The world knows nothing
about the greatest most revolutionary mystery that
has ever taken place in history. The popular
television programs, the news documentaries and
commentaries, sitcoms, movies never mention it. It
is never taught in the great universities. Secular
wisdom, new age movements, secret societies and
world religions are not aware of it. You find it
only in the good news of Jesus Christ.
The most basic thing
about Christianity is that through the death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ and the coming of the
Holy Spirit, Jesus Himself indwells the Christian
believer. Jesus uttered the most astounding words to
His disciples the night before He went to the cross.
"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching and my
Father will love him and we will come to him and
make our home in Him."
This is the "mystery"
that was hidden and kept secret since the foundation
of the world, but now made known by the revelation
of God to His saints. This truth cannot be known by
man's natural abilities, but is a secret hidden in
the counsel of God and revealed only to His chosen
What is this secret that
has been divinely revealed? It is Christ in all His
glorious riches actually dwelling through His Spirit
in the lives of all believers, whether they are
Jewish or non-Jewish. "Christ in you is the hope of
glory." The risen, ascended, glorified Christ now
dwells in our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit.
After a person is born
again spiritually the process of sanctification
process begins which will accomplish God's eternal
purpose for each believer. It is a process that is
completed when we stand face to face before the Lord
God. All progress in the Christian life takes place
only as we come to the understanding and put into
practice the great mystery of "Christ in you, the
hope of glory."
This is the way the
apostle Paul lived his life and the way he taught
others to live the Christian life. He said Jesus
energized his life with a powerful new spiritual
life. Is this not what people are searching for in
our day? When Jesus Christ takes up residence in
your life there is a powerful new source of power
pulsating in you. He brings new desires, new
principles, new motives, and new goals to your life.
His living presence is in your life and He leads and
fills your life with Himself. Jesus Christ went to
the cross and died for our sins, rose from the dead,
ascended to heaven and now through His Spirit has
taken up residence in us. He lives that He might
live in you. This is the greatest, most astounding
truth taught in the Bible. The Holy Spirit labors to
bring every believer to that understanding and
reality in his Christian life. When we avail
ourselves to Him our lives are changed and we never
ever want to go back to the old life.
We manifest the glory of
God only as God the Father, God the Son, and God the
Holy Spirit takes up residence within us. It is His
transforming presence that changes our lives and is
displayed before a watching world. His presence
within us will manifest the glory of God, and
One day Jesus will come
and that transformation will be gloriously complete
(John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). What we
experience now is only temporary. Then we will bring
honor and glory to the Son of God for all eternity.
THE MATURITY OF CHRIST
When a person repents of
his sins and believes on Christ as His Savior there
is nothing between him and God (Rom. 8:1). It is
important that the believer not allow anything or
anyone to stand between him and his Savior (1 Tim.
2:5-6). Jesus is the complete and final and perfect
revelation of God to man.
Jesus Christ needs no
help. He alone is all the sinner needs. He alone is
the treasure and wisdom of God. There is no one or
anything that can add one thing to the completed
work of Jesus Christ. He is all sufficient to save
us and keep us saved.
With our spiritual birth
a process of growth begins with the opening of our
heart to the Lord Jesus and receiving Him as our
Savior. It is a process that progresses toward a
specific goal which is to present you holy in His
sight, without blemish or accusation. The evidence
that this is happening is if you continue in faith,
established and firm, not moved from the hope
presented in the gospel. It is this progress that is
the evidence. It is not how you start the Christian
life; it is how you finish the race that counts. The
evidence that there was never any true faith in
Christ, and never born again, is seen in individuals
going back to the way they once were. The
continuance in the faith is the evidence of
spiritual life. The true believer will persevere.
One wag said, "If your faith fizzles before you
finish, it is because it was faulty from the first."
Am I saying that we must
have perfect faith? No. There is no one who has
perfect faith. Our faith wobbles and grows dim at
times. It has its up and downs. However, true living
faith in Christ never ceases. The new imparted life
we have received at our spiritual birth continues to
grow and we mature in the likeness of Christ. It is
the perseverance that is the proof of reality.
Paul declares his
goal in the ministry.
This is the same goal the
Holy Spirit has in His ministry in Paul's life. He
writes, "that we may present every man complete in
Christ" (Col. 1:28).
The Holy Spirit's goal in
Paul's life was to present him "complete in Christ"
at the second coming. Only then will the Spirit have
brought to an end, finished, completed, and
perfected His work in Paul. This was also Paul's
goal in the ministry. It was his passion (Eph.
4:11-16; 1 Cor. 14:20).
