In Colossians 1:25-29 we find the Apostle Paul telling the church at Colosse that there was a mystery which God had hidden from past generations, “but now has been made manifest (known) to His saints (“holy ones”).” In this passage Paul tells the primarily Jewish church that God had chosen that time in history (approx. 64 A.D.) to make known to the Gentiles a mystery (hidden information), thereby fulfilling Old Testament prophecy concerning them. The mystery that God had sent Paul to reveal to converted Gentiles was: “Christ in you, the hope of glory (salvation).” Let us remind ourselves that in order to inherit salvation one must “… live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mat. 4:4). In order to live by something, that something must be inside of us, food being a perfect example. Therefore it is essential that we understand the Word “in” relative to Paul’s words to the Colossians.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16 we are told that upon the return of Christ to receive His saints, the first to rise to meet him in the air will be the dead “in Christ” will rise from their graves where they will have been since their deaths. Note that dead saints will not have been in heaven. Those (in Him) who are living at that time will then rise to where Christ and the formerly dead will be waiting. This is the first resurrection of man. Those in this resurrection will, at that time, be born again and will descend with Christ to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4). From there they will enter Jerusalem where they will establish the Kingdom of God. See The Kingdom of God. The key word in this discussion is “in,” as in the saint being “in Christ” and Christ being “in the saint.” For the believer to be “in Christ” and for Christ to be “in the believer” the believer must have received (been baptized with) the Holy Spirit. It is through His Holy Spirit and His Holy Bible that God speaks to His people. The “voice” of the Holy Spirit will always confirm–agree with–the “voice” of the Bible. When one “hears” a voice that conflicts with the Bible, one is hearing the voice of Satan. Holiness is the end result of obeying God’s written and spiritual “voices.” So what does having the Holy Spirit in us have to do with Christ being in us. Everything.
Paul told the church that he and the other apostles preached “Jesus Christ and Him crucified, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, so that we (apostles) may present (to God) every man perfect ‘in Christ Jesus.’ For this reason I (Paul) labor, striving according to His (Christ’s) working that works in me mightily.” Obviously, the God seeker must have “Christ in” him in order to qualify for salvation (glory). It is through the Holy Spirit that God “speaks” to man and man “speaks” to God. We must have the Holy Spirit in us in order to “hear” God’s “voice” telling us about Jesus Christ. Without the Spirit, we are “dull of hearing” (Heb. 5:11) and cannot “hear” God’s spiritual “voice.” Therefore we must understand exactly what “Christ in” us means and how it ties in with having the Holy Spirit in us. But we must first examine the word “hope” which plays an important role in the salvation process.
The Holy Scriptures tell us that Jesus Christ IS (now) on His throne at the right hand of God in heaven (Col. 3:1/ Rom. 8:34/ Acts 2:33). Note that when referring to the location of Christ and God, the word “is” is written in present perfect tense, meaning that at all times Jesus is at God’s side in northern heaven, the location of their thrones. It is also the location of “the great city”–spiritual Jerusalem (Ps. 48:2/ Isa. 14:13/ Acts 2:33), which will one day descend to earth where it will serve as universe headquarters for God, Jesus and Their holy ones.
This brings up the question: How can Christ be on His throne at God’s side in northern heaven and be “in you” (all saints) on earth at the same time? Christ is in only one place at a time. Otherwise, He would be divided. “Is Christ divided? God forbid” (1 Cor. 1:13). God forbids us to even think along those lines.
Many church people reject the Holy Spirit because they do not understand what it is and the important role it plays in bringing people to conversion which, if maintained until the end (by the power of the Spirit) will qualify the convert to receive salvation upon Christ’s Second Advent (Mat. 10:22). Until that time we have only the “HOPE of salvation.” Paul explains the hope-salvation connection in Romans 8:24,25: “For we (Paul included) are (being) saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope, for what a man sees (has), why does he hope for it? But if we hope for what we do not see (have), then we wait for it (salvation) with patience.” Saints are not saved in this life. Rather, they are justified (have PAST sins forgiven–Rom. 3:25), converted (turned around) and sent in the right direction–walking the holy walk of Christ (1 Jn. 2:6). Rebirth/salvation will be awarded to those “in Christ” at His coming (1 Cor. 15:23). These are those who will have remained obedient to God following conversion (Mat. 10:22). At Christ’s coming the dead in Him will rise first to meet Him, followed by those who are living at that time (1 Thes. 4:16). See Hope and Salvation. Having “Christ in you” gives us the “hope of salvation” until that time. Without “Christ in you” there is no “hope of salvation.” So how does Christ live in us while living in heaven? This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. L.J.