Christ as all in all

J. Wilfred Johnson
Sabbath School Lesson Feb. 26, 1989

Transcribed Jan. 21, 2014

Note: This meeting is actually a small Sabbath School lesson given by Mr. Johnson at the College Heights Church Alberta, Canada. There are other groups meeting in the sanctuary at the same time as well as individuals talking among themselves. All of this background noise makes it nearly impossible to hear individuals addressing Mr. Johnson with their comments or questions.

(Wilfred)  Well this is the last lesson of the quarter. I suggested last week that I would try to find a little space for you this time to perhaps contribute some thoughts. As I look through the lesson I am overwhelmed with the number of things and the amount of material that is in there. I feel that there are certain things that I am duty-bound and obligated to bring to your attention and I trust we can do that effectively and efficiently and perhaps have a little time left over. Knowing myself I am a little dubious on that one.

This is the climax to the lessons we have been studying and it zeros in on the application to our particular situation and experience in this critical time of earth's history and in the climax of the plan of salvation. The title as you have all recognized if you have studied your lesson is "Christ as all in all". What do you think that means? Did you do any thinking about it at all? Christ is all in all. Well, we'll move ahead.

The memory verse says. "There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian," That is Russian or American or whatever. "Bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all." Now what is the setting in which this statement is given? Did you get the drift? In the Kingdom of Heaven there is no partiality on the bases of race. We all stand as one before God. Now, I think there's more than that in this particular statement. It says there that Christ's all-atoning sacrifice for man has bridged the terrible gulf gouged by sin. God's Son has bridged the chasm between God and man and has crossed the divisions between man and man. In the humanity of Jesus all humanity is present. Jesus still participates in the broken relationship between us and God. There is no fully genuine humanity outside of the humanity of Jesus. Christ is all that we will ever need He is all the salvation that is possible, He is all for our present needs and for the future eternal fulfillment and apart from Him there is no worthwhile future for humanity.

And then he goes on to show that Jesus must become a personal possession of each individual. A difficult concept until you get the thought, this is a large thing and I don't think I can really go into it and explain it in detail but until we get this thought, and I'll say it in a few words, that Jesus is now confined personally to a human body. He is not inherently omnipresent; He has limited himself to becoming the head of the new body of saints in the newly established Kingdom. And when it speaks about Christ being all in us that we must have Christ in us that we are to dwell in Him and He is to dwell in us it is not speaking in terms of the physical Jesus. He cannot do that in the physical sense. And yet if you grasp this thought, which I am going to present, He can do it. Because you see He made something available by his sacrifice that had not been available before. The Bible says the Spirit had not yet been given. Now that's a hard one to swallow but it's there. The Spirit had been in operation ever since the creation of the world, the Spirit of God, do you understand? It was through the Spirit that Christ operated his creative works. The Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God was a personal attribute or possession of the eternal Son of God. I don't know how I could express it any better than that. It's a mysterious thing but the Son of God, Christ, by a thought was able to move not only his physical body as I can move my toe by a thought or my finger by a thought. I cannot move this piece of wood by a thought. I cannot move you by a thought excepting as I may express the thought and you interpret it and willingly decide to do what I request. Do you see?

Now with Christ, in the beginning He had all power and He had omnipresence. Please follow me closely. And by a thought, which is expressed by a word and that's the way the Bible puts it, the word of God. He created by his what? His word, He spoke and it was done. Now of course the word is an expression of a thought isn't it? So we are really dealing with a thought. By a word or a thought Christ could bring these various aspects of creation into existence and when He said let there be light, it is the same as if I said let my finger come up and scratch my head and it will do it. I have the connection you see between the parts of my body and the parts of my soul within my mind and I can decide and I can cause it to move and act. Christ could do that but on a much broader scale. He could be in contact with any part of his universe and by a thought He can cause it to operate and move. You follow what I'm saying?

