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Insights into Fullness of Life in Christ


11…Oneness in Christ – the Major NT Theme


In the New Testament is there one dominant theme that is more important than any other for New Testament believers? I believe there is! There are many important themes in the New Testament, but one stands out as it describes the relationship of the believer with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  This one theme that stands out is the oneness of the believer with Christ, a relationship which might be described as a union and unity between God and man, possible only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the regeneration of the believer making him one in spirit with the God head.

It seems to me that this one particular theme, is not often recognized for what it is.  Moreover, because it is not properly recognized nor often studied by individuals or taught in many churches, it is therefore not often observed in the life of believers, either in their knowledge or practice.  Accordingly, believers are deprives of the major attributes of the Christian life that God intended for all believers. As a result, our Christian lives limits us to whatever personal effort we can muster instead of living in the fullness of the Christian life intended by Jesus Christ.  

    This unit of study is to outline that theme, using many parts of the NT to do so.  Paul is the chief writer and teacher of that one theme, using various expressions which he describes as the mystery of the NT, never known about in OT times by OT prophets, until the Spirit of God taught Paul these incredible things.  In addition to what Paul teaches us, Peter advises us of some aspects of this theme and the Apostle John by his writings in 1 John, assumes it to be true in all believers.  However, Jesus Christ himself had announced this incredible secret himself during his High Priestly prayer in John 17.  It is easy to read over each of these written statements individually without realizing their vital connection and the anticipated new life it exposes for all believers.

In order to explain this major NT theme, I want to focus your mind on several scriptures which describe this particular theme, to examine it so that we might see its importance and seek knowledge and wisdom of it.  When I first saw it in 2001 it radically began to changed the way I saw all the teachings of the NT, the life it provides and the excitement with which one can approach life in the Spirit.

Whilst highlighting this relationship of union and oneness between believers and Jesus Christ, it must be acknowledged other themes are also important.   The very life of Christ, the reasons He came, His death and resurrection are the basis for everything else in the Christian life.  For the believer, they result in the operating concepts of the Christian life, such as salvation, eternal life, faith, love and grace, just to name a few, all run throughout the entire NT.  However, I believe that the degree to which those concepts operate in the life of the believer depends on the degree of oneness or union actually experienced and are known about in the life of the believer.  All those concepts mentioned above are what are derived out of the oneness that a believer experiences in relationship with Christ.   Without that oneness being consciously experienced, those concepts mentioned can never be developed fully.   That is why this one NT theme is of paramount importance.  Without it we cannot be what God intended us to be.   Let’s move into the study.  As always, the Spirit of God is your teacher.

Ken Walker  September 1st 2009






Development of theme



Illustration and linkages





In some ways this unit of study should be before all others as it highlights what is important in the Christian life - a closeness to Jesus Christ.  In fact this closeness is to the ultimate degree that believer and God are one.  


Jesus conveyed that idea to His Father just before the crucifixion when He prayed the words, that just as He and the Father were one, so would believers be one with both Him and the Father, all joined together by the Spirit of God.  It was never intended to be any other way – individual believers as one in their union with Christ. 


No separation.  No He and I.  Just we and us. 


Christianity is about relationship.  It is an amazing fact of life and scripture that the God of this universe who created all things, also stoops to embrace mankind in His love by allowing us to be joined together with Him – as One?



There are many verses in the NT that speak of this union, closeness, oneness, whatever word you want to use. Jesus initially taught this through His prayer in the Father, Paul taught it extensively through his reference to the mystery which is Christ in you, and John we can tell knew it to be true by his unifying expressions in 1 John.




What do you consider to be the most important verse in the NT?


Probably most people would say John 3:16, because it is by that verse that many unbelievers come to faith and that believers can look upon that verse to affirm their faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. 


But once we become believers, then what other verses of scripture are important in our growth towards maturity in Christ?  


There are many of course.  We could even say that every word and verse does something towards our life in Christ. 



I have chosen several that point to and describe what I believe is the major theme for NT life. 


They come from the words of Jesus, Paul and John.




If you want to live as God intended here on earth, what are the most important NT verse for  believers?


These are the ones that I have chosen to use in this study.   As we proceed through them begin to notice how they are all suggesting a similar theme – of close relationship with Christ Jesus. 


