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Theology 101 Jesus: The Outworking Christcomment (0)

April 3, 2014

By Jerry Batson

In previous weeks we have thought about Christ as the eternal Word who was made flesh. As the Word incarnate, Christ continues to be the Word of gospel proclamation, as well as the Word of Christian experience. Our personal experience of Christ begins when we receive Him into our hearts by faith. The incoming Christ intends to continue in us as the indwelling Christ. Not content to be only the indwelling Christ, He seeks across the days and years of our Christian living and growing to become the outworking Christ. Becoming Christians is not the final goal of God’s plan. Jesus did not come into the world, endure suffering and die simply to enable the Christian life to begin, as wonderful and miraculous as this is. 

Once Christ is in our lives, He continues to indwell us in order to shine forth from us with the beauty of His character and winsomeness. A growing Christian is one who is becoming increasingly Christlike. Not only is the outworking of Christ to show in character but is also to shine forth in deeds of kindness and compassion. He wants His life to express itself in our character and our conduct. In fact, the Bible says that others should be able to see our good deeds and glorify God for them (1 Pet. 2:12). When the living Word dwells richly in us, we want others to look at us and conclude like they did about Peter and John that we too have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

Ponder an illustration from nature. A major difference exists between the Sea of Galilee north of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea to its south. Water from the Sea of Galilee flows out and down the Jordan, whereas water flows into the Dead Sea but not out of it. The result is one sea in which life abounds and the other that is dead so far as supporting life is concerned. Without water flowing out, the Dead Sea is a harsh environment in which life-forms cannot live. We escape becoming stagnant, lifeless Christians only when we experience the outworking of Christ. Having Christ flowing out of our lives is somewhat analogous to the Sea of Galilee having its waters flow out into the Jordan River. 

Some of us grew up in church expressing through song such sentiments as letting the beauty of Jesus be seen in us as well as admonishing one another in spiritual songs by singing about letting “others see Jesus in you.” Such sentiments set to music speak to us of the outworking of Christ in our lives. 

Across many weeks we have thought about Christ in terms of being the living Word of God. From the Gospel of John we have seen Him both as the Word that was and the Word that became. From 1 John we have thought about Him as the Word that is — the Word being proclaimed and experienced. 

At some future time we may want to think together about Christ as the Word that will be, according to Revelation 19:11–13. Those verses refer to Him as the Conqueror who is yet to return, portraying Him as riding a white horse and wearing a robe dipped in blood. We are told that at that future time “the name by which He is called is The Word of God” (v. 13). 

But His future victory must be the topic for another time.

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