Now when Jesus went through this particular sacrifice and it's a long story that I cannot enter into now. He provided a more abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit; He made it available to us. The restoration to the image of God can only be accomplished in the human soul and heart through the agency of God's power in the Holy Ghost. That's in the books. And had that not become available there could have been no recreation to the perfect image of Christ. Now I know you've got questions there, was it not possible for folks in the Old Testament before the New Covenant was announced but before it was made effective and ratified by the blood of Christ, could  none of those people ever have accomplished salvation from sin?

Look, if I read my Bible correctly it says that the sacrifice of Jesus was what made available the potential for salvation from sin. Is that correct? Those people back there, how did they get their salvation when the sacrifice had not yet been made or at least had not yet been ratified?

(A man in the group) By faith.

(Wilfred) By faith. They were looking forward to the time when it would be made available. I admit there is something here I would just love to explain to you but I can't do it at the present time. There is a problem there and I would like you to see that it is there. But after Jesus had made that sacrifice He made available the more abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit and He told his disciples, now look don't you go out and attempt to fulfill your commission but wait in Jerusalem, for what? Until the Holy Ghost comes upon you. He says I'm going to pray my Father and He will send that Holy Spirit.

Now, All that Jesus does for us, wherever you read about Jesus and Christ and his work for us and in us is accomplished through the agency of that larger extended spiritual body of Christ. He can move, you see, the various parts of that body just the same as I can move the various parts of my physical body but He can do it only through the agency of the Holy Spirit. And that Holy Spirit is his representative, his emissary, in fact it goes deeper than that, it says that that Holy Spirit is the life of Christ. It says that it is the soul of his life.

You know what a soul is don't you? Remember that God breathed into Adam's nostrils the breath of life? And what happen to this lump of clay? He became a living soul. What is it that gives life to the soul, to the body, to the person? The breath of life the spirit of life. Now when it says that the Holy Spirit is the soul of the life of Christ, I don't know whether you grasp this or not. But the soul is that which Adam had after he received the spirit of life and what did he have? He had his body before it happened didn't he? It was all there. But what was wrong with it? No life, it couldn't function. Therefore God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and then what happened to Adam? He could think, he could reason, he could move, he was conscious of his environment, and he could make a decision and extend it into his environment by the activities that he preformed. Now He became a living soul and that is what a soul is. Now here is Christ, if the Holy Spirit is the breath of Christ's life in the spiritual realm then Christ was all in all by virtue of the fact that He had the Spirit of God as his possession. Where had Christ received that eternal life from, what was the source of it? Now I know that the Bible speaks of Christ as being everlasting and from eternity. I know that so don't misunderstand me, but I'm going to quote the words of Jesus when He said; As the Father has life in himself even so has He given the Son to have life in himself. Well if He had life in himself there was no way that He could die unless He relinquished that. Do you understand that? That is what Christ sacrificed. That is what He gave up. "He took," I'm quoting, "The death which was ours" And what kind of death was that? Eternal death of the sinner from which there is no hope of a resurrection. He took that death, and what's the rest of that statement? "That we might receive the life which was his." Don't you see the parallel that God has given in this human demonstration of what goes on behind the scenes? That's what the Bible says; The invisible things of God are revealed by those things that are made. As God breathed into Adam's nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul even so in the spiritual realm, and there are differences here, Christ had life in himself because He possessed the eternal life Spirit of his Father. Do you get that? Now He released that and when He was a little tiny seed in Mary's womb He was not omnipotent, He was not omniscient, He couldn't even think, let along make a decision, am I right or wrong? What happened to that great eternal Spirit that He had? Well, the same thing that happened when Adam went to his tomb he gave up the Ghost and where did it go? The Bible says back to the Father who gave it.

Now when Christ relinquished his eternal life in himself so that He could die in his humanity where was it?

(A man) Back to the Father.

