Have You Seen the Central Vision in the Bible?
Reading and studying the Bible can render you tremendous benefits. It can surely change your life. But it depends on your focus.
In fact, it can be difficult to sustain a Bible reading habit if you don’t know and appreciate God’s hidden purpose within it.
It is true that what you’ll get from your Bible reading can vary greatly depending on how you come to it…your attitude, your perspective.
- To some, the Bible might be a book of proverbs, a book of wise sayings to improve your human life.
- To others, it might be a collection of ethical teachings or moral injunctions to guard you from straying.
- To even others, it might be a book of virtuous living, giving positive patterns to imitate.
- Yet as a believers in Christ, we might rightly say that it is the book that reveals God’s salvation for man.
But is that all?
We might appreciate the Bible for all its benefits toward us yet fail to see its central vision.
But then you might ask, “What is the central vision in the Bible?”
The central vision in the Bible
This central vision in the Bible is a matter of God’s good pleasure, His hearts desire. Ephesians 1:9 says,
“Making known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself.”
One reason we might miss this central vision is that it is not according to our natural concept or interest. So it remains a mystery to us. But, it is this mystery that unlocks the Bible to us.
Even suffering Job knew that there was some hidden reason behind all his sufferings. He said to God,
“But You have hidden these things in Your heart; I know that this is with You.” (Job 10:13)
Job was right, for God has kept His intention hidden throughout the ages, not fully revealing it until the New Testament times. So Job could only sense in his spirit that God had some purpose behind all that he was going through. We might feel that it is the same with us.
Unfortunately, like Job, we might blindly complain about our circumstances without realizing God’s hidden purpose behind it all.
God as our contents
Deep in God’s heart, He wants us to be His vessels through which He can express Himself. This relates to the first item of the central vision in the Bible that of God becoming our contents.
Colossians 1:26-27 says,
The mystery which has been hidden from the ages and from the generations but now has been manifested to His saints; to whom 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.
That Christ may be in us, was a mystery hidden by God from the ages, but revealed to us through Paul’s epistle to the Colossians. For Christ to be in us reveals God’s desire to be our contents.
Paul also said in Romans 9:23-24,
“In order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory, even us, whom He has also called…”
So God is not only the Creator of the heavens and the earth, but the “Potter” who formed us as vessels of mercy to be His containers.
In fact, every part of our being is a vessel–body, soul and spirit.
Consider. You body is a vessel with a stomach to contain food. Your soul, with your mind, is a vessel to contain knowledge. But God also made you with a spirit as His container to receive and contain Him.
Have you received God into your spirit to be your real contents?
If not, you can pray right now,
Dear Lord, thank you for making me as Your vessel to contain you. Come into my spirit and fill me with Yourself.
But you might still ask, “How is it possible for the universally great God to come into my spirit to become my contents?”
Christ as the mystery of God
For God to become our contents requires a second mystery–Christ as the mystery of God.
Colossians 2:2 speaks of,
“The mystery of God, Christ…”
What does it mean to say that Jesus Christ is “the mystery of God”? The hidden God who created all things is a mystery to man. Yet, Christ as God’s mystery makes this mysterious God known.
If you want to know what kind of God He is, you must look at Christ. Christ is God’s story–defining, explaining and expressing God through all the steps of His process, that is, through His incarnation, human living, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.
In verse 9 of the same chapter it says,
“…For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
The God who desires to be our contents dwells in Christ. This Christ is not just God’s eternal Son, He is the embodiment of the entire Triune God. He is the infinite God becoming a finite man. He is the complete God, becoming a genuine, perfect, and sinless man (1 Tim. 2:5). This was God’s incarnation.
But that is not all. In 1 Corinthians 15:45, speaking of Christ’s death and resurrection, Paul says,
“The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.”
On the cross, Christ, as the last Adam, died for our sins and also terminated the entire fallen race of Adam. In Christ, God judged that old man. So Christ’s death is not only for us but included us and the entire old creation. When Christ died, we were crucified with Him (Gal. 2:20).
But, since Christ is the resurrection and the eternal life (John 11:25), death could not hold Him in the grave.
Christ rose from that tomb in victory, both spiritually and physically. But a wonderful mystery is that in His resurrection He was transfigured into the life-giving Spirit to indwell us, to make God our contents.
On the evening of His resurrection, He appeared to His disciples in a closed room and breathing into them saying,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.”
What a wonder. The breath of the resurrected Christ is the Spirit of life to be received and enjoyed by us!
The simplest way to breathe Him in is to call upon Him name–Lord Jesus. Try it right now.
“Lord Jesus! O Lord Jesus!… Lord, I praise you. You’re the mystery of God. You’re God becoming the flesh and the flesh becoming the life-giving Spirit to be received by me. Lord, come into my spirit and fill me with Yourself as the eternal life.
The church as the mystery of Christ
Yet, there is a third mystery–the church as the mystery of Christ. Ephesians 3:4-6 says,
“You can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ,…that in Christ Jesus the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the Body and fellow partakers of the promise through the gospel.”
It is through the church as the mystery of Christ, His Body, that this mysterious Christ can be made known to us.
As the issue of His entering into us and indwelling us as the life-giving Spirit, we become His mystical Body to express Him. So as Christ is the embodiment of God, the church is also the Body of Christ.
We should never think that receiving Christ is merely so that we can be saved from perdition. It is so that God in Christ can be expressed in a corporate way through the Body of Christ, the church.
Yet, for such an accomplishment to be our reality there is still the need for something more–our experience.
Making the central vision practical in our daily lives
First we need to see the central vision of the Bible. This vision must govern not only our Bible reading, but our entire Christian life.
If we really see this vision, it will keep us in the central lane walking according to the spirit–Christ as the life-giving Spirit with our spirit.
By seeing this vision we will live as God’s containers, all the time opening to be filled with Him. Realizing that Christ is the mystery of God, consummated as the life-giving Spirit with our spirit, we’ll continually turn to Him in our spirit, and live and walk in one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17).
Then, corporately, such a living, will issue in the living of the Body of Christ. We need to be focused on this central vision in the Bible–God as our contents, Christ as God’s mystery and the church, Christ’s Body, as the mystery of Christ.
We need to pay our full attention to this central vision and pray more concerning it. We need to pray:
Lord, show me the central vision and make it so clear to me. May this vision govern and direct my entire life and cause me to live in one spirit with you so that this great mystery, Christ and the church, can be fully made known.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, I hope you will take a moment to share what you have enjoyed in a comment. You can also contact me with related questions regarding this central vision in the Bible.
References and Further reading:
This post was inspired by the conclusion of the Life-study of 1 Corinthians, Message 51. It also draws from The Completing Ministry of Paul, Chapters 10-12. Both publications are by Witness Lee and can be freely read online at ministrybooks.org.
About Tom Smith
Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!