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23rd August 2015
One phrase has lived with me throughout the last 11 weeks as I've been on sabbatical: "...Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27)
For the Christian, the reality is that Jesus is living in you – wherever you go, He goes with you. Christ being in you means two things: firstly, you will experience internal transformation; secondly, you will bring about external transformation.
Transformation takes place within us so that we can transform those around us. Christ in you means you are being taken from one degree of glory to another: you're different to who you were a few months ago because you are becoming increasingly like Jesus.
The world looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. Peter writes that we are now "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). The core of our nature is being changed. And Philippians says that God finishes the work He has started (1:6).
Christ in you means that you begin to understand your new nature as a son or daughter. We haven't just been saved for our sins to be forgiven and our consciences cleansed – amazing as those things are! – but we have been saved for adoption into His family. Whatever you've done, if you have accepted Jesus you are a co-heir with Him. Everything that is true of the Son, if you're in Him, is true of you!
Christ in you reveals who you really are. The Bible says that Christians have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We are called to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2). You can know joy even when the most horrific things happen, because Christ is in you. You can know peace. You can know rest – no more striving to be accepted or for recognition.
Christ in you means He's the answer for everything. He is enough for you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
As we as being transformed on the inside, we are called to transform the world around us. Kris Vallotton says: "You will always reproduce the environment around you that you cultivate within you." If we're going to see communities and cities and nations transformed, we need to be like vending machines that pour out love, extending it wherever we go.
We carry the Kingdom wherever we go. We are to steward what He's given us – grace, mercy, forgiveness, love and so much more – and give it away. Who can you pour out mercy and love on today? Who can you notice who no one else has spoken to today? We are to be Kingdom stewards, who give our grace because we have received so much of it!
Posted by Santino Hamberis
16th August 2015
Moses prayed what Spurgeon called the greatest petition that man ever asked of God: “Now show me your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)
God is everywhere – the Psalmist says there’s nowhere we can flee from God’s presence (Psalm 139) – so what does it mean when Moses says that if God’s presence doesn’t go with them, they won’t go? God is everywhere, but in the Bible His presence means His manifest presence to bless.
Moses argues with God. Prayer is claiming the promises of God back to Him, pressing into all that He has for us. Prayer is rooted in God’s promises – He has already given us the reasons why He should answer.
Are you crying out, like Moses, for God’s manifest presence? God’s response to Moses asking to see His glory is to reveal His name. Biblically someone’s name reveals the deepest insight into their character – God’s name is who He really is. And what is His name? Is it holiness? Power? Justice? No, first and foremost it is that He is good. That is the glory of God.
The whole essence of the Christian faith is understanding that God is good and God is in control. He’s not just good – He’s not like a cosmic Santa who wants to be nice to you but doesn’t have the ability to bless you because you’ve been naughty. And He’s not just sovereign – just someone who is just powerful and in control but without being good.
Whatever you’re going through, God wants you to know that He is good and He is in control. God’s glory is His goodness and His sovereignty.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the glory of God. John writes of Jesus: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
This means that Christians – those who the Bible describes as “in Christ” – are connected to the glorious One and His glory is in us. This isn’t just the case when we’re in church meetings, but all of the time! We carry about with us the glory of God; we are glory-carriers. The Bible describes us as “jars of clay” on the outside, but indwelt with glory!
This is who we are! We need to be more aware of our identity in Christ. Culture tells us to find our identity by finding out who we are. For the Christian, we find out our identity by finding out who we are in Him! The trouble is that we look at the outside and see the jars of clay, the cracked pot. But the reality is that we need to see the glory of God in one another.
All we need to know is that God is good and God is in control and we will find that He gives us opportunities to show His glory – to show His goodness and mercy and love and compassion and kindness to others.
People will criticise us for some of the things we believe and some of the things we do, but Peter writes: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day that he visits us… For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people…” (1 Peter 2:12, 15)
We don’t get into heaven by being good – that’s by grace – but we are called to be good. We’re called to acts of mercy and kindness and goodness as we carry God’s glory to those around us all through the week.
Posted by Jeremy Simpkins