The goal of my ministry
is to do likewise. I strive to be mentally,
spiritually, physically and emotionally prepared to
provide my congregation with the spiritual
atmosphere and opportunity to become "complete in
The word "present" is
almost equivalent to "make," or "render." The idea
is that "we may make everyone complete in Christ,"
or "bring" him into God's presence. What an
incredible responsibility we have to be a servant of
God. God have mercy on us if we take it lightly.
Paul's goal is that every believer stands before God
spiritually complete and mature. What a privilege
pastors will have to present you to God the Father
complete in Christ.
When will this incredible
event take place? Probably Paul has in mind the
Parousia, the appearing of Christ. Nowhere does the
apostle Paul advocate any claim to instantaneous and
absolute perfection in the present earthly life.
It is important that we
not forget the responsibility we have for one
another in the body of Christ. We are to build one
another up in the faith. Have you ever reflected on
how many prayers, tears, how much heartache and
disappointment others have gone through for you to
come to Christ? Have you ever considered how much
others have endured and labored to see you conformed
to the character and likeness of Christ? The apostle
told the church at Colossae, "I rejoice in my
sufferings for your sake" (Col. 1:24). Why? Paul
says so that I may proclaim the mystery of "Christ
in you" and present every one of you perfect in
Christ. That was Paul's goal and that is God's goal
for every believer. No one is an island unto himself
in the Christian life.
The word "complete" (teleios)
means having reached its end, finished, complete,
and perfect. The idea Paul has in mind is
fully-grown or mature individual in union with
Christ. Paul pictures a spiritually mature member of
Christ's body. That which is complete has been
brought to an end by completing or perfecting. The
Christ-actualized person wants to be all that God
fully intended him or her to be in Christ.
Paul has in mind a full
grown man as opposed to young boy. He is mature
mentally and spiritually.
The only way to reach
this maturity is by union with Christ. Paul is
stressing that mature believers realize that it is
Christ's life in them that is the source of power,
change and victory. This is the only way to overcome
temptation. Christ is actually living in us now. The
"perfect," or mature believer is growing in that
The Amplified Bible
brings out the full idea: "that we may present every
person mature" full grown, fully initiated, complete
and perfect" in Christ, the Anointed One." Absolute
moral completeness in every man is Paul's goal. He
seeks the final perfection of every man whom he
When Jesus Christ comes
into your life you want to see and experience more
and more of Him than ever before. Our longing to see
Jesus and be with Him is a sure sign that we are in
Christ and He is in us.
He who longs for Jesus to
abide with him and be with him for all eternity has
been born spiritually. It is Christ in me, the hope
of glory. Such a person never outgrows Christ. Once
we have such an intimate love experience with Him we
grow to need and desire Him more and more. When you
feed on Christ you hunger and thirst still more and
more for Him. It is an ever-growing experience. This
unquenchable desire for more and more of Christ is a
heavenly hunger. It is a spiritual growth that longs
for a fuller supply. The person who has little of
Christ can do with a little of Christ. However, he
who has much of Christ desires more and more of
Christ every day.
The end result of "Christ
in you" is a person just like Jesus Christ. We have
a perfect model who lived the perfect example for
us. God's purpose for each of us is "to present
every man perfect in Christ."
Complete in Christ
Christ dwells within us
for the purpose of presenting us complete to the
Father. It begins the moment we put our faith in
Jesus Christ and are born spiritually. The new birth
begins a process that continues throughout the
Christian's life on this earth. The process will be
completed with the imminent, visible, personal
return of Jesus Christ for His church (Col. 1:22).
Paul wrote, "He has now reconciled you in His
fleshly body through death, in order to present you
before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach."
The change takes place in us.
This is the goal God has
for every Christian. Three times Paul repeats "Every
man" in v. 28. No believer is excluded. All the
truth of God is for all the people of God. We
present each believer before the face of God in a
condition of complete spiritual maturity. There are
no exceptions. There are no heights in Christian
achievement which are not within the reach of all
believers by the power of God's grace. There are no
select few in the body of Christ. We are "in
Christ," and Christ is in us. God gives His fullest
wisdom and power to everyone because it is "Christ
in you." This eternal position is true of all
believers and it never changes.
Lightfoot reminds us, "In
Christ, every believer is teleios, fully
initiated, for he has been admitted as an
eye-witness of its most profound, most awful
In prison Rutherford
cried out to have his heart enlarged till it was as
big as heaven, that he might hold all Christ within
it; and then he felt that even this was too narrow a
space for the boundless love of Jesus, since the
heavens itself cannot contain Him, so he cried out
for a heaven as large as seven heavens. With that
persecuted Puritan saint we, too, can cry for more
of Christ if we have Him. May God enlarge our hearts
and create within us a hunger for more of Him. Oh to
be like Jesus! I am famished for more of Jesus.
"That I may know Him" was the passion of the apostle
Paul. Yet, being full, we long for more and more of
Him. Not your gifts and your provisions, but You, O
Lord is the desire of our hearts.
