The “Heresy” of Christ Within

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Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

Isaiah 25:1-5

1 Peter 1:8b-12

  • What shall I return to the LORD for all his bounty to me? – Psalm 116:12
  • O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. – Isaiah 25:1
  • Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. – 1 Peter 1:10-11

The Spirit of Christ within

In today’s reading from 1 Peter 1, we hear again that amazing phrase “Christ within”. Not just spirit, but the Spirit of Christ within.

More importantly, Peter is referring to Christ within the prophets who lived hundreds, even thousands of years before Jesus walked the Earth, who prophesied through the spirit of Christ about Christ’s coming incarnation on Earth… in other words, Christ is timeless.

Let’s examine the nature of this timeless Christ:

2 Corithians 13

5. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?

I would venture to say, for the majority of modern believers, the answer is “no”, Paul. We do not “realize that” about ourselves.

In fact, I suspect that many modern Christians have been taught to think that way borders on blasphemy.

Later we will explore “why”. For now, we will simply know that the concept of Christ incarnate within us was important to the Apostle Paul. Very important…

Christ has different appearances…

Next, let us examine the famous scene from the Gospel of Luke where post-Easter Jesus appears to two of his disciples as the walk on the road to Emmaus. On the very day of Easter, Christ appears to them:

Luke 24

13. That very day two of (the disciples) were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14.  and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

Next, in another post-Easter appearance:

John 21

3. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus’ own disciples DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM. There is so much meaning packed into this revelation, it’s almost too much to bear:

Even “followers” of Christ can fail to recognize Christ, in person, in teachings, in action, and in others.

Christ was with Moses and the Hebrews

Finally, in the following passage, Paul reveals that the spirit of Christ is timeless and immutable.

1 Corinthians 10

1. For I want you to know, brothers,a that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2. and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3. and all ate the same spiritual food, 4. and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Even in the times of Moses, before there were any Gospels, before there was a nativity story, before there were the miracles of Jesus, before there was a crucifixion… there was Christ. With the people, following the people, sustaining the people…

Christ is not bound by written doctrine. Christ is not bound by time or political borders. Christ is present.

The Difficult “Why”

Now we move on the the difficult part: the “why”. Why do many churches teach their congregants that thinking this way is blasphemy? Why must Christ be categorized as a finite, separate, and acute presence?

Because it’s much more difficult to build a religious empire based on the knowledge that anyone can have Christ within.

They say, “He was born, he lived, he died, and now he is gone. We await his return. Listen to us and our rules and Christ will come back for you.”

But what if Christ is already returned in you? In me? In that homeless guy down the street? What then?

It is difficult to inculcate a system of religious control if your Christ is not contained within the pages of any particular bible, not encountered solely through communion, confession, or hymn, and not limited to one particular faith or doctrine.

It is difficult to create superstitious and compulsory worship if the object/subject of worship is not some idol hanging from the rafters, but is present in the child in the third row, or within the pastor’s compassionate preaching, or within daily love of the quiet old woman in the back. Timeless, free from absolute definition, and omnipresent… the Christ is within all.

John 1

1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. He was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

How can the Christ, the Word of God, the embodiment of God’s absolute creative power and will, the source of all that is and ever will be, be defined by anyone? Ever?

I think this is most beautifully portrayed in the following “heretical”, extra-canonical text:

The Gospel of Thomas

77. Jesus said, “It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am the All. From Me did the All come forth, and unto Me did the All extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find Me there.”

And also within the accepted biblical cannon:

Ephesians 4

4. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5. one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6. one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

The church does not teach about Christ within all things because it allows for too much individual freedom and creative liberty of worship. And that is precisely why a believer’s understanding of Christ within all things is so paramount.

If we begin to recognize Christ within each other, we cannot kill Christ who is our enemy.

If we begin to recognize Christ within each other, we cannot ignore Christ who is hungry.

If we begin to recognize Christ within each other, we cannot abandon Christ who is fallen.

If we begin to recognize Christ within each other, we cannot destroy Christ who is fragile… in this world and all around us.

Christ within all things allows creation to be holy once more, and we can stop taking all of this for granted.

