Life In The Son
This life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath the life.
1 John 5:11
It is a blessed thing to discover the difference between Christian graces and Christ: to know the difference between meekness and Christ, between patience and Christ, between love and Christ. God will not give me humility or patience or holiness or love as separate gifts of his grace. He is not a retailer dispensing grace to us in packets, measuring out some patience to the impatient, some love to the unloving, some meekness to the proud, in qualities that we can take and work on as kind of capital. He has only one gift to meet all our need: his Son Jesus Christ.
The common idea of holiness is that every item of life should be holy; but that is not holiness, it is the fruit of holiness. Holiness is Christ. The Lord Jesus is made over to us to be that. So you can put in anything there: love, humility, power, self-control. Today there is a call for patience: he is our patience! Tomorrow the call may be for purity: he is our purity. It does not matter what our personal deficiency, or whether it be a hundred and one different things, he is the answer to our every need.
Oh that we may live in the simplicity that Christ is all. In the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, He tells us that through Him and Him alone we have access to heaven. There is no other way provided, no substitutes. No human endeavor or effort is sufficient. It is Christ alone.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; so how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
John 14: 2-6
Paul in writing to the Colossians provides this understanding of what it means to be “in Christ.”
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say—living lives that lead others away from sin], having been deeply rooted [in Him] and now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established in your faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing in it with gratitude. For in Him all the fullness of Deity (the Godhead) dwells in bodily form [completely expressing the divine essence of God]. And in Him you have been made complete [achieving spiritual stature through Christ], and He is the head over all rule and authority [of every angelic and earthly power]. In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but by the [spiritual] circumcision of Christ in the stripping off of the body of the flesh [the sinful carnal nature], having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God, [as displayed] when He raised Christ from the dead.
Colossians 2: 6-7, 9-12
Let’s take a moment to dissect this passage.
Paul says that we are in “union” with Christ and that we walk with Him by reflecting His character. This is not that we are the light any more than the moon has light of its own. When we see the bright moon at night, we are in reality seeing the reflection of the sun radiating off the moon. Out of the light of the sun the moon turns dark as evidenced by an eclipse. In the same way when we connect our destiny with Christ, when His plans become ours, His purposes ours, His passions our passions, and our hearts beating in synch with His, like the moon we reflect His glory. Therefore any visible righteousness is not our righteousness but the righteousness of Christ covering our sinfulness.
Paul says next that we are “rooted in Him”. Many of us have read Galatians 5 that lists the fruit of the Spirit and we have tried to exhibit them only to minimally succeed. The reason is that we have tried to make them our fruit. Consider the apple tree. It produces apples because it is an apple tree. It doesn’t strain to produce fruit- it does because it has been designed by God to do just that. The secret to producing fruit lies not in the branches but in the roots. A tree with healthy roots draws into itself the sufficient supply of nutrients and water which passes through the branches and develops apples. When we are “rooted” in Christ, everything we need to produce godliness flows from Him through us and the fruit of the Spirit springs forth.
Paul goes on to say that “in Him” we have been “made complete.” In other words every thing that was lacking in us has been made full. If we’re were lacking peace when we came to Christ, He makes our peace complete- nothing lacking. If we were sad with no joy, He has given us fullness of joy. When we were dead in our sins, in Him we now have life. In whatever area we may find ourselves less than complete, in Christ all that is necessary to make us whole He has provided.
For those whose past may be hanging over them like the sword of Damocles, with Christ you have died. Every piece of our past, every wrong, every sin was nailed to the cross with Christ and buried with Him in the tomb. Let us remember, though, that Christ did not remain in the tomb. When He resurrected from the dead, only the sins of humanity remained buried. In Him, through resurrection, new life was born.
The whole meaning of baptism is that our immersion speaks of death. In that symbolic moment our old self is put to death and buried. Now everyone knows that we aren’t left immersed. For we are next raised up from the waters that buried us. Symbolically we are raised to a new life- the life in Christ Jesus. Hear the words of Paul on this matter:
“I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not ignore or nullify the [gracious gift of the] grace of God [His amazing, unmerited favor], for if righteousness comes through [observing] the Law, then Christ died needlessly. [His suffering and death would have had no purpose whatsoever.]”
In conclusion Paul asks the Galatians an important question that we need to ask ourselves:
“O you foolish and thoughtless and superficial Galatians, who has bewitched you [that you would act like this], to whom—right before your very eyes—Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified [in the gospel message]? This is all I want to ask of you: did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying [the requirements of] the Law, or was it the result of hearing [the message of salvation and] with faith [believing it]? Are you so foolish and senseless? Having begun [your new life by faith] with the Spirit, are you now being perfected and reaching spiritual maturity by the flesh [that is, by your own works and efforts to keep the Law]? Have you suffered so many things and experienced so much all for nothing—if indeed it was all for nothing? So then, does He who supplies you with His [marvelous Holy] Spirit and works miracles among you, do it as a result of the works of the Law [which you perform], or because you [believe confidently in the message which you] heard with faith? For you [who are born-again have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified and] are all children of God [set apart for His purpose with full rights and privileges] through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union with the Christ, the Anointed] have clothed yourselves with Christ [that is, you have taken on His characteristics and values]. There is [now no distinction in regard to salvation] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you [who believe] are all one in Christ Jesus [no one can claim a spiritual superiority]. And if you belong to Christ [if you are in Him], then you are Abraham’s descendants, and [spiritual] heirs according to [God’s] promise.”
Galatians 3: 1-5, 26-29
May we be assured today that those who have received the Son also have received life.