Initially I am going to give the address of the verse and a brief summary of what it says.  Later, we will look in more detail at each verse.


John 17:22-23 – oneness of believer with Jesus Christ.


Galatians 2:20 – Not I who lives but Christ who lives in me.


1 Corinthians 3:16 – We a

re temples of the Spirit of God.


1 Corinthians 6:19 – We are not our own, but the Spirit’s.


1 Corinthians 4:8 – we are already full and we reign.


2 Corinthians 13:5 – Jesus Christ is in us.


Galatians 4:19 – The life of Christ is being formed within us.


Colossians 1:27 – the mystery is that Christ is in us.


Colossians 3:4 – Christ is our (very) life.


1 John 4:16 – we abide in Him and He in us.


Romans 8:10-11 …..Being dead to sin and alive to God.


I wish to highlight again John 17:22-23 and Galatians 2:20, because these two from Jesus and Paul summarize the life God intended for believers to have. 


We are meant to live in the full knowledge and experience of the life of Christ within.



I am now going to add one important theme, which is Paul’s expression of the major aim of his life.    


This major aim is based on the close oneness of relationship man and God, this being Paul’s view of how he was going to live his life.


Personally I believe that this statement of his should be one that we all should adopt as it simply reflects that life of relationship that God intended for man.




Paul’s aim in life.


Paul had a very specific aim to his life.  This is what he says in Philippians 3:8-11 – summed up, it is that I may know Him, he said – ie to know Jesus Christ.   Paul had to discover that it was by living out of His life in us and by His Spirit that we would be living as Jesus intended we should.   In short, abiding in Him.  Here is the full verse of his aim in life.


But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”



So Paul was saying that



  • He would accept the fellowship of his suffering and the loss of all other things in life.
  • He would gain a knowledge of Jesus Christ – not only intellectual but experiential.
  • He would be found in Christ, ie abiding in Him and having the righteousness of Christ.

All of this so that he may know Christ and the power of His resurrection, out of being conformed to His death.




Let’s look at each of those verses and see how they establish the major theme for life in the NT.


In looking at these verses from Jesus, Paul and John, we will begin to notice how they all speak of things that highlight the major outcome for believers that was expected by some of the NT writers themselves, notably Paul and John . 


Each writer described this outcome in various ways, but all of them indicate this close union between believers and God. Probably the most useful word to describe this is oneness – a connection between the believer and God that in effect makes them one and therefore inseparable, immediately the believer has become regenerate or born again.



This connection between believer and the God-head is so strongly stated in so many places that it is clear to me that Christianity, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, rests on our oneness with God and all other things we do in life, come out of that absolute connection.




Jesus said – We, as His disciples are one with Jesus as He is one with the Father.


John 17:22-23 – oneness of believer with Jesus Christ.  Here are Jesus words that John recorded.


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.”


John has written that just as Jesus and the Father are one, so are we with Jesus. 



This is by virtue of the fact that the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in us and that we are being made perfect as one with Him.  Isn’t that incredible? 


Jesus and us are not separate beings in the spirit. 


We are one and because of this we can live out of His life within us.  




Paul said – That because we were crucified with Christ, our new life is the life of Christ.


Galatians 2:20 – Not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.  This verse in full is as follows. 



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.”


Do you immediately see the connection with Jesus words in John 17? 


John used oneness to describe this relationship and Paul refers to the life of Christ now being in our fleshly body.



Paul says here that our old life is no longer alive.  (it died on the cross with Jesus) 


We now live with the life of Christ within us.  We live in our body by faith in Him that the life of Christ resides in us.




Paul said – our bodies are temples of God indwelt by the Spirit of God


1 Corinthians 3:16 – We are temples of the Spirit of God.   Here is the verse.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”


So far we have expressions of oneness, Christ’s life within and now another – that our fleshly body is actually God’s temple.


Paul’s reference to our body being a temple of God as having an indweller, the Holy Spirit of God.


So again, this is another expression of that same oneness and connection with the God-head.   Are you getting the idea?




Paul said – we now do not own ourselves, but are owned by the Spirit of God.


