exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
the Apostle Paul
return to main-page of the "Jesus" article
It's been my purpose in these articles to present the most important aspects regarding Jesus' work and nature. The principle of "Christ in you" may rank near the top.
God's secret hope and plan for humankind!
In Colossians 1: 25-28, Paul says, in paraphrase,
"Since ancient times, God had a secret hope and plan for humankind, which is now being revealed. What is that secret plan? It is 'Christ in you!' And this is the message of all of our preaching, that, every Christian is to grow up [teleos] in Christ Jesus!"
teleos means 'to reach a goal'
We don't need to be saved. We need to open our eyes to what we have and to who we are. We need to grow up.
There is another verse in Matthew featuring the Greek word teleos. "Become perfect [teleos] as your Father in heaven is perfect [teleos]," Matthew 5:48. Jesus is saying, "Grow up, become what you were meant to be. You are a young son or daughter of God; therefore, reach your goal, become like God in your thinking."
"charting the unknown possibilities of existence"
Why 'Christ in you' is important
This phrase does not mean, "until I learn to do what Jesus would do."
It does not mean, "until my own personhood is minimized so that Jesus can influence me more."
It does not mean, "until God sees more of Jesus in me, and less of myself, so that I might be more acceptable to him."
All of these pathological concepts are rooted in self-loathing and have been employed by church demagogues for purposes of control via devaluing human dignity.
the Nag Hammadi documents reveal the meaning of "Christ in you"
The Nag Hammadi documents, discovered in Egypt in the 1940s, some of which pre-date New Testament writings, reveal a much different version of primitive Christianity than the one commonly taught.
The Roman Church had attempted to destroy all copies of these ancients works, but failed; there was a time when simply possessing these writings was reason enough to have you tortured and killed. Why were these early documents so threatening to Rome?
The Gospel of Thomas, my favorite, so poetically written, describes Jesus as a master teacher who gently leads his students into the truth, requiring them to ponder. Thomas, as do many of the Nag Hammadi works, tends to emphasize one's personal responsibility and direct access to God - without any need of mediating services of "Mother Church"! Little wonder then, that Big Religion, threatened by such individualism, would denounce it all as heresy.
All advanced persons, this side of life and the next, understand the meaning of "Christ in you"
Consider again Elizabeth Fry's testimony from the afterlife. She captures the sense of "Christ in you" very well: "God is not found in buildings or places; God is found within one’s own soul, within one’s inner consciousness.”
As Father Benson eloquently explains, Jesus is the Mature Man, the developed and evolved human being who sees, so to speak, through the eyes of God. This is consciousness at a higher level, of course.
Jesus enjoyed an expanded awareness, an elevated perception of life and love. Having achieved that, all of his "miracles" flowed naturally from him - as one day they might do from every human being, when "Christ is formed in us"; that is, when we mature, grow up [teleos], just as our older brother Jesus did.
And this is Paul's meaning in Colossians 1: 25-28. Jesus the Exalted Man displayed what it's like to live on a highly developed level. This was the hidden plan and hope of God for all of us.
The "Christ consciousness" or "Christ in you," might be viewed as an emergent property of growing up. As we mature, it will effortlessly "bubble up" to the surface of one's life, as per Jesus' analogy of the artesian spring (John 4). It represents our future, our heritage, our coming expanded and upgraded life. It is the natural state of the Mature Man or Woman.
Editor's last word:
Look at this young man. A real nice guy - but what an under-achiever. He doesn't know who he is. We see him here hitchhiking. Well, "Great Scott," he could be flying faster than a speeding bullet - but he's trying to thumb a ride. Is this not absurd?
And how about us? There are those in the universe, right now, who once lived mortal lives, but now supervise galaxies, project themselves anywhere at the speed of thought, and are aware of every life-form within their domains. Nice work if you can get it. But they began as we did... with a well-worn hitchhiker's guide to the cosmos in a hip-pocket ... until they woke up, and realized what they'd been given.