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You are Rich!!!

                                                 Johann Grobler

I came across a book with the title “You are really rich – you just don’t know it yet.”

It made me think.  The recession has had an  effect on virtually everyone I know. Some have lost their jobs recently.  This book, however, says you are rich, but you just don’t know it.

The author tries to ascribe a value to the simple activities of ordinary life. Listening to good music on a CD is worth £68, 823. (You can try to convert the British pound sterling to your local currency.) Savouring the peace and quiet is valued at £89, 828 and a walk in the park £47, 007. Spending time with your family is worth £110,047 according to the author.

A famous philosopher said, “He is richest who is content with the least.”

I believe there is some truth to this: that one does not have to spend big money to enjoy life. But how does God see this and who is rich in His eyes?

There may be people who regard themselves as rich, but God says they’re poor. To the felllowship in Laodicea comes the following rebuke from God: “Because you sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor…”. (Rev. 3:17).  On the other hand, another group in Smyrna had been enduring trials, troubles and poverty, but God says to them: “ I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich)…”  (Rev. 2:9).

It seems that as far as God is concerned, richness is certainly not to be measured by what one’s possessions are or by what is in one’s bank account. The Apostle Paul, to whom God had revealed the mystery of the final gospel, received the revelation of immeasurable riches bestowed upon the rebirthed believer.

He writes in Eph. 3:8-9: “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery…”. Meditate on those words: “the unsearhable riches of Christ.”  We may think the size of the universe is unfathomable. But if there is something that is unfathomable, it is the riches of Christ.

Let us look at Col. 1:24-27. The passage begins with Paul saying that he rejoices in his own sufferings for the church in Colosse. He then says He has been made by God a minister for that particular dispensation, to fulfil the word of God;

“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Now notice that Paul was not in denial about his sufferings. But for him it was a matter of rejoicing because he could see the bigger picture. It was a picture that included the mystery that God gave him to reveal to the saints. That mystery was that Christ was placed inside every true believer. No distinction is made here between those living in affluence and those in poverty.

In fact Paul described the paradox of his own situation like this: “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things”  (2 Cor. 6:10).

He uses the present tense. He says he possesses all things – not that he shall possess sometime in the future.

How can that be? The answer lies in the mystery alluded to above in Col. 1:24-27.

At the birthing of the believer, God puts His Seed, Christ, in that believer which joins with his spirit whereby a new person is birthed. He is a birthed child of God! As Christ is the Son of God, the believer is a son of God.  A union of Christ with the believer takes place. The believer is then one with Christ and his identity is in Christ.

God had ordained that Christ is the inheritor of all things – “his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world”  (Heb. 1:2).  Christ inherits everything of value that exists, nothing excluded.

The fascinating part is that we are co-heirs with Christ. It is simple enough: If Christ inherits everything, we share that alongside Him. Notice again how Paul describes it:  “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom. 8:16-17).

So one can say a true believer is rich, very very rich indeed – not filthy rich, but gloriously rich.  But most, if not all of us, don’t know it yet.  We are like the toddler in an extremely wealthy family, like the Rockefellers, who does not appreciate what he has.

The problem that I find is that in my mind the truth has not sunk in deep enough. It is almost as if my mind says: it is too good to be true – it is unreal.  

Over the past few years, I have received numerous calls from strangers, congratulating me. “You have won this competition. All you need to do is to bring your wife or partner along to our premises to receive your prize.” I have learnt that it was always a scam, an attempt to sell time-share or a holiday plan to us. So, about a month ago, I received a call that I’ve won a motorcar. I said that I’m not interested. Only to find out a few days later that my son did enter my name for a competition at his school where the first prize was a brand new motorcar! The family was of course not impressed with me when I told them about how I handled the call that I had received. To be honest, I was disgusted with myself.  We don’t know if that call had anything to do with the school’s  competition, but just the thought that it is possible, makes me cringe. But then there is a still quiet voice inside me that says, “So what?  You are already gloriously rich beyond measure! Why fuss about something insignificant as a brand new car!

I have to admit that I don’t always think like that.  At times there is a battle in my mind about this. But deep inside, I know that quiet voice speaks the truth.

Parents often experience their children’s lack of appreciation for what they (the parents) have done to them.  Our Father God wants us to appreciate the riches He has bestowed on us. In Romans Paul argues that God is perfectly justified to show mercy toward whom He wants to, “to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour” (Rom. 9:21). He continues: “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy…”

(Rom. 9:22-23).

Paul knew that God wanted us to know the riches of his glory poured out on us. That’s why he continually prayed: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints…” (Eph. 1:17-18).

If you are a believer, you are rich, very rich indeed, beyond description. Do you know that and do you appreciate that? And that it is through God’s bountiful grace and nothing else.