1 Corinthians 6:19 – We are not

our own, but the Spirit’s.  Here is the verse.


Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”


Paul now explains that our body, this temple of God is really owned by God, by virtue of our redemption by Him.



So in effect this indweller, the Holy Spirit is not only the owner (of us) but is in charge of our whole being.


So this indwelling and ownership further describes the closeness and oneness of the relationship with the Lord.




Paul said – that as disciples, those born again, we are already filled and reign with Him.


1 Corinthians 4:8 – we are already full and we reign with Him.  Speaking to believers, Paul said some amazing things in this verse.


You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!”


Paul is saying here that we are already filled with the Spirit of God and are rich with the divine endowment of God within us.



This adds to the description of our oneness and the Spirit and life of Jesus within us. 


Not only that but that we might reign with Him.




Paul asks the question – do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you


2 Corinthians 13:5 – Jesus Christ is in us!  In this verse Paul challenges us as to whether we believe all this.


  Here is the verse.


“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.”



Again, we have the assertion

that Jesus Christ is in us – which fits with all the other scriptures given here.   He adds a further challenge with his qualification – unless we are disqualified. again.




Paul announces that as believers, the actual life of Christ is being formed within us.


Galatians 4:19 – The life of Christ is being formed within us.  Paul says:


My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,” 



Here is an ultimate proof that the life of Christ is within us.  Paul has said here that he has been laboring in prayer so that the Galatians may have the life of Christ fully formed within them.


Notice that Paul is writing to believers – they are already regenerate, so that the process he is talking about here is a fuller formation of the life of Christ within the believer. 


The same for us today as we pray for ourselves and others.




Paul’s main statement is that the mystery of the NT (mentioned 14 times) is Christ in you.


Colossians 1:27 – the mystery is that Christ is in us.  Paul here explains the main mystery of the NT that, as believers, we have the life of Christ within us. 


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. 28Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”  


Notice his points >>>



God willed to make this mystery known.  This mystery contained great riches.


The mystery is -Christ in us.


We should teach this mystery to make every man perfect in Christ.  More details of this mystery are set out in an appendix below.




Paul said Christ is our life – what could be clearer!?!?


Colossians 3:4 – Christ is our very life.  Paul here uses parenthesis after the word Christ (Who is our life) to show where our regenerate life comes from.


When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

Notice that we shall ALSO appear with Him in glory, indicates that Christ is our life whilst her on earth.



Notice the continuation of the pattern here. 


Now, after hearing that the life of Christ is being formed in us, we have the statement that He is our life.


What could be clearer?




John said that he who abides in love abides in God, that abiding being the oneness spoken of by Jesus


1 John 4:16 – we abide in Him and He in us.


And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

Here we have the word


“abiding” to demonstrate the oneness or connection between us and God.  And the connection or abiding is made possible by God loving us and us loving God.



We all know that God is love and that He uses that love to make oneness possible.


So abiding in love is just another expression of oneness or the life of Christ within us.





Paul also says that because we are dead to sin, we are alive to God, through the life giving Spirit we are given – we are one in Spirit


Romans 8:10-11 – Being dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ

10And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11


But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”


These verses deal with a few issues.  But the one I want to highlight here is “and if Christ is in you”  

Paul is using his knowledge of the mystery of Christ in us as our life, as a basis for the rest of the verse.  


So he is merely repeating what he has asserted in other places about the place Christ has in our life – within us.



The other parts of the verse indicate the outcomes of this life within us.


The Spirit is life and gives us life.


We will be raised from death into life as Jesus was.


The Spirit dwelling in us enables this.


So, here is another assertion that Christ is in us.



Summary of those main scriptures.  What do we have?

Oneness of believer with Jesus    Christ lives in us


We are temples of the Spirit


We belong to the Spirit of God.   We are already filled by the Spirit.  Jesus Christ is in us


His life is being more fully formed in us.  The mystery of the ages is that Christ is in us.


Christ is our life.  Jesus abides in us.  We are alive to God through Christ Jesus.


What words would you use to sum up all those expressions when taken together?


Oneness?  Union?  Unity?   So we can say that we are one with Jesus, in union with Him, or in unity with Him. 


Isn’t that quite incredible, that the Creator of the world is one with us, in union with us and in unity with us?



