How has God chosen to accomplish His goal? "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him" (Ephesians 1:7-10). That He might "gather together in one all things in Christ" is God's chosen plan. I believe that is a full statement of the mind of God, and I question that we will ever come to the end of exploring what it means. He has chosen to work all things in Christ. All truth relates to this in some way. When we find ourselves considering something that we believe is truth, but we cannot relate it to this plan of God, we need to lay it aside until we see how it does relate. If not, we will find ourselves chasing after something that has no merit and will hinder our progress in God.
The term "in Christ" cannot be overemphasized. Those exact words and similar phrases abound in scripture. Perhaps the primary meaning can be expanded by speaking of being "in union with Christ," or "Christ in us and us in Christ." "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. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Colossians 1:27-28). This supernatural union, the joining of the Holy Spirit with the spirit of man, is the way God has chosen for us to experience His life in human vessels. The reality of the union opens up all of the resources of God Himself to us, as we move in faith and draw upon His grace in the daily situations of life.
What did it take to bring about this union? It took the death of Christ at Calvary. Christ died so that the Holy Spirit could come and abide. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7). Christ's departure could only be by way of the cross, for that was the will of God for Jesus. He humbled Himself, was obedient to the Father's will, and so secured the foundation for our salvation. God raised Him from the dead and seated Him on high, far above all things. In His triumphant position, He received the gift of the Promise from the Father and poured out the Holy Spirit so that we might share in His victory. It is the indwelling Holy Spirit who brings us into union with God and makes all the work of Christ at Calvary real and effective in us. The truth we need is that which brings us into and keeps us in this union with God. It is there that we experience all that God is and God's perfect will is accomplished in us. As we live in the truth that is related to this union, we will find ourselves "perfect in Christ Jesus."
The cross is the focal point of God's working with mankind. Everything God did before the cross was preparation for that event and everything that follows after is based on what happened there. Calvary was where God, in Christ, dealt with that which separated man from God. We are those who live after Calvary, and God expects us to draw from the resources of His grace which are all in Christ Jesus. God's plan is perfect. Nothing we need is outside of Christ; thus, our focus is Christ and Christ alone. But to fully draw upon the resources, we need to know what Christ did and what God made available to us. The Holy Spirit will lead us into this truth. As the truth is proclaimed, understood, and received, it will form the foundation upon which our faith rests.
Sometimes we have the idea that faith is just "believing everything will be okay," like a "leap in the dark." But faith has a focus. It is not faith in faith, but faith in Christ that brings reality. More than that, the declaration of the gospel is a declaration of what God has made available to us in Christ. Consider just a few of these things: acceptance, redemption, righteousness, sanctification, hope, peace, strength, healing, a new creation, and so on. These and much more are all "in Christ," and were provided at Calvary. We can expect the Spirit to begin to reveal these things to us. As He does, faith receives the truth and acts on it to make it ours.
For example, as sinners we found ourselves alienated from God. We hid our faces from Him. But as we turned to God and accepted His provision in Christ for the forgiveness of our sin, we found that the wall of separation was removed and we could lift our faces before Him with no condemnation. It was a joyous day. But as we continue, we may begin to reason and think that we are not worthy of such acceptance, and start looking at ourselves separate from Christ. The Holy Spirit will bring the truth before us: "We are accepted in the Beloved." At that point, we have a choice. Will we walk in this truth or not? Will we listen to God, or will we listen to our reasoning? If we do not walk in this truth, we will find ourselves condemned and living outside of the grace (resources) of God because we are questioning God. But if we walk in this truth in faith, and "take every thought captive to Christ," we will experience the grace of God and the provision of Christ at Calvary will be ours in experience.
We can take this same working into every area of truth. It is possible to live far below the place God has provided for us, and in so doing suffer the consequences of unbelief. Faith must walk in every area of truth. We must "put our feet" on every place God has given us. "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses" (Joshua 1:3). God had given Israel the land, but they had to go in and possess it. God has given us all things in Christ, but we must go in and possess everything by faith. It is all potentially ours, but until we actually make the choice to step out into truth in faith, it is not ours in experience.
This is what it means to "walk in truth." As we walk in truth, that truth will become part of us. It will be made flesh in us as it was in Christ. As we continue this process, we will be transformed into His image and become an expression of God's character and nature here in this sin-sick world. This is our calling in this world: to give expression to the life of God.