Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Prototype realised – Christ in us
Worship Central and HTB songwriter and worship leader Tim Hughes
IT IS OFTEN asked, why do popular newspapers and the media only seem to report bad news? (In the case of media, sometimes imagined bad things happening in the lives of imagined celebrities!) Why, it is asked, is society on a downward spiral of increasing urban violence, marriage breakdown, and a huge and widening gap between rich and poor? Why is life so selfish, so shallow – and so unsatisfying?
The short answer is that the first creation – the one we know and live in – is fallen; we have an enemy, the god of this word, as Jesus called him, who is in charge and we see the effects everywhere. Its values are twisted, everything is marred by rebellion against the creator and it is headed, slowly but inexorably, towards destruction. A jolly start to this post, and 2 Peter 3:10-13 spells it out in more graphic detail but also adds the rider: “In keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”
It’s a bit like being sent to Detroit. We know that as a city administration it is bankrupt and broken – the values of the old order did not serve it well. We would be entering that situation with all our support network, to bring a different perspective. To bring righteousness, even.
As Christians in a broken world we are setting out to bring a different perspective. We follow a different Master and therefore hold different values. We stand together in upholding the new against all the opposition of the old order, but our identity is clear.
1 John 4:13 (NIV)
We know that we live in Him AND HE IN US, because He has given us of His Spirit.
We saw yesterday that this was the essence of Jesus’ promise to His disciples – they would not be left alone, but would have a Helper and Encourager, who would not just be with them, but in them:
John 14:16-17 (NIV)
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever — the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.
In a couple of places in the New Testament the Holy Spirit is referred to specifically as the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7, Philippians 1:19) and therefore becomes, to take the line in Tim Hughes’ song Everything: “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (taken from Col. 1:27).
The essence of being a new creation (2 Cor. 5:16-17) is that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. As we will see tomorrow, there is a mirror-image way of looking at this which is an even more widespread expression.