What have we been missing?




What are the outcomes and benefits of this very special status with the God-head?


There is one extreme benefit of knowing and being able to live out these things.   It is that you will be living as God intended, in fullness of spiritual life in oneness and in abiding life with Him.  Jesus referred to oneness with Him.   Paul referred to the life of Christ within us. That is how the Christian life is meant to be.  That sums it all up.  


Let’s look at some outcomes in bit more detail with associated typical scripture.


Fellowship with God and man.     (1 John 1:3.)   


Steps of maturity in our lives       (1 John 2:12-14)


To know Jesus.                          (Phil 3:7-12)      


To live by faith                          (Hebrews 4:2)


To live by the Spirit.                 (Rom 8:11,14  )  


Serving God and man               (Hebrews 9:14)





Fellowship 1 John 1:3.


The Apostle John recognized that our fellowship with God was the way we get to know and do things with God.   He said, “….that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”



Imagine being able to fellowship with the Father through the Spirit of God!




Steps of  maturity in our lives.

1 John 2:12-14


The Apostle John recognized steps of maturity in these verses – growing from children to young men to fathers – all of these pertaining to a spiritual growth.


“I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.  13       I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father. 14I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.



These stages are fully explained in Unit 6 in this series and may be viewed on this site.   


It is an incredible study showing how these stages of progressive maturity are in all aspects of NT life.




To know Jesus and be found in Him. Phil 3:7-10


Paul’s aim in life was to know Christ, because out of that knowing, he would find himself One with Him, have Christ as his life and be abiding in Him.   This is what Paul wrote about these things.  

7But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 

8Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

9and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, ….”



As you can see from the verse, Paul was prepared to suffer the loss of all things. A part of this loss was to give up his own independent intentions for his life and to do only what God required of him, despite all resistance from anyone at any time.




To live by faith. Romans 1:17

but some did not profit,

Hebrews 4:2


If we are so connected to God, through oneness, abiding etc, we will have increasing faith from which to live our lives.


“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written,


“The just shall live by faith.”


But for some, they will not profit out of lack of knowledge.      2For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.



We know that without faith it is impossible to please God.  True faith comes out of oneness and abiding with Him.




To live by the Spirit, guided by Him.

Romans 8:11 and 14.


The Spirit of God comes increasingly into our lives as we surrender our lives to Him.  We cannot live the Christian life without the Spirit filling us and guiding us.


11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.



If we know and focus on the central issues of the NT, those of oneness, Christ in us and abiding, knowing the scriptures and having them applied to our lives by the Spirit, He will give us life and we will be led by Him as sons of God.






Hebrews 9:14


As we become mature as spiritual fathers, being one with Him, we are able to apply our faith and Spirit led beings into whatever work He directs us.  Service to God is one of the outcomes of all of the factors which are inherent in abiding and one-ness with Him.


9 “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”


Service to God and others is a supernatural outcome of being one with God and knowing that the life of Christ abides within us, as we abide in Him. 


Look at Spirit filled believers like Stephen and any of the disciples in the NT, and you will find people so one with God that they did His will as though it were their own. 




They did not consider themselves separate from God but as part of Him.  Paul and john are perhaps the standout examples of this life.


So this is the last of six elements of the faith, fellowship, maturity, knowing Jesus, faith, walking in the Spirit and serving God are some of the main outcomes of the Christian life that has been enveloped in oneness and the life of Christ within. 


One thing remains to just mention and that is sharing in the sufferings of Christ.




One other thing


That one other thing is suffering, brought about by the Lord in order to make us one with Him and to enter into the fullness of Spiritual life.We cannot do any of these things for ourselves, as all must be done by the Lord. All we need to do for Him is be submitted to His will in all the circumstances of life.


This is a huge subject ( adversity ) and has already been covered well in units 7, 8 and 9, which cover many aspects of adversity.




Here is how I would sum up the main points of this study.


This is indeed the mystery of the ages, that the very God who created the universe also has made it possible for us to be united with Him, to be one with Him and to provide the life of His Son within us, for us to live by, and for all this to be activated within us by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Jesus, before His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension spoke of these things in His Priestly prayer to His Father in heaven.  He spoke of His oneness with His Father and also of the oneness with Him and the Father that believers in the future would come to experience.  


