Christ Is All and in All

Colossians 3:2  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
THE tendency is to satisfy our souls, even when we are born of God, with one of these truths, instead of enjoying them both. And although they are blessedly harmonious, as all truths must be, still there is a manifest difference between the two statements, “Christ is all,” and Christ is “in all.” For I apprehend when the Spirit of God says that Christ is all, that He thereby puts down completely in the things of God whatever we were in nature, and all that is of the world; that He thereby excludes all questions about the difference between Jews and Gentiles—between those who had thoughts of God, exalting themselves above others by covenant, or rite, or law, as Israel had; all questions of wise or ignorant, as to the learning of this world—barbarian, Scythian, bond, or free—it matters not what, as to their social condition in this life; so that He gives a most comprehensive glance at the ways in which men draw lines of demarcation. These have their place before the eye, as regards the world; for clearly natural relationships exist, and very rightly so, but not in heaven. And we must remember that Christian worship goes upon the ground of what is true in heaven. Therefore it is that Paul, when exhorting the Hebrew Christians, invites them to draw near “into the holiest of all,” because it is there that faith carries us. Our bodies may be together in any place on earth, but it is in heaven that the true worship is carried on in spirit, in “the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man.” Therefore we may say, that the only real place of worship now is heaven, where our Priest is, and where our sacrifice is presented. There we by faith stand in the presence of God Himself; consequently, in what has merely to do with God, Christ is all. Everything that pertained to us in the flesh completely disappears.
But there is another side of the truth. While there is the negation of all the distinctions of the flesh as to the things of God in that statement, “Christ is all,” it is most important to see that Christ is “in all.”
There is not one of those who bear His name but what Christ is in him. Faith acts on this. This it is which draws out the only love that is worth having, and that God recognizes in the things that concern Himself; that love which is of God, and which God Himself is. What is it? Not mere sympathy because of community of sentiment; that is the parent of all sectarianism. What is it that binds together those who naturally may have nothing in common? Christ is in all. Then comes, along with that, the most solemn responsibility. Wherever what is not of Christ is displayed in a Christian, it is not to be passed over and made nothing of, because, as might be said, “for all that Christ is in him.” The real truth is that Christ is in him in order that all that which is of the flesh and inconsistent with Him who is our life may be judged and put away. Anything but this as a principle in our souls would be to do evil that grace may abound. Still it remains true, and it is a most precious truth, Christ is all, and Christ is in all. If the one truth makes nothing of us, I may say that the other makes everything of us. The one blots out what is of the first Adam, while the other just as much gives the full and proper value of Christ to every one that belongs to God, spite of much that might be trying and painful individually. It is the character of the last Adam attached to all the saints. It is in their mutual relations that the greatest trial is felt. The family circle may illustrate this. You may often find a great deal that is very pleasant and courteous outside the home, that is never known in it. This, of course. is most sorrowful, but it is just in the home circle that the trial comes chiefly; for we there see much of one another's failings. It is the same thing in the things of God. We are put to the test by our relations with the saints of God. Do you, do we, know how to practically reconcile these two truths—Christ “all,” and Christ “in all?” To love Christ in all, and at the same time to exalt nothing but Christ? I speak now of the relations of saints one with another in the things of God.
But there is another Scripture that I must just say a word upon, because it is often confounded with the one we are looking at. It is in 1 Cor. 15—an expression that we are all familiar with. God shall be all in all—a totally different truth, which does not refer to the same time. It has no bearing upon what is going on now, but upon a state of things that we may say is still far distant. It will not be true till then, except to faith, which gives a present existence to all truth. But if you come to the accomplishment of it, when will God be “all in all?” Not even when we are taken to be with the Lord, nor when the Lord has brought back His ancient people, and blotted out their iniquities, and made them to be the grand instruments of His blessing here below. Even then it will not be true that God is “all in all.” When will it be, then? When the Lord shall have delivered up the kingdom. He will receive it for the express purpose of making good all the promises of God, and putting down all the evil that rises up against God. That will be the object of Christ's earthly kingdom. And when everything is put down, and the last enemy is destroyed—when there will be no death to touch the body, and no devil to tempt the soul, (for I am not now speaking of the temporary binding of Satan, but of the time when he is entirely set aside and cast into the lake of fire,) then, and not till then, will God be all in all. In the millennium, when there will be the full blessing in heaven, and a grand measure of it upon earth, still there will be the control of evil under the government of Christ. But what will be most prominent then? Man will be all in all, in the person of Christ. As man, He will take the kingdom, which will be the vindication of Him who was crucified. It was as man that He suffered, and it is as man that He will be exalted in that kingdom which will be the display of Him as (so to speak) man all in all. And when He has used all the power and glory with which He is invested, to reduce everything into subjection to God, then will come the eternal scene, when God will be all in all. This will be the blessed answer to what man has been doing from the first—arrogating to himself what belongs to God. Even where it is a question of a sinner getting the forgiveness of his sins, man is trying to have them forgiven by himself—though “who can forgive sins but God only?” All through, it is man taking the place of God, and taking it, alas in wickedness. When Jesus is exalted in this blessed kingdom, all the object and result of His glory will be to the glory of God the Father. And when all is perfectly put down, and not one blot is left upon the whole universe of God; when all evil is judged, and good is brought out in the full glory of God, better even than when creation was first put forth (for the new creation is better than the old); then will shine the grand truth of all eternity—God all in all; God—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For we must be very tenacious as to this. It is not that God the Father may be all in all—which is never said in Scripture, and would be derogatory to the Son and Holy Ghost. But He who has been holding the kingdom as man will deliver it up, that GOD (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) may be all in all—the praise of every creature, without one single thing to dim and tarnish the scene forever and ever.