GOD, CHRIST AND YOU
BY: LLOYD ELLEFSON
The gospel is a wonderful message of hope and glory! We all desire change - a change in others! We don't like our own comfort zone to be disturbed. If we are to be changed, let it be a sudden magnificent change in which we are made perfect, receive luxurious living conditions, mansions, streets of gold, etc.! With no sorrow or suffering attached to it - no one to cross our will and make life difficult for us - what more could we desire? Friends, that is NOT the message of the gospel! A geographical change of location from here to heaven would not change us! God has a better plan for us!
"Christ in you, the hope of glory" is God's message to us! Christ is the answer to everything! He is the message of God, the anointing of God, the Savior of God and the Word of God who came in the likeness of sinful flesh! He is our salvation! We are changed or transformed when the Word of God comes to us! He energizes and illuminates us while we are here on planet earth. At the time Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you...that where I am you may be also." He was on earth, in the flesh, anointed of the Spirit and truly representing God. That is also where He wants us to be!
Unfortunately, the name of Jesus Christ is mostly associated with a man who came to earth and was then made a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins, then went back to heaven, and is coming again some day to finish His work and make everything wonderful. That is not the message of the gospel! It's not heaven, it's not the imaginary pictures that are supposed to depict Him, nor is it the future. If you can hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches, you will receive a different message. Christ is the answer! Today is the day of salvation! Today is the day to be saved! Salvation means to be made whole. It's a matter of faith - and faith comes by hearing the Word in our spirit! Hearing the scriptures with our natural ears is not enough. Merely hearing a slogan over and over again will cause us to be brainwashed. This is the method used by the world, but it is not hearing the voice of the Spirit. "He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches." (Rev. 3:32) Hearing the Spirit belongs to the unseen realm.
Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man - in Matthew alone this is mentioned about thirty times. He said, "the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head...the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth...the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels...until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom...the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; and they will kill Him, and He will be raised again on the third day...they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Matt. 8:20; 9:6; 12:40; 16:27,28; 17:22b-23a; 24:30) Jesus identified Himself as the Son of Man and was thus manifested. Everything happened to Him as the Son of Man - His crucifixion, His going away, His appearing again, etc.
The word JESUS is the Greek form of the Hebrew JESHUA - meaning the salvation of YHWH - a name without vowels. To pronounce this word, vowels had to be inserted so it was known as Yahweh. Since the Jews considered this name too holy for them to use, they substituted the word JEHOVAH. Jesus means the salvation of Jehovah; Christ means the Anointed One. The word ANOINTED can be used either as a verb or noun. Although Jesus is called Jesus Christ, He should actually be called "Jesus the Christ". It simply means Jesus the Anointed. The one who is anointed is called Christ. The word MESSIAH is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek, CHRIST, so they have the same meaning. Jesus was anointed after He was baptized in the Jordan River. At that time He was manifested as the Christ or the Messiah, even though He had always been the Messiah in the prophecies. So if we have received Christ, we have received the Messiah. If you believe that Christ is in you - for that is the only way you can receive Him - then the Messiah is in you. He is not here physically but spiritually!
Let's look at this anointing and see God's purpose in giving it. In the Old Testament it was symbolized by oil. Aaron, Moses' older brother, was the first one to be anointed as a high priest. When the anointing oil was poured on his head, it went down his beard, and all the way down to the edge of his garments. (Ps. 133) This shows that the head and the body have the same anointing. We are the body of Christ; we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ. His anointing has come down on us, so we have the same anointing He had! Let's believe what the scriptures tell us!
Later on, every Levite of Aaronical descent, at 30 years of age, was anointed with oil, if he did not have any defects, which would prevent him from becoming a priest. Sacrifices had to be offered before the anointing took place. After the anointing, they were priests for life; it wasn't just an office. In the Old Testament people were anointed with oil; in the New Testament they are anointed with the Holy Spirit. Jesus announced that the law and the prophets exercised authority until John. Jesus did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it! Therefore, with His coming, the kingdom of God is to be preached.
Jesus Christ is the fulfillment. The fulfillment does not come geographically, historically, nor physically. The fulfillment of the law and the kingdom of God do not come in the seen realm. We cannot see the Christ; nor can we see the Adamic man. All we can see in the natural is the manifestation that comes through the flesh. These are the things we see and hear. It is upon these that our ideas, imaginations, awareness of self and of God, are based. But in Christ we come into a new dimension! He illuminates and quickens our spirit!
