First Things @ First
Many may have heard the biblical term 'in Christ' used in preaching or teaching. It is used some seventy times in the New Testament. The term was a favorite of the Apostle Paul's. The words 'in Christ' speak of the miracle of grace that the Holy Spirit of God produces when a sinner embraces grace and is eternally born again in their soul. The sinner once separated from God by sin is now adopted into the family of faith through the atoning power of Jesus's blood being applied to their sin debt. The believing sinner is pardoned of the penalty of death that is due regarding past, present or future sin by embracing the finished work of redemption through faith in Christ. In that miracle moment, Christ comes to dwell within the soul of the person in the form of the Holy Spirit in order that the life fully surrendered to God may bring glory to God in fulfilling His purpose.
However, for many, that is where His work appears to stop. That is not how God designed the work of sanctification that reveals His salvation in us and to others. When Christ comes into the soul of a believing sinner, the Holy Spirit of God begins the work of maturing faith. However, in far too many occasions He is seldom seen visibly at work in a way that others are drawn to God through the testimony of His activity. To put it another way, belief that Christ has come in is not followed with behavior that sees Christ coming out consistently. Therefore, the inflow of His grace is not visible as an outflow of His governance over the heart. In such cases the flesh is permitted dominance because of a refusal to be being filled with the Spirit of God (Ephesians 5:18). And the community in which the believer is strategically placed is robbed of God's blessing of grace upon their life. Blessings such as love, joy, peace, patience, mercy, kindness, gentleness, patience, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). Could we not all benefit more of those kind of blessings today?
The Bible reminds us in Romans 8:29 that God both planned and purposes to conform those who confess Jesus as Lord to become like Jesus. "Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren."
God's perfect purpose for every person begins with confessing Jesus as Lord and for the rest of their days on earth the believing sinner is to be being 'poured' into the mold of Christ's holiness.
God's work is the ongoing process of making those who believe on His name more like His Son and less like the world every day. When His goals are being actively engaged, Christ is seen coming out through choices and patterns of behavior daily. Subsequently, others are drawn to His love. The world at large is given the opportunity to experience His promise of abundant life and eternal life. That is our response to grace and our responsibility as ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Because Christ has 'come in' through faith, He must 'come out' if we hope to fulfill His purpose and finish the course set before us satisfactorily.
For those who are 'in Christ', let the world around you see Him come out this week and you will be fulfilling His great command to go and make a difference in making disciples.