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Fortune Cookie Christianity

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

                                                              – Colossians 1:27 (NIV)

 

I am not a huge Chinese food fan, but on occasion we really enjoy the lunch specials at a local Chinese spot. Of course, no Chinese meal would be complete without the traditional fortune cookie. The cookie is good to eat, and it’s fun to read your “fortune” and then share it around the table. “What does yours say?”

Everyone is interested in the future, because the uncertainty of the unknown can be a real source of anxiety. As a believer wouldn’t it be great to have a Christian fortune cookie that would give you a reassuring message about your future. Well there is! As a believer you crack open your cookie, pull out your fortune, and it reads: Christ in you, the hope of glory.

This last phrase of Colossians 1:27 assures ever believer exactly what their future holds! As a believer you have a hope, a future expectation of glory! But what does the future expectation of glory really mean? I think the event of the transfiguration of Jesus in Mark 9:1-8 can help us to grasp the meaning. Upon the mountain, with Peter, James and John, Jesus’ garments “became radiant and exceedingly white as no launderer on earth can whiten them.” My understanding of this event is that  the Lord Jesus peeled back his fleshly body and allowed his deity, his majesty  and his glory to shine forth for a short time.  The apostle Peter, years after the transfiguration, was still enamored with what had happened on that mountain (II Peter 1:16-18). Peter testifies that he was an eyewitness of Jesus’ glory. So the transfiguration helps us to define our hope of glory, as being in the full and unhindered presence of Jesus in all of His majesty! That is our future!

Now unlike any earthly fortune cookie that gives no objective basis for its statement, our Christian fortune has an objective basis found in the phrase, “Christ in you.”  We have the hope of being with Jesus in unabated glory in the future, because He is in us in the present!  As a believer Jesus lives in you right now.  His resurrected life – his perfect righteousness -that you presently possess is the objective basis for your future hope of glory.

My friend, if the ultimate future event of death has been abolished in Christ, does it make sense to worry about lesser future events here on earth? When the next unsure, anxiety-producing event crosses your life, crack open your Christian fortune cookie, Colossians 1:27, and live in peace.

Jeff Barbieri

About the Author

Jeff Barbieri recently joined Lifetime as a conference/retreat speaker and Bible teacher. Jeff has been in pastoral ministry for 30 years and is a gifted expository preacher and dynamic conference presenter. In 1992 Jeff was exposed to the message of Christ as life, the truth of the believer’s identity and his identification with Jesus. As a result, Jeff’s life and ministry focus was radically transformed! His passion is to see believers, pastors and churches encouraged and energized as they come to a personal and experiential understanding of Jesus Christ as their functional source for life and ministry. Jeff possesses his Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from Northwest Baptist Seminary. He and his wife of 25 years, Lorie, reside in Howell, New Jersey with their two sons, Mike and Tim, and their Boxer, Bella.