1 Corithians 8

6. Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

 

Trig Bundgaard About Trig Bundgaard

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and ideas about what I've written. Especially if it's contrary to my views!

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Grace and peace to you!

Romans 5
"18. Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
19. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."

Comments

  1. LOVE THE WAY YOU TEACH ITS THOUGHT AND STUDY PROVOKING I WAS TOLD GET THE HOLY GHOST YOU WILL BE FINE I WASNT FINE STILL LEARNING SO MUCH I APPRECIATE YOUR PERSPECTIVE IT LEADS ME TO INVESTIGATE AND ALSO ANSWERS QUESTIONS I HAVE BEEN TO ASHAMED TO ASK/LOVE IN CHRIST SHELIA WHITE

  2. constantevolution says:

    Awesome.

  3. Mary Kay Krause says:

    This was wonderful! I loved the way you taught us through Scripture. It was very heartening to read your concluding remarks. Thank you so much!!!

  4. John Wood says:

    I so needed to read this today. I have been questioning the whole Christianity thing lately and these teachings speak to me. I so appreciate the Biblical references which back this up. Christianity has been hijacked by a group of people that use it to force others to believe and act as they do!

  5. rebecca zondervon says:

    Thank you for both the scholarly and spirit-led discussion ~ indeed, were we to recognize the Christ within each of us 100% of church problems would disappear in an instant. What would a united church be able to do when His Word says that when even two or three of us agree touching ANYTHING. Likely, one of the keys to the relative lack of effectiveness of the church to day is found here. Nevertheless, in His longsuffering and great Love, He continues to woo.

  6. Thank you Trig. Christ in the subjective, the visceral. When we are born into the spirit of Christ we can proclaim in the first person ” we are the brother or sister of Jesus”. In the first person, we take responsibility for our kinship, as opposed to merely saying that ” Jesus is our brother” and placing responsibility for this relationship on him. For if I say ” I am Jesus’ brother ” I place upon myself the obligations of brother.

  7. My dear brother in Christ
    The Holy Spirit is working through you and I thank God for people like you. We all have a mission to spread the the Love of Christ within us. As our Dear Lord told us the kingdom is within us. In saying that the church has a vital role to play and we need her. Saint Matthews Gospel chapter 16 verse [18] And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. For our brothers & sister that are still searching or are still babies in the spirit need her to feed them with the milk to help them to grow in the spirit. She teaches them to put on the armor of Christ to protect them against the fallen angels. the great mystics of the church one of which is Saint Teresa of Avila. That teach us about the inner spiritual journey. God speed my dear brother

  8. I think it’s a rather interesting read, and I find it refreshing to find someone who uses a witch’s symbol (top of post), without bashing it, and saying it is demonic or something of that nature. You don’t seem like other writers in that sense, and being a Christian Witch, I quite obviously know that my beliefs are harder to understand and accept..

    Also, I am quite aware that the last post on here was over a year ago. I find it to be a shame that noone has commented on this piece in the time in between.

  9. George Fox admonished us to ” walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone.” It is one of our core beliefs as Quakers. Thanks for saying it so elegantly here.

  10. Christ with me. Christ before me. Christ behind me. Christ to my right. Christ to my left. Christ above me. Christ below me. Christ within me. Amen.

    • Amen! Thanks for reading and commenting, Sue. I noticed you were a wedding celebrant at your website. I am a fellow wedding warrior in my alter ego at Trystan Photography in Colorado.

      I love celebrating every week with couples starting out on this grand social and spiritual walk called marriage. My wife and I have been married for a very fulfilling and transforming 9 years. Marriage teaches compassion and selflessness in ways I could never have imagined.

      I am a better man and Christian because of my marriage. No matter how hard it is for two to become one, it is so very worth it.

      • Amen to the lessons that marriage offers. It’s not about making yourself or someone else “happy”, whatever that means. It’s about becoming one’s true self and giving another the room and support to do likewise. And is this not the life into which Christ invites us?

        I love most of the wedding photographers I’ve worked with. They seem to “get” all the different layers that are at work in these events. Blessings on your work!

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