(Wilfred) Back to the Father. How do we know that? Well, Jesus told his disciples before He went through that experience He said; "If you love me keep my Commandments and then I will," What? "Pray the Father" And what will the Father do? Send the Comforter which is the Holy Ghost and I read you that text already in John chapter 14 where He says, "I will not leave you comfortless" who will come? "I will come." Now look, here is the key to understanding the process of salvation from sin Brothers and Sisters. Here is the key. You see Christ died the eternal death of the sinner and before a person dies, one who has many possessions, he makes out his last will and testament, do you understand that? Now Christ had all things, He said that the Father had put all things into his hands, so He had some possessions didn't he? He also had an amazing possession, eternal life in himself, which was also his possession. But He had to relinquish that to die on the cross. Do you see that? Now when you make out your last will and testament which incidentally is the New Testament, and if you are an Adventist and have done any studying at all you know that. And in His last will and testament He specified who was to be the administrator of his estate after He had gone. Did you get that? Who was it? Between what two parties was this covenant made? The Father and the Son, right? So where did this life go according to the terms of the last will and testament of Christ? Where did it go? Where was it kept in trust? With the Father. Why is Jesus praying the Father that He would send it to his people? Because there is no other way to have eternal life. Can I quote it? "Except you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you." He is not talking about his physical body He is talking about the powers of that great body in which He existed before He became that little baby in the manger. And He is going to share with you and me the experience that He enjoyed back from the days of eternity. Because by virtue of that power and that Spirit Christ could say, let there be light, as I have just told you a few minutes ago. And what happened? There was light!

He himself is the head now of the new body but He shares the life that He had that was his with his new body of saints. He is the new temple of God or He always was. But He and his saints make up the new temple of God in whom God will come to dwell. He says we will come and abide with you forever, we will come. He first of all says, the Holy Spirit will come, then He says, I will come, and then He says, we will come. It's all in John chapter 14. I'm taking too much time on this but the lesson says Christ is all in all. Now look Brother and Sister, the only way Christ can live in you and effect the miraculous creative change that must take place before you are restored to the image of your maker in this final climatic hour of earth's history you must receive the outpouring of that Spirit which Christ left in trust with his Father to be delivered to you. And here is the significance of the mediatorial work of Christ. It is not merely that Christ stands between you and God so to speak as though God was a hard taskmaster and because you sinned he's going to clunk you on the head and it takes the son to plead on your behalf so that the Father won't be so bad and won't do it to you. That is not the only thing that it means although there is an element of truth in there but its not entirely true the way I said it. God loves you just as much as Jesus does.

But there is more to this thing. God is going to accept you and regard you with the same feelings and attitudes that He regards his Son, that's in the books. He forgives your sin and treats you as He would treat his only begotten dear Son. Christ in you the hope of glory is the Spirit of God in you. Jesus is still up in the sanctuary, He is still a localized person, He has forever placed himself in that position. I don't know whether you've seen this thought or not but I'll throw it out and you may not agree with it but that's your privilege, but as I can move my body by making a decision so in the new structure, the new temple of God made up of his living saints with Jesus as the head the King of kings can make a decision and have a thought and that thought is transmitted by means of the nervous system of his spiritual body which is one of the aspects of the Holy Ghost, He contacts, its omnipresent. That decision can be transmitted to you as a member in that spiritual body and you will move, you may be the toe, you may be the finger, whatever you are, do you get my point?

