To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this
mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 1:27
How often have we heard this exposited? Many times, I am sure. It has been emphasized to no end. From its face value, this text has been used by the moderns to point out the importance of the Jesus that is inside you. It kinda makes others feel insecure, you start wondering or looking for the Jesus within. What is it suppose to be like to have Jesus living in your heart? How does he get there, Oh, I know the answer to that, you pray the sinners prayer and invite Jesus to come in. This is so important because if he ain't in, you are out, you ain't saved.
Back in those days, I was so deep into this. In fact I would lead the people to singing this chorus
"into my heart, into my heart, come in to my heart Lord Jesus, come in today,
come in to stay, come into my heart, Lord Jesus".
OK, choir, sing with feelings this time...
Think a bit deeper now. This is mysticality at its best, because how is it like that Jesus is inside? Quite a subjective state of affairs is it not? So you get to hear voices of Jesus or impressions of some sort. Little did I know that the ancients called this mysticism or as the Reformers called this - "enthusiasm". Holy guacamole, I now realize this to be Christian gnosticism, a deadly heretical understanding of how Christian life operates.
How do you properly handle that verse? I have to rely on the Greek, the English is so subject to manipulation by well meaning but misguided pastors/teachers. Don't be like me, I took their word for it because these folk wanted to emphasize the inward internal goings on of a Jesus reality within.
The Greek "you" in that verse is plural. It is not singular. That is significant because it is saying what the preposition "in" means. Looking at the context, this is not referring to the Jesus in you as individual, it refers to Christ "in you" meaning in your midst, in the midst of you Gentile believers. I suggest this is what Paul meant in that passage. Look at the whole chapter's context, it is king.
Let me cut the cheese to the quick, my suggestion is this, to find out if Christ is in you, find out if you are in Christ. Have you been baptized into Christ? In our baptism we were baptized in or into the name of Jesus too. Do you trust the promise that for Christ's sake God is forgiving you of your sins? Then you are in Christ and Christ is in you, not in a mystical experiencial goose bump way, but in the way also promised by God, by faith. The Word says that so that must be true.
The truth is this --- the "in" preposition is not the operational word, it is the "for" preposition. It is the FOR YOU, that determines the IN YOU. More importantly "in" in the sense that he is in your presence, in your midst, not in the sense that he is in there, dangling in you heart.
The trusting of the promise that Christ is FOR YOU, implies, you are in Christ, and Christ is in you. So don't start looking IN, always look OUT.
(The White Horse Inn in yesterdays broadcast has just discussed - The Gospel of Personal Relationship)