The growing believer
longs for Christ alone. We rejoice in Christ and
nothing less than Christ will do. Christ alone can
satisfy the justices of God. Nothing but Christ can
satisfy the human heart. That is a mystery. It is
because nothing but Christ can satisfy the
righteousness of a holy God.
And when you come to die,
what else will do but Christ? A deathbed without
Christ is an eternal torment. None but Christ, none
but Christ! This is our plea.
The quality of our
ministry will be judged by the quality and maturity
of those whom we present to Christ at His coming.
That goal will test the effectiveness of my
preaching and teaching. It will be the test of the
results of our Sunday School classes and youth
THE MEANS OF
ACCOMPLISHING THE MATURITY OF CHRIST IN YOU
Christ in me means in the
midst of the spiritual conflicts there is the inner
working of the Spirit of Christ. Human endeavor can
never accomplish God's eternal purposes, however,
Christ in you and me can and will.
"Christ in you" energizes
the present, and gives prospect to the future.
Christ in you is the only teacher you can fully
trust with your eternal destiny. Christ in you as
our great High Priest is the one perfect mediator
who brings you into the holy presence of the LORD
God. It is Christ in you who bears you to the throne
of grace. Christ in you as King of kings is the one
who rules over every dimension of your life. All of
life is ordered and governed by the master teacher,
priest and king who resides in you.
Paul describes his
responsibility: "Him we proclaim warning every man,
and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may
present every man mature in Christ" (Col. 1:28,
We proclaim Christ
In v. 28 Paul declares,
"We proclaim (kataggelo) Him." Paul preached
the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, not a
philosophy about Christ, or some egocentric tangent.
We are constantly announcing the deep secrets of God
in Christ. It is evangelistic in its thrust. Only
the Word of God has the power and authority to bring
us to God and change our lives.
We "proclaim" Christ. We
preach Christ. It is a Christ-centered ministry that
accomplishes God's eternal purposes. Unashamedly I
preach Christ (Acts 4:12; 1 Cor. 1:22-25, 30-31). In
Him alone is there eternal life. Only as we present
the Word of God in its fullness do we fathom its
great riches. It will always point to Jesus Christ.
The message Paul declares
is that Christ "is the image of the invisible God"
(Col. 1:15). "In Him all the fullness of God was
pleased to dwell" (Col. 1:19). In Him "are hid all
the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3).
"In Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily"
(Col. 2:9). Paul's message is the highest
Christology. Jesus is the perfect portrait of God.
Paul preached Christ!
The apostle tells us to
take a long hard look at Jesus Christ and you see
what God is like in His perfect being. In Jesus, the
invisible God becomes visible to men. He is the
perfect revelation and representation of God. In
Jesus Christ we see God. We can look at Him and say
that is what God is like. In Christ we see the whole
of God. Jesus Christ is unique and is alone the full
and unique revelation of God. That is why Christ is
our only hope of a right relationship with God for
now and eternity.
Admonish every man
The idea of "admonish" (noutheteo)
is to train by word of mouth. It is to admonish,
exhort, warn against error, instruct in the
Christian life, stimulate and encourage.
It is our responsibility
as ministers of the Word of God to train by words of
encouragement and to give reproof when it is
required. It is the idea that when needed the
reproof will be "earnest and severe enough" to bring
about maturity. It calls for personal responsibility
on the part of the giver and receiver. We must warn
Christians of the error of the new age movements and
the secret mystery cults.
I am convinced more than
ever in my life that everything that we face in the
Christian life is leading us to that ultimate goal
of maturity in Christ (Rom. 8:27-30; 1 John 3:2; 2
Cor. 3:18). Everything that comes into our lives is
filtered through God's gracious hands. And I am
convinced that everything that stands in the way in
our personal lives that keep us from reaching that
goal must be removed when at all possible.
We need to remind
ourselves often that it is a process. Be patient. It
takes a lifetime to be perfect in Christ.
Teaching every man
with all wisdom
We are "teaching (didasko)
every man with all wisdom" meaning we inform and
give instruction to every person in the saving truth
of Jesus Christ. And we must go on to instruct them
in the faith. It is astounding the number of
unorthodox teachings making inroads into the
mainline denominational churches today. We must urge
church leaders to teach the historic doctrines of
When individuals put
their faith in Christ they do not instantly achieve
all their potential in Christ. Spiritual growth must
take place, and it takes place over time. We will be
presented mature or perfect in Christ at the final
judgment. But it is a long journey till then. The
Gnostic false teachers at Colossae taught the
perfection was only for a select few
super-Christians. The apostle Paul declared there
are no spiritual elite in the body of Christ. He
sees the day when every believer will be spiritually
perfect. One day we will all be complete or
full-grown and mature in Christ. This must ever be
the goal of our teaching ministry. We work at our
position becoming our practice.
