col. 1.27)
July 1, 2001
There are some great mysteries involved in this whole affair of being a Christian and one of the most exciting is what we can understand in what Paul declares to us in Col. 1.27. I was thinking on this and actually discussing this earlier in the week when I had the tremendous privilege of visiting with one young lady and future member of God’s family, in her parent’s lovely backyard. We were discussing her upcoming baptism- end of July! We were discussing what difference actually being baptized makes. Is it just a ceremonial thing? Or something more?
Well, Paul discusses the mystery of it all and that something rather incredible happens in the process of belief and confirmation of that belief- in the whole process that goes along with accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.
Col. 1. 21- 28
We understand that there is a process that we go through. Even for someone who is quickly convicted of their need for Jesus and makes a commitment quickly, the process is still there. There is some basic knowledge and belief, and there is a response, which includes a declaration to God and, hopefully, publicly, in some way. There is repentance. There is baptism. And through it all, something rather incredible occurs. Paul refers to this as ‘Christ in you, your hope of glory’.
It’s important for us to understand that we’re involved, here, with something far more than a body of knowledge. We are in a relationship with Jesus, and with the Father, because of that relationship with Jesus. Understanding it all is impossible, but it’s apparent that some things happen. It’s apparent that, in essence, we take a giant step forward- that it’s as if we were one place, but once we accept Jesus that we, essentially, move forward to where He is, in relationship with the Father! We’re no longer back there- and Paul seems to be speaking about this, here- in referring to the past alienation and poorer position. But there has become a unity with the body of Jesus, which moves us forward!
I find this exciting to consider, and wonder if there isn’t quite some parallel with a wedding.
I had one yesterday. The couple who stood before me, was very committed to each other weeks ago. They were engaged and anticipating their actual wedding and declaring of themselves before witnesses. They pledged certain things to God and to each other, and did this in front of many people! That takes some courage and maturity. But, it’s the right thing to do, too. Mentally, they were committed to each other long before we began the formal ceremony, but there was the dress, the flowers, the rings, the signing, the toasts, the food, and all that goes along with a wedding, anyway. Why? What difference did it make? Was it only a ceremonial thing that you could take or leave? Was it only something meant to enrich caterers and impoverish brides’ families? Some look at a wedding in that kind of way.
But, no! Something incredible happened, as does happen in matters of choice. The couple chose each other. In the course of our counseling, we discussed the question about whether they could marry anyone else. You’d be amazed at how many young couples answer, on the profile we use, that this is the only possible spouse for them- which reflects a great unreality with regard to marriage. Well, that is not where this couple was- they were/are quite realistic as they enter their marriage.
But, they made a choice. He, at 34, and she, at 26, have chosen each other. And they have formalized that choice. It wasn’t just a private choice, made in a corner with only them knowing, and possibly, in the privacy of their own individual minds, even doubting that. (That’s the danger of private and unannounced or un-formalized decisions! There’s the element of doubt and ease of backing away from!) However, through choice and decision, in essence, they took each other into their hearts and joined together spiritually and psychologically. Something amazing happened in the wedding ceremony and there is a mystery in that. The wedding is not a ‘take it or leave it’ affair, but is an important element of a sequence of decisions that have been made.
It’s the same within businesses. Of course, there are many reasons for signing contracts, and many of them are not very elevated, when you get down to it. However, one reason is to formalize and to announce a, hopefully, sound decision that has been made after appropriate consideration and counsel. It’s a big deal, and, often, there is champagne and refreshments when contracts are signed- big ones, at least! There is a coming together between two parties that has occurred. Hopefully, it isn’t a situation where one is out to fleece or to take advantage of the other.