“If something goes wrong, I’m the first to admit it. The first to admit it, and the last one to know.” – Paul Simon, “Something So Right”
Ok, I need to confess something to everyone: I might be wrong.
You see, I’ve been saying for a long time now that, while we are all in Christ, not everyone has Christ in them.
That was my firm and honest conviction. Until last night. That’s when my friend Chuck McKnight challenged my assumptions about all of this.
So, those blog posts I’ve published here about how we are all inside of God, and how we are all Christlike but not Christ, and how we can’t know Christ apart from Jesus, are all still true for me. But, I might need to add something to the mix, I think.
Or maybe not.
If nothing else, I may need to go ahead and admit that it’s at least possible that, not only are we all in Christ, but Christ is inside all of us.
Why would I say that? Because of these verses of scripture:
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:4-6
First of all, the verse in Ephesians says that “God is in all” and that’s pretty significant. So, not only are we all in God, but according to this verse, God is also in all of us.
Another verse that rocked me was:
“But when it pleased God…to reveal His Son in me..” – Galatians 1:15-16
Notice it says that God was pleased to “reveal His Son IN me” and not that God was pleased to reveal His Son TO me. This suggests, at least the possibility, that Christ was already in Paul and God only needed to reveal this Christ in him.
Here’s one other verse that made me go “Hmm…”:
“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised,barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” – Colossians 3:11
The Colossians verse says that “Christ is in all”, and whereas that may be referring to those who are in the Body of Christ, it does beg the question. Is it possible that Christ really IS already in everyone? Or does it only mean that, “here in the Body of Christ” this is true for “all”?
Hold that thought, because I also ran across this other verse which made me think maybe I was right the first time:
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.” – 2 Corinthians 13:5-6
So, this verse seems to suggest that maybe I was right about the idea that Christ is not in everyone, but only in those who are “in the faith” and that we need to test ourselves to see whether or not we are “in Christ.”
Another verse that also supports my original thesis is this one:
“ You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness.” – Romans 8:9-10
Again, this verse suggests that there is an “if/then” scenario being discussed: If we are in Christ, then we belong to Christ. Or, If Christ is in you, then you have the spirit of life in you. But it’s also possible, according to this verse, that the Spirit of Christ does NOT live in you, and if so, then you do not belong to Christ.
Full disclosure: I went to bed last night thinking that I was totally wrong about this idea and that everyone really was already “in Christ” as Chuck had suggested. Those first three verses had me going. I was already re-thinking everything I thought I knew about this and totally ready to write the “I Was Wrong” blog post.
But, then I sat down and started searching out other scriptures that could support this new way of thinking, and instead of finding more support for it, I instead found a lot of verses that didn’t support it.
So, for now, I’m going to say that, whereas I might be wrong about this idea that only those who follow Christ are in Christ and those who do not aren’t in Christ, chances are looking better that I am NOT wrong about it.
Honestly, I’m still very open to being convinced back the other way. I kind of like the implication that everyone is already in Christ and they just don’t know it yet. But, the problem is, that concept doesn’t quite seem to be supported by scripture.
What I see is this: We are all in God. God is everywhere. We are all in Christ. He is the One in whom we all live and move and have our being. But Christ in not in everyone of us. Christ is only in us if we open ourselves up to Christ and intentionally live our lives in Christ. In other words: If we abide in Christ, then Christ abides in us. And that “abiding” is more than simply breathing, it’s an intentional decision to embrace the life of Christ that is all around us, and to embody Christ in our daily life.
There is still an invitation for each of us to accept or to reject. We can come to Christ to have life, or we can decide not to come to Christ.
Now, I do still believe that everyone will eventually chose to be in Christ, one way or the other. But either way, this is still a choice that must be made.
What do you think?
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. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.
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.
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