‘His joy over you, is His fountain in you.’

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”                          Col.2:6,7

 The first part of this verse speaks not about just walking with the Lord, but walking “in Him”. The phrase “in Christ”, is used throughout the New Testament and speaks of a deeper level of communion than even Jesus disciples knew when they walked with Him through Galilee. That is why Jesus told them that it was better for them if He went away, so that the Holy Spirit could come (John 16:7). The giving of the Holy Spirit brought a level of communion with Christ that His disciples had not known and so a level of confidence they had never known either. On that first Pentecost, when Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, stood before the crowd and challenged them, he finally knew what Jesus meant about it being better if He went away! Now Peter, began to know what it meant to be “in Christ” and to operate in Christ (Acts 3:6). The filling with the Holy Spirit was a revelation of the love of God, a love that cast out fear and brought a great boldness. Peter felt God’s heart of love for himself and others and he was carried along by that love (the nature of God) to live out of that love. As he did, people observed it was as if Peter and the Lord were moving ‘as one’ (Acts 5:15).

This love, this life, was the gift of God. In truth, this life was the life that Peter (and you and I) were created for. You could say that life in union with God, or as Peter himself described it, “a participation in the divine nature” (2Peter 1:4), is our real life, the life God always had in mind for us (2Tim.1:9,10). This is because to God, life has never been found in being alone, but in being together (Gen.1:26). When asked how He was living such a supernatural life, Jesus’ reply always revealed that He was not living as an “I alone”(John 7:16, John 12:49, John 14:10). In fact, He was living in such communion with His Father that when Philip asked to see the Father, Jesus replied “When you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

In fact, we could say that if being together, in one life (Father, Son and Spirit), is what life is to God, then to God being ‘alone’ is death! That is why God’s Word always links sin and death, for to God sin is separation, separation from the union (Father, Son and Spirit) that is life. Even though Adam ‘lived’ for over 900 years, to God he died on the day he sinned (Gen.2:17). Being cut off from God, ‘dead’ to God and so powerless to bring ourselves back to life (union with God), only God could bring us back into union with Himself. To do this, He had to enter into our ‘life’ so that He could enter into our ‘death’, our separation from union (life) and resurrect us up from death to life, from separation to union. When He entered into our death, His life overcame our death, the light shone out of the darkness (2Cor.4:6), union overcame separation, (It does everywhere, except in one place; the minds of many Christians! (Rom.6:11, Rom.12:2, Col.3:1-4))

How are we to live this Christian life? We are to present ourselves to God and men as people “alive from the dead” (Rom.6:13), people who have been translated from separation to union. Did we qualify ourselves? No. The Father qualified us (Col.1:12,13). We received life, not when we had reached some standard of holiness, but when we were dead, (apart from Him) (Eph.2:5, Col.2:13). Therefore, as you received Him, so (in this same way), walk in Him. Walk in the life of Christ by continually receiving His life as you did at first, as one dead apart from Him. Reckon your old, ‘apart from God’ life as dead. If you do, you can walk receiving your union (life) and overflowing with gratitude. If you don’t, your double-mindedness about your state before God will hinder you from receiving, for a double-minded man struggles to receive (Jam. 1:7).

This is why at River City, we refuse to speak to Christians as if their sins still separate them from God, as if Christ’s life (union) did not overcome our death (separation). Your old flesh never had the power to overcome sin (separation), so what is the point of digging him up from where Jesus buried him and asking him to have another go at being holy apart from God? God opposes such pride (self-righteousness), but to those humble enough to receive their death, the death of the ‘I’ (ego), grace flows (James 4:6), that they may live “in Christ” who has “become for us our holiness” (1Cor.1:30).

So, how are we walking in Him, Church? Are we walking in Him as we received Him, entirely by His grace (not His grace plus our behaviour)? The answer is found in the joy we are experiencing. If you think that by your behaviour you can get more out of God, then you are short-sighted and not seeing your life “in Christ” (how much He has already given and where He has already translated you to) (Col.1:13). Such a person cannot be overflowing with gratitude because their hope has been moved; off the rock of His sinless life and onto the shifting sands of their ‘sinning less’ life! It is the joy of the Lord that is our strength; our very ability to live overcoming separation (sin). Believers who walk ‘overflowing with gratitude’, bear the fruit of holiness, fruit which flows from their life being rooted and grounded in Christ’s. It is very difficult for a person overflowing with gratitude to ‘sin’. Can you imagine a mother holding her new-born in her arms, overflowing with gratitude, sinning against that child?

Now imagine the joy of the Lord over you on the day you received Christ. Do you know, that though your joy may have waned since that day, His has not! He rejoices over your salvation as much today as He did all those years ago and the power of His joy is within you, in your spirit (1Cor.6:17). It is this power, His joy over you, that led Christ to the Cross and raised Him from the dead (Heb.12:2). Now this same joy, His very view and opinion (‘doxa’/glory) is in you (John 17:22) and will flow from you like rivers of living water to a dry and sin-(separation)-conscious Church and from there to the world (John 7:38). Get alone with God and listen to what the Father still speaks into the hearts of disappointed and joyless children; “You are always with me and everything I have is yours. Now rejoice with me, for what was lost has been found (he who was separated from me has been restored into communion with me.) (Luke 15:31,32). Can you receive this truth, that you are hidden with Christ in God? Then walk in this truth and let the joy of the Father over you, become like a fountain in you, that many will come to and receive eternal life (the knowledge of the Father) (John 4:14, John 17:3).

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