Some of you may recognize the title of this post from a song titled, “In Christ Alone.” The title of this post is actually the last line of the song. It is a great song, one of my favorites. If you haven’t heard it, you can follow the link at the end of this post to listen to it on Youtube. However, the song isn’t necessarily the focus of this post. This post is more about where we stand, our position, our true reality, which is IN Christ!
The heart behind this post was born out of personal circumstance. To be more specific, it was born out of family circumstances. Not long ago, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Currently, I am back in the town where I grew up, staying with my parents, to help out in any way I am able to, while dad is going through treatments, which began last week. It isn’t a secret that my dad has been diagnosed with cancer, however, it isn’t something that they bring up in every conversation they have either, so it isn’t yet common knowledge to everyone who knows our family. What is common knowledge is that I have been living in Florida for the last several years, so when I run into people that know our family, they inevitably ask what I’m doing here, because a trip from Florida to Oklahoma is not a short thing. What I’m about to tell you is what has really puzzled me in all of this.
When I tell people that I’m here to help my parents out while my dad is going through treatments for cancer, in just about every conversation, their whole demeanor and the tone of the conversation changes. The conversation goes from one of surprise or gladness that we’ve bumped into one another, to one where they start to exhibit signs of sorrow, dejection, and sometimes even despair.
Now, I’m not saying there isn’t a time for sorrow, but I don’t believe this is one of them. My dad isn’t dead, nor is he dying, least ways not anymore than he was, I was, or you were prior to him being diagnosed with cancer. He’s still here on the earth. The rest of us, who are still here as well, have the exact same amount of time we had to share with him now, as we did prior to him being diagnosed with cancer. In other words, this is not a time of sorrow. I realize there is the possibility that my dad could pass away, which would be a time of sorrow. If that were to happen, I would miss him greatly. But even then, it would not be a time of sorrow as the world knows sorrow, because my dad is in Christ, and Christ is our Hope. He is the resurrection and the life! It would also be a time of rejoicing! My dad may pass away on this earth, but he would only be passing into what is our true spiritual reality. He would not be passing into death, because he has the Spirit of the Living God alive within him! He would be passing into the fullness of God in Christ Jesus! Knowing Christ face to face, just as he has been known, with no veil between them. WOW! What glory!
So, what do the words dejection and despair mean?
Dejection (noun) – a sad and depressed state; low spirits.
Despair (noun) – the complete loss or absence of hope.
Those are interesting words, especially in times like I’ve just described. On my own, I can understand how it would be easy to become dejected, to be sad or depressed and to allow our spirit to get low. I can even understand how, on our own, we could sink down into despair and experience a complete loss or absence of hope. However, I am not on my own. If you are in Christ, then you are not on your own either!
1 Corinthians 6:17
“17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”
Saints, when He ascended and sat down at the right hand of the Father, He was exalted above all things in heaven and on earth, and Christ Jesus became the life-giving Spirit that joined Himself together with those of us who believe upon Him (1 Corinthians 15:45). WOW! Thank you, Lord, for joining Your Spirit to ours and giving us Your life! In You, Lord Jesus, we have been made sons of God!
“”14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received (literally) the Spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
2 Timothy 1:7
“7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Brothers and sisters, the Spirit we have been given is not a spirit of fear or of slavery. No! We have been given, and in fact, are joined together with, His Spirit, which is the Spirit of Life, the Spirit of Power, the Spirit of Love, and the Spirit of a Sound Mind. We know this Spirit is the Spirit of Life, because Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). We know this Spirit is the Spirit of Power, because after He was resurrected, Jesus said all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him (Matthew 28:18). We know this Spirit is the Spirit of Love, because God is love (1 John 4:8). We know that this Spirit is the Spirit of a Sound Mind, because it is the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
These truths speak of our reality in Christ. Because of Christ Jesus, we are no longer slaves to fear. Our spirits, dad’s and mine (and yours, if you have believed upon Christ Jesus), are joined together with the Spirit of Christ. Our spirits can never become dejected, because His Spirit is never dejected. Our spirits are now joined with Life. Our spirits are now joined with Power. Our spirits are now joined with Love. Our spirits are now joined with His sound mind. We are one with Christ Jesus!
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
The last verse of the song I mentioned earlier reads as follows:
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
Beloved of God in Christ (yes, I’m speaking to y’all), Christ is our Hope. He is our Hope now! This hope we have is not just a hope that we’ll see our loved ones again someday. No, this hope we have is a present hope, an active hope. It is a hope in Christ that He is producing an eternal weight of glory by His life in us. These momentary, light afflictions serve as escorts, leading us to Christ, not because they are good things, but because He is good, regardless of our circumstances. Instead of our minds dwelling on things of the earth, things that are going on around us, or happening to us, in turning to Christ Jesus, our minds are being renewed and we are being transformed into His image (Romans 12:1-2). We can trust that He is working all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28-30). This doesn’t mean that we’ll all be healthy and wealthy all the days of our lives and that nothing bad will ever befall us. No, this means that this eternal weight of glory is being worked into us and we are being transformed into the likeness of His image as we turn to Him and fix our eyes on Him, and that is the good He is working! So let us declare with bold confidence in Christ Jesus, “Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!”