We know that Jesus had the Spirit all the time, but after He was baptized, the heavens were opened to Him, and the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove. (Luke 3) That began His ministry! No longer was He under the law, nor was He walking in the spirit of the law! He became the Spirit of the law! After His resurrection, Jesus Christ appeared to the disciples and breathed on them. When the day of Pentecost had fully come and the disciples were gathered together in the upper room, the Holy Spirit was poured out. In explaining this great phenomenon, Peter said, "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God..." (Acts 2:32-33) God is speaking in human terms. We speak of our most useful and valuable helper as our right-hand man. God is omnipresent, He is spirit, and He doesn't have any right hand like we do. His right hand denotes a seat of authority. We become conscious of these things through spiritual revelation.
"...and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear." (v.33) Jesus was not born the Christ. He was born in the flesh through Mary, in fulfillment of the promise to Judah and to the lineage of David. God sent His Son into the world in the LIKENESS of sinful flesh. (Rom. 8:3) Yet Jesus was the Son of God all the time, and God's Son is His Word! He is always the same; He never changes! The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of His Son. Since Jesus received the promise from the Father, it shows that the promise did not originate with Jesus. Jesus received His anointing at the Jordan from the Father! The Father gave the Holy Spirit to Jesus, and Jesus became the Christ - the Messiah! The same Spirit that He had received from the Father at the Jordan River was now poured out on the disciples as they were being baptized in the Holy Spirit!
Then Peter said, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ - this Jesus whom you crucified." (v.36) Peter accused the Jews of crucifying Jesus. Since the Jews crucified Him, we know that God did not crucify Him. God made Jesus both Master and the Messiah, the Anointed One. The anointing made Him the Messiah. Peter emphasized the importance of knowing this!
These verses explain how Christ works. Repentance occurs when we are touched by the Word of God. Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ follows repentance. Receiving the remission and forgiveness of sins makes us a new creation! The Holy Spirit can be poured out upon this new creature! The book of Acts records how people received the Holy Spirit in chapters 2, 8, 10 and 19.
I would like to call your attention to three verses, which demonstrate that the saints are called the Lord's Christ. "The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed...The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ...The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ..." (Psalms 2:2; Acts 4:26; Rev. 11:15) Acts 4:26 is a quote from Psalm 2:2. Here we see that the saints are called the Lord's Christ, which means the ones anointed by the Lord. Anyone who is anointed by God with the anointing that came through Jesus Christ is the Lord's Christ, i.e. the Lord's Anointed. Those who have been anointed can now anoint others. Christ's anointed ones convey His message of reconciliation in the earth together with the message of the baptism of the Holy Spirit! Receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the coming of Christ!
The idea that the Messiah is not here, has taken root. If He is not here, He has to come again in order for Him to be here. However, there is positive proof that Jesus Christ has already come! For how can He be in us, if He has not come to us? Christ is our life! He is in us at this present time while we are still in our body of flesh. Hearing the Word (Jesus) produces faith in us.
"For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are Yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God." (2 Cor. 1:20-21) In context we see that HIM refers to Christ. All the promises of God are in Christ, the Anointing. We are established in Christ - in the anointing which is the Spirit of truth, and He teaches us all things and leads us into all truth. Christ is the Spirit of truth. God has anointed us through Jesus Christ.
"Who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge." (v.22) This is God's promise to us! The pledge of the Spirit is the foretaste and the beginning of learning to understand things in the Spirit, of learning to know God, Christ, and ourselves! The Bible can only give us a testimony about these things, but the Spirit has to make them real to us. It is impossible for the natural mind to receive the things of the Spirit of God, therefore we need a new mind. God has given us the earnest of the Spirit, the anointing of the Messiah in our hearts, so we now have the mind of Christ! His mind gives us spiritual understanding!
In John 14:16 Jesus said that He would give us another Comforter, a Helper who would be with us forever! "That is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you." (v.17) The world cannot receive Him, because it can't see Him; it can only receive what it sees and knows. The Anointing, that is Christ coming in spiritual form, cannot be seen with the mortal eye. Therefore Christ is not coming again in the flesh. People have argued against this for centuries. Their thinking is in the natural realm. But Christ is here, for He resides in us and is our life! Those who have received this by faith know the reality of His presence! Christ illuminates us and gives us the spiritual realization that He is here. "The Lord is that Spirit" so we submit ourselves to His teaching.
