So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.2
Recently, while I was meditating, Paul’s famous statement in Colossians 1:27 came to mind: “…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” There is a staggering amount of depth in those seven words, but one simple thing they clearly show (as do numerous other scriptures) is that, at least here, “Christ” does not refer to a person named Jesus. There is no tiny human living inside our bodies. So then, what or who is this “Christ” within us, providing our hope of glory?
As I noted recently, the word “Christ” an adjective, a word of description, meaning “anointed.” An anointing is an impartation of God’s spirit upon or within something in order to set it apart and empower it for a specific purpose. In Colossians 1:27, what Paul meant was this: the only hope of “glory” (manifesting God’s nature, achieving a higher, spiritual state of being), either for us as individuals or as the body of Christ as a whole, is for us to receive and walk in harmony with the inward anointing of God’s spirit. Perhaps surprisingly, this holds true even of Jesus, a man whom God made to be “the Christ” by anointing him with power and then raising him from the dead (see my previous post for more on that).
If all this is true, then the real issue is this: how does this anointing work; how does the Christ within us produce glory? (I wish questions like these were given more attention). To answer it, let’s first look at something Paul emphasized in his letters to at least three different congregations: the Romans (Romans 6), Ephesians (Ephesians 4), and Colossians (Colossians 3). To each, he wrote about an “old man” who is dead and must be shunned, and a “new man” who is alive and must be embraced. Each of these “men” represent a nature or a mind with which we perceive things and live according to. In the passage from Romans 8 below, you’ll notice Paul specifically mentions the “mind of the flesh” and the “mind of the spirit.” In brief, the “old man” is Adam and everything that comes from his fallen, lifeless nature, and the “new man” is Christ and everything that comes from his nature of abundant spiritual life. (I wrote about this a bit more here).
Romans 8:6-10 (WEB): “For the mind of the flesh (our natural/Adamic mind, the old man) is death (it’s dead, and everything that comes from it, good or bad, is dead), but the mind of the Spirit (mind of Christ within, the new man) is life and peace (connects with God and conforms to His will); because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God (opposed to Him); for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be (no connection with God, who is spirit and love). Those who are in the flesh (religiously living by the mind of the old man) can’t please God (and have no hope of glory). But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if (since) it is so that the Spirit of God (Christ) dwells in you. But if any man doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his. If (since) Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness.”
Another literal Greek translation of “if Christ is in you” could be: “since Christ is in you…” Paul was writing to believers, so I believe he was saying that since Christ (the anointing of God’s spirit) is within, then that inner spirit is full of life and at peace, though at the same time your own mind (“the mind of the flesh”) cannot connect with God (is dead) and is at enmity with Him (no peace). In learning to follow the anointing of Christ within into glory, step #1 is to realize that there is a difference between your own mind and will, and that of Christ is in you, and that the former is irreversibly spiritually dead and useless. It’s the old man who is religious, fearful, guilty, prideful, blind, arrogant, and so on. The new man is full of love, joy, peace, courage, life.
1 John 2:27 says: “As for you, the anointing which you received from him (Christ) remains in you, and you don’t need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing (Christ) teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him.” Do you want to be a follower of Jesus? Living according to the mind of Christ/the spirit within IS to follow him!!! That’s how Jesus lived! Jesus was absolutely not religious, he had no awareness of separation from God his Father, no awareness of sin, no sense of fear, guilt or of obligation to do certain things he felt he “should.” He knew his Father’s life, presence, and spirit were with him and in him, and so he simply did and said what that life in him naturally led him to. Yes, he prayed to his Father, and we should too. But as we mature, we will begin to realize that God is always with us and in us, and that often, our circumstances are from Him and our will and His will are one. When “Christ in us” is what we are aware of and operate based on, and the mind of the flesh is shunned, there will be much more peace, trust, and use of authority, and much less begging and worry.
I wish I understood and could articulate more, but I will continue to share what I receive. God bless you.
John 14:28, John 5:30; 8:28; 8:42; 8:49; 12:49; 14:10.
1 Corinthians 15:45-47