Do you see the significance now of that marriage union that Paul talks about? And how that Sister White says that the New Jerusalem, the Church, is the bride of the lamb, that that marriage she saw in vision takes place between 1844 and the end of probation. And that the marriage is consummated just before the close of probation, which is now. In fact if you read the signs in the world correctly I think your going to have to say that probation is now closing. Those who are going to be sealed and go through to the end are going to experience the consummation of the marriage when they twain become one flesh as Paul says. Therefore shall a man leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife and they twain shall be one flesh. Here is the groom and here is the bridegroom and in connection with the second angel's message that midnight cry went out, Behold He comes, see? The bridegroom is coming. Oh, I wish I had time to go in and show you how all these things connect. But the marriage of the Lamb to his new body temple is scheduled to be consummated now! And what is it? It's Jesus' final plea to his Father, My blood, My blood, My blood, Father, My life, My life, My life, My people, we made a covenant Father, you agreed that you would send my Spirit to My people. You agreed to that. And they don't yet have it. They are not yet ready. They couldn't take it. Do you get it? So here is our mediator and our intercessor pleading the Father to fulfill the terms of the Everlasting Covenant with his people. The books Early Writings and The Great Controversy speak about the time just before the end when that will have been completed and it says that God delivers the Everlasting Covenant to his people and that is a fulfillment of the promise of Jesus that He would send the Spirit and He would abide with you forever and He will be in you and He is the Spirit of truth and the Comforter and the Holy Ghost and the life of Christ and the soul of the life of Christ. And when you speak about Christ being in you, you are speaking about the Holy Spirit being in you. And when you speak about the Holy Spirit being in you and working it is the Spirit of Christ, it is the life of Christ. And it is as though Jesus himself was there. You see, He has the connection; He is married to this body now at this point of time. He is married and it is connected and that toe down there in that shoe is my toe and I can think and cause it to move. Similarly, Jesus will be married to his saints they will be a part of his new mystical body and He can think and that thought will register in whatever part of the body He has decided to send it to and it's selective.

Now when you are a paralytic, when you are not connected you can't do it, see? Here's an illustration; Many years back when I was just a teenager I was standing on 8th Avenue East down in Calgary waiting for a streetcar and it was cool and I was shivering. In those days we rode the streetcars. And as I shivered all of a sudden I felt this ear over here move and I thought that's interesting and I tried to work at that and I can move that ear now. I don't know whether I can with the glasses on or not, but I can move that ear, see? I'm connected. I found the connection. And by a thought I can cause that ear to go up and down. But I can't move that one. I've tried and tried to find where that connection is and it just isn't there. Now that's the most accurate illustration I can give you of what it means to be connected to Christ. We are to be joined unto Him. Because then He can think and He can move a muscle in his body, do you understand?  But here's the difference, every one of these little cells in his body has a freedom of choice. That little toe down there of mine, its got a freedom of choice and if it decides that it doesn't want to cooperate with the message that comes from the head it doesn't have to do it. I wonder if you get this thought? Do you see where that the obedience of Chris's saints is placed on a strictly voluntary bases? That God will never force that will and that if the body rebels at the message from the head it doesn't move. Where does that put the head so far as controlling the body is concerned? I don't know whether you got that point. God is going to forever hold before his people the truth that He will never force them, that they have freedom of choice, that they are not compelled. To this very day you can thwart God, oh, He knows, He understands but you can thwart him. He will not take your freedom of choice away and that brings me to this next point. When we come to Christ we are to surrender our will to him. So I ask you; If Christ gives us a freedom of choice, a free will, does He give it to us only so that we have to turn back and surrender to him so we no longer have it, that we are still slaves? Like we've got to do what the Lord says? That's what the Devil accused God of, you don't have a free will you have to do what God says or else. Is the Devil right or is his not right?

Now let me give you another point here. Which I think you will understand this lesson better if you apply it as you go through it. There are two aspects to obedience. I can obey God's commandments by making a decision to do so and I can move the muscles of my body in harmony with the things God has asked me to do. Do you believe that?  Yes, I have the power to do that. I have the power to move the muscles of my body so that I can arrive here at church at 9:15 in the morning on Sabbath. And I can come here and stand at this desk at 10:00 more or less. I've got that power or I could refuse to do it. Do you agree with that? Why do I come? Well, that's a big question.

But listen, the other form of obedience arises from the way you feel about things. This area of the feelings is described in the Bible as the heart and obedience must come from the heart. Now what does that mean? It simply means this; That unless I have an inclination towards the things that are right, unless I have a love for righteousness my obedience can only be a task, a drudgery, a pain in the neck for me because I constantly have to discipline myself to obey and do things that I don't really want to do and don't feel like doing. Do you understand that? Now if you are keeping God's commandments and they're cutting across the inclination of your heart she says that you are not even a Christian. Well, she means that in a sense that you are not totally and fully born again and mature. You may have accepted the Lord Jesus, but you see, sanctification is a progressive thing and don't let anybody tell you it isn't, and it takes place over a period of time it doesn't take place instantaneously. There may be the occasional sudden transformation; you may lose suddenly your desire for tobacco so you no longer have it anymore. But that is the exception to the rule and that is a miraculous intervention on the part of God.

