Christmas: The Great Intention

Part two of a series on three of the purposes of our God in sending His Son to earth. Image via Pixabay.

God created and redeemed man for this purpose, that man might be the container into which He could dispense Himself. In the whole universe—time, space, and eternity—the center of God’s economy is to dispense Himself into humanity.”  Witness Lee

The third part of our God’s plan was to create a full-time union relationship with His children. This relationship is often characterized by the word, “Oneness.”  The very life of Christ Himself is imparted into the true disciple. The new life Christ Jesus gained in His resurrection became our new life in Christ. His incarnation became His in-habitation of us. Jesus had made clear to His followers this massive shift in the God-human relationship (underline added for emphasis):

John 14:16-20  “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you.  “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. After a little while, the world no longer is going to see Me, but you are going to see Me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I in you.

John 16:7  “But I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I am leaving; for if I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”

John 17:20-23  “I am not asking on behalf of these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I also have given to them, so that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and You loved them, just as You loved Me.”

Paul, in his letter to the church in Galatia, explained with elegant simplicity how this in-habitation worked out in daily living:  Galatians 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” 

Romans chapters 6, 7, and 8 explain the transition into walking only by the Spirit of Christ in us.  Paul also carried this theme into his letter to the Colossians. “…the mystery which had been hidden from the past ages and generations, but now has been revealed to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what the wealth of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles is, the mystery that is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (1:26-27); “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over every ruler and authority….” (2:9-10); “Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (3:1-3).

This theme is evidenced in the prayer Paul prayed for the Christians at Ephesus (Ephesians 3:14-19). “For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner self, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.”

According to His riches in glory.  We are not on our own to get better, holier, stronger. Our spiritual formation comes the His riches, not our efforts.

Strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner self, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  The power comes through the indwelling Spirit of Christ.  We have His life in us, and if by faith we allow Him to do so He will live that life with power through us.

So that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.  Let that one sink in.  “Filled to all the fullness of God.”  Not filled with some of God. Not following God at a distance. Not trying to get to God. Filled with all the fullness of our God.

The promises of victory, spiritual fruit, and effective living all hinge on our daily investment in this oneness through the Holy Spirit.  The rivers of living water from John 7 and the abundant life of John 10 come to us via oneness with Him.  All of the promises that accompany the words “in Christ” in the New Testament come only through the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

Oswald Chambers said this: “We must enter into His kingdom through the door of destitution. As long as we are “rich,” particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the essential nature of God is placed and made effective in us by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, making us truly alive.”

“We enter the into His kingdom through the door of destitution.”  Five years ago, I took God at His word on this matter.  I knew that the first and daily step in being filled to all the fullness of my God was to deny myself and take up my cross daily.  I had to give up my own life so that I could have a life not of my own, but the life of God in me.  I had to become destitute, and lose my self-life if I wanted to gain His life.  Knowing it would cost me everything, I prayed, “Lord, crucify me and live Your life in me instead of my own.”  This is a prayer I still pray daily, sometimes many times in the day.

What a change was begun in the moment of that simple prayer!  The growth in the last few years seems like it has exceeded the growth experienced in all the previous years. Our God is daily bringing intimacy with Himself, wisdom and revelation from the Spirit, victory over besetting sins.  He is deepening peace and joy, even in the midst of great loss. 

None of this has come because of me.  Quite the opposite. He is increasing my sense of destitution every day. “Less of me and more of Christ” is the path to the fullness of my God in me. I am coming to know what Witness Lee stated: “Christianity is not, strictly speaking, a religion teaching people to do this and to do that. It is simply Christ Himself, the living One, being wrought into us.”

Graham Cooke stated it this way: “Partnering with the Holy Spirit and Jesus produces a strong conviction of the power in a new and living way. Your Father is faithful to Jesus in you.  So is the Holy Spirit. In partnership you partake of the same faithfulness and that is how you remain true to God. He gives you what you need to have. And you become those things by receiving the gifts and learning from the Holy Spirit how to walk in them.

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