We ended the last post with the question, "Am I a God at hand, and not a God far away" from Jeremiah 23:23. But more than closeness is at issue; it has much to do with the intimacy of our relationship with the Savior God. This intimacy (and we cannot afford to be scared of this term) is beautifully brought out in Paul's letter to the Colossians:
When Christ, who is your life, shall appear, then you will also appear with him in glory (3:3).
We'd miss this if we're not careful. The second half of the verse is intended to be the focus. And well it should. But it is the first part into which we wish to gaze. It's a setup for the second half of the verse, brought out by "when. . ." It's these words we need to see:
". . . Christ, who is your life . . ."
It were easier for us (especially Americans) to understand something like, "Christ GIVES you life." That IS true, no doubt, and necessary. We identify with this phrase more easily because it is cast in terms with which we are familiar--that of the market place! No, I don't mean it's about buying and selling. But it does project the image of ownership. We like owning things. May I quickly add that such materialism is not the sole property of Americans. Jesus warned everyone not to chose mammon over God (Mt. 6:24). From a child we hit that age when we practiced ownership--when the car was MY car, and the church, MY church. As we grow older that should but may not have changed, even if it's expressed in more mature ways. Still, we like ownership, why? Because there is in it the feature of control we all love! If I own something, it is within my grasp, under my control. I can use it when I wish. But by the same token, I can set it aside also! It seems our generation has become one which loves to have a way out, which begrudges commitment. It requires too much of us, we think. But Christianity is NOT about our owning God, or even our faith. It's about Christ having purchased us with his own blood! (Rev. 5:9)
OK. So we don't control God; HE bought us. He did more than that. He has made us one with him (John 17:11). This means union, or communion with our God. So, Jesus doesn't just give us life, even abundant life (John 10:10); He becomes that life. But in our minds, he could still remain somewhat detached like a God who winds up the clock of creation and lets it run on its own. NO! Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead that we might not only live, but live IN HIM.
Again, Colossians . . . "When Christ, who IS your life . . ."
What is this life? We'll attempt to answer that in the next post.