The Complete Gospel: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
(A gathering of evidence)
The Apostles John and Paul, Ellen G. White, E. J. Waggoner, and Jesus Himself speak regarding the true Gospel, the true righteousness by faith.
Many speak, teach and firmly believe in the idea of the theme: “in Christ.” This is well and good, but it represents only part of the truth - one facet of the gospel. The complete gospel is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
We understand that the main theme of the 1888 General Conference, what was presented by the Lords messengers - Elder Waggoner and Jones - was righteousness by faith. However, what is not pointed out is that it is righteousness by faith because of Christ being in the believer - He is our righteousness.
Waggoner states regarding this: “By the Spirit, His own personal presence, He can dwell in every man on earth, and fill the heavens as well, a thing which Jesus in the flesh could not do.”(The Glad Tidings (1900 original), p. 90.). Here we see that the Holy Spirit brings Christ to every man.
So we see that what the General Conference rejected was the Gospel; the truth as it is in Jesus - that is what was rejected. Now since nothing has changed in this matter since 1888, what is actually being taught in the place of the Gospel? The answer to this is found in the book of Galatians where men, who rejected the gospel, came to the Galatian church and brought with them a false gospel of works.
Jesus said in John 14:20: “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” And again in John 15:4, 5: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Then yet again Jesus teaches how the kingdom of God is within you: “And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:10, 22–23, 26).
We also understand that Christ is given to all men and dwells in them, however in most He is not recognized and is held down in unrighteousness. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” (Romans 1:18–20).
When Christ dwelling in us is recognized, it is by faith - His own faith which he brings with Him that we may benefit from the righteousness which He also brings with Him.
“Moreover, there is not one who has strength to do the law, its requirements are so great. Then it is very evident that no one can be justified by the works of the law, and it is equally evident that the fault is not in the law, but in the individual. Let the man get Christ in the heart by faith, and then the righteousness of the law will be there also, for Christ says, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart." Ps. 40:8. (The Glad Tidings (1900 original), P. 72).
Moses wrote: “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11–14). We know this Word is Christ who was in the beginning with God and who is God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1–2).
“I have been crucified with Christ; 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 for me.” (Galatians 2:20).
Christ in you - Righteousness by faith - was hidden from generations, but now is reveled to the saints. “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:24–27).
“And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 3:9).
“By the Spirit, His own personal presence, He can dwell in every man on earth, and fill the heavens as well, a thing which Jesus in the flesh could not do. Therefore, it was expedient for Him to go away, and send the Comforter.” (The Glad Tidings (1900 original), p. 90).
Job knew this fact and clearly states his understanding of the gospel: “Is my help not within me?” “For He performs what is appointed for me.” (Job 6:13; 23:14). Job knew his help dwelt within him and that his help, Christ, would preform what was appointed for him.
E.J. Waggoner brings all these truths together in the cross, resurrection and salvation: “It is evident from what has been said that whoever bears my sins must come where I am, yea, must come into me. And this is just what Christ does. Christ is the Word, and to all sinners, who would excuse themselves by saying that they can not know what God requires of them, He says, "The Word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." Deut. 30:11-14. Therefore, He says, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Rom. 10:9. What shall we confess about the Lord Jesus?—Why, confess the truth, that He is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart, and believe that He is there risen from the dead. "Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?" Eph. 4:9. The risen Saviour is the crucified Saviour. As Christ risen is in the heart of the sinner, therefore, Christ crucified is there. If it were not so, there would be no hope for any. A man may believe that Jesus was crucified eighteen hundred years ago, and may die in his sins; but he who believes that Christ is crucified and risen in him, has salvation.
“All that any man in the world has to do in order to be saved, is to believe the truth, that is, to recognize and acknowledge facts, to see things just as they actually are, and to confess them. Whoever believes that Christ is crucified in him, which is the fact in the case of every man, and confesses that the crucified Christ is also risen, and that He dwells in him by and with the power of the resurrection, is saved from sin, and will be saved as long as he holds fast his confession. This is the only true confession of faith.
“What a glorious thought that, wherever sin is, there is Christ, the Saviour from sin! He bears sin, all sin, the sin of the world. Sin is in all flesh, and so Christ is come in the flesh. Christ is crucified in every man that lives on earth. This is the word of truth, the Gospel of salvation, which is to be proclaimed to all, and which will save all who accept it.” (The Glad Tidings (1900 original), pp. 87, 88).
Here Waggoner explains about the faith of Jesus: “That faith which gave Him the victory over death (Heb. 5:7), because it gave Him the complete victory over sin, is the faith which He exercises in us, when He dwells in us by faith; for He is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." It is not we that live, but Christ that lives in us, and uses His own faith to deliver us from the power of Satan. "What have we to do?"—Let Him live in us in His own way. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." How can we let Him?—Simply by acknowledging Him; by confessing Him. We can not understand, so as to explain the mystery of Christ in us the hope of glory, but everything in nature that serves to sustain our life teaches us the fact. The sunlight that shines upon us, the air that we breathe, the food that we eat, and the water that we drink, are all means of conveying life to us. The life that they convey to us is none other than the life of Christ, for He is the life, and thus we have constantly before us and in us evidence of the fact that Christ can live in us. If we allow the Word to have free course in us, it will be glorified in us, and will glorify us.” (The Glad Tidings (1900 original), pp. 91, 92).
The Spirit of Prophecy makes it clear that this truth, this fact of Christ in you, the hope of glory, is not something to be ignored or set aside because one does not think it possible. Mrs. White was not silent regarding the truth that the Gospel is Christ in you, the hope of glory: “The incarnation of Jesus Christ, the divine son of God, “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” is the great theme of the gospel. “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him.” Colossians 1:27; 2:9, 10. (CET 246).
