Christ In Me
By Charles F. Woodard
"But when it pleased God...to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood" (Gal. 1:15-16).
This was Paul’s magnificent obsession! Not only was the Lord revealed to him on the Damascus Road, but by revelation through faith. This revelation came not from men, but by God:
"For I neither received it [the gospel] of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:12).
Paul’s exalted goal was more than "to know" Christ; it was to actually have the living Christ in Him!
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
A believer must be "crucified with Christ" in order to have the Son "revealed in him" and to have Christ living in this body of flesh.
No conversion alone results in Christ in the believer. Only a crucified life of total commitment, holiness and Christlikeness will effect Christ "formed" in the believer:
"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you" (Gal. 4:19).
God’s Word is explicit in its call for Christians to follow the example of Christ in us! Here is the spiritual life, light and faith of the living Christ in the believer. There is no plateau in spiritual development. The call of God is always onward and upward. Every Christian should seek to have Christ formed in him or her.
One sign of the indwelling presence of Christ is the "Fruit of the Spirit" of Galatians 5:22-23:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance...."
Love, joy and peace result in longsuffering and patience. Gentleness is kindness in action. Goodness shows in fidelity. Meekness and temperance radiate in self-control. Faith is all of the fruit in action.
"Christ in me" should be the priority of all Christians. This incomprehensible concept cannot be limited to the leadership, but sought and shared by all in the Body of Christ. Christ in a believer is faith working in love:
"For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love" (Gal. 5:6).
The religious rites of the flesh do not reflect genuine internal righteousness. Only the constantly abiding residence of Christ in the believer will effect true obedience to God and His Holy Word. The "faith" of Galatians 5:6 above is produced by Christ Himself.
To have Christ formed in us is the upward call of God to His people. The importance of the call is shown in the apostle Paul’s statement to the Galatians that he suffered the travail of birth pangs again for Christ to be formed in these Galatian believers.
It is not enough to have Christ as an example; we need to have His character, His characteristics, and His holiness formed in us.
Any man or woman who is born of the Spirit of God has the Spirit of Christ. However, not all Christians hunger and thirst after righteousness to the point of having the living Christ fully formed in them. This comes only by total commitment--denying self and taking up your cross and following Him.