Occupation With Christ
Doctrine: Occupation with Christ
- The concept of occupation with Christ is found in Galatians 2.20, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,” and Hebrews 12.2, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”
1.1. The dictionary says that “occupation” is the activity in which one engages, the principle business of one’s life. It says that “to occupy” is to engage the attention or energies of someone, or to fill up.
1.2. Occupation with Christ has a subject (the believer) and an object (Christ).
2. Definition: Occupation with Christ means that the believer is exercising true loyal love for, imitation of, and conscious faith-dependence in Jesus Christ and His provision (actively loving, imitating, and depending). Therefore, Jesus Christ is the personal object of the believer’s faith, focus, commitment, energy, activity, and imitation. Occupation with Christ is the dominant and unifying technic for the church age believer (Gal 2.20; Heb 12.1-2).
3. Occupation with Christ is a part of “Fear of the Lord” (Eph 5.21). The fear of the Lord is the larger concept and the all inclusive way of life for the believer (Deut 31.12-13; Ps 19.7-9; Ecc 12.13; Acts 9.31; 2 Cor 7.1).
4. Occupation with Christ is the dominant and unifying doctrine and technic or way of life for the church age believer in his relationship with God. It is the normal and expected day to day Christian way of life [CWL] (Gal 2.20; Phil 3.7-10; 4.11-13; Col 1.16-20; 3.1-4; Heb 12.1-3).
5. Jesus Christ merits the believer’s loyal love, imitation, and faith-dependence for the following reasons.
5.1. Because of His Person:
- He is God (Jn 1.1).
- He exists in the form of God [morphe form, characteristic attributes, truly and fully expresses the being which underlies it] (Phil 2.6).
- He is the image of the invisible God [eikon likeness, form, appearance] (Col 1.15).
- He is the radiance of God’s glory [apaugasma radiance, effulgence; in the passive it means reflection] (Heb 1.3).
- He is the exact representation of God’s nature [charakter impress, reproduction, characteristic trait, distinctive. hupostasis substantial nature, essence, actual being, reality] (Heb 1.2).
- He is the heir of all things (Heb 1.2).
- He is the creator (Jn 1.3; Heb 1.2).
- He is the preeminent one [proteuo to have first place, be first] (Col 1.15-16).
- He is the Son of God (Matt 16.16).
- He is the Son of Man (Jn 3.14).
- He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 1.5; 19.16). 5.2. Because of His incarnation:
- He was virgin born (Matt 1.18-25).
- He has explained the Father to man (Jn 1.18).
- He has gone before and set the pattern while on earth (Heb 12.3).
- He is the savior (Jn 1.29; 4.42; Heb 1.3; 1 Jn 4.14).
- He solved the sin problem by His substitutionary death (1 Cor 15.3-4; 2 Cor 5.21).
- He is the originator and completer of the New Covenant faith (Heb 12.2).
- He has provided freedom from slavery to sin (Jn 8.32-36; Rom 6.1-12).
- He has defeated Satan (Jn 12.31; 1 Jn 3.8).
- He was resurrected from physical death (Lk 24.4-6).
5.3. Because of His session:
- He is the Firstborn among many brethren [prototokos first of a group] (Rom 8.29; Col 1.18).
- He is now seated at the right hand of the Father (Col 3.1; Heb 1.3).
- He is the high priest-mediator with salvation and CWL benefits for those that will believe (Heb 4.14-16; 5.1-10; 6.17-20; 9.11-28; 1 Jn 2.1).
- He is the Head of the church (Eph 1.22-23).
- He prays for believers (Rom 8.34).
- He is the one that believers are in union with (Jn 14.20; 2 Cor 5.17).
5.4. Because of His provision for the CWL:
- He loves each believer with a strong and secure love (Jn 13.36; Rom 8.35-39).
- Every spiritual blessing is given to those in union with Him (Eph 1.3).
- He continually pours grace out to believers for day to day life (2 Cor 12.9).
- He has given believers the basic technics or basic divine operating assets so that we may live the CWL (Jn 13-17 and below).
- He is the object of our love, imitation, faith-dependence, focus, activity, and energy (Jn 14.1,21,23; Gal 2.20; Col 3.24; Heb 12.2; Rev 2.4-5).
- He has given believers His Word so that we may know, love, enjoy, and serve God (Jn 8.31; 16.13-15; 1 Jn 2.5).
- He has provided believers with moment by moment inner stability, security, and provision for now and for eternity. Believers knowingly experience this through faith rest (Jn 14.27; 16.33; Rom 8.28-39; Phil 4.19).
- He has given believers the privilege of rapport friendship with Himself (Jn 15.14; 1 Jn 1.3).
- He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell and control church age believers (Jn 14.16-17,26; 15.26; 16.13).
- He gave believers prayer in His name (Jn 14.13-14; 16.23-27; Eph 5.20).
- He is the source of every believer’s ministry through divine good production (Eph 2.10; Jn 15.1-5) and through initiating spiritual gifts (Eph 4.7-8).
5.5. Because He has provided for the future of all believers:
- He is preparing our eternal home (Jn 14.2).
- He is coming back to take believers home to heaven with Him (Jn 13.36; 14.1-3; Phil 3.20; 1 Thes 4.13-18).
- He will change the bodies of all believers so that they will be exactly like His resurrection body and therefore qualified to live with Him forever (Phil 3.21).
- Some principles of doctrine that teach or imply the importance of occupation with Christ are:
6.1. Occupation with Christ is based upon union with Christ (Col 3.1-3).
6.2. Occupation with Christ is the subject of Paul’s prayer in Eph 3.17.
6.3. Occupation with Christ is the normal CWL since Christ is the originator and completer of the New Covenant faith (Heb 12.2).
6.4. Occupation with Christ is related to believers’ stability under pressure (Jn 16.33; Heb 12.3).
6.5. Christ is the pattern for life in time (Eph 4.13; Heb 12.1-3) and in eternity (Rom 8.29).
7. Occupation with Christ is God’s will (Col 3.1-2; Heb 12.2) and should be the desire of all believers (Phil 3.8-10; 4.11-13).
8. Every believer needs to continue learning the Word of God in order for occupation with Christ to increase and strengthen (Jn 8.31; 2 Pet 3.18).
9. Paul is an illustration of a believer occupied with Jesus Christ (Gal 2.20; Phil 1.12-30; 3.8-10; 4.11-13).
by Tod M. Kennedy
The believer that is occupied with Christ is learning the Word of God. This believer is living in the basic technics to the degree of his growth and is growing in grace and knowledge of Christ. He is actively loving, imitating, and depending upon Christ and His provision. The believer occupied with Christ is standing firm upon grace. He will fail, but failure will not keep him down. He will have inner strength and poise that will become evident to those around him. He will bring honor to God.