Christ in you, the hope of glory—Col. 1:27.
Every true child of God must have a definite individual Christian character which is not dependent for its existence upon the spiritual life of any other Christian. He must from the Word of Truth, proclaimed and exemplified by other Christians, draw those principles of life, etc., which give him an established character, a spiritual individuality of his own. So positive and definite should be the spiritual individuality of everyone, that, should even the beloved brother or sister whose spiritual life first nourished ours and brought us forward to completeness of character fall away (which the Apostle shows is not impossible, Heb. 6:4-6; Gal. 1:8), we would still live, being able to appropriate for ourselves the Spirit of Truth—Z '03, 375 (R 3250).
The "Christ in you," the new creature, was promised to be in the hearts and minds of God's Gospel-Age Spirit-begotten people, giving both hearts and minds new capacities, spiritual in their scope. It was to be the holy anointing, fitting them for their earthly and heavenly offices. This is the mystery of God, the mystery of all mysteries, that Christ was to consist of many members Jesus the Head member and the Church the Body members. High, holy and heavenly was to be this glorious "Christ in you." Its possession was to be the basis for the hope of glory, the hand payment of the inheritance—the Divine heart and mind, a part of the inheritance promised to the saints—P '36, 110.
Parallel passages: Matt. 3:16; Acts 10:38; 2:1-4; 10:45-47; 2 Cor. 1:21; 1 John 2:20, 27; 1 Cor. 12:12, 13; 15:23; Gal. 3:16, 29; Eph. 4:13, 23, 24; Col. 1:23; 1 Pet. 4:13; Heb. 3:14; Rom. 8:10; John 14:19; 17:23, 24; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:21; 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16; John 15:2-7; Rom. 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 1:30; Rom. 6:3; 13:14; Gal. 3:26, 27; 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 3:10; Rom. 8:4, 5.
Hymns: 58, 21, 23, 27, 170, 72, 310.
Poems of Dawn, 43: The Transformation.
Tower Reading: Z '13, 131 (R 5227).
Questions: What has this text meant to me this week? In what circumstances? With what effects?
TO the Potter's house I went down one day,
And watched him while moulding the vessels of clay,
And many a wonderful lesson I drew,
As I noted the process the clay went through.
Trampled and broken, down-trodden and rolled,
To render more plastic and fit for the mould
How like the clay that is human, I thought,
When in Heavenly hands to perfection brought!
For Self must be cast as the dust at His feet,
Before it is ready, for service made meet.
And Pride must be broken, and self-will lost—
All laid on the altar, whatever the cost.
But lo! by and by, a delicate vase
Of wonderful beauty and exquisite grace.
Was it once the vile clay? Ah! yes; yet how strange,
The Potter hath wrought such a marvelous change!
Not a trace of the earth, nor mark of the clay—
The fires of the furnace have burned them away.
Wondrous skill of the Potter!—the praise is his due,
In whose hands to perfection and beauty it grew.
Thus with souls lying still, content in God's hand,
That do not His power of working withstand—
They are moulded and fitted, a treasure to hold,
Vile clay now transformed into purest of gold.
"Christ in you, the hope of glory."—Colossians 1:27.
THE SCRIPTURES frequently speak of the Church as being "in Christ," giving the thought of membership in His Body. (Romans 12:4, 5; I Corinthians 12:12-27; 2 Corinthians 5:17.) Our Lord Himself used the figure of a vine and its branches to convey the same thought. He spoke of Himself as the Vine, and of the Church as the branches in the Vine, partaking of nourishment therefrom. (John 15:1, 2.) It is not this thought, however, that is expressed by the Apostle's words, "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
The word Christ signifies anointed. All who will be members of the Royal Priesthood will be anointed—not separately, but collectively. This was pictured during the Jewish Age by the installation into office of both the kings and the high priests of Israel. According to the Law, every king and every high priest must be anointed, else he could not serve. The oil which was used in this ceremony was of a peculiar kind, which might not be used for any other purpose.—Exodus 30:22, 23.
The anointing which our Lord and the members of His mystical Body have received is different from anything else in the whole world. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which is variously spoken of as the spirit of holiness, the spirit of a sound mind, the spirit of the Truth, and the Spirit of God. It is not the Truth, but the spirit of the Truth, it is not the Word of God, although it is in harmony with the Word; it is not holiness, yet it is in full accord with holiness. It is the spirit, the disposition, which is associated with a sound mind, with holiness, with Truth and with the Word of God.
As the anointing of kings and priests in Israel was the Divine evidence that they were accepted to office, so was it with our Lord Jesus. St. Peter tells us that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power." (Acts 10:38.) Our Lord was set apart for a very high office. In harmony with the Divine arrangement, He is to be the great antitypical King and Priest—"after the order of Melchizedek."
