Christ, Our All in All

“There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” —Colossians 3:11

“Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” —I Corinthians 1:30

AN HONEST AND humble appraisal of ourselves must lead to the inevitable conclusion that, as members of the fallen and sinful race of mankind, we have nothing of virtue or character by which we can commend ourselves to God with the hope of being acceptable to him because of our own righteousness. This means that our sonship privileges in God’s family are possible through the abundance of his grace in providing a way whereby he could be just and still be the justifier of those who come to him through Christ. (Rom. 3:25,26) Salvation, and all the divine blessings incidental thereto, are ours—not because of our own merit—but because of the Heavenly Father’s love in giving his Son to be our Redeemer. Well has the apostle put it, saying, “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”—Eph. 2:8

And what a wonderful gift! The value of salvation is appreciated most by those who, having a proper evaluation of their own undone condition, realize their great need for it. And what riches of divine favor are represented in the provision the Heavenly Father has made through Christ! Those who come to him in simple faith and full devotion, may not only enjoy peace with God, but have access to the inner chambers of his grace, and therein rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Rom. 5:1,2) This “great salvation,” the apostle explains, “began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.”—Heb. 2:3

The First Advent of Christ marked the opening of the age during which the “high,” or heavenly “calling” (Phil. 3:14) of those who were to reign with him in glory was to operate. Not until Jesus came and shed his blood as the Redeemer of both the church and the world would it have been possible for anyone, no matter how earnestly he may have tried, to meet the conditions laid down for those who are called to glory, honor, and immortality.


Not only was Christ the first one to walk in the narrow way that leads to immortality, but only through his merit, and by virtue of his counsel and example is it possible for others to walk acceptably in the same narrow way. As our text emphasizes, Christ is our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification and our redemption, or deliverance. In other words, he is all and everything to us that is necessary in order that we may be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ in the heavenly reward offered to the saints during this age.

One of the official titles the Scriptures give to Jesus is that of Counsellor. (Isa. 9:6) If we are to be truly wise, it is essential that we follow the instructions and leadership of Christ. The Wise Man said, “The fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Prov. 9:10) To reverence the Lord implies respect for his words of enlightenment and instruction—a respect that will lead us to fully obey the divine will. The quality of reverence for God is necessary from the very beginning of our approach to him, for it means that we recognize his greatness, and our own nothingness—his perfection of holiness, and our own depravity and unrighteousness. To recognize this is the true foundation of wisdom’s structure, for it implies willingness and desire to put aside our own imperfect viewpoints and ways, and to accept instead the counsel and will of the Highest.—Luke 6:35

Approaching God in this wise attitude of humility, desiring to be taught of him, one of the first lessons we learn is of his wondrous provision through Christ whereby, despite our imperfections, we can enjoy the blessings which his grace vouchsafes to all who long to be in harmony with him—who “pant” after him as “the hart panteth after the water brooks.”—Ps. 42:1

An honest recognition of our own imperfections, hence the need of a Redeemer, is but the first step ‘ in wisdom’s way. We need also to recognize the wisdom of making a full consecration of ourselves to do the Father’s will. The recognition of our own lack of wisdom would be largely in vain should we fail to devote ourselves fully to him who has promised to give to his own that wisdom which is from above. (James 1:5; 3:17) While the Word of God is filled with all the necessary counsel to make us truly wise, its instructions become the guiding star of our lives only when we devote ourselves unreservedly to the doing of the will of God represented therein.

Christ is our wisdom in this fuller sense also, because he is to us the living Word of God. In the perfect example of his life we have patterned for us the manner in which the written instructions of the Word apply in the lives of the consecrated. He is the Captain of our salvation, the Forerunner, the Head of the body, who, in being guided by the words of God himself, has shown us the true meaning of those instructions as they affect the lives of those who are following in his footsteps.


The Apostle James gives us an overall picture of heavenly wisdom, saying that it is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17) In Christ we have a revealing example of the manner in which these various elements of heavenly wisdom operate in one who is fully devoted to the doing of God’s will. Earthly wisdom functions along lines quite contrary to the principles mentioned by James. It is selfish, therefore its objective is to promote self, frequently at the expense of purity, and often by strife, arrogance and stubbornness. Where selfishness reigns supreme, it resorts even to cruelty to attain its ends, while personal favoritisms and hypocrisy are considered virtues, if they can be used to attain the ends sought by the selfish heart.

