Monday, January 1, 2018

you in the Book, and the Book in you

The Word for today:
2 Corinthians 6:11-7:16

(Editor's Note:  the order of these January articles is amiss.  Restore proper order in subsequent cycles.)
mark this: 2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Over the last few days, we boiled the Bible down to the crux. Along the way, I identified my favorite Bible version (1917 Scofield), the most important of the Testaments (the Bible makes no such distinction, so neither will I), the most important of the books (I say Matthew), and the Bible's most instructive verse (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Which leaves us just a step away from completing the progression. So, why not ask…
Does the Bible have a most significant word?
I think it does, and (excluding the names of God) I'll nominate the little word in.
That may sound a little crazy to you, because you were thinking grace or love or faith or redemption or salvation or sanctification, but I nominate 'in' because it unobtrusively holds scripture together.
I remember reading an article, a few years ago, in which the writer asked the experts--in the fields of construction, engineering, and the like--which is the most important single item sold in a hardware store. Their answer was unanimous: the screw.
In the same way, in goes unnoticed as it holds things together. Here, to begin with, is the most profound verse in scripture:
At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (John 14:20)
You in me, and I in you…
"You in me" -- that is salvation:
God sees everyone as either in Christ or out of Christ. You are either in Him by faith or you are out of Him with your sins still upon you. If you are in Christ, then God sees you in Christ, and His righteousness is your righteousness. You stand complete in Him.
“I in you” -— is sanctification.
That is Christian living down here. Is Christ living in you? Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
And notice how crucial in is to what Stand in the Rain considers (as we explained over the last few days) the most all-encompassing verse in scripture:
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
In the Bible's most appropriate New Year's verse, to be in Christ is the sole prerequisite from which all else follows:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
If you are in Christ (by faith in Him) then you are brand new. You are eternally new. You, in fact are newer now than you were ten seconds ago! But the only way to behold the new you is to stop reading the Bible as if it were about somebody else.
Because you are in Christ, you are what the Bible calls a child of promise:
Now we, brothers and sisters, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. (Galatians 4:28)
All the radical and revolutionary promises that scripture contains are aimed toward you. So put yourself in this Book, and this Book in you. A very real way to accomplish that is to personify the pronouns! Instead of reading "he" and "she" and "we," read your name into the text instead.
It will sound something like this:
"Now Susie, just as Isaac was, is a child of promise."
It's all true, Sue. It's all new, and its pages are open, beckoning you. Come on in.

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