As a result of our regeneration, making us a new creation by His Spirit, He has brought about this oneness, this unity, this union, which enables us to live in closeness with Him that makes all things possible.


The Lord has revealed to me that this oneness should be the primary position that is understood and lived by every believer and makes it possible for them to learn from His written word, from preaching and teaching by those who know and live this union life, this oneness and by the teaching of the Holy Spirit by direct revelation to the believer.

I now believe that believers who do not really know of this oneness, this unity and union with the Lord, or are not in the process of learning it or living it, will find it very difficult to take advantage of much Bible teaching that they hear from week to week. 


In other words I am suggesting that a knowledge and awareness of this oneness with the Lord in our lives is virtually a prerequisite to gaining maximum advantage from any teaching, preaching or learning.  Consider this.  Compare two believers, the first who knows these truths and is abiding in God and enveloped in His closeness.  


The second is saved and going to heaven, but because of their relative lack of abiding, are not close enough to learn from the Spirit of God.  Those that have more receive more.

For these reasons the Lord gave me this study to write, to highlight the importance of a knowledge and application of these things in the normal Christian life. 


If good eyesight and steady nerves and a good knowledge of his sport are the prerequisite to be a good archer, to enable him to focus on the centre of the target, then a good intellectual knowledge with revelation is needed by him.


This then would enable him and focus on the central importance of this message from the NT.  The same for believers and for ministers who preach the word of God.


To miss this central importance is to stay in one of the backwaters of the faith, and allow error and distractions such as legalism, self effort, works and programs to creep in and become a habit, destroying the reality intended by God.



In fact a lack of knowledge and practice of oneness and union with our Lord Jesus Christ is to miss His central purpose for mankind in order that they be able to perform the great commission. 


We will still make it to heaven but we will miss on that fullness of life, that profound state that God in His wisdom provided through what is derived out of the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus.


That is how important this is. 

If believers do not have a knowledge of these things, they will probably still believe they are saved but still see themselves as separate from God - it is Him and us, rather than see and live through the benefits of the unity and oneness the Bible teaches.


Oneness, unity and abiding in Christ, living His life through His Spirit is the biblical model.  


It is indeed a mystery but one worth pursuing very day of our lives.

If this study has brought you into more light and understanding of our place and relationship to God, then you many want to read more and consider God’s purposes for you life. 


If so then read more on the first 10 studies which, in various ways all speak around the same subject.



Summary and prayer


Jesus promised oneness with Him – do you have that experience of Him?Paul was taught by the Holy Spirit that the life of Jesus Christ would be in us, ruled by the Spirit of God.


It was Paul’s main task to preach this mystery of life – and he did that very well.


Paul decided to give up everything else in life in order to know Christ in this way and do His will.



It is clear that the Apostle John by both his Gospel of John, but particularly by his words in his first letter, expected that this life of oneness and abiding was to be the norm expected for all believers.



Appendix of additional information about the main mystery in the New Testament.



Paul uses the word mystery to describe this wonder of Christ in you and Christ our life. Here are some details.

The mystery kept secret.Romans 16:25


The mystery which has

been hidden ……Colossians 1:26


The wisdom of God in a mystery ………1 Corinthians 2:7


The fellowship of the mystery Ephesians 3:9


The mystery of the gospel ……Ephesians 6:19


The mystery made known to Paul……… ….Ephesians 3:3


Christ ………………Ephesians 3:4


The mystery among the gentiles …………Colossians 1:27


The mystery of God Colossians 2:2


The mystery of Christ...Colossians 4:3


The mystery of His willEphesians 1:9


The mystery of the faith …1 Timothy  3:9


The mystery of godliness …1 Timothy 3:16



This subject of the mystery is fully describe in Unit One of this series on Insights into Fullness of Life with Christ


This is the eleventh in a series of articles to further outline and provide resource for believers to move towards Fullness of Life in Christ.

Ken Walker – Webmaster of Fullness of Life in Christ

September  2009

 Availability.  This study has been used in one to one teaching or in small groups by those who know this experience for themselves, or by those open to the Spirit to learn together.  Using audio and written versions together is useful