But how different, as the apostle has shown, is the heavenly wisdom which is in harmony with the divine character of love. How wonderfully, indeed, did Christ display the love qualities of heavenly wisdom as he went about in the divine service doing good. Christ was first pure. He was this by nature, even as a child, having been born perfect. His moral and intellectual purity was sealed by his obedience to the Law Covenant. He was pure also in his wholehearted devotion to the divine will from the time of his consecration, at Jordan until the very end of his earthly pilgrimage. With Jesus, it was not a case of “some of self, and some of Thee” (Hymns of Dawn, #224, “All of Thee”) as the words of a familiar hymn put our case when we first give our lives to the Lord. No, he was “all” for the doing of his Father’s will, and ever in harmony with the instructions of the written Word wherein that will was revealed.

Neither men nor devils could turn the Master aside from the purity of a wholly, absolute devotion to his Father’s will. Satan, the prince of devils, tried it. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, Satan brought pressure upon him in the form of subtle temptations to take a course of halfway devotion to his consecration vows. (Matt. 4:1-11) But Jesus was wise and resisted the attack. He was wise in his own right as a perfect human being, but even more important, he was wise toward God in that he not only knew the divine will for him, but hesitated not a moment in his resolute determination to be altogether loyal thereto. 3o his reply to the Adversary was direct and decisive: “It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”—vs. 10


The Apostle Paul admonished: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom. 12:18) This beloved traveler in the narrow way knew, even as Jesus exemplified in his life, that putting purity first in the consecrated life means that we will not always be able to dwell in peace in the world, or with the worldly-minded. Had Christ not put purity first, had he yielded to the Adversary’s suggestions to compromise the divine will, he doubtless would have avoided much of the persecution that came upon him. Had he taken the course pleasing to “the god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4), he could have dwelt peaceably with those who do the will of that god.

Jesus, on the other hand, was not a promoter of strife. One of the prophetic titles descriptive of the spirit of his mission to earth was that of the Prince of Peace. In his sermon on the mount, he said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matt. 5:9) The gracious words which fell from his consecrated lips were such as to promote peace and good will in the lives of those whose hearts were not calloused by selfishness, and whose minds were not blinded by the darkness of this world. But because the darkness hateth the light, the Master’s words of peace and goodwill stirred up enmity against him by the world, an enmity that was not satisfied until the Prince of Peace hung limp and lifeless upon the cross.

In following the Master’s example, we may not be confronted with similar large and dramatic issues to test the purity and wholeheartedness of our devotion to God. But his loyalty to the principles of righteousness in the big as well as in the little things of life, constitutes a perfect guide for us irrespective of the manner in which we may be tested.

Putting purity first in the carrying out of our consecration vows will cause us the loss of worldly friendships, and may even test the depth of our devotion as it applies to our association with some who profess to be followers of the Master. Where issues of the truth and its service are concerned, a ‘peace-at-any-price attitude’ is not wise. It does not conform to the example of Christ, who, by the appointment of our Heavenly Father, has been made unto us the embodiment of heavenly wisdom. Worldly wisdom often compromises principle in order to avoid suffering. But Jesus did not do this. He was guided by his knowledge of the divine will even though it meant travail and sorrow, thereby proving himself worthy to be the Savior of both the church and the world.—Isa. 53:11


Following the course of heavenly wisdom must lead to gentleness of demeanor and character. The coarse, rough ways of the flesh and the world should give place, as we make progress in the narrow way, to genuine refinement and gentleness of heart and disposition. Christ was pleasingly gentle and so “easy to be entreated” (James 3:17) that even the children were not uncomfortable in his sacred presence. Those who sought for the blessings he could bestow were given audience and consideration, even though they succeeded only in touching the hem of his garment. But the Master’s gentleness was in keeping with his purity. He was gentle to those deserving gentleness, but stern in his rebuttal of the hypocritical Pharisees.

In our desire for peace, and in our disposition to promote it, we, like the Master, should be gentle. We should have an open heart toward those who cross our pathway, and for whom, in the divine providence, we may have blessings of comfort and joy in the Holy Spirit, if they would but receive them. Yet, as with Jesus, so with us, we will not be easily entreated to walk contrary to the will of God, or to lend our support by sympathy, word, or deed to anything that is out of harmony with the spirit of heavenly wisdom.


