THREE ASPECTS OF CHRIST IN US
THREE ASPECTS OF CHRIST IN USCopyright Š 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
There are three aspects of the expression, "Christ In Us." The first is that of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The second aspect is that of Christ being born in us in the born-again experience. The third aspect is the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in Christ who has been formed in us.
If we stop to think about it, eternal life has three dimensions. The first is Divine energy. Divine energy comes from eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ.
The second dimension of eternal life is that of delighting to do God's will. It is the discipline of righteous character and behavior according to God's moral law, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the personification.
The third dimension of eternal life is the Presence of God and Christ in our life.
There are three kinds of energy that enable us to live, move, and have our being.
The first is, as I have said, the resurrection Life of Christ in His body and blood.
Then there is the universal energy that comes from God. This is the energy by which all the dead are raised; by which the bodies of outer space were created and are kept in control; and probably by which the angels live.
A person who has lived in victory in Christ will be raised from the dead by this universal power, and then clothed upon with a body fashioned from the Holy Spirit.
A person who has not obeyed Christ will be raised from the dead by this universal power, but will not be clothed upon with the Holy Spirit. He or she will reveal in himself or herself the actions of the sinful nature to which he or she has yielded. As Paul said, this individual will reap corruption.
Then there is the energy that comes from the food we eat.
Eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ gives us bodily immortality; resurrection life, Divine energy. This Divine Life is imperishable. However, if we do not serve Christ, it can be taken from us and given to another. Then we are spiritually dead and may be placed in the Land of Darkness when we die physically.
It is interesting to note that eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood are not associated with seeing and entering the Kingdom of God; with Christ being formed in us, or with the Divine Seed, or with the mystery of the Gospel. Each of these has to do with being born again.
I understand this is sort of tricky and detailed, but I believe it will help us understand what is going on in our personality.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life. Whoever partakes of Him is partaking of His flesh and blood. The flesh and blood of Christ are eternal resurrection life.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)
If Adam and Eve had eaten of the Tree of Life instead of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would have gained immortality. They would have been living to the present day.
Speaking of the Tree of Life, which is the Lord Jesus Christ:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1,2)
When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. (Ezekiel 47:7)
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalms 1:2,3)
Putting these three passages together, one could draw the following conclusion: Within the walls of the new Jerusalem, the Spirit of God flows as a river. The Tree of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ, is planted on one of the banks of the River of Life. From His roots a number of other Trees of Life have come up on both banks of the River.
There are twelve kinds of fruit, all of which come from the original Tree. It is my opinion that each of the other trees bears only one kind of fruit.
The "sheep," the people saved from the nations who are not members of the governing priesthood, will have personalities that differ. There will be one kind of fruit that best brings Divine Life to that personality, just as there are various personalities among those who minister the Gospel today. One personality-type can reach specific kinds of people.
Perhaps that is the meaning of "On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month."
"The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." Today there are many kinds of ministers of the Gospel who have the gifts of healing. They can bring healing to any type of person.
As we continue to live by the body and blood of Christ today, we are gaining bodily immortality. This will be manifest when Jesus appears from Heaven.
When we choose to do what is pleasing to Christ, and resist the temptation to yield to our sinful nature, we are given to eat of the Tree of Life. We are fed with the body and blood of Christ in the spirit realm. This will be true for eternity.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:14,15)
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:7)
We do not gain bodily immortality by grace or mercy or faith, except as faith causes to persist in doing good. How different this is from the current mythologic teaching that is presented as the Gospel of the Kingdom of God!
The second aspect of the expression "Christ In Us" is the born-again experience.
Of all the several dimensions of the Christian redemption, one of the least understood, it seems to me, is that of what it means to be born again.
At the present time it is widely taught that if we will make a profession of belief in Christ we at that time are "born again." This is not true necessarily. What has taken place is, we have professed belief in the theologic facts concerning Christ. However, it may be true that we actually have received Christ at that point and have been born again.
But from what I have seen, I think most people in our day who "accept Christ" have succeeded in satisfying the requirements of our evangelistic techniques but never may have actually met the Man.
Being born again is a spiritualalmost emotional in some instancesexperience. It is not merely a rite of religious orthodoxy.
What does it mean to be "born again." It means that a part of God has been sown in our personality. It is infinitely more than an idea. It is a piece of the Divine Nature. It is of God. It is Divine.
Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (John 1:13)
Actually born of God!
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (II Peter 1:4)
This is a literal fact. If the Seed that has been put in us is nurtured properly, it will grow over a lengthy period until it is like God who planted it.
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (I Peter 1:23)
Since the Seed from God is Divine and therefore imperishable, one might wonder, "Can the Seed that has been sown in us ever finally wither and die if it is not nourished properly?"
The answer is, yes it can. Think about the parable of the sower, which is the foundation of all parables of the Kingdom. The Seed can die from not having enough root; and it can die by being choked out by the cares of the world. In either case, there is no permanent fruit.
The current doctrine of "once saved always saved" is one of the most unscriptural, destructive teachings ever to appear on the Christian scene. The New Testament is against this doctrine in no uncertain terms!
