Mar. 10, 2018

Until Christ Is Formed In You

"... Until Christ is formed in you." (From Galatians 4:19)

There are many Christian denominations in the world today, all claiming to have the corner on truth; but as Pilate asked Jesus: “what is truth?“ Jesus said that you will know them/truth by their fruits. Pauls criteria was whether Christ was being formed in you. So if you are experiencing a transformation from your old self to the new creation of Christ, Then you are on the path of truth according to Scriptures. 

In the mind of God, truth is a verb expressing the action of God and not merely somthing we verbally confess or say. Remember James said that the tongue was a member set on the fires of hell. Jesus said that He is the Way, Truth, and the Life (Jn 14:6). In other words being a doer of the word as James taught is the true expression of faith and truth. This ultimately means that we must be formed in Christ by doing Christ who is in us by the power of  God’s grace that works in us by faith, in order to be of the truth expressed in word and deed. If our words do not match our deeds, we are partakers of the lying evil one, and not true sons of God, Sense the truth is not in us in reality. The critical question then is: how can Christ be formed in us who is truth, In order that we can be set free from the world, the flesh, and the devil, and be doers of the word, not just hearers? The answer to this question is the answer to our salvation according to the scriptures! Let us proceed:

How Christ Is Formed In You

Paul was in travail until Christ be formed in the church members (Gal 4:19). Earlier in his letter, Paul provided the answer to the how: which is our co-crucifixion with Christ (Ga 2:20). Paul defined the gospel of God as our co- crucifixion, burial, and resurrection  with Christ (Rm 6:1-11). It is through this gospel, and no other that we receive power of the resurrection to put on immortality and recieve the knowledge and life of God (1 Co 15). This is work God worked in us by his loveand grace, but the Scriptures teach that this is not all there is to salvation of our souls. 

We also have a part to play in our salvation. Paul taught that we are to work out our own salvation in obedience with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12).  Jesus taught that if we love him we will keep his commandments (Jn 14:15-31). Jesus taught this radical gospel to his disciples when he said that we must also take up our cross through total denial of self in order to follow Him in the way of the kingdom of God (Lk 14:23-29). Personal repentance in order to enter the kingdom of God is the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mt 3:2).

The New Testament reveals that the cross is the foundation of the gospel of salvation. But if we do not yield to the Gospel in a practical way, by building our life upon it in word and deed, and not just in a forensic way, we will gain nothing of God due to a lack of spiritual substance and growth (1 Co 3). Jesus taught that is way what street and narrow hard, and that you will find it (Mt 7:13-14). Jesus said that unless we “yield” to the cross we will not taste His supper (Lk 14:23-24). This may have been what Paul meant when he warned the church not to take the Lords supper unworthily, lest we bring judgement upon ourselves  (1 Co 11:27-29). Paul also taught that we are to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Co 13:5). Paul also spoke of tasting as it relates to spiritual growth founded upon the personal participation of the cross beyond mere doctrines about Christ, just professing Him. Paul taught that to do this is to crucified Christ afresh (Heb 5:14-6:6). James taught that even the Devils believe (Ja 2:14-19). He taught that if our faith is not proven by deeds of God working in and through us, we have a dead faith that is worthless (Ja 2:20-26).

Peter taught the church the critical need of repentance: changing our mind (elements), in order to experience the coming of Christ in us and grow in grace (2 Pet 3). Paul taught that it is through the experience of Christ in us that we grow from glory to glory (Col 1:27, 2 Co 3:18). Jesus taught that the kingdom of God begins in us (Lk 17:21) as we die to self (Lk 17:33).

Jude warned Christians about heretical apostate teacher who pervert the grace (spiritual power of Christ in us through our real participation with the cross of Christ). They pervert God’s true salvation with an empty gospel, being cisterns with no substance, and changing the grace of God into lawlessness, even denying our sole master: the Lord Jesus Christ, the anointed one, refusing to rely on the grace of God’s power in them. Paul wrote to Timothy to warn the church about teachers that have a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, from such turn away (2 Tim 3:5)!

They scoff at the glorious ones (saints). They scoff at anything that they do not understand; And what they do understand, they understand carnally by mere instinct and rationality, like irrational beasts – by these they corrupt themselves and their listeners, and are destroyed. This is why Paul taught that the carnal mind is opposed to God and cannot know God (Rm 8). Jesus taught that without a personal knowing of God we cannot have eternal life. To know and have the word of God is to know and have the life of Christ working and manifesting in your mortal body, since Christ is the Word able to form us into the children of God and thus have eternal life (Jn 1:1-17, Jn 17). “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep his commandments” (1 Jn 2:3).

“Woe to them! For they have run in the way of Cain. And in the error of Balaam and have perished in rebellion like that of Koran!  These are hidden reefs, elements of danger in your love feasts (Lord’s supper), they are clouds without water swept along by the winds; trees, without fruit doubly dead, plucked up by the roots”.

You must remember the predictions made by the apostles. They told you in the last days there will be those who gratify there own unholy desires. It is they who cause divisions by their carnal mind. Devoid of the Holy Spirit and destitute of any higher spiritual life. This is what Paul meant when he wrote that we are saved by grace through faith which is the gift of God. For we are God‘s own handiwork re-created in Christ Jesus born a new that we may do those good works which God predestined that we should walk in them, living the good (God) life which he pre-arranged and made ready for us to live (Eph 2:8-10). Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, all things have become new and the old has passed away (1 Co 5:17). When you think of it this is the central message of the incarnation of God realized in man. John said that those who do not teach that God has come in the flesh is anti-christ (1 Jn 4).

The question of how Christ can be formed in us cannot be fully answered without recognizing the place of prayer and fasting in our spiritual life and warfare against the evil one. We find that in the old and New Testament prayer and fasting were the primary arsenal in overcoming the world, the flesh, and the devil, and hearing from God. If salvation and eternal life are dependent on overcoming The world, the flesh, and Satan, we must take seriously our part in the battle by putting on the whole armor of God (Eph 6). “If we live no longer in the flesh, but rather by the Spirit; if we walk and live faithfully in the Holy Spirit, response and controlled and guided by the Spirit; then we will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh without God” (Ga 5:16). Prayer and fasting is a critical part in accomplishing our goal.

(Republished on this page by permission of the Dragon Slayer.)