January 17

The early Church referred to salvation as union with God. That is most often conveyed in Scripture with the prepositional phrase, “in Christ,” or “in Him.” For instance, there are 40 such phrases in the six chapters of Ephesians alone. Before Christ we were “in the flesh,” or “in Adam.” “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him” (Rom. 8:9). “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).

Because our souls are in union with God, our bodies are a temple of God. Notice in the passages above how the phrases “Spirit of God” and “Spirit of Christ” are used interchangeably, reinforcing the Trinitarian nature of God. This union with God is the core issue for the apostle Paul’s theology. He tells the church in Corinth, “That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church” (Cor. 4:17). That is what our ministry teaches all over the world, reminding them of the apostles’ ways.

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6). Being alive in Christ is the foundation for our growth and ministry. The apostle then writes what we would call today a parenthetical insertion in the next verse . “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (vs. 8).

Only God knows how much secular psychologies and philosophies have infiltrated the Church. Secular psychology makes sense if we were just natural people living in a natural world and the same is true with secular philosophies if we were just humanists, but we are not. In addition, spiritism and New Age beliefs prompted by “elemental spirits” are seducing many. After the warning, the apostle comes back to the truth. “For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority” (vss. 9,10). Now there is something to rejoice and be thankful for.

Dr. Neil

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