Heavenly wisdom rejoices in mercy. How beautifully Jesus exemplified this quality of the divine character, both in his teaching and manner of life. When he was asked how far one should go in forgiving, he gave that “seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:22) formula of divine mercy, which, when adopted in the Christian life, serves to bypass nearly all friction and disputes that otherwise rob followers of the Master of the fullness of joy in the Lord that should be theirs. Whether in our individual lives as Christians, in our homes, or in the church, the mercy element of heavenly wisdom serves to sweeten all of our experiences and to make us more like our Father in heaven.

Fruits of the Christian life are the fruits of the Spirit. The growth of such fruit and its proper ripening, will inevitably take place in the heart which is illuminated with the wisdom from above. Here again the fullness of our devotion to God will be the measure of the fruitage developed in our lives. If we are to be full of good fruits we must be empty of self. Barren is the selfish heart of the flesh, but to the extent self-will is renounced, and the will of God in Christ becomes the all-possessing power of our lives, there is certain to be an abundant crop of good fruit.


The Scriptures explain that “ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28) Therefore, to show partiality in our dealings with fellowmembers of the body of Christ would display a lack of wisdom from above. Just as God is no respecter of persons, so we who are trying to be like him must ever maintain his viewpoint, which is one of love that seeks to bestow blessings upon all. The outward features of the natural man and his social condition are ignored by those who have the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom which cometh from above. To be partial in our dealings with each other, or even with the world, would imply a measure of injustice, which would be contrary to the course of heavenly wisdom, and contrary to the example set by Christ. True, some of the disciples seemed to be more appreciated by the Master than others, and these were granted additional privileges. In doing this, however, the Master did not work any injustice upon the others, and his nearness to Peter, James, and John, was doubtless because of their greater love and understanding of him. God is not unjustly a respecter of persons, yet he makes it plain in his Word that he draws especially near to those who draw near to him.—James 4:8


The heavenly wisdom which we see exemplified in Christ is also without hypocrisy. It is so pure, so peaceable, so gentle, so merciful toward all, that there is the absence of sin and hypocrisy. Those guided by heavenly wisdom must, of necessity, be out of harmony and sympathy with all that is sinful—not merely outwardly, but in their hearts. To be truly a follower of Christ, who is our wisdom, we must indeed ‘practice what we preach’. We are not only to outwardly support and be in sympathy with that which is pure, peaceable and gentle, but these divine qualities of heavenly wisdom must also be the adornment of our hearts and characters.

And so, from whatever viewpoint we analyze the wisdom which is from above, we find that in the life of Christ we have a perfect example of how it should control those who are following him in the narrow way. Not only, therefore, does the beginning of wisdom lead us to Christ as the Redeemer, but we find wisdom’s perfection manifested in his every word and deed, which, by God’s grace, we are trying to copy in our own lives.


In addition to being our wisdom, the apostle explains that Christ is also our righteousness. In explaining this point, Paul used the Greek word dikaiosune, which, according to Prof. Strong, means ‘equity’, and especially, ‘justification’. Various forms of this same Greek word are used in the New Testament, and are translated as justified, justification, and of course, also, righteousness. As used in our text, the word could properly be translated justification.

Considering the literal meaning of the word dikaiosune as being equity, we have presented to us a comprehensive view of what Christ means to us in connection with our relationship to the Heavenly Father and our hope of life. He is our equity, that is, his merit is the thing of value which gives us a standing with the Heavenly Father, and permits us to enjoy the privileges of fellowship, or partnership, with the Father and the Son.

We may be perfect in our heart’s intentions toward God and righteousness. We may be determined to lay down our lives in the divine service. We may appreciate the invitation to suffer with Christ, so that we may reign with him. But that which makes possible the carrying out of our desires, and enables us to render acceptable sacrifices is the equity of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us by divine grace.

The fact that Christ’s righteousness makes up for our deficiencies does not mean, as the apostle explains, that we can “continue in sin, that grace may abound.” (Rom. 6:1) We cannot hope to reach the high standard of perfection displayed in the holy and undefiled Jesus, yet we should strive toward this end. He is our example of righteousness, our pattern and guide, to show us the righteous way in all the vicissitudes of life.