The thing that God's Spirit in the outpouring of the latter rain is designed to do is to cleanse the sanctuary by the blood of sprinkling. You see, the blood represents the life and the life spirit of God, and I could read that to you. The life Spirit of Jesus, the life in himself is the Holy Spirit. The only way that you can be transformed, that your soul temple can get rid of all those feelings towards sin, those inclinations that you love and be recreated in the image of God's righteousness, righteousness within, righteousness delivered to you, the only way that you can get your likes into harmony with God's will is through the miracle working power of the Holy Spirit as it is made available to you in it's most abundant form in the outpouring of the latter rain. Now I can read that to you, it is in God's message to the remnant church and He is waiting for that miraculous transformation to take place in the hearts of his individual people so that they can reflect his character fully and can stand without becoming contaminated by the Devils temptations. That's the message of Adventism for this hour and we are to pray for that Spirit but it doesn't stop at that point. I've shown you before and I repeat because unless and until we understand this it will never happen. That Spirit that comes in the outpouring of the latter rain which completes the final atonement in the souls and hearts of God's people and reproduces the image of his righteousness in us, that's his work in us, it comes only to those who are willing to obey his commandments no matter how they feel about them. That's in the books too. And until we clean house and cleanse our own soul temple of every defilement by correct choices according to the pattern shown us in the mount, the pattern that was shown us by Jesus. Until we do that Brother and Sister not one of us will receive the latter rain. That's what God's message to the remnant church says and there are people in our denomination today who don't believe that. They are no longer Adventists in the true sense of the word. And I hope that as you went through this lesson here that you remembered that because it is not brought out when it deals with those three angels messages, maybe intentionally. But for instance, Babylon is fallen does not simply mean that we get rid of self-interests and our self-dependence. It means that but the meaning of the fall of Babylon according to the doctrine that God gave to our pioneers and which is to be repeated today in terms of the mighty angel of Revelation 18 that Babylon has fallen is the rejection and the fall of the churches which have accepted the false doctrines of Babylon. Did I speak correctly?

Brother and Sister we have got to preach the message of Adventism and not water it down by the wine from Babylon. Don't forget that. And if you have any Babylonian wine in your system it's time to get rid of it. Because Christ cannot come to dwell in you in his fullness in the outpouring of the latter rain to cleanse your soul temple and to seal you into the truth until you are willing to use your God given power to obey the impulses of the early rain Spirit which reproves you of sin and righteousness and judgment until you are willing to measure up to what that Spirit indicates to you is sin in your heart your heart will never be changed. Could I go one step further? It is a scientific process, God can over-rule a scientific process and perform a miracle by removing certain specific inclination to sin from your heart. He can do that, but the normal process is for you to obey and follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth who did no sin. And when you follow the lamb and keep his commandments then He prays the Father, intercedes on your behalf that the Father will send you that all-powerful Spirit which his messenger says will keep you from sinning and will transform you into the image of God which will enable you to partake of the divine nature because that's how we do it, by taking the Spirit she says and the final cleansing will take place.

I haven't coved all the points in there but if you take that principle with you as you go through that lesson and I would suggest that you do it again. You'll see things that you didn't see before. God is waiting for us to respond and to get back and stay on the track of his precious truth. Those fundamental pillars of the faith of which not one single pin is to be removed. Don't follow in the steps of Babylon and think that salvation is simply a matter of surrender in a passive way. Oh no, it's surrender in an active way. Because without the manifestation of the works, the faith is dead and has no use.

May God bless you as you continue to meditate upon these precious things.

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