Christ In You
By Charles H. Spurgeon
“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:26-27).
The Gospel is the grand secret, the mystery of mysteries. The riches of the glory of this mystery may here be seen set out to open view – “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The essence of this mystery is Christ Himself. In these days certain would-be wise men are laboriously attempting to constitute a church without Christ, and to set forth a salvation without a Savior. But their Babel building is as a bowing wall and a tottering fence. The center of the blessed mystery of the Gospel is Christ Himself in His person. What a wonderful conception it was that ever the infinite God should take upon Himself the nature of man! It never would have occurred to men that such condescension would be thought of. Even now that it has been done, it is a great mystery of our faith. God and man in one person is the wonder of heaven, and earth, and hell. Well might David exclaim, “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?” (Psa. 8:4).
The first thought of the incarnation was born in the unsearchably wise mind of God. It needed omnipotent omniscience to suggest the idea of “Immanuel, God with us.” Think of it! The Infinite an infant, the Ancient of Days a child, the Ever-Blessed a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief! The idea is original, astounding, and divine. Oh, that this blending of the two natures should ever have taken place!
Brethren, the heart of the Gospel throbs in this truth. The Son of the Highest was born at Bethlehem, and at His birth, before He had worked a deed of righteousness or shed a drop of blood, the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14), for they knew that the Incarnation had within itself a wealth of good things for men. When the Lord Himself took our manhood it meant inconceivable benediction to the human race. “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given...” (Isa. 9:6), and in that Child and Son we find our salvation. God in our nature can mean for us nothing but joy.
How favored is our race in this respect! What other creature did the Lord thus espouse? We know that He took not up angels, but He took up the seed of Abraham. He took upon Him human nature, and now the next being in the universe to God is man. He who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, is this day crowned with glory and honor, and made to have dominion over all the works of Jehovah’s hands. This is the Gospel indeed. Do not sinners begin to hope?
Is there One in your nature who is “Light of lights, very God of very God,” and do you not perceive that this must mean good to you? Does not the “Word made flesh” dwelling among men awaken hope in your bosoms, and lead you to believe that you may yet be saved? Certainly, the fact of there being such a union between God and man is the delight of every regenerated mind.
Our Lord’s person is at this day constituted in the same manner. He is still God and man. Still He can sympathize with our manhood to the fullest, for He is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. And yet He can help us without limit, seeing He is equal with the Father. Though manifestly divine, yet Jesus is none the less human. Though truly man, He is none the less divine, and this is a door of hope to us, a fountain of consolation which never ceases to flow.
Christ’s Glorious Work
When we think of our Lord we remember with His person the glorious work which He undertook and finished on our behalf. Being found in fashion as man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. He took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, because we had failed in our service, and could not be saved unless another did suit and service on our behalf. The Heir of all things girded Himself to be among us as One that serves. What service His was! How arduous! How humble! How heavy! How all-consuming! His was a life of grief and humiliation, followed by a death of agony and scorn. Up to the Cross He carried our entire load, and on the Cross He bore, that we might never bear, His Father’s righteous wrath.
Oh, what has Christ not done for us? He cast our sins into the depths of the sea. He has taken the cup which we ought to have drunk forever, and He has drained it dry, and left not a dreg behind. He has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. And now He has finished transgressions, made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and gone up to His Father’s throne within the veil, bearing His divine oblation, and making everything right and safe for us, that by-and-by we may follow Him, and be with Him where He is. Oh yes, brethren, Christ’s person and finished work are the pillars of our hope. I cannot think of what He is, what He has done, and what He is doing, and what He will yet do, without saying, “He is all my salvation and all my desire.”
My brethren, every one of our Lord’s offices is a well-spring of comfort. Is He Prophet, Priest, and King? Is He Friend? Is He Brother? Is He Husband? Is He Head? Every way and everywhere we lean the weight of our soul’s great business upon Him, and He is our all in all.