We should daily wage an aggressive struggle to control our thoughts, words, and deeds, to bring them into captivity to the will of God, as expressed by the teachings and example of Christ. The merit of his righteousness is imputed to us upon the basis of our faith, giving us a standing of righteousness or justification before God.

It is important to us as Christians that we always keep in mind the fact that Christ is our righteousness, our justification. To remember this will help us to keep humble. The recognition of our own sinful condition, and of the wondrous provision made for us through Christ, should be indelibly impressed upon our hearts and minds.

It is something that serves as a touchstone of our true relationship to God throughout our entire earthly pilgrimage. If at any time we feel that victories over sin and imperfection have been attained to the point where we have somewhat of our own righteousness wherewith to commend ourselves to God, it is well to remember the pit of sin and death from which we have been rescued by divine grace, and the solid rock, Christ Jesus, upon which we have been granted the privilege of standing. (Ps. 40:2) Yes, our continued standing with the Heavenly Father as his children depends upon Christ being our righteousness to the very end of the way. Only thus will we be victorious.—Isa. 51:1; I Cor. 15:57


Sanctification signifies setting apart to holy service. The Greek word hagiasmos used in our text, which declares that Christ is made unto us sanctification, literally means purity, or purification, according to Prof. Strong. But we should remember that the standard of purity to which the apostle refers is not one of human conception—not merely moral uprightness—but a purity of relationship to God which means a full dedication of ourselves to do his will. The true meaning of sanctification from the divine standpoint is well illustrated by the inscription appearing on the mitre worn by Israel’s High Priest, which read, “Holiness unto the Lord.” (Exod. 28:36) It meant to the typical priest that through a properly constituted and carried-out service of consecration, or dedication, he had been set apart to serve God in the holy things of the Tabernacle, including the offering of sacrifice.

In the consecration service by which Israel’s priests were dedicated to fill the office of the priesthood, a part of the blood from the ram of consecration was placed upon the tip of the right ear, the right thumb, and the great toe of the right foot. (Lev 8:23 Thus was indicated the all-comprehensiveness of their consecration. Antitypically, in the case of those who follow the Master, it would mean that all of life’s powers are to be dedicated and used in the divine service. As the blood was put upon the thumb of the right hand, so our consecrated sentiments will be:

“Take my hands, and let them move,
     At the impulse of thy love.”

As the blood was put upon the great toe of the priest’s right foot, so we will endeavor to walk in the footsteps of the Master, to walk by faith in the way that the Spirit leads, to walk as he walked. In our hearts and by our words and deeds we will say to our God:

“Take my feet and let them be
     Swift on errands, Lord for thee.”

As the blood was placed upon the right ear of the priest, so our hearing is to be one of faith. We are to “hearken unto the voice of the Lord,” (Deut. 15:5) in order that we may not only know his will, but do it. If the dedication of our lives is complete, if our devotion is unmixed and wholehearted, we will not give ear to suggestions of any kind, whether from the world, the flesh, or the Adversary, the purpose of which may be to turn us aside from the narrow way. The life of the fully consecrated is one in which moments and days are made to flow in channels which can be used for showing forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. (I Pet. 2:9) Our every thought and power should be used in keeping with the divine will. (II Cor. 10:5) We will want the will of God enthroned in our heart so completely that our life will be poured out to him, and our whole being consecrated fully and forever to the doing of his will.

In all this, Christ is our sanctification because the fullness of his devotion to God, a devotion so zealously performed that he was consumed with his zeal, is the example which we should follow. The work of sanctification is not a momentary one. While there is a moment in which an individual definitely decides to consecrate himself to do God’s will, the carrying out of that consecration, the living of a life set apart to the holy purpose of God, is the work of a lifetime. Daily we should study the Word of God by which we are sanctified, and daily we should look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, in order that we may more and more set aside the ways of the flesh, and have the Spirit of Christ filling our hearts and having the will of God reign supreme in our lives.

Jesus, praying on behalf of his church, asked that they be “sanctified” by the truth. (John 17:17) It is important to realize that error will not sanctify. Neither will ignorance. This is one very good reason why our study of God’s Word should be sincere, and in the spirit of humility, that we may glean from its pages what God expects of us, rather than to search the Word for justification of our own ideas. The Prophet Micah expresses this sentiment, when enumerating the requirements of the divine will, he lists among them, “to walk humbly with thy God.” (Mic. 6:8) We are not walking humbly with our God when we resist the plain instructions of his Word with respect to any of the details of the consecrated life.


