Trying to clarify a bit more how I understand the Christ consciousness, as some call it.
I’ve already written a few posts recently about how being Christlike is not the same as being Christ, and about how Jesus and Christ are synonymous. However, I still feel like there’s one more thing I need to stress: You can’t talk about Christ without talking about Jesus.
In my ongoing dialog with a few of my friends who see Christ as being independent of Jesus, I often hear that Jesus isn’t around anymore, and that Christ wasn’t Jesus’s last name, and other comments that essentially downplay the uniqueness of Jesus as “The Christ” and emphasize our identity as Christ (or the reality of “Christ in us”).
As I’ve said before, I affirm that we are now the incarnation of Christ today, and I agree that Christ dwells in us. I even agree that we are no less “Christlike” than Jesus was, but we may be limited by our development in the Way of Christ.
Furthermore, I also agree that everyone – not just Christians – are “in Christ” as Paul affirms when he preaches to the idol-worshipping pagans in Athens and says:
“For in him [Christ] we live and move and have our being.’As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.” [Acts 17:28]
But, I would argue that being in Christ is not the same thing as having Christ in you.
Like an empty water bottle, we can be submerged deep in the center of the ocean of Christ, and in that sense we are all “in Christ” [because we are all surrounded by Christ]. But, until the cap is taken off that water bottle, the ocean of Christ is not in us. We have to consciously open ourselves up to Christ and allow Christ to abide in us – so we can abide in Christ.
Now, after establishing all of this, let’s get back to the original point I wanted to make: Christ is Jesus and Jesus is the Christ.
For those who want to argue that Christ isn’t merely Jesus, let me challenge you to describe or conceive of Christ without referring to Jesus. Personally, I don’t think it can be done.
As I see it, we only know Christ – and we only see and experience Christ – through the living example of Jesus.
You could say, “What about Gandhi, or Mother Teresa, or Martin Luther King, Jr.? Aren’t they all wonderful examples of Christ?”
And I would say, “Yes! But if you look closer you’ll see that all three of them were inspired by the message and life and love of Jesus.”
So, without Jesus, none of us would even have any idea of who or what Christ is.
We cannot talk about or think about Christ apart from Jesus. If you remove Jesus, then you have no Christ to speak of.
Yes, we can learn of Christ from Jesus, and we can experience Christ in our own life now, but all of this is explicitly because of Jesus.
So, for me, Jesus is Christ and Christ is Jesus. I can be filled with Christ because of Jesus. I can learn to embody Christ by following Jesus’s example and teachings. I can even be the incarnation of Christ in the world today [and in fact, this is my purpose and calling as a follower of Jesus].
But I am not Christ. Jesus is the Christ. Christ is revealed to us in Jesus. Jesus Christ can be revealed in me, if I am in Christ and Christ is in me.
The reality of what it means to be “in Christ” is a profound and fascinating study, which I invite you to explore in this post: “In Christ?”
What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments.
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community.
His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.
Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.
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