"Jesus answered and said to him, `If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him'." (John 14:23) This happens when we receive the Comforter! Read this passage carefully. Where does the Father make His abode? He makes it in us! How can God be in us? The Father and Son and Holy Spirit are ONE. When we are in Christ, we are in the Father, and the Father is in us! Jesus Christ and God are inseparable. Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. He is the Spirit from the Father. While Jesus was on earth, He manifested God. This was for our benefit so we could know what God was truly like! The revelation knowledge of His true being produces faith in us to receive Him while we are still in this body of flesh. Christ is here! Paul said, "...for in Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)
In Matt. 16:13-17 Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" The people were far from being united in their opinion as to His identity. Some thought He was Elijah, others John the Baptist, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Then Jesus became personal. "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God." He is the Anointed One! Jesus answered, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." This knowledge did not come from his natural mind; it was revelation knowledge given to Peter from our Father in heaven. It is a good word. "Thou art the Christ, the Son..." The Christ and the Son are the same. The Son has come to us in the Christ. God is manifesting the Son in us; we receive Him through spiritual illumination and realization.
How did this revelation affect Peter? It didn't change him. After Jesus was taken into custody, Peter stood outside the courthouse by the fire and denied all knowledge of Jesus Christ! He said, "I don't know the man." He even cursed. Why? Simply because at that time Peter had not yet received the Holy Spirit; Christ had not breathed on him, and the Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out. Receiving the Spirit changed everything in Peter's life! And it is the same for us!
In Matt. 22:32 Jesus made an astounding statement regarding people we consider dead. He quoted Ex. 3:6, where God said, "`I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' God is not the God of the dead but of the living." By saying this, Jesus was revealing that these men who had died a long time ago, were still living! They are in the resurrection! People who are not in Christ are dead in Adam even when they are still living on this earth. They are separated from God in the vanity of their minds!
Jesus Christ was resurrected from among the dead. "But now Christ has been raised from the dead..." (1 Cor. 15:20) The Concordant Literal translation correctly translates this as follows, "Yet now Christ has been roused (resurrected) from among the dead..." A correct translation records this at least 17 times. Yet before Jesus was crucified He said, "I AM the resurrection." (John 11) He didn't need resurrection because He IS the resurrection! The resurrection of the body of Jesus proved that His human body had experienced death.
"For you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." (1 Peter 2:10) What a prophecy from Hosea 1:10 in the Old Testament! God often said, "You will be My people and I will be your God." Before we can truly say that God is our Father, we have to be made alive in Christ. God is not the God of those who are dead in Adam. In Adam all die! We were dead in our trespasses and sins when we were in the natural, or Adamic man. In Christ all are made alive. (1 Cor. 15:22) Then God is our God and Father!
We have been born of incorruptible seed; that means it cannot be corrupted! The body of this seed is the body of Christ. We are sons because we have been born of the incorruptible word of God! "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" (Gal. 4:6) This is a testimony of what happens to the sons of God. Instead of crying "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus", we will cry "Abba! Father!" because our identification has changed. It becomes life to us when the Christ is operating in us. Christ's life in us causes our understanding to change dramatically. The security and hope we had in the natural and for the natural body, will fade away as we come into a greater security - one that goes beyond the natural. When we hear God calling us His sons, we come into the knowledge that we are truly sons of God and that we have a wonderful inheritance in Christ! Now we can pray "Our Father" in the true sense of what it means! After the Spirit of the Son (the same Spirit, the same Christ who was in Jesus) has come into our hearts, we will cry "Father"! Paul said, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27) Christ in us is our hope of glory!
"If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." (Col. 3:1) God is omnipresent; He fills all things, and so does Christ. How can an omnipresent God have a right hand? He doesn't have a physical right hand; His right hand symbolizes His authority!
"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." (v.2) We are not to set our mind on things that are seen, on man's changing moral standards, on the elemental things of this world, the corruption of our governments, nor the changing of this earth. We are to set our minds on eternal things - the things which do not pass away. Let our minds dwell on "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise..." (Phil. 4:8)
"For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3) Since we have died, it means we can quit trying to die. Everything spiritual (and this includes the kingdom of God) is in the invisible realm, because God is spirit. Our eyes cannot see that realm at present; we'll see it later on. Paul says we have died, and our new life - our real life, our spiritual life - is hidden with Christ in God! That means that Christ is hidden in God too!
In v. 4 it says, "When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory." You may say Christ will be revealed when He is coming back; however, He has come back in the Spirit. When Christ shall be unveiled, you also shall be unveiled with Him in glory. That does not refer to the fading and unreliable glory that is in the world. It says that Christ is our life! He is the life of God in us! Flesh is not our life. We live and move and have our being in God! We have made a transition from flesh to spirit; we know that we no longer are in the death realm, because the voice of the Son has made us alive! Those who hear the voice of the Son of God shall live. (John 5:25) So we live! In Rev. 3:20 it says, "...if any one hears My voice..." Not every one hears Christ knocking at his heart's door. But if you hear His voice, He will come in to you. Hearing His voice is the important thing! Our only response to His voice is to hear! It does not say anything about what we have to say. Christ said, "...I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me."
In 2 Cor. 13:5 it says, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?" To fail means to be disqualified. This wonderful verse plainly tells us that Christ is in us! How in the world can we be waiting for Christ to come, when Christ IS our life? Paul says that if we do not know that Christ is in us, we are disqualified. The KJV uses the word REPROBATE. The dictionary says that a reprobate is a depraved, corrupt person, rejected by God. To know that Jesus Christ is in us is foundational to our Christian life!
"And those who are in the flesh cannot please God." (Rom. 8:8) That does not mean that you have to die in order to please God. It means that when we operate in our natural mind we cannot please God. Our mind only operates according to our reasonings, which are derived from our sense knowledge - seeing, smelling, touching, feeling, etc. These ideas form our idea of being. When that being dies, there is nothing left. That is why it is very important that we understand that we are new creations in Christ.
Today is the day of salvation! Receiving Christ is receiving the Holy Spirit - the anointing, the Messiah! Christ is in us and He is our life! If we think Christ is coming, obviously He can't be in us. The fact that the word PAROUSIA, which actually means PRESENCE, is often mistranslated as COMING, adds to people's confusion.
"However you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." (v.9) The Spirit of God dwells in us! The place where He dwells is His habitation. He does not just come for a visit! He is there all the time! But the realization of this comes to us in the Spirit of Christ.
We have to differentiate between the body of Christ and the physical body of Jesus. The body of Christ consists of all those who are in Christ. The physical body of Jesus was given for our benefit for the time He was on earth. In His physical body He demonstrated who the invisible God is by His spiritual words and actions. It was a demonstration in the seen realm of the unseen God! People claim that Christ ascended into heaven with a resurrected physical body that could go through walls and could defy the law of gravity. That idea has been generated in the natural mind. The Bible clearly teaches that those who are in Christ are all members of His body! We are baptized into the body of Christ! Does Christ have two bodies? That would be ridiculous!
"By faith we understand that the worlds (ages) were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible." (Heb. 11:3) The things that are seen are made from that which is in the invisible realm. In other words, the reality of everything is in the Spirit. That is why we are not to think that the seen realm is reality, for it is only temporal; we are to focus on the unseen realm, for it is eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18)
Paul wrote, "...If there is a natural body" (soulish body is the correct translation), "there is also a spiritual body." (1 Cor. 15:44) It doesn't say there WILL BE a spiritual body - it says there IS! We ARE the body of Christ. "For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens...But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." (2 Cor. 5:1; Rom. 8:9b) We are part of Christ's spiritual body NOW! This applies to the present as much as it did for Paul's time. If you don't have the Spirit of Christ - and that does not refer to being moral or doing good works - you don't belong to Christ. The Spirit of Christ is the voice of Christ - the energy of Christ that changes us from desiring to do the will of the flesh, to desiring to do the will of the Spirit!