Confusion exists in the minds of many with respect to the Christian life of sanctification, in that they erroneously couple it with religious emotion, mistakenly expecting an outward manifestation of some spectacular nature, or some inward feeling of ecstasy as an evidence of their acceptance with the Lord. The peace and joy of the Lord which fills the hearts of truly consecrated believers, will be manifested to a large extent in keeping with their own natural dispositions. Some are by nature more emotional than others, and it is expected that when such are introduced to the joys of faith and the blessings of a life that is lived for God, their emotions will be greatly stirred.

On the other hand, the same joys of faith in the hearts of those who by nature are more practical and less demonstrative, will be just as deep and satisfactory, or should be. In other words, religious emotions, to whatever extent they may appear, are to be viewed, not as a guide in the Christian way, but merely as the result of being made free from condemnation and of having the assurance of acceptableness with God.

We should remember, too, that the sanctified life goes far beyond a superficial goodness or righteousness. It is more than an endeavor to be morally upright and pure. It includes this, but upon the basis of one’s best efforts to be righteous, there is the further privilege of devoting that life to the service of God. Sanctification, then, goes far beyond the mere giving up of bad habits, the mere forgetting of a few worldly pleasures. It is indeed a giving up of these, but at the same time it is a living for God.

One who is fully devoted to the doing of God’s will, and who is laying down his life in the divine service, will have little time to indulge in worldly pleasures. One who, from the bottom of his heart, can truly say to the Lord:

“Take myself—I wish to be
     Ever, only, all for Thee,”—

will not be seeking worldly entertainment—there will be too many things to do for the Lord and for the brethren.


Christ is also made unto us redemption, says the apostle. The word redemption is here used in the sense of deliverance, or salvation, which is the outcome of the redemptive work-the result of the ransom, or a corresponding price, having been given. It is the same Greek word translated deliverance in Hebrews 11:35. The thought is that of the church’s full victory through Christ, and of the ultimate attainment of a position of glory with him in the kingdom.

But if this ultimate and full deliverance of the church is to be realized, there must also be the intermediate and incidental deliverances of the faithful all along the narrow way. Christ is made unto us deliverance, both in our daily experiences of trial and testing, as well as in the final deliverance from this “vile” body, in the glories of the first resurrection.—Phil. 3:21

The redemption provided by Christ is yet to result in the deliverance of all mankind from sin and death, but in the divine program the redemption and deliverance of the church comes first. The redemption, or deliverance, which is in Christ Jesus, both as it applies to our present experiences and also to our ultimate deliverance into the kingdom, is always identified with the sacrifice of our Lord made on our behalf. In connection with that sacrifice, our Lord was severely tested and tried, and the apostle explains that by reason of this, “he is able to succour them that are tempted [able to deliver them from temptations which otherwise might overpower them].”—Heb. 2:17,18

Because Christ is dealing with us as a faithful and sympathetic High Priest, we have the promise that he “will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye. are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (I Cor. 10:13) True, he may permit us to stumble temporarily, but even such an experience will be overruled for our good, if we continue to put our trust in him, and to maintain our assurance in the fact that he will help us, assist us, deliver us, in every time of need.

We are permitted to stumble at times, perhaps in order that valuable lessons may be learned respecting our weaknesses. We may forget our need of divine help. Sometimes we may think that we are able to stand in our own strength. It is then that we need to take heed lest we fall. The Lord in his wisdom permits us to stumble, therefore, in order that we may be reminded of our need of him, our need to lean upon his strength, that we may find in him our staff of support to keep us from actually falling.

If, through all of our daily experiences in the narrow way, we learn to put our trust more fully in him who is our redemption and deliverance now, who has provided a covering for our sins, and who has promised us help to overcome our temptations, we will finally experience that great and ultimate deliverance into the kingdom. This grand hope is especially meaningful today, because the signs around us in the world indicate that the entire church will soon be delivered and united with her Lord. If we are faithful as individuals we can take comfort in the Master’s blessed assurance, “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption [deliverance] draweth nigh.”—Luke 21:28

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |