Colossians 1:27 ‘Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.’

June 29, 2017 by David Farmer 0 comments

Posted in: Weekly Commentary

In what is frequently declared to be His ‘farewell address,’ our Lord Jesus Christ intended to impart confident encouragement to His own. He encouraged their very hearts early in this discourse with the deservedly well-known exhortation:

Let not your hearts be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.—John 14:1-3

These promises have been recorded and reported to us only by the apostle John. But was He not speaking the identical promise which has been reported by Matthew in 28:20? Here Matthew recorded as the Savior’s final words to His followers, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Perhaps the question arose in their minds almost immediately, ‘How can He be with us always?’

We may hope that their minds and hearts reflected rapidly to His words of explanation spoken in the aforementioned ‘farewell discourse.’ It is clear that they were very troubled upon learning that He was going to leave them. This is that which brought Jesus to say, Let not your hearts be troubled. Many questioned remained. They would be asking themselves, how is it that He can leave us and still be with us always? Where is it that He is going to prepare a place for us? Where is it that He will receive us unto Himself? Where will He be that we may be also? To resort to the question of the inquiring Pharisee, Nicodemas, ‘How can these things be?’ The One who inspired men to write the Holy Scriptures determined that John the apostle, the one who leaned upon Christ’s bosom at the supper, would be His instrument in providing answers to these questions. It is obvious that His disciples had not truly understood all that Christ had spoken at that supper else these questions in their minds would not surface as they undoubtedly did. It is revealed by Luke, in Acts, that they had understood but little, for immediately prior to the ascension of Christ into heaven, they had asked Him, Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?—Acts 1:6. Graciously, had the Savior of the world delivered to His disciples abundantly great and grand food for thought; things that would become more clear to them after Pentecost and the outpouring of God the Holy Spirit whose office it is to take the things of Christ and show them to us; he shall bear witness of me.

Christ Jesus had continued with his encouraging revelations adding further announcements beyond those of 14:1-3. He expanded His promise with the further detail in verses 16-20 which constitute the amazing promise of the Spirit;

I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you desolate [as orphans]; I come unto you. Yet a little while, and the world beholdeth me no more; but ye behold me: because I live, ye shall live also. In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

This is the basis of Paul’s statement, is it not, when he has said, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory?

It has been often mentioned by writers, commentators, and others, how that one of Paul’s most common expressions—if not, the most common expression—is  that reference of being ‘in Christ.’ Investigation suggests that a close second to that expression, if not an equal, would be his references such as that in our focus this week, of ‘Christ in you.’ In Romans 8:9-11 the apostle makes reference to the Spirit of God dwelling in the people of God, those of whom he has declared, There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. These folk of whom he states are ‘in Christ Jesus;’ he goes on to make the asseveration that these are they that are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. But he does not leave it at that. He advances the narrative just a few verses later, uttering these remarkable words;

But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. [he now refers not to the Spirit of God, but the Spirit of Christ] And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.—Romans 8:9-10.

He follows this with something of a conclusion when he says, But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you. If we connect this with Paul’s recent remark, in 6:4, that Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, and piece these together as Paul has, we must conclude that believers are indwelt not only by God the Holy Spirit, but also by Christ the Son, and God the Father. This comports with Christ’s own declaration even after He has promised the gift of the indwelling Spirit, He soon after speaks in these lovely terms;

If any man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  

How wonderful, how marvelous! God the Father dwells in us. God the only-begotten Son dwells in us. God the Holy Spirit dwells in us. They have made their abode with us. Father, Son, and Spirit have made their abode with us!

The word ‘abode’ is a delightful and choice word. What it means may be more clear to us if we think in more accurate terminology. An abode is a dwelling-place. And when we think of dwelling-place, we think of God ‘tabernacle-ing’ with His people throughout their journey in the wilderness to the promised land. So here we have God making us His dwelling-place as we sojourn in this world’s wilderness on our way to the Celestial City. And this is that city which Christ first spoke of in our comments. I go to prepare a place….the hope of glory.

 

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

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