Portrait of a Template

Gottfried Torboch – Jeweled Cruciform Watch with Rock Crystal Case – Walters 5827

Dear Readers,

For several years, I have pondered two great mysteries, abbreviated in two brief phrases:

We are in Christ.   AND    Christ is in us.

Below I have listed, in context, [merely] two of the Scripture passages, which reflect these two great mysteries:

Colossians 1:  24-29

“Now, I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake and, in my flesh, I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. 

Of this church I was made a minister, according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 

that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 

to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 

For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.”

 Colossians 3:1-4  

“Therefore, if you were raised with Christ, look for the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at God’s right side. 

Think about the things above and not things on earth. 

You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 

When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.”


How can two positional realities [Christ in us and We are in Christ] represent one essential truth?

The Crucifixion contains the answer:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” [Galatians 2.20]

It is through the transforming power of the Cross that “we are in Christ” and also that “Christ is in us:”

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  [1 Corinthians 6.19-20]

What is our response to the purchase of God, paid on our behalf?

What is our response to the ransom of God:  the payment which freed us from the tyranny of sin and death?

Recognizing that we are no longer “our own,” we are to lead Cruciform lives, in costly obedience.

The shape to which I am conforming must be the Cruciform Life and nothing less:

It is not merely a difficult life; it is an impossible life! [Quote from unknown source].

Yes, impossible, I say — save, that is, for the transforming power of the Resurrected Christ.

I must remain malleable, if I am to be formed, conformed, and transformed into the template of the Cruciform Life.

I must willingly offer myself up as “broken bread and poured-out wine:”  

I offer myself up to be placed within and poured within the shape, the mold, the template of the Cross.

This is the “thanksgiving,” the offering of myself, to the Holy Trinity:  It is “the glad surrender.”

How long does this process, this Cruciform transformation, require?

“My children, with whom I am again in labor, until Christ is formed in you.”  [Galatians 4:19]

“Complete in Christ.”  

“Until Christ is formed in you:”  

How long does this process require?   A lifetime, I think, of  “a long obedience in the same direction.”

Coram Deo,


dezeen Las Arenas by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners -18_1000

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Filed under The Cost of Discipleship, theology and doxology

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