The Spirit that guides, counsels, comforts and shows us things to come is a Spirit of revelation (Jn. 16:13). He is a revealer. And that which He reveals is Christ. It is always the purpose and ministry of this holy, revealer Spirit who is the very living breath of God, to reveal Christ.
There is nothing that gives God more pleasure than the revealing of the Son. Try it some time. Tell God the Father, sincerely, how beautiful His Son is and then soak in the unmitigated joy that floods you. The natural created world around us, and the heavens, are all a revelation of Christ the Son. Everything to which God has ever set His mind centers on the revelation of the Son. And among all the ways that God has found to reveal the Son, none give Him more pleasure than to reveal Him within human beings.
But when it pleased God….to reveal His Son in me….Gal. 1:15
This is the essence, the nucleus, of the gospel. The gospel is not signing a card, raising a hand or repeating a prayer. It is not even doing what Jesus does. None of these come within lightyears of adequately representing the fullness of the gospel that was delivered to us by those who first preached Christ. The gospel delivered to us is Christ in us.
But when it pleased God….to reveal His Son in me….
There is a people on this earth, a tribe if you like, in whom God is actively revealing His Son. Many are wandering in what seems like an endless spiritual wilderness. It is uncomfortable for them. Many remain, for now, worshiping within the increasingly restrictive walls of local assemblies. It is uncomfortable for them. Wherever they may be following Christ, this tribe does not fit. It is becoming evident to them that there is only one place they can gather with a sense of belonging and oneness, and that is in and through the Holy Spirit, for those in whom Christ is being revealed recognize and seek out those in whom Christ is being revealed.
But when it pleased God….to reveal His Son in me….
The words were written by the apostle Paul to the Galatian church. He describes how the gospel he preached did not originate with man nor was it taught to him by man, but came solely through the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:12). Revelation of Christ always comes to us via the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:15). In fact the original Greek word for revelation can be expressed as ‘to uncover, or lay open what has been veiled.’
Upon receiving this gospel Paul says he spent time in Arabia, then in Damascus. At a time when the Holy Spirit was doing this very deep work of revealing Christ the Son in Paul, he did not seek out the fellowship of other Christians but was led into obscurity, many believe in the Arabian wilderness, for nearly three years (Gal. 1:15-18). The gospel Paul received and taught, and which we regularly quote, came to him in isolation, alone with God, without the instruction of even those who had spent three years with Christ in the flesh.
And it came in this manner because God, at an appointed time, was pleased to reveal His Son in Paul.
Disconnected from other believers Paul had the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the great Revealer of Christ. Today he would be inundated with emails from fellow Christians warning him of the dangers of being a ‘lone ranger’ believer. But the Spirit will not be restricted to man’s understanding of how things should be done. He chooses the time, the place and the way in which He will begin to unveil the Christ within each one of us.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he stands behind our wall; He is looking through the windows, gazing through the lattice. (Sng. 2:9)
I became a disciple of Jesus Christ in 1963 at the youthful age of 13 through the witness of a friend’s mother. No one in my family was a believer. Nevertheless, wishing to be as good a Christian as I could be, I started attending church and reading my Bible. In due course I married and moved locations as my family grew, raising four children. Over the years, according to what was available locally, I sought fellowship in numerous denominational settings including mainstream evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic. I was a card carrying, tithe paying, twice on Sundays plus mid-week meeting Christian. I thought that was all there was.
Until it wasn’t.
Some time in the mid-nineteen nineties, by the grace of God, it pleased God to reveal His Son in me. The beginning of this ongoing revelation, which by the way continues to unfold, didn’t come with a clap of thunder or voice from Heaven. It came quietly, with a gentle but life-changing awakening as the Spirit began to unveil a Christ I’d never known.
This was not the revelation of Jesus Christ as Saviour to me. It was the revelation of Christ Jesus, by whom, through whom and for whom all things are created, in me (Col. 1:16). Like the Shulamite who caught a momentary glimpse of the Beloved gazing through the lattice, I began to catch sight in the Spirit of this Son and it took my breath away. From that time on pursuit of that One the Spirit is revealing has become my greatest passion.
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. Jn. 21:7
How is it that John recognized the risen Jesus and Peter did not? Both of them had been as close to Jesus as anyone could be. They had run to the tomb together, discovering it empty. Peter had entered while John at first hesitated. But when John did at last enter ‘he saw and believed’ (Jn. 20:3-8). I think John saw more than an empty tomb and some bloodied, discarded linen cloths. I believe that moment was the moment God chose to ‘reveal His Son’ in John.
When God is pleased to reveal His Son in us, it is Christ, Messiah, who He unveils. We have known and loved Jesus Christ our Saviour, but this risen Christ Jesus, this glorious Son of God in His full authority, power and beauty, must be revealed in us.
Peter did not recognize this risen Christ calling to them from the seashore until John said ‘It is the Lord’. John was beholding the risen Christ Jesus, the One Who God had begun to reveal in him. Much later John would write ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’ (Jhn. 1:14)
Have You Seen the One I love?
‘I will rise now,’ I said,…..’I will seek the one I love.’ I sought him, but I did not find him. The watchmen who go about the city found me; I said ‘Have you seen the one I love?’ Song. 3:2-4
My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took my veil away from me. Song 5:4-7
There is an unveiling, a revealing, of Christ Jesus to be accomplished in each of us at a time when it pleases God. It is not Christ who is veiled; it is we who need unveiling so we might begin to comprehend His fullness (2 Cor. 3:18). In pursuit of her Beloved the lovesick Shulamite lost her veil at the hands of the city watchmen. The watchmen were those who guarded the walls that kept her within the confines of their control (Sng.5:7).
But after her veil was removed the Shulamite could run without hindrance to pursue her Beloved. Where previously she had been wondering ‘Who is this?’ (Sng 3:6), freed of her veil she could now describe the excellence of her Beloved in minute detail (Sng.5:10-16).
After the unveiling she herself becomes so greatly transformed even those who know her are left asking each other ‘Who is this?’ (Sng. 8:5). So much has she been transformed from the immature Shulamite who began this love-journey, she has become unrecognizable.
When this Son, this Christ Jesus, begins to be revealed to us, He captures our heart so completely we are compelled to pursue, to press on and lay hold as Paul expressed it (Phl. 3:12). Along the way we are going to suffer the ire of those who find our new found passion offensive. They have not yet seen the One we love. And understand I am speaking of those ‘in the city’, that is those in the church.
They will wound us with blows of criticism and disdain and accuse us of being unbalanced in our pursuit of this One we have seen and now pursue, Whose voice calls us onward regardless. The unveiling of Christ to us will be costly. It will not come without affliction. If we would see Christ in His fullness we cannot avoid the fellowship of His sufferings. But from this lovesickness there is no turning back.
As new believers we have been taught to discern others of Jesus’ disciples through the lens of a certain question: ‘Do you know Jesus?’ But when God is pleased to reveal His Son in us a more pressing question ignites in our hearts, binding us together in the Spirit regardless of our geographical location or personal situation:
‘Have you seen the One I love? Is He not altogether lovely?’
© Cheryl McGrath, Bread for the Bride, 2016 and beyond. All rights reserved. Copyright Notice: Permission is granted to freely reproduce any Bread for the Bride articles in emails or internet blogs, unaltered, and providing this copyright notice is included. To permanently display an article on any static website please contact me for permission.