The apostle Paul says, "I
labor" which is a strong word implying toil, labor
unto weariness, striving to the point of weariness
or exhaustion. Paul is a hard worker in the
ministry. He toils unto the point of weariness and
exhaustion. He also "strives" taxing all his
energies against hostile foes as a wrestler does in
the Grecian games.
Since Paul's goal was a
spiritual goal he must use spiritual methods to
Let's look at every task
we do as an opportunity to serve Christ. We proclaim
Christ as the only way of salvation and eternal
life. But Christ is also our sanctification. We live
the Christian life by grace through faith in Christ
every day of our lives. If we don't we have never
learned how to live.
Where do you find the
power for such an impossible task?
God provides the
supernatural power for such an undertaking. Paul
tells us he is "striving according to His power"
(Col. 1:29b). It is the idea of a wrestler
contending in the arena for the Olympic
championship. He is preparing for a wrestling
contest. In the ministry of God's Word we are
contending, struggling according to the power of God
working in us.
Paul is energized by the
supernatural power of Christ in him. He is motivated
and energized by the Holy Spirit. A. T. Robertson
says Paul has "energy energized in dynamite."
It is absolutely futile
to try to do God's work in our own carnal fleshly
strength. If what we do for Christ is to have
lasting value it must be done in God's supernatural
power working mightily in us.
"His power which mightily
works within me" (Col. 1:29c). It is a super-human
victory. We are energized by God's power. It is
energy energized by His energy. He is the Energizer!
He "works." It is His energy working within us. It
is His vitality as opposed to spiritual deadness. It
is His activity as opposed to idle laziness. It is
His efficiency as opposed to useless activity. God
mightily works within me. Please remember, it is
"Christ in you"!
The powerful play on
words is more literally, "I work, agonizing
according to the divine energy which He powerfully
energizes in me."
The word "power" (energeia),
energy, working, operation, refers to Christ working
in Paul. He energizes according to the manifestation
of His power within us. It is His mighty strength
empowering us. The word is used only of superhuman
power. Here it is the mighty working energy of
Christ within the believer.
As Paul spent himself in
the service of God he kept on continually receiving
God's strength in return. That is the only way to
minister. It is ministering from the overflow. The
Amplified Bible reads, "For this I labor [unto
weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy
which He so mightily enkindles and works within me."
How does He do it? Cf.
Zech. 4:6; Eph. 3:7, 20-21; Phil. 4:13, 19. It is
"Christ in you." There is no other way. God is
working to present us holy, without blemish, free
from accusation, just as the Lord Jesus is. Day by
day the Holy Spirit is working to conform us to the
image of God's Son. He is in the process of
"bringing many sons to glory." The only way is
"Christ in you, the hope of glory."
When we are under the
control of the Holy Spirit our thinking, conduct and
behavior will be different than what it was before
He was in control. When we are under His control He
produces a new kind of life. The Spirit of God can
then conform us to Jesus Christ in our daily walk.
We are transformed by the Spirit of God, which is
the Spirit of Christ, who fills and controls us.
God's method for His children is to have His
children so under the control of the Spirit of God
that the life of Christ is shown forth by the
Are we left to try to
live this kind of life all on our own? No. God has
promised to give us His grace, His power, His
strength to enable to us live His kind of life. But
God can only reproduce Christ in the child of God as
we allow Him to control us by the Holy Spirit. This
is where we have a choice. We can allow ourselves to
be controlled by the carnal flesh, or by the Holy
Spirit. As we allow the Spirit to be in control, we
produce spiritual fruit that is just like Christ. We
take on the sweet fragrance of love, joy, peace,
long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
gentleness and self-control.
PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
Our world needs
Christo-centric men and women. Let the world see who
it is that lives in you. Open your mouth and let
Christ speak through you. Let Christ in you weep
through your eyes as He sees the world without hope
weighed down in sin. Let Christ in you smile through
your face. Let Christ in you work through your hands
and walk with your feet, and be tender with your
heart. Let Christ in you seek sinners and share His
redemptive message. Let Christ in you comfort saints
until the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
Think what this world
would be like with Christ living, and settling down
and making Himself permanently at home in your
heart. His sympathy, His love, His compassion, His
purity, His power, His infinite resources living and
working in us!
The result of such a life
would be seen in Galatians 5:22-23. Would you like
to see Christ in this community? Take a long hard
look at a Spirit-filled Christian!
What are the implications
of these great truths for us when temptation comes?
What will be the difference when the pressures of
circumstances, changes in life and chances come into
your life? What will be the difference when
persecution comes in waves over your life? What will
be the difference when illness and death comes your
The only hope of glory is
"Christ in you."
1:27 Christ in You, the Hope of Glory PDF