And now for some biblical introspection…

Monkimage-1.php_Some Biblical and
Theological Reflections

Christ being “formed in


little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until
Christ is formed in you!” Galatians 4:19

Contextually, this section of
Galatians is dealing with the issue of identity and transformation
(sanctification).  The grace of God is a
gift…given to us from a sacrificial God who died and rose to free us from the Law
and to bring us into adoption as His children. 
Adoption is a key word in this section of Galatians.  Adoption is a paradigm shift – from exclusion
to inclusion – from alienation to relational intimacy.  “Adoption” is also a significant issue in a
Jesus-follower’s identity.  A disciple is
“re-branded” or, to utilize contemporary imagery, “has their operating system
replaced.”  There is an essential
transformation -  from separation from
God to that relationship that is embodied in the words, “Abba Father”  – from servant to “son/daughter.”  Paul emphasizes again, lest we forget, are
tempted to deny or take personal credit that all this occurs THROUGH Christ so
that we can be Christ can be formed in us. 
The context shows us a frustrated Paul who cannot understand why people
would desire to return to such an alienated identity.  After the loving reception he had from these
people…people who embraced him and his “gospel”, they are now (to utilize a
phrase from Romans) exchanging the truth of God for a lie.  This brought Paul to a sense of personal
desperation (phraseology that utilizes the pain of childbirth in verse 19) and
disappointment but also inspired him to bring admonishment and correction to
the Galatian faith community.  As he
states in the verse immediately before verse 19, just because he is not present
does not exclude him and his authority/influence from having an impact on these
people that he (and Christ) loves. 
Christ, not the Law or condemnation or a “performance based religion”,
needs to be FORMED in disciples


“Christ formed in us”


1.   Disciple in/of the Kingdom of God

  • Come to Jesus – fall into Jesus’ grace and mercy
  • “Deny self, carry your cross, follow Me”
  • Personal submission of all we are, have and do to
    the Lordship of Jesus
  • Willing to be reviled and rejected
  • Potentiality of “standing out” – known by others as
    disciples (“salt/light” – Matthew 5:13ff)
  • “Bearing
    fruit” – “Good works are simply fruit
    falling off a tree. If you sink your roots deep in Christ, who is your life,
    you not be able to stop the fruit from coming forth.”
    Leonard Sweet and
    Frank Viola The Jesus Manifesto


2.  Son of God being formed in us –
Sanctification “process” (not event)

  • Personal
    spiritual formation always goes back to Jesus (His Holy Spirit given as gift –
    John 14-16)
  • We
    “learn” Jesus as disciples
  • We
    share in the Son’s incarnation – we actually repeat the journey of Jesus in a
    contemporary “incarnation”
  • Through
    the Holy Spirit, Jesus indwells in us
  • Philippians
    1:21 – “for me to LIVE is Christ”
  • 1
    John 4:17 – “As HE is – so are WE in the world”
  • Life
    that Jesus LIVED in the past is LIVED in us (Body Life) in the present
  • We
    allow Jesus to live His divine life through us
  • We
    have the mind of Christ – 1 Corinthians 2 – we don’t hope for that, or pray for
    it or ask for it – it is part of our new identity

3.  Christianity is NOT an allegiance to a
complex doctrinal system or an ethical standard.  It is NOT a cause but a life – again, the
LIFE of Christ formed in us.


  • Jesus
    doesn’t need a theological system to analyze, explain or contain Him
  • We live
    a passionate love of Jesus by living a life that is rooted in living the “way,
    truth and life” (remember, Jesus didn’t say He KNEW the way, truth and life”…He
    proclaimed that HE embodied the way, truth and life”, in other words, we know
    the way, truth and life as we know Jesus).
  • Jesus
    is never separated from His Kingdom – that being, the manifestation of God’s
    reign and ruling presence – the Kingdom of God is not just a future hope but a
    present reality through Jesus Christ.
  • Being
    a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean that we simply “imitate” Jesus as much as it
    means Jesus is imparted and implanted in our lives
  • Christian
    living is not “WWJD” (what would Jesus do) but rather, “what is Jesus doing in
    me/us?  Through me/us?
  • Jesus
    doesn’t say, “follow my teachings, my meditations, my lifestyle” – but follow
  • Jesus
    is not just one way, a better way, a pleasant way on a good day – HE is the way
  • Jesus
    is not just one truth, a higher truth, a more personal truth – HE is the truth
  • Jesus
    is not just another life, a nicer life, a more abundant life – HE is life

4.  Here’s some stuff to consider when it comes
to “causes”:


  • When
    we say, “Jesus is Lord”, we do not mean Jesus is our core value or our cause
  • Cultural
    analysis:  since we cannot teach “values,
    morals, right/wrong” (character development) in schools these days, we have
    replaced the development of character with the development of causes – children
    are taught to embrace causes to give personal meaning and purpose in life (“be
    a part of the Green Movement, Gay Movement”, etc.)
  • Cause
    development has become an acceptable substitute for character development
  • Jesus
    is not a cause – He is the real, living, loving God who can be known, loved,
    experienced, enthroned and embodied.  To
    reduce Jesus to a “cause” is to do exactly what the Ephesians are accused of
    doing when John challenged them in Revelation 2 (all works, no love). 

5.  “Christ-likeness” is NOT the Gospel – Christ
being FORMED in/LIVING in/through us is the Gospel


  • Jesus
    did not say He was “like” God, He said He was/is God
  • Jesus
    did not tell us to be “like” Him – we could never live like Jesus
  • To
    pray, “make me more like Jesus” may cheapen the power of the Gospel.  Being “like” Christ puts living more on OUR
    terms than His.  In that instance, we
    would not need Jesus but simply His ideas and teachings.
  • Good
    News – Jesus does not want us to be like Him – He wants us to share His
    life!  He wants us to live in and through
  • We
    are called not to mediate the truth but to manifest Jesus
  • It
    is “safer” to be like Jesus – it is immensely more dangerous to be/live Jesus

Being “formed” in Jesus – is essentially a Trinitarian life lived in/through us
as individual disciples and as a community of faith

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