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Online Articles

Christ Formed In You

The New American Standard translation of Galatians 4:19 reads, "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you." The Apostle Paul used a number of different illustrations to describe our relationship with Christ and how He should grow in us. In Galatians 4:19 he is describing how Christ wholly reigns in our hearts, as we entirely embrace His doctrine, and until we become totally permeated with Him.

The beginning place is in Galatians 3:27. When we "put on Christ" in baptism, [conception of Christ] we begin the journey toward heaven, walking in newness of life [Rom. 6:4], and continue to grow in grace and knowledge of Him [2 Pet. 3:18]. The expression of "put on" or "be clothed" in the Greek means to imitate, the very expression that Paul used in Romans 13:14 and Ephesians 4:24.

We can begin to see the understanding that Paul expresses in Galatians 2:20, "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." Can you see the growth that has taken place in Paul's life, having put on Christ in baptism, not allowing lust to have a place in his life and now Christ lives in him. Paul explains further in Philippians 3:7-11.

At this point in his life Christ has been formed within Paul until he has completely submitted himself to Christ, His will and His purpose in every aspect of his life. This gave him the strength and courage to endure the great hardships he endured for Christ [2 Cor. 11:23-27]. From here we can understand Paul's instruction in Ephesians 4:13, "Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." Christ is the standard of measurement by which we are compared.

The Apostle Paul summed up his thoughts in Colossians 1:27-29, "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."

The life work of Paul was to bring every person to a state of maturity in Christ Jesus, complete, lacking nothing. This is our only hope of glory.