Slowly but surely I have been navigating Seminary in pursuit of a Masters in Theology. I am loving that this is not a degree that I “need” but rather this is a degree (and learning) that I want! My very first course was in Bible Exposition. The class, Bible Study and Hermeneutics, was described in the course catalog as an introduction to inductive Bible study involving four steps – observation, interpretation (hermeneutics), application and correlation. It was rightly a required prerequisite to all other Bible Exposition courses because the learning was powerful and provided, I believe, the lens necessary for reading and understanding Scripture.
It sounded easy, but several of my fellow students and I struggled with the first step – observation. We found it very natural to rush to interpretation – at least to our style of interpretation which was drawing conclusions based on what we already knew or thought that we knew. Gentle (and some not so gentle) correction from our professor helped us develop the habit of observing what the Scripture says and what it does not say – without any interpretation.
Let’s apply a little exposition (or a variation thereof) to Romans 8:10-11.
10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (NASB)
The first word of this text is the first word that literally jumps out at me. “If.” You might want to pause right there and work that one out because the promises in this text are for those who have Christ living in them. If defines a condition of the first class or one that is presumed to be true. Again, the promises that follow are true for those for whom the condition is true.
“Christ is in you” means that Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Himself is in us. (Do I really need to say anything more here except, Wow!)
“[T]he spirit is alive” may refer to your spirit or the Holy Spirit as some translations use a lower case s while others use an upper case s. I’m thinking, any way you slice this, this is good news! With Christ in us, our spirits are alive. With the Christ in us, the Holy Spirit is alive within us.
“[A]live,” as we discussed in an earlier blog, means lively, full of life, vitality, vivacious, etc. We are alive with the life of God within us. How great is that?
Years ago in one of the zillion books that I have read, there was a great illustration of this Scripture using a small slip of paper, three envelopes of different sizes and a marker. You can try to picture this, but I encourage you to get a slip of paper, three envelopes and a marker so that you can really “see” this.
- Write the name of JESUS on the small slip of paper and place it inside the smallest envelope.
- Write YOUR NAME on the outside of this smallest envelope and seal it.
- Place the sealed envelope inside the medium-sized envelope.
- Write the name of JESUS on the outside of this medium-sized envelope and seal it.
- Place the sealed medium-sized envelope inside the largest envelope.
- Write the name of GOD on the outside of the largest envelope and seal it.
Now, stop and reflect. Where are you (the envelope with your name on it)? You are in Jesus who is in God. And even beyond that, Jesus is in you! Psalm 27:5 says, “He will conceal me…,” and He does – inside and out.
If Christ is in you, yes, you are fully alive. Enjoy it, share it and be blessed!