At Bethlehem, Christ became God WITH us.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means ‘God with us’ ” (Matt 1:23).
One of most recognized names for Jesus that we celebrate at His birth is Immanuel, God with us. The apostle John called Jesus’ arrival “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14). For 30 plus years, Jesus walked the earth as one of us. He was indeed “God with us”.
At Calvary, Christ became God FOR us.
“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
Look at those words, “on our behalf”. Christ, who knew no sin became sin FOR US, on our behalf. He took our place. At Calvary, Christ died as our substitute. He died in our place to free us from the penalty of sin and from the power of sin. His death did something FOR us. And His death did something TO us. It made us a new creation the minute we accepted His gift. It provided a pathway for Him to indwell us and live His live through us. Which leads us to …
At Pentecost, Christ became God IN us.
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:1-4).
The promised Holy Spirit arrived with incredible power 50 days after Christ’s resurrection. The room and the inhabitants of the room were filled with God’s Spirit. And believers in Jesus have been home to the Holy Spirit ever since; an indwelling that takes place the millisecond we believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit living inside fulfills a promise that Jesus made many times in the gospels.
“In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (Jn 14:20). “I in you” when speaking to the disciples. “I in them” when speaking to the Father about us. Christ in us by His Spirit. May we all not only celebrate – but experience in our heart of hearts – this mystery of the gospel, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).