Published March 21, 2017

Paul's Epistle
"Christ In You"

Often we'll hear someone, probably a family acquaintance, say to a boy or young man, "I can see your father in you." Or to a daughter, "I can see your mother in you."

It means there is clearly some undeniable resemblance there. A physical resemblance, perhaps. Or perhaps a similar way of talking. Or, more likely, a certain way of behaving which is characteristic of the parent. They see inherited traits or mannerisms.

Has that ever happened to you?

Now let me ask a more important question. Has anyone ever said this to you: "I can see Christ in you."

That's surely one of the most welcome comments any true Christian could ever receive from someone else. But what does it mean? It means that our way of behaving, our way of interacting with others, the way we talk, the things we say, our values, our goals – all of those characteristics that we exhibit – are representative of Christ.

Should people be able to see Christ in you? Absolutely! After all, as Paul wrote, " is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

We are to live our lives remembering that we, as Christians, have been "bought at a price" by Christ's death on the Cross, and that, as Paul reminded the Corinthians, "your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, whom you have received from God" (1 Cor. 6:19-20). The "old man" was "crucified with Him..." (Romans 6:6). So "you have put off the old man with his deeds..." (Colossians 3:9).

In other words, our lives should be Christlike in every way — not like they were before we accepted Christ — to the extent that people around us will notice.

Some years back the expression "What Would Jesus Do?" – "WWJD" – became popular. Trite as the expression has become in some ways, it really does represent what our attitude should be each and every day. We should, as someone once said, be so much like Jesus that the world can't tell us apart."

In fact, that was the theme of a song by the Hinsons some years ago, which included the line, "Just wanna be so much like Him the world can't tell us apart."

Why is this important? Why should we strive to live a life that honors Christ though all of our actions, our demeanor, our conversations and interactions with others? Well, we should want to do that, of course, because we love the Lord. But Ronny Hinson's song provided an additional answer:

     "Then I can reach ‘em, touch ‘em with more than my hand.
      I'd like to teach ‘em to love, each his own fellow man.
      And tell of His coming, just like He said at the start.
      We shall be changed, be so much like Him,
      The world can't tell us apart."*

Yes, "Christ in you [is] the hope of glory," as Paul wrote (Colossians 1:17). Christ in us gives us hope for what Christ has in store for us beyond this life (see 1 Cor. 15:19).

But for the here-and-now, "Christ in us" means we are subject to His "great commission" to reach the world with the Gospel (see Matt. 28). Each of us is to live a life that is an example of Christ to others. After all, we are, as Paul called Christians, "ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us..." (2 Cor. 5:20). We as Christians are the "only Jesus" the lost will ever see in this life. Are we representing Him well?

If we truly live like Christ did, if we show that kind of love to others, people will be curious. They'll wonder what you apparently have that they obviously don't. And the door will be open — you'll have the opportunity to tell them about the One you love so much that you pattern your entire life after His. You'll have the opportunity to point them to Jesus and the salvation He alone offers.

So... Can the world see Jesus in you?

- Paul

*Excerpt of lyrics from "Until The World Can't Tell Us Apart," written by Ronny Hinson, Songs of Calvary BMI, recorded by the Hinsons on their 1980 "Song Vineyard" LP. This was, by the way, one of the first – maybe the first – Hinsons LP that I acquired when The Gospel Greats program began in 1980.

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