COMPLETING THE WORD OF GOD
Paul tells us that his ministry was to complete the word of God (Col. 1:25). Without his Epistles God’s word is not complete. There were the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament, the four Gospels, and the Acts. The Old Testament foretold the coming of Christ, the Gospels presented Him to us, and the Acts spoke further of Him. But Christ is so great there was much more to be said of Him. The stewardship given to Paul concerned “the mystery which has been hidden from the ages and from the generations, but now has been manifested to His saints; to whom God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (vv. 26-27). The hidden mystery is Christ in you; without Christ in us, God’s revelation would not be complete. It would be like making a shirt and having it all finished except for the collar; when Paul came, he added the collar!
We cannot exhaust who Christ is. In the Old Testament, in the Gospels, and in the Acts we find that He is God, the Word of God, man, flesh, the Lamb of God, the Redeemer, the rock, the Shepherd, the Savior, the Physician, the Prophet, the King, the High Priest, the door, the way, the green pasture, righteousness, light, power, life, and peace. He is far more than these, as these parts of the Bible indicate. Not until we come to the writings of Paul, however, are we made clear that this all-inclusive Christ is in us.
THE INCOMPLETENESS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
The Old Testament does not cover this. Genesis 3 says that the seed of the woman will bruise the serpent’s head (v. 15). Christ is that seed. Christ is also the seed of Abraham, in whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed (Gen. 22:18). In Isaiah 9:6 He is the child born to us, and the son given. The government is on His shoulder. He is called Wonderful, Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, and Prince of peace. In Haggai 2:7 He is referred to as the Desire of all nations. Malachi 4:2 calls Him the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings; that is, there is healing in His rays.
This is a sampling of many references to Christ in the Old Testament, but none says Christ is within us.
THE INCOMPLETENESS OF THE GOSPELS
The light in the Gospels is more specific, telling us of this dear Christ who has come. He is the Son of Abraham and the Son of David, born of the virgin Mary. He was the Word from the beginning. This Word was God and became flesh. We cannot see clearly, however, that this Christ who has come will come into us and be our person. John hints at this, but the Lord’s words seemed to bewilder the disciples. “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter…the Spirit of reality….He abides with you and shall be in you” (John 14:16-17). When the Lord Jesus was with them, He could not be in them. But on the day of resurrection they would experience the Spirit of reality and know that they were in Him and He in them.
This is apparently all He could say to them. Had He spoken further, they would only have been confused. They had to wait for that day; then they would know. “In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20). It was unto this end that He prayed in John 17. “As You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us” (v. 21). Do you think Peter and the other disciples understood these words that the Lord prayed? What does it mean to be one in the Father and in the Son?
The explanation came with Paul. Again and again in his writings the term “in Christ” appears; again and again he told the believers that Christ was in them. It was his commission to complete the word of God by making the saints clear that Christ was in them.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 24, by Witness Lee)