Christ In Us, The Hope Of Glory
By Rich Carmicheal
This issue of the Herald focuses on the themes of repentance and revival, including the significance of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in filling us with the life of God. The messages provide an encouraging and powerful reminder that the Lord wants us to be overflowing with spiritual life and fruitfulness. The messages also call us to examine ourselves and repent of anything that may be hindering God’s fullness in our lives and ministries.
As Henry Blackaby points out in the lead article, repentance is a very positive word from the Lord because He accompanies it with the reminder that the kingdom of God is right next to us waiting to be unfolded in our lives. In other words, when we repent and walk in step with Christ, we can fully expect to experience the supernatural life of God, the presence of God, the power of God, the peace of God, the joy of God, the love of God, and on and on!
Rivers of Living Water
There is no doubt that God wants rivers of living water to flow from within each of our hearts. His will for you and me is that we be filled with the life of His Spirit, the fruit of His Spirit, and that we be conformed to the image of His Son. He wants us filled with His Word and with boldness to share His Word with others. He wants us to be strong in Him and in the power of His might (Eph. 6:10), to serve in His strength, and to have power to do good works, to overcome temptation and to live a godly life.
He wants us rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:17) and for our love to increase and abound to one another and to all (1 Thes. 3:12). He wants us to know and walk in the full dimension of the love of Christ – the width, length, depth and height – a love which surpasses knowledge (Eph. 5:2; 3:18-19).
He wants our lives full of joy – joy that makes us want to sing and shout (Psa. 65:13); joy that is “exceeding,” “everlasting,” “inexpressible and full of glory” (Psa. 43:4; Isa. 35:10; 1 Pet. 1:8).
He wants our lives filled with peace that keeps our hearts from being troubled or afraid (John 14:27), a peace which surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7).
Christ In Us
How are such things possible when we live in a broken world and face so many struggles and trials? The answer is really very simple. Spiritual fullness and fruitfulness come from Christ in us. When we abide in Christ, and Christ abides in us, we will naturally (or supernaturally) overflow with His life and bear much fruit for His glory (John 15:4-8). On the other hand, apart from Him we can do nothing! (v. 5).
As Oswald Chambers points out in one of his daily devotionals, “If I will simply come to Jesus, my real life will be brought into harmony with my real desires. I will actually cease from sin, and will find the song of the Lord beginning in my life. …Personal contact with Jesus changes everything.”
Henry Blackaby says the same thing in a different way: “It is spiritually impossible to be going with Christ and not experience the power of God…. Are you experiencing resurrection power? If you are in union with Christ, you are going to experience what He did.”
Consider as well how Andrew Murray describes the same incredible truth: “[Jesus] communicates the purity, the power, the life of heaven to us. We live in heaven with Him; He lives with heaven in us. With Him in our hearts we have the kingdom of heaven within us, in which God’s will is done, as in heaven, so on earth. Let us believe it can most surely be.”
The simple, but profound reality is that as believers Christ is in us! “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Gal. 2:20). No wonder we are to be filled to overflowing with His power, for He is all-powerful and His resurrection power and energy are at work in us mightily (Eph. 1:19; 3:20; Col. 1:29). No wonder we are to overflow with His love, for He is love (1 John 4:8) and He pours His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). No wonder we are to be filled with joy, for “fullness of joy” comes from His presence (Psa. 16:11). No wonder we can have such deep and abiding peace, for He is the Lord of peace who gives us peace always and in every way (2 Thes. 3:16). And no wonder we can live holy and godly lives, for He is the One who sanctifies us (Heb. 2:11), and is Himself our “righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). In other words, He is our life! (Col. 3:4).
Repentance and Revival
Such truths make repentance all the more significant. How tragic if we miss out on such abundant life and fruitfulness because of any sin in our lives! The Lord’s call to repentance is out of His love and concern for us and is based on “the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering” (Rom. 2:4). As Christ Himself declares, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:19). He calls us to repentance because repentance leads to salvation, life and times of refreshing “from the presence of the Lord” (2 Cor. 7:10; Acts 11:18; 3:19).
It is time, therefore, to repent thoroughly and to seek the Lord for revival. No more sin, no more lukewarmness, no more complacency. It is time to turn unreservedly toward the Lord and to yield ourselves completely to Him so that He may work fully in us and through us for His glory. The world around us needs to see and encounter the life, love, power, righteousness, joy and peace of Christ who is in us. He must increase; we must decrease (John 3:30). Christ in us is the hope of glory! (Col. 1:27).
“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation. I will hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land” (Psa. 85:6-9).