Christ in You, the Hope of Glory

By Neil Earle

For Paul, Jesus was his life and no one wrote about the Master more fervently.

All good Christian practical theology rests on the assumption that ‘Jesus is enough.” We don’t need Jesus and something else, not Jesus and astrology (the Colossian Heresy), Jesus and the Law (the Galatian heresy), Jesus and Prophecy Addiction (the Thessalonians Problem), Jesus and My Big Fat Opinion (the Corinthian problem), Jesus and the Received Text, Jesus and his mother (Luke 11:27-28), and on and on it goes.

When I was growing up in a very nice Christian church it was almost “Jesus and Easter Lilies.” Ceremony really mattered. Okay if we know what we are doing. We all have our tendency to alter things just a little.

Paul’s personal Credo

That is why I appreciated this message someone sent me from a group called They really hit the nail on the head as far as what the Christian life meant once Jesus was placed first. They knew what life with Jesus in control really means and they did it by expounding a potent little text many consider to be Paul’s personal credo – Galatians 2:20.

You might remember it. It goes like this: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me (ESV).”

Joined to Christ

Paul makes several great claims for the Christian faith in this short verse. First, he reminds us that the believer is entirely joined to Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17). That happened for many at baptism (Romans 6:5) when the believer and Christ were made one person spiritually (John 17:21). We can boldly say, “I am one with Christ” and give thanks humbly for it at the same time. As one old TV preacher used to say, When God looks at me He doesn’t see us. He sees Christ.” That is to say, Christ’s righteousness, victory and life are mine.

There’s a great follow-up in 1 Corinthians 1:30, “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”

“Having it all”

In other words, when you have Jesus you have it all. This is why Paul’s most characteristic phrase – perhaps using it 140 times – is “in Christ” or some aspect of it. This is part of the mystery Paul mentions in Ephesians 5: 30-32. By faith we are joined together with Christ so that we have become members of his body, his flesh and bone.

This takes us to Galatians 2:20 again. “I am still alive.” Frontline pout this very well: The faculties of my fleshly body express my thoughts, will and affection, yet it is not I, but Christ that lives in me. There is then a double life. The first is mine which is natural. The second is the life of Another, that is the life of Christ in me.

As touching my natural life I am dead – but now I live by Another’s life, even Christ. If I lived my own life the Law would have dominion over me and hold me captive. To the end therefore that it should not hold me captive I am dead to it. This death (through my Substitute) purchased for me the life of Another, even the life of Christ: which life is not mine by nature, but given unto me by Christ through faith in Him.

How it works

How can this be? I look at my own person and see only flesh. The answer is that this life which I live in the flesh, I live by faith in and of the Son of God. Observers see me live: I eat, sleep, and labor. Yet they don’t really see my life, my real life in Christ.

Yes I indeed lie in the flesh, but not through the flesh, or according to the flesh. I live through faith and according to faith. Yes, I live in the flesh and exercise the faculties of my fleshly body. Yet every good work, whether self-control, or edification of the saints, or Christian virtue, comes not from my flesh, but from Christ.

I cannot pray, study, serve God’s people but by means of the fleshly faculties that God has given me; but the ability to do these works successfully does not come from my flesh but is given from God above.

Two different worlds

So we see plainly where the spiritual life comes from – it is from the life of Christ in me. This life is not visible to the naked eye. This life is in the heart by faith where the tyranny of the flesh has been killed and Christ reigns through His Holy Spirit. It reminds me of the old 1950s song, “Two different worlds/We live in two different worlds.”

We have here the true manner of justification and a perfect example of the assurance of faith. “He loved me and gave himself for me.” We must allow this to sink into our innermost being and then we will be ever more productive for God. Not that he needs me but he would like to use us in furthering his work (1 Corinthians 15:58).

As we go out into the world, the kingdom of man’s reason and the spiritual kingdom must be put far asunder. By natural strength and ability no man will fulfill the Law and love God. It all begins and ends with the love and grace of God in Christ.Christ in us, the hope of glory!