I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (verses 25-27)
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” What a stunning phrase.
So often Paul speaks of the fact that we ourselves are “in Christ.” This, now, is the corollary – Christ is in us!
What are the implications? Several come to mind:
(1) Christ’s presence. This is the most basic, but most profound insight. He is truly “Immanuel – God with us,” indeed residing in the very core of our being. This is the greatest possible intimacy, the deepest possible connection, the closest imaginable relationship. Think of the connection of a branch in the vine, his own life flowing in us (John 15:4-5). Think of close fellowship over a good meal, Jesus entering through the door of our lives simply because he desires to be with us (Revelation 3:20). Think of the intimacy of being named “friend,” the Son of God choosing us, embracing us in friendship (John 15:13-15).
(2) The Father’s love. On the night before he went to the cross, Jesus, speaking to the Father, prayed that, “the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:26). Christ within us means that the unfathomable love of the Father for the Son is poured out into our own hearts. Think of the Father’s voice echoing from heaven over Jesus’ baptism: “You are my Son, whom I love. With you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). That same love of the Father echoes over us. Stunning.
(3) Maturity. Paul takes the image a step further, seeing it paving the way for growth in Christ. Speaking to the Galatians, he says, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you …” (Galatians 4:19). Christ is in us, yes, and the full promise is that our life will be completely shaped by his presence, Jesus himself being “formed” within us. What glorious hope.
(4) Strength in the battle. The Apostle John reminds us, “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). In the midst of the battle (which doesn’t end this side of glory), we have the strong presence of our Saviour filling us with his own mighty strength. And that strength is sure. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8). This is the very one who now dwells within. I think of the schoolyard bully fleeing in terror when his victim’s bigger, stronger, older brother comes on the scene. How much more so when Christ is in us.
(5) Future hope. Because he lives within us, we know what’s coming. Glory. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Of course. “If Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness … (and) he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you”(Romans 8:10-11). Yes – glory is coming. “We know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:3). Christ, formed within us, will fully transform us into his likeness. What glory!
So, cling to this remarkable phrase: Christ in you. Live the intimacy. Deepen the relationship. Revel in the love. Grow in his likeness. Embrace his strength for battle. And set sights on the glory that is surely coming.
Lord Jesus, I welcome your presence afresh. Thank you. Live your life in me. Shape me according to your own life and character. Turn my eyes to you, each and every day. And fill me with the sure hope of your glory. Amen.
Reflect: Take one of the themes above and live with it all day. Pray it into your experience. Keep eyes on Jesus, knowing his indwelling presence.
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash