What do we as Christians lack today? (2018-06-12)

Today, human beings are ‘saved’ because they have accepted Christ into their beings. Through his Spirit, something has happened to a group of humans so they believe that they are insufficient and have sinned, being convicted by their conscience. Furthermore, they believe that Christ died for them on the cross to absolve them of their sins so they are forgiven. Although some people end here, others believe Christ has come into them and made a home in their hearts. They are ‘born’ of God. Then some believe they must live a good life from this point onward with God’s help as he said he will sent us a Helper. They need to ‘do good’ or ‘do the things of God’ to please him.

God’s plan for us is much higher than we can imagine. God came to make a home in our hearts (John 14:23). He came to dwell in us so we are no longer living by our human abilities. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Rom. 7:18) “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.” (Rom. 8:9) He gave us his life, coming so that we “may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) This life was not our own but his life, his divine life carrying his divine nature into us. “By which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Pet. 1:4) We need to realize we are partakers of the divine nature as believers of Christ.  When Christ died on the cross for us, he placed an unlimited measure of his Spirit into each believer, “for God gives the Spirit without limit.” (John 3:34 – NIV) The same God is within each believer today, making us so precious. (Mat. 18:10-14) What we have fallen short of is our realization of Him in us. We all know that God lives in us. But Christians differ in how much they realize He is living inside them. “Do you not realize this in yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Cor. 13:5) What Christians lack is a realization that Christ Jesus lives in them. If we fully understand the significance of this reality, we would radically let him change us and be different from what we are. The creator of this universe that existed before time, had given us his grace before time began. “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” (2 Tim. 1:9) The same being came as a man, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men,” (Phil. 2:6-7) to die for our sins on the cross, “being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross,” (Phil. 2:8) and resurrected on the third day, ascending into heaven to appear before God the Father, (John 20:17) this God is now living inside of us as the “life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). This all-powerful God, who transcends space, “For from him and through him and to him are all things,” (Rom. 11:36) and time, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end,” (Rev. 22:13) fills our lives with meaning, with wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and fear of the Lord, (Isa. 11:2) by establishing a relationship with us, “a fellowship of the Spirit,” (2 Cor. 13:14) based on love. “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16) In love, he is unifying his world with our world, unifying heaven and earth, (Eph. 1:9-10) to form a new creation that combines God with man, “creat[ing] in himself, one new man.” (Eph. 2:15) He will transfer us into his unified ‘dimension’ that contains the invisible God with the visible man. (Col. 1:15-16) We cannot even imagine this world, as “eye have not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9) We just know that in this world, there is a God who loves us like a father, “see what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are,” (1 John 3:1) because he is our Father, giving birth to us so we could have his divine life. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6) We have a Father who loves us in an unwavering steadfast way, (Psa. 52:1,8) whose character is righteousness, (Psa. 145:17; 119:137; 48:10; 119:142) who is full of mercy and kindness towards us. (Eph. 2:4-5) This very God lives inside of us! By being inside of us, we are able to express who he is today. His nature, his being, his very self is being reflected off us “as in a mirror,” (2 Cor. 3:18) transforming us into his image so we are a “new creation.” (Gal. 6:15) That is why we become his very righteousness, “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21) His nature becomes our nature. The people who do this, who have submitted their wills to his will, recognizing the poverty of their human condition without him, forms his church, the Body of Christ. They are not ‘playing church,’ simply practicing a set of outward actions, but are the church, living a life in his reality. They bear the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22) They express Christ himself. He becomes the Head and the church becomes his Body. “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Eph. 1:22-23) “By abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man.” (Eph. 2:15) We have finally realized our own insignificance, surrendering all to him as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), so Christ has “a people for his own possession,” (1 Pet. 2:9) the Christians who have become “one Spirit with him,” (1 Cor. 6:17) submitting to him as the Head, forming his Body, (Eph. 1:22-23) living in unity with him and with each other thus “unif[ying] all things in him.” (Eph. 1:10) He is showing us a dimension beyond our human understanding. (I Cor. 2:9) Through the Spirit, he is realizing in us what is divine, what is of God, what is of Christ and his church. This is the divine revelation.

Sadly, this is not our situation today. We celebrate individualism, so our ‘churches’ are divided, each one seeking the ‘truth.’ We have a clergy-laity system, so Christians don’t have to know him. We let the clergy know him. When we meet the bridegroom, each one of us has to seriously ask ourselves, would Christ say, “I do not know you?” (Mat. 25:12) Christ is the Head of the church in name only as, collectively, we are not relying on the Spirit. We are governed by policies and differing methods of practice leading to division. But Christians were supposed to exist as one body and one Spirit when they were called. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called.” (Eph. 4:4) What have we done? The only way to realize Christ is to completely surrender to the Spirit so he can reveal his way to us. “I am the way, and the truth [reality], and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) We can only come to the Father through Christ and nothing else. Only when we surrender all to him can the remnant of God’s people (Acts 15:17) band together to form “a people for his own possession.” (1 Pet. 2:9)

Surrendering to God is extremely hard for man to do. Abandoning our practices is even harder, as God is telling us what not to do. It is contrary to our knowledge of ‘good.’ So following Paul’s example of having “suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him,” (Phil. 3:8-9) is most difficult. It radically changes our thinking and behaviour. To accomplish this, Christ has given us a Helper, the Spirit of reality. (John 14:16-17) By establishing a relationship with this Spirit, by loving the Christ living inside of us, we are realizing Christ himself living within us. As we love him, we will do what the Lord wants. The more we love him, whether it is by our efforts or by his – it doesn’t matter, (John 21:15-19) the more we will realize and do what the Lord wants. As we mature in him, we will love him with an ‘agape’ love. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” (Phil. 3:12-15) As we mature in Christ, realize through Christ we can forget what lies behind, instilled into us over the years “according to the tradition[s] of men.” (Col. 2:8) We must strain forward to what lies ahead, toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. God will reveal what we are to think and to do within our spirit. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phi. 2:13) There is a small number of Christians who realize this today. We need to let Christ search our hearts to see what the Spirit is saying to us. “And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom. 8:27)

As we realize him more and more, we surrender more and more to him, loving him more and more, and, as a result, our faith grows more and more in him. In this visible world, we come to love and rely on an invisible God who expresses his will and his nature though us. This is the growth in faith we all talk about. Christian growth is not how much Christ there is in a person, it is how much we realize he is there. “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16) Realize the fullness of Christ is already there in your spirit. Realize “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” (Phil. 4:13) because it is through him who lives in you that you can overcome all things in your daily life. Realize in the Body of Christ, everything we do for him is “empowered by the one and the same Spirit,” (1 Cor. 12:11) who lives inside of us. Realize “He has made you competent ministers of the new covenant — not of the letter but of the Spirit,” (2 Cor. 3:6 – NIV) because he is in you. Realize you are the sons of God, (John 1:12-13) with all that this reality implies, because Christ is in you. So what Christians lack today is the realization that Jesus Christ lives in them.

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