And there’s more. Which shouldn’t surprise us; that’s how God does things (Lk 6.38; Ep 1.3).
The Scripture ties our union with Christ to other delightful outcomes.
Power Through Prayer
Since we were in John 15 in the previous post, let’s notice one more outcome that Jesus mentions there.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you (Jn 15.7).
That makes sense, doesn’t it? If we are in Christ, shouldn’t that make a difference in the way we pray—and in the Father’s response to our prayers?
We know that promises like this one are often abused. Little children pray for barrels of candy. Purveyors (I won’t call them “preachers”) of the prosperity “gospel,” which is really just the idolization of the self, encourage people to “name it and claim it”—in the name of Jesus Christ!
What a horrific twisting of Jesus’ words—in a very real sense, what blasphemy. These adults—if that’s what they be—haven’t progressed at all beyond the 7-year-old boy praying for that barrel of candy.
What is Jesus saying? He’s describing our being united with him. Now, if we’re united with him, our thinking is going to change—specifically, it’s going to mature. We’re going to be of one mind with him; our desires are going to be his desires. We’re going to pray what he would pray—and that would not be for a barrel of candy or a new Rolls Royce or a house the size of Nebraska. Jesus got on well with no house at all, you know (Mt 8.20; Lk 9.58).
And so, when we pray we’re going to ask for things that are in the will of the Father; and Jesus says elsewhere that those prayers get answered (Mt 7.7; 18.19; 21.21).
Now that is powerful prayer—the kind only those who are in Christ can pray.
In a sense what we’ve been talking about so far in this post is simply wisdom—the wisdom that enables you to discern the Father’s will, and the spiritual vitality to desire it. The Bible extends that wisdom even further. In his first epistle to the Corinthian church, Paul spends a few column inches meditating on what it means to have this kind of mental connection with God. In the paragraph from 1Co 2.6-16, he makes a number of astounding claims.
God hath revealed [unseen things] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. … Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. … He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (1Co 2.10, 12,15-16).
We have the mind of Christ.
Of course we do, since we’re united with him. And that mind is mediated—clarified or explained, if you will—through the Spirit, who, as God, knows the Father and the Son perfectly.
In this context Paul is applying this principle directly to the matter of judgment. Initially he calls it wisdom (1Co 2.6-7), then revelation (1Co 2.10), then judgment (1Co 2.15).
Everyone who is in Christ has the Spirit dwelling in him. The Spirit helps him understand the Scripture (1Co 2.14-15), through which we learn the mind of the Triune God. This is an intimate relationship.
And with that mind, we can make wise choices—unlike the demonic forces, who thought it would be a good idea to kill Jesus while he was walking on the earth, at his most vulnerable (1Co 2.8)—and then found that their unspeakable crime was actually the very means their great Enemy would use to defeat them and to free millions of their slaves.
If they had had the mind of Christ, they wouldn’t have done that.
So we can do better.