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DEVOTIONALS ON COLOSSIANS

THE ULTIMATE  INDWELLING OF CHRIST (3)

Colossians 1:24-29

Gordon E. Johnson

Rio Grande Bible Institute

Paul has prayed for the Colossian believers, not ever having met them personally.  His prayer to the Father is for the full understanding of their position in Christ – filled with wisdom and understanding, so as to walk worthy of their high calling (Col. 1:9-14).

To show them the greatness of that calling, Paul gives one of the fullest descriptions of who Christ really is, the Incomparable Christ, the invisible God, the creator, the sustainer and finally the head of the church of which they are a vital part in spite of their rebellious past (Col.1:21-23).

Now Paul will rejoice in his part in their conversion.  He has been a share indirectly in them through Epaphras their minister, their servant.  His sufferings in jail, as the Apostle to the Gentiles, are all a part of that high calling in their behalf. Paul sees his sufferings as a part of Christ's sufferings, not as their Savior but rather in the role of his sharing in their behalf his suffering for the body's sake. But suffering is a part of the Christian's high calling – to suffer for the sake of the body of Christ is Paul's highest honor (Col.1:24-25).

Paul rejects the idea that the true believer is exempt from suffering, as some would teach today. His sufferings and theirs in multiple ways identify them with the head of the church who suffered vicariously that we might live. In another prison epistle he says: "For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake [an honor], not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for his sake" (Philippians 1:29). What a different perspective on suffering! Suffering is not to be dreaded or feared but rather accepted as a part of our high calling in Christ Jesus.

But what follows is breathtaking.  Paul has introduced them (v.26) to the ultimate, the supreme fact of the Christian life - the indwelling of the Christ, not ever our achievement but rather a revelation to us, a recognition of that glorious fact. This knowledge was hid from generations past but now is openly revealed to the Gentiles, "what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you [us] the hope of glory" (v.27).

The glorious truth that Christ by the Holy Spirit dwells in every true believer is the very foundation of our relationship with him. All experience should depart from that fact and all life should return again and again to it. He is the ultimate realization of God's presence.

We didn't earn his indwelling nor merit it; the Holy Spirit alone imparts and maintains it.  Our part is to believe it, give thanks for it, allow it govern every thought and action.  His presence does not depend on our "feelings" it; it depends on his solid word of promise. "But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (Romans. 8:10)."But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him" (1 Corinthians 6:17).

On the basis of this glorious fact, "we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ" (v.28). From this truth of the indwelling as a daily reality in Christ, every believer grows and matures and stands in God's presence with full confidence.  In the truth of justification, our new permanent standing in Christ, we move on to Christ in us: Christ our righteousness in justification and in the forgiveness of all our sins and now Christ in us and we in him in sanctification and holiness of walk.

The Christian life takes on new reality, its only true reality, when we grasp by faith that he does live in us. We need only to believe it and out of that saving faith to obey, give thanks for it and experience the presence of the Holy Spirit making it a present reality. Not I but Christ - Paul's glory.

Reflection and Recognition

To walk with Christ is to receive his sufferings as a part of our ministry. Saved to serve and suffer as two parts of the whole.

Have you read and re read the passage to grasps its depth and practical application?

Meditate on the differences in your life if Christ were preeminent in every area of daily life and service:

Relationships  ……………………………………………………………………….

Attitudes …………………………………………………………………………….

Your new perspective on yourself……………………………………………………