Sometimes it is argued that if a child is born it cannot be unborn. This is true. But in the case of Christ in us, what has been given to us may be taken from us and given to another. We then may be placed in the Land of Darkness, as in the parable of the sower.
It is no small matter to have Christ formed in us and then brought to full term:
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. (Revelation 12:5)
Here is a thought to consider. No one comes to Jesus to be born again except by the direct determination of the Father.
He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." (John 6:65)
Why is this? It is because having Christ born in us signifies we have been appointed as a member of the Royal Priesthood.
Anyone who chooses to believe in Christ can be baptized according to His commandment. He or she shall saved from wrath, just as a Jew was spared when the Divine judgment fell on Egypt if he put the blood of the Passover lamb on his doorpost.
In the case of Israel we see that the priests and Levites were set apart. No member of Israel could by devout behavior become a Levite or a priest. So it is true that those people who have been saved from the nations can, if their behavior warrants it, enter through the gates of the new Jerusalem and eat of the Tree of Life. This would give them Divine Life, but would not make them members of the Royal Priesthood.
The purpose of the Christian Era is to get foreordained people on the path to becoming a member of the priesthood. The purpose of the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Millennium) is to permit the stronger members of the priesthood, of the Body of Christ, to build up the less mature until each one is ready to descend from Heaven to the new earth as part of the new Jerusalem.
Today, during the Christian Era, whosoever chooses to do so may believe in Christ and be baptized, thus receiving forgiveness of sin and protection from the judgment that comes on the world. From among this group of people God selects His priests. They pass from the called, to the chosen, to the faithful. It is a rugged curriculum!
They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kingsand with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:15)
As for the more mature in Christ helping the less mature to come to maturity, this I believe is the meaning of the following passage in the Song of Solomon:
We have a young sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar. (Song of Solomon 8:8,9)
Above you have the thirtyfold and sixtyfold members of the Royal Priesthood. The sixtyfold are not mature, but at least are a wall again sin. The thirtyfold are "doors," that is, Satan takes advantage of them at his will.
The less mature sisters of the Bride must be nurtured by the hundredfold believers until they are ready to descend to new earth as the holy city, the new Jerusalem.
For those of us who may be members of the Royal Priesthood we see the great opportunity and the great danger that confront us at this time. If we are willing to give ourselves wholly to the Lord Jesus Christ, to live by His Life, then we will be raised from the dead; be caught up to meet the Lord in the air; and will descend with Him to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.
However, if we are content to live as a typical American churchgoer, placing numerous activities, relationships, and hobbies, in a higher priority than learning to live by the Life of Christ, we very well may lose whatever part of the Divine Nature that is in us and will end up bearing no lasting fruit.
I would not recommend this latter kind of Christian life. The individual will face at physical death an angry Lord Jesus. He or she may lose what inheritance he or she had, and be placed in the Land of Darkness.
As I said before, being born again is associated with seeing and entering the Kingdom of God, with Christ being formed in us, with the Seed that comes from God, and with the mystery of the Gospel.
The forming of Christ in us, being born again, is not to impart power to us. Rather, it is to bring us under the discipline of the Word of God. The eternal moral law of God is written in our mind and on our heart.
As we grow toward maturity, we find ourselves exclaiming, "I delight to do your will, O God. Yes, Your law is in my heart."
It is this inner compulsion to do God's will that is the distinguishing mark of the Royal Priesthood; and this is why these priests of God govern the behavior of the people saved from the nations.
To be a member of the governing priesthood is the highest honor and privilege that can be given to a human being. Every individual who truly is born again has the opportunity to press forward until Christ, the Anointed High Priest of God, has come to maturity in him or her.
But remember that dire warning in the Book of Revelation: "Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown."
If we are not totally diligent, some person may be successful in pulling us down from our high place in God and we lose our crown of anointing, the crown of the governing priests. We see this happening in our day as distinguished ministers of the Gospel who at one time were in Christ at the right hand of God, torn down to earth by sexual lust.
We have spoken of the first aspect of Christ in us, which is that of partaking of the body and blood of the Lord.
We have spoken of the second aspect of Christ in us, which is the birth of the Nature of Christ in us.
The third aspect is that of becoming a room in the Father's House. The Father's House is the Lord Jesus Himself.
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23)
Please note that God and Christ will not dwell in the adamic nature, only in that personality in which the Divine Nature has been formed.
Here is the goal of redemption, that God might have a house, a dwelling place. Jesus Christ is the House of God and the Chief Cornerstone of this eternal Temple. He went to the cross, and then into the sanctuary in Heaven with His atoning blood, to make a room for us in Himself.
Thus, Christ and His Body are the Royal Priesthood, the dwelling of God among people, the new Jerusalem, who will govern the nations of saved people for eternity, bringing God's Life and blessing to them. The new Jerusalem is the government of the Kingdom of God. The nations of people on the new earth are the citizens of the Kingdom of God.
Such is the plan of God wrought in the first six days of creation. Then God rested, having prepared for Himself an eternal resting place. We are called to enter that finished work by ceasing our own works and finding out each day what God desires for us on that day.
This is what the Lord says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the Lord. (Isaiah 66:1,2)
In our time, God is watching over His Word to perform it!