That I may gain Christ and be found in Him” – Philippians 3:8
Christ in you and being in Christ are terms we often consider synonymously. But they represent diverse progressions in our spiritual journey with the Lord. Christ in you is the redemptive experience of coming into union with the Lord. Paul refers to this as gaining Christ. But being in Christ or being found in Him is the progressive development of Christ where one becomes more and more possessed or consumed by the nature and life of the indwelling Christ.
Those who have accepted Jesus as Lord have come into the wonderful reality of Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). In this state, the full potential of the nature and character of Christ is in you. This potential is the fullness of all Christ is. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him” (Col. 2:9). It was the Father’s good pleasure that “in Him all the fullness shall dwell and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him.” (Col. 1:19). The nature of God, the character of God, the holiness of God, the power of God and all the attributes and qualities of the Father are in the Christ who dwells in us.
However, it is possible for the absolute fullness of Christ within us to remain dormant and not find expression in our experience. Notice how Paul relays this truth: “As you therefore have received Christ (Christ in you) so walk in Him (you in Christ)” (Col 2:6). Which means that it is possible for one to receive Christ but to not walk in Him. Otherwise Paul would not have instructed the Colossian church in this way. To ‘walk’ means to conduct and regulate your life in Him. Not merely to imitate or emulate Him, which indicates duality but rather oneness, where the life of Christ itself becomes our very life and we become the expression of Himself. God by His Spirit and according to His divine plan is now leading us to know and appropriate the full potential of all Christ is in our reality. God is pressing us into the Christ in us so we walk in Him. Paul states: “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ” (Phil. 3:14). It is to this hope that we have been called. What is this hope? The Christ in us is our hope of glory (Col. 1:27). Christ Himself. Paul refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as “our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1). There is no other hope for “you were called in one hope of your calling” (Eph. 5:4). This is why Paul goes on to say: “Him we preach… that we present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” What a glorious hope: every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
In this we see a transition from receiving Christ to appropriate all Christ is in our reality. The key aim of any ministry has to be to this end. The ministry of Jesus was a ministry of the Word which was Spirit and life and was of no benefit to the flesh. It was the very impartation of the Christ life by the Spirit. It is such ministry of the Word which will lead us to go on to be in Him. Through this word, Christ in us is being developed and matured in all His majesty. Being in Christ is a wonderful spiritual state where Christ through his progressive coming consumes everything in us until He becomes all in all in us. We are being swallowed up by Him and His nature of love, righteousness, peace, and joy begin to strip away the nature of the carnal man. In this state we find ourselves moving and living and yes having our being in Him (Acts 17:28). Everything we are and do becomes in Him.
God has orchestrated this divine plan from the foundation of the world where everything we are is in Him: “He chose us in Him” (Eph. 1:4). “In Him we have redemption through His blood” (Eph. 1:7). “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance” (Eph.1:11). “He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). There is nothing in us that is of value and relevance outside of Christ, for without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). He is our supply, the vine, the very source of divine life.
As the revelation of this truth penetrates our heart, we will come to realize that in Him we are positioned in heavenly places. Not one day going to heaven but in heavenly places now because we are finding ourselves increasingly in Him. God has “made us to sit in heavenly places in Christ” (Col. 2:6). Christ is coming more and more in our reality and He is coming not to take us somewhere but to Himself. Jesus said: “I will come again and receive you to Myself” (John 14:3). That is why the greatest desire in this hour and the ministry upmost in God’s agenda is the development of Christ in His apprehend ones. Paul’s greatest labor among the Galatians was to this end: “until Christ is completely and permanently formed within you” (Gal. 4:19).
Christ has to now take preeminence over all things. He must increase and we must decrease. To those who are hearing this sound by the Spirit, there is a call to turn inward from every external religious exercise and order we once knew to find and walk in the eternal life that is only found in the indwelling Christ. This is the plan of God for the ages for all of humanity and yes all of creation: “by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven” (Col. 1:19-20). To the end that: “in the dispensation of the fullness of the time, He might gather together all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth – in Him” (Eph. 1:10). Everything consummates in Christ, “for of Him, through Him, and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). And yes, “He is before all things and in Him all things consist” (Col. 1:16). For the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end until the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ (Isa. 9:7; Rev. 11:15). Amen.