It is important to understand the difference between religious and spiritual concepts! Religious thoughts are carnal thoughts, for they stem from the flesh and show that one's idea of life is still in the flesh. Christians who have not left their religious concepts believe Jesus still has an individual body instead of a corporate body; that He is sitting in a geographical heaven at the right hand of God instead of indwelling the believer; that God is sitting on a physical white throne waiting to judge everyone in time to come, for they do not realize that God is spirit, that He fills all things, and that His truth is constantly judging us; that life consists of earthly things until Jesus comes back on the Mount of Olives in His individual body, for they do not understand that Christ Jesus is spirit, and that spirit cannot be seen by the world - a physical form would veil His true being again. The religious mind also says that we are to wait for a physical golden holy city to come down to celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb because that mind cannot understand spiritual concepts! The holy city mentioned in Revelation is explained in Gal. 4, where it is called a covenant, which bears children who are born of a promise. They are like Isaac who was born of the Word of God. This city is also called the bride, the wife of the Lamb. (Rev. 21:9)
"Jesus therefore said to them, `Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.'" (John 6:53-54) What is the last day? When all our natural earthly physical days are gone, our 24-hour days have ended; then we have immortality.
Jesus said, "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." (v.55) Christ is our spiritual food! People have perverted this into communion services where you take a wafer and wine, and think that these elements are actually being transformed into the body and blood of Christ. This is nothing but paganism. The things we eat and drink physically do not change who we are, nor would legislating all the people of this world into moral human beings change them! God has a better plan; He works from the inside out! Isn't it wonderful to know that we have been baptized into the body of Christ? We are members of His body! His life IN us transforms us! But many don't have faith for that.
"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in Him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father..." (vv.56-57) Jesus didn't have any life apart from the Father. We don't either. Never! We are joined to God; we are united with Him; we are part of Him! God is our life! Those who don't like that, would be uncomfortable there; they are in need of an awakening; God still has a work to do in them.
Continuing in v. 57, Jesus said, "...and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me." That is how we receive the Spirit. God gave the Spirit to Jesus, and He became the Christ. This is the Spirit He has also given us! As we partake of Christ, we receive the Spirit. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." (John 1:12) To be freed from the domination of the law, we need to go through the Jordan experience as Jesus did, receive the Holy Spirit, and live spiritually! In living spiritually, we overcome the lusts of the flesh. The grace of Christ Jesus supersedes our natural inclination to retaliate according to the law.
In 1 Timothy 6:13 it says, "I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate." The confession Jesus made before Pilate was that He had come into the world to bear witness to the truth. His kingdom is not of this world. It is very important to understand that Jesus is not forcing His kingdom upon this world; He is not in the business of changing this world. Everything He gives is brand new, spotless, and righteous.
"That you keep the commandment without stain or reproach, until the appearing" (or the unveiling) "of our Lord Jesus Christ," (that is: Master, God's Savior, the Anointing) "which He will bring about at the proper time - He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen." (vv. 14-16) Everything comes to us through His Son, the Word, and the Spirit of His Word. That is where immortality dwells. Christ is the only one who has ever demonstrated this! Human nature cannot understand this light - this illumination that the Spirit of truth brings. The Bible is a testimony of the truth on a natural level; it is not truth itself, for Jesus is the truth!
Christ dwells in light that no man can approach, and no man has ever seen the Christ! Neither has any man seen God! No natural man has seen Him, nor can see Him! That ought to settle it. We cannot see the Christ. He is not coming back in a visible form. Christ is here! He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the Spirit of the Son; He is the Holy Spirit! And what does He do? The Christ forms the Son in us. The Son of God is the Word, and the Word is the illumination and understanding of God.
"To Him be honor and eternal dominion!" No man is going to take this dominion away from Him. But man has to submit himself to Christ's dominion. Before he can do that, he has to realize that his human nature cannot achieve God's righteousness. Man cannot look within his heart; he cannot see that all kinds of evils come out of it. It is the law that prepares him to see this, and it is God who has to unveil His Son to him. This is the gospel! We need to understand that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. He gives us a new heart in which there is no evil. All things have become new! They have a new sense in spiritual realization.
God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?" If you don't have the Spirit of Christ, you don't belong to Him! How can we have the Spirit of Christ if He is not here? He is here, and God is here! We don't have to go to a geographical heaven to experience Him! The realization of God's omnipresence only comes to us through the Spirit He has given. The Holy Spirit brings us this spiritual realization!
Meditate on these things. May the Lord give you understanding! God bless you! Amen.