What does “Christ in us, the hope of glory” mean? We quote it, but do we think about it?
The surface meaning is plain enough. Our hope of glory is the Anointed One living in us. But do we live like that is true?
I am crucified with the King; nevertheless, I live. Yet not I, but the King lives in me, and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
Note: I often translate the untranslated word “Christ” into “King.” “Christ” actually means anointed (just as “Messiah” does), but the Jews would have understood it to refer to the King that is anointed by God. See here for a longer explanation.
“I am crucified with the King.” That’s somewhat mystical.
God intends for us to receive it as truth, but how do we do that? How do we practically apply “I am crucified with the King”?
Is it simply true, and we get beneficial results whether we realize it is true or not? That would mean there is nothing for us to do but to rest in its truth. Do we try harder in order to prove that we’re really crucified with the King, or, even more so, that we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”? (Gal. 5:24).
I think the key is faith. In that verse, the apostle says, “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.”
Even that requires explanation. How do I live by faith in the Son of God?
There are two verses that I think address that question well:
- ” … that we may present every man perfect in King Jesus. For this I also labor, striving according to his power, which works in me mightily. (Col. 1:28-29)
- “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who works in you both to desire and to do his will.” (Php. 2:12-13)
You can see the synergy in these verses. Two things are happening. We are striving, but we are striving using a power that comes from God.
I believe we underestimate both sides of that synergy.
One, we underestimate God’s side. We are people who casually say, “If you’re a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit.” That’s all wrong. It should read, “If you’re a Christian, YOU HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVING IN YOU!”
How can God living in you not be the most amazing thing ever?!
Hebrews tells us that we have entered into a better covenant [WITH GOD!] based on better promises. We are PARTAKERS OF HIS DIVINE NATURE!! (2 Pet. 1:4). How much better can a promise get?
The same verse tells us that we HAVE ALREADY escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
I could go on and on reiterating the promises of God. Sin shall not have power over us! (Rom. 6:14). We can expect to arrive at the judgment seat of God, filled with the Holy Spirit, cleansed of sin by the blood of Jesus, having lived a life in the light by the power of God, blameless and without a single blemish (1 Jn. 1:7-9; Jude 24; etc.).
We vastly underestimate God’s side of the equation. We ought to be in awe every day.
We also vastly understimate our side of the equation.
How did the apostles respond to this great gift of God?
- Paul: “I do not run uncertainly. I do not box like a someone shadow boxing. I discipline my body, and I make it my slave, lest in some way, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Cor. 9:26-27)
- Peter: “Give every effort to make your calling and election sure.” (2 Pet. 1:10)
- James: “He gives more grace. … Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners! Purify your hearts, double-minded ones! Be afflicted! Mourn and weep!
- Hebrews: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus … Consider him who endured such opposition of sinners toward himself so that you do not become faint and weary in your own minds. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed striving against sin.”
I would say the apostles took their responsibility to use the power of God seriously.
I said at the beginning that this had to do with faith. You will never run the race the way Paul tells you to unless you know with Paul that King Jesus lives in you. You will never obey and tackle the painful, difficult things God calls you to unless you know there is power to overcome.
Let us feed ourselves with faith in the power of God. Let us see ourselves as God sees us. We are not mere humans. The Corinthians were rebuked for behaving like mere humans (1 Cor. 3:3). We are children of God, delivered from the corruption of this world.
Let us believe it and live like it is true.
From out of him you are in King Jesus, who from God has been made wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and redemption to you. (1 Cor. 1:30)