Abiding in Christ
.... "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
.... Life is as basic as it gets, and this passage is saying that we no longer live. But should we take this passage literally? That we no longer live, but it is Christ who lives in us? If so, then what happened to our lives?
.... "For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."
.... To abide in Christ means there is an actual exchange of life between us, a joining of our lives with Him into one: "For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one." (Hebrews 2:11). Think of an earthly marriage in which the two become one flesh and you'll have something analogous (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:31-32), for the Scriptures say that "he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." (1 Corinthians 6:17). This is the very heart of our covenant with the Lord, and what it means to abide in Him.
.... For clarity's sake, let’s use another example to explain this further. Perhaps you've seen an old western movie in which a cowboy and an Indian come to respect each other, so they become blood brothers? To seal their covenant they slice open their thumbs or the palms of their hands, then hold the two open wounds together.
.... This ceremony is largely symbolic but it reflects a Biblical fact, that ‘the life of the body is in the blood’ (Leviticus 17:11). Therefore, as the blood of the first man flows into the veins of the other, to some extent his life is keeping the other man alive; and when the blood of the other flowed into the veins of the first, to some extent his life is keeping the first man alive. There is an exchange of life between them. Of course, the scope in this illustration is inadequate but it does convey the basic concept. There’s an exchange of life between ourselves and Jesus, and His own life is keeping us alive. That’s what it’s means to abide in Christ:
.... Therefore, when the Bible says ‘in Christ’, we should understand that it's talking about Him first and foremost, and then of us as we abide in Him. And when it speaks of ‘Christ in you’, it’s talking about our side of the same coin: a truth that has been applied to us through abiding in Him. We see both perspectives mentioned together in the quotation above.
.... So in our covenant with the Lord, we abide in Jesus and He in us; and if we are in Christ, it’s because Christ dwells in us. It is in this sense, in the exchange of spirit and life, that we are joined with Him.
To proceed to the next lesson, click hereDaily Bible Reading: John 1