During the Gospel Age, God has been setting apart those who are to be members of the Body of Christ. These are invited to be kings and priests unto our God—a Royal Priesthood. Consequently, when one is received into this Body, under the Headship of Christ, he comes under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This unction is from the Father in that He alone can give the recognition. It is from the Son in that we can come to the Father only through Him.
This is well illustrated by the consecration of the Jewish high priest. The holy oil was poured upon Aaron's head, typifying the anointing of our Lord at the time of His consecration. The oil then ran down to the very skirts of Aaron's garments, thus typifying the anointing of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. This descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church was manifested at Pentecost.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN ANOINTING AND BEGETTING
The anointing of the Holy Spirit is slightly different from the begetting of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit which came upon Jesus at Jordan was both the begetting and the anointing power of God. Our Lord was The Anointed from the moment at which He was begotten.
So with the Church at Pentecost. They were waiting for acceptance of God. Our Lord had appeared in the presence of God as their Advocate, in order that their sacrifices might be acceptable. When the Father recognized their acceptance by shedding forth the Holy Spirit—when there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and "sat upon each one of them" (Acts 2:3, R.V.)—that recognition was both their begetting and their anointing. The former—the begetting—represents the matter from the individual standpoint, and the latter—the anointing—from the collective. We are begotten individually, but we were anointed collectively.
If we should consider the anointing and the begetting as two different steps of progress, we should be obliged to say that the begetting takes place first, and that the begotten one is anointed, or recognized as an heir of God. But this giving the one a priority over the other is not necessary to the thought. These seem to be two pictures, which represent the matter from two different standpoints. We are not individually anointed, nor are we collectively begotten.
This Spirit which we receive from God abides in us. Whoever loses the Spirit loses the light, and passes into the death condition. So the Apostle urges, "Grieve not the Spirit." If we cease to be in the Body of Christ, we cease to be anointed. If we lose the spirit of our begetting, we shall die. The begetting represents the beginning of our experience, and the resurrection the completion. Each is individually begotten and born of the Spirit.
In the picture of anointing the whole Body is anointed. There will be no need for a repetition of the ceremony. At the beginning of the Gospel Age, the one Body was anointed, and all who will be members of that Body come under that one anointing, and all these will share in His resurrection—the First Resurrection—the Chief Resurrection.
THE ANOINTING NOT THE MIND OF CHRIST
Not only was our Lord begotten to the new nature, anointed of the Holy Spirit, but each member of the Body must be similarly begotten, for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." If we have received this anointing, we are eligible to all that God has promised to The Christ—primarily to the Head, and also to the members of His Body. As God foreknew the great Shepherd of the sheep, the Redeemer, He also foreknew this class.
Long before our Lord came into the world, the Father had planned that there should be an Anointed Company, the Head of which should be our Lord, and the Body of which should be the Church. (Ephesians 1:3, 4, 22, 23.) Jesus was to have the first place in the Christ Company, and associated with Him would be those who would have His Spirit, His will, who had made a full consecration of their lives to do God's will faithfully, even unto death.
For those who have this spirit of consecration, and have presented themselves in sacrifice, our Lord stands as the Advocate before the Father, to make good for them, to cover their blemishes and imperfections. Our Lord's work is not that of anointing, but of making it possible for us to be received by the Father. The anointing is of the Father, but by the Son. St. Peter says that Jesus, having received the Spirit of the Father, shed it forth.—Acts 2:33.
As long as we have this Spirit of God, it is an evidence to us that we are children of God. So long as we possess it, we maintain this relationship of sons. (Romans 8:9, 14.) Then the consequent thought is that if we are children of God we are "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ," "to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time."—Romans 8:17; I Peter 1:5.
The words of our text suggest the thought that whoever has the Spirit of God has the evidence that he is an heir of glory and will receive the reward, if found faithful. On one occasion the Apostle John said, "But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you." (I John 2:27.) Those who have this anointing have no need that any one teach them that fact, for they have the evidence of it, the proof of it in their own hearts and experiences. These evidences are more apparent to themselves than to any one else.
The evidences that one has been anointed may not be understood except as we have the instructions of the Word of God. The Scriptures give us an outline of the witness to the possession of the Holy Spirit, so as to leave no room for doubt. They tell us that the Holy Spirit, the begetting power in us, leads us more and more to have the mind of Christ. We were not anointed with the mind of Christ, but with the Holy Spirit, and whoever has the Holy Spirit will find that he will develop the mind of Christ.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MIND OF CHRIST
The mind of Christ is the will to do the Father's will. Our Lord, when a child, said on one occasion to His mother, "How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:49.) We recognize that we have a Heavenly Father, whose service is the highest possible service. Those who are His must have this spirit. The work of the New Creature must be the Heavenly work, otherwise he will have no proof that he has passed from the condemnation upon the human race and become a New Creature.