The Spirit of Prophecy agrees with Waggoner; and Waggoner agrees with the Spirit of Prophecy, and they both agree with the Scriptures.
The key to all mysteries: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” A knowledge of this mystery furnishes a key to every other. It opens to the soul the treasures of the universe, the possibilities of infinite development.” (ML 301).
What constitutes the faith once delivered to the saints? “A large number who claim to believe the present truth, know not what constitutes the faith that was once delivered to the saints—Christ in you the hope of glory. They think they are defending the old landmarks, but they are lukewarm and indifferent.” (1888 403).
Here she speaks directly to the ministers: “I want to ask our ministers, What kind of character do you think the Lord will accept in his kingdom? Do you know God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent? Is the love of God abiding in your souls? Are you dwelling in Christ, and Christ in you? If you are, you are safe; but if you are not, there is no safety for you. Do not allow your minds to be diverted from the all-important theme of the righteousness of Christ by the study of theories. Do not imagine that the performance of ceremonies, the observance of outward forms, will make you an heir of heaven. We want to keep the mind steadfastly to the point for which we are working; for it is now the day of the Lord’s preparation, and we should yield our hearts to God, that they may be softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit.” (1888 962)
We can not understand it; we can only believe: “We receive God’s Word as food for the soul, through the same evidence by which we receive bread as food for the body. Bread supplies the need of our nature; we know by experience that it produces blood, bone, and brain. Apply the same test to the Bible; when its principles have actually become the elements of character, what has been the result? what changes have been made in the life?—“Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” In its power, men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan, have been transformed into the image of God. The change is itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the Word, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the Word. We can not understand it; we can only believe, that, as declared by the Scriptures, it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (ST April 25, 1906).
The life of God in the soul: “The study of the Bible, the hours of secret communion with God, meditation upon heavenly themes will develop into purity of character resembling the spotless lily. The life of God in the soul is Christ in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life. This springing up into life will refresh all who connect with you. If your character is such that God can approve, it will be a complete Christian character filled with grace that is not assumed, but that has a natural growth. If your affections are obedient unto Christ your motives pure, there will be in your life, in your every day deportment, lessons of instruction to all around you. You will be living epistles known and read of all men. Your connection with God will lift you above every thing that has a debasing tendency, your pure and uncorrupted life will be ever pointing your school-mates and old associates upward to God and heaven saying to them you must seek peace and purity and happiness from above. Jesus is the source of your comfort strength and fortitude, amid vexation, trials and grievous temptations.” (ST February 7, 1878).
The deriding of those who teach and believe the mystery of godliness: “The class here represented, in order to exalt their own opinions, employ a reasoning which is not authorized by the word of God. They walk in the sparks of their own kindling. By their specious reasoning, they confuse the distinction that God desires to have drawn between good and evil. The sacred is brought down on a level with common things. Avarice and selfishness are called by false names; they are called prudence. Their rising up in independence and rebellion, their revenge and stubbornness, in their eyes are proofs of dignity, evidences of a noble mind. They act as though ignorance of divine things were not dangerous and even fatal to the soul; and they prefer their own reasoning to divine revelation, their own plans and human wisdom to the admonitions and commands of God. The piety and conscientiousness of others are called, fanaticism, and those who practice truth and holiness are watched and criticized. They deride those who teach and believe the mystery of godliness, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” The principles underlying these things are not discerned by them; and they go on in wrongdoing, leaving the bars open for Satan to find ready access to the soul.” (RH December 22, 1896).
It is the mystery of salvation! “As Christ represented the Father, so we are to represent Christ to the world. We cannot transfer our obligation to others. God desires to make known to you what is the richness of his glory, that you may preach the mystery of salvation to those around you,—Christ in you the hope of glory.” (RH March 5, 1889).
To make known Christ: “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God.” Eph. 3:9. It is not merely the words that roll off your tongue, it is not merely to be eloquent in speaking and praying, but it is to make known Christ, to have Christ in you, and make him known to those that hear.” (RH May 30, 1871).
“The life of the true believer reveals an indwelling Saviour.... His whole life is a testimony to the power of the grace of Christ.” (ML 301.6).
Waggoner writes about Righteousness by Faith in Studies in Romans. Saved by His Life. Rom. 5:1-10: “Saved by His Life—Christ did not go through the pangs of death for nothing, nor did He give His life to us for the purpose of taking it away again. When He gives us His life, He designs that we shall keep it forever. How do we get it? By faith. How do we keep it? By the same faith. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” Col. 2:6. His life can never end, but we may lose it by unbelief. Let it be remembered that we have not this life in ourselves, but “this life is in His Son.” “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:11, 12. We keep the everlasting life by keeping Christ. Now it is a very simple proposition that if we have been reconciled to God by the death of Christ, if His life has been given to us for the remission of our sins, then we shall much more be saved by that life since He has risen from the dead. People sometimes say that they can believe that God forgives their sins, but they find it difficult to believe that He can keep them from sin. Well, if there is any difference, the latter is the easier of the two; for the forgiveness of sins requires the death of Christ, while the saving from sins requires only His continued life.
Never take any mans word for what the 1888 message is - read it and find out for your self. To do so, read the messengers that God sent, not what other men have written about what they think the message is. They are not your Guide to truth. We are not saved in groups, or committies so called. Salvation is an individual matter.
“The Lord is a shield to me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head” (Ps. 3:3).