2007-12-15 - InChristness
Philippians 2:1, 2, "If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose."
The Apostle Paul said a lot of things, and to boil it down to a page is not something I will pretend to do here. However, there might be a theme that we can use to sum up Paul. If I had to pick a theme, I suppose I might say: There is freedom in Christ. I say this for several reasons. One is that Paul was big on the Gospel of salvation, and the Gospel gives the believer freedom both from sin, and from the demands of the law of God. Paul was concerned about the purity of the Gospel, and we should be concerned about it also.
The Paul that comes out in the New Testament is man of principle. We might have agreed with him, but I am not sure we would have liked him. He would have confronted us at the core. He would have looked at our lives and said, "You can do 'that' and claim to be a Christian?" "Well, you see Paul, I do not do it often. I only do it occasionally just for a treat." "Oh, yes," says Paul, "the problem is worse than I thought." "Say what?" "You sin for a treat." Paul would go on and tell us that when we only get drunk on occasion - or whatever the matter is in question, and only when it is a treat, or when needed, or when nobody sees - that it tells us the bent of our hearts. He would say to us that when we view sin as such, it shows us which way the direction of our hearts is set. He would tell us that it proves that we really love the sin more than we love Christ. He would tell it like it is, and most of us don't like that.
But Paul did not say those things, and rightly or wrongly, I was putting words in his mouth. However, one thing Paul frequently talked about was being "in Christ." In the writings of Paul, that phrase "in Christ," is used over 160 times. It is the theme of Paul. It is the theme of the Holy Spirit through Paul. It must also be our theme. If we are talking with others, or are alone in our prayer closets, our subject matter should - in one way or another - relate to this theme of "InChristness." Being in Christ should be the premise, main course and conclusion of all we are about. Being in Christ is something we can bank on in every aspect of our lives. We can do the WWJD© thing with "in Christ" also. Can I go to this movie "in Christ?" Can I participate in this activity "in Christ?" Paul was huge on speaking about both the implications and the need of being in Christ. He teaches us much here, and by God's grace, may "InChristness" be also one of our themes in all we are.
Soli Deo Gloria,