If we have the spirit of loyalty to God, to the Truth and to the brethren, we have the mind, the disposition of Christ. We also have indeed the weaknesses of the flesh, but it is our privilege to fight against these and to become more and more transformed in the spirit of our minds, to have our minds more centered in the Truth and in the service of the brethren.
If there is a decrease of zeal in this direction, then we may know that there is danger of going backward instead of forward. We hear of instances where the Lord's people have lost their first love and have become more or less cold. From our standpoint we may know when any have lost their first love. It is when they have allowed their minds to be led away to earthly things—love of family, of home, of worldly possessions, etc., all of which war against the Heavenly things. We should seek our pleasures, not from earthly sources, but from the Heavenly source. Very frequently we find Christians who tell us that they had a blessed experience when first they knew the Lord, but that they do not now feel as near to Him as formerly. If we probe the matter, we nearly always find that they went into business, or married, or did something which has warred against the Holy Spirit. We are not speaking against those things, but "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them"—the things that make for our peace.
OTHER EVIDENCES OF THE ANOINTING
In addition to having the mind of Christ, we have other evidences that we have been anointed. We find ourselves needing the spiritual food, and to satisfy our hunger, our Heavenly Father has provided us the knowledge of the Divine Plan, the knowledge of our Lord. Each new view gives us fresh inspiration. Then if we find some of the brethren spiritually hungry, how can we withhold from giving them the spiritual refreshment which we have? If one has earthly mercies and dispenses them, God may give him the privilege of opening blind eyes. If it is a blessing to open physically blinded eyes, how much greater a blessing is it to open the spiritually blinded eyes! We have the blessed privilege of helping some to get their eyes open to see spiritual things, and also of helping others who already see to understand more clearly.
If we love the Truth, we will serve the Truth. This service is sure to bring upon us the disapproval of the world, it will not bring us an earthly passport. The world will say that we are doing it for money or some selfish object, for they are sure to err, sure to fail to see the real purpose of the truly consecrated people of God. If we endure these things, we thereby prove ourselves to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ.
If devotion to the will of the Father brought upon our Lord shame, ignominy, we must not wonder that we are treated likewise. If the world called the Master of the House of Sons Beelzebub, they will assuredly call His followers some evil name. The willingness to receive all this as a part of our reasonable service is a further evidence that we have been anointed.
Probably the Lord's people find that they can very easily love some of the brethren, but that there are some others whom it is not so easy to love, for they do not seem to be lovable. However, we should reflect that if the Lord can receive and love these brethren, we should do the same, and that our love should help them out of their naturally mean traits of disposition. Thus we shall develop love for all of the brethren—the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated—and desire to render them assistance as opportunity may offer.
The evidences that one has been anointed with the Holy Spirit are, increasing desire for spiritual things, desire to assist others to see and to grow in knowledge and Heavenly grace, persecution from the worldly-minded, and the development of the mind of Christ—the disposition which is loving, generous, forgiving toward others and which is reverential toward God and obedient to His will. Whoever finds, on self-examination, that he has these evidences in his own heart has the witness of the Spirit that he is a child of God.
THE HOPE OF GLORY
The word "glory" carries with it the thought of honor and dignity—sometimes also that of brightness, shining. The Scriptures speak of the Heavenly Father as having the excellent glory, that glory unto which none others can approach. Our Lord Jesus is said to have been received up into glory—honor and distinction. Of Adam it is said that he was "crowned with glory and honor," was put over the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea. (Psalm 8:5-8; Genesis 1:28.) In this connection the word "glory" seems to indicate that Adam was made in the image of his Creator.
Applying these same thoughts to ourselves, we find that as yet we have no glory. What blessing we have received is the possession of the Holy Spirit, the evidence of our adoption into the family of God. This, however, is merely the beginning of the glory which God has promised to those who are faithful—merely the earnest. To have the Holy Spirit in us is to have the anointing in us. If we allow the Holy Spirit to operate in us, and ourselves faithfully co-operate therewith, the end will be glorious.
Thus the anointing which we have received—the Spirit of Christ in us—is the hope or basis of the glory which we are expecting—a glory which is to be like that of our Redeemer—a glory which is above that of angels, principalities and powers—a glory which is next to that of the Lord. This anointing, this Spirit of Christ within us, is the earnest, or hope, or basis, of all that is coming. Hence we should heed the admonition of the Apostle that we quench not the anointing, this Holy Spirit of Christ. On the contrary, we are to cultivate it, develop it, give attention to it. If we should allow it to die, because of neglect of the help which God has supplied, if we should quench it by indulgence in sin, we should thereby demonstrate that we are unworthy of the blessing and fit only for the Second Death.