Besides, there is this sweet thought, that He is our Representative. Know you not that of old He was our Covenant Head, and stood for us in the great transactions of eternity? Like as the first Adam headed up the race, and stood for us – alas, I must correct myself – fell for us, and we fell in him. So now has the second Adam taken up within Himself all His people and stood for them, and kept for them the covenant, so that now it is ordered in all things and sure, and every blessing of it is infallibly secured to all the seed. Believers must and shall possess the covenanted inheritance because Jesus represents them, and on their behalf has taken possession of the estate of God.
Whatever Christ is, His people are in Him. They were crucified in Him, they were dead in Him, they were buried in Him, they are risen in Him, in Him they live eternally, in Him they sit gloriously at the right hand of God, who “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). In Him we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6), both now and forever. And this, I say, is the essence of the whole Gospel. He that preaches Christ preaches the Gospel. He, who does not preach Christ, preaches no Gospel. It is no more possible for there to be a Gospel without Christ than a day without the sun, or a river without water. No, Christ Himself is the life, soul, substance, and essence of the mystery of the Gospel of God.
Christ, Himself, again I say, and no other. I go a little farther still. As it must be Christ Himself, and none other, it must also be Christ Himself rather than anything which Christ gives. I was thinking the other day how different Christ is from all the friends and helpers that we have. They bring us good things, but Jesus gives us Himself. He does not merely give us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, but He Himself is made of God all these things to us. Hence we can never do without Him.
The more we are filled with Christ, the more we feel our own natural emptiness. The more we know of Him, the more we long to know Him. Paul, writing to the Philippians, when he had been a Christian for many years, yet says, “That I may know Him...” (Phil. 3:10). O, Paul, do you not know Christ yet? “Yes,” he says, “and no,” for he knew the love of Christ, but felt that it surpassed all knowledge. “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full...” (Eccl. 1:7). This is not our case in one respect, and yet it is in another, for all the streams of grace and love and blessedness flow into our souls, and we are full, yet, being full, we are longing for more. Not Your gifts, Lord, but Yourself. You are the desire of our hearts.
The Sweetness of This Mystery, Which Is Christ in You
Christ here in the heart is most precious. Here is the marrow and fatness. Christ on board the vessel brings safety and calm. Christ in your house, Christ in your heart, Christ in you – that is the cream of the matter, the honey of the honeycomb.
Christ in you – that is, first, Christ accepted by faith. Is it not a wonderful thing that Christ Jesus should ever enter into a man? Yes, but I will tell you something more wonderful, and that is, that He should enter in by so narrow an opening as our little faith. There is the sun, I do not know how many thousands of times the sun is bigger than the earth, and yet the sun can come into a little room or a close cell, and what is more, the sun can get in through a chink. When the shutters have been closed I have known the sun to come in through a little round hole in them. So Christ can come in through a little faith – a mere chink of confidence. If you are such a poor believer that you can hardly think of assurance or confidence, yet if you do trust the Lord, as surely as the sun comes in by a narrow crack, so will Christ come into your soul by the smallest opening of true faith. How wise it will be on your part, when you see your Lord’s sunny face shining through the lattices, to say, “I am not going to be satisfied with these mere glints and gleams, I would gladly walk in the light of His countenance. Pull up those blinds. Let the heavenly sun shine in, and let me rejoice in its glory.” Grow in faith, and enlarge your receiving power till you take in Christ into your inmost soul by the Holy Spirit, for it is Christ in you by faith that becomes the hope of glory.
It means too, Christ experienced in all His power. There may be a valuable medicine that works to expel a man’s pains, and cure his diseases, but it is of no efficacy till it is within him! When it commences to purify his blood, and to strengthen his frame, he is in a fair way to know it without depending upon the witness of others. Get Christ in you, curing your sin, Christ in you filling your soul with love to virtue and holiness, bathing your heart in comfort, and igniting it with heavenly aspirations – then will you know the Lord. Christ believed in, Christ possessed, Christ experienced, Christ in you, this is worth a world.
Moreover, Christ in us is Christ reigning. Christ in you is a right royal word. Christ swaying His scepter from the center of your being, over every power and faculty, desire and resolve, bringing every thought into captivity to Himself, oh, this is glory begun, and the sure pledge of heaven. Oh for more of the imperial sovereignty of Jesus! It is our liberty to be absolutely under His sway.
Yes, and then Christ in you is Christ filling you. It is wonderful, when Christ once enters into a soul, how by degrees He occupies the whole of it. Did you ever hear the legend of a man whose garden produced nothing else but weeds, till at last he met with a strange foreign flower of singular vitality? The story is that he sowed a handful of this seed in his overgrown garden, and left it to work its own sweet way. He slept and rose, and knew not how the seed was growing till one day he opened the gate and saw a site which astounded him. He knew that the seed would produce a dainty flower and he looked for it. But he had little dreamed that the plant would cover the whole garden. So it was, the flower had exterminated every weed, till as he looked from one end to the other from wall to wall he could see nothing but the fair colors of that rare plant, and smell nothing but its delicious perfume. Christ is that plant of renown. If He is sown in the soil of your soul, He will gradually eat out the roots of all ill weeds and poisonous plants, till over all your nature there shall be Christ in you. God grant we may realize the picture in our own hearts.
It may sound strange to add that Christ in you transfigures the man till he becomes like Christ Himself. You thrust a bar of cold, black iron into the fire, and keep it there till the fire enters into it. Look, the iron is like fire itself – he that feels it will know no difference. The fire has permeated the iron, and made it a fiery mass. I should like to have seen that bush in Horeb before which Moses took off his shoes. When it was all ablaze it seemed no longer a bush, but a mass of fire, a furnace of pure flame. The fire had transfigured the bush. So it is with us when Christ enters into us. He elevates us to a nobler state, even as Paul said, “...I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me...” (Gal. 2:20). Jesus sanctifies us wholly, spirit, soul, and body, and takes us to dwell with Him in the perfect state above.
Christ in you – how can I explain it? We are the little graft and He is the strong and living stem. We are laid to Him, bound to Him, sealed to Him, and when there is nothing between the new shoot and the old tree, at last the sap flows into the graft, and graft and the tree are one. You know right well how Christ enters into us and becomes our life.
Christ in you means power in you. A strong man armed keeps his house till a stronger than he comes, and when the stronger enters the first tenant is ejected by the power of the new comer, and kept out by the same means. We were without strength till Christ came, and now we war with principalities and powers, and win the victory.
Christ in you! Oh, what bliss! What joy! The Bridegroom is with us, and we cannot fast. The King is with us, and we are glad. When King Charles went to live at Newmarket, it is said that a most poverty-stricken village became a wealthy place. Truly when Christ comes to dwell in our hearts, our spiritual poverty suddenly turns to blessed wealth.
Welcome His Glorious Presence
Christ in you! What a wonder it is that He should deign to come under our roof! “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in” (Psa. 24:9). See the honor which His entrance brings with it! He glorifies the place where His foot rests even for a moment. If Jesus does but enter into your heart, His court comes within Him, honor and glory, and immortality, and heaven, and all other divine things follow where He leads.
“Oh,” says one, “I wish He would come and dwell in me.” Then, be humble, for He loves to dwell with him that is humble and of a contrite spirit (Psa. 51:17). Next, be clean, for if they must be clean that bear God’s vessels, much more they that have Christ Himself in them. Next, be empty, for Christ will not live amid the lumber of self, and pride, and carnal sufficiency. Learn abundantly to rejoice in Christ, for he who welcomes Christ will have Him always for a guest. Jesus never tarries where He is not desired. If His welcome is worn out, away He goes. Oh, desire and delight in Him. Hunger and thirst after Him, for Christ delights to dwell with an eager people, a hungry people, a people who value Him, and cannot be happy without Him.
– Condensed from the sermon “Christ In You.”