Friday, December 11, 2015

Howard W. Hunter on the power of having Christ formed in us

President Howard W. Hunter (1907-1995) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1959.  He served as Church President for only nine months, from June 5, 1994 to his death on March 3, 1995.
"In Paul's short letter to the Galatians, he showed great concern over their apparent disbelief and their forsaking of his teachings regarding Christ. He wrote to them: 'But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you....' (Gal. 4:18–19). In other words, Paul expressed himself as suffering pain and anxiety until Christ be 'formed' in them. This is another way of saying 'in Christ,' as that expression is used by Paul repeatedly in his writings.
"It is possible for Christ to be born in men's lives, and when such an experience actually happens, a man is 'in Christ'—Christ is 'formed' in him. This presupposes that we take Christ into our hearts and make him the living contemporary of our lives. He is not just a general truth or a fact in history, but the Savior of men everywhere and at all times. When we strive to be Christlike, he is 'formed' in us; if we open the door, he will enter; if we seek his counsel, he will counsel us. For Christ to be 'formed' in us, we must have a belief in him and in his atonement. Such a belief in Christ, and the keeping of his commandments, are not restraints upon us. By these, men are set free. This Prince of Peace waits to give peace of mind which may make each of us a channel of that peace.
"The real Christmas comes to him who has taken Christ into his life as a moving, dynamic, vitalizing force. The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Master."
- Howard W. Hunter, "The Real Christmas," BYU Devotional, 5 December 1972
Click here to read the full talk

President Hunter discusses a most fascinating phrase from Paul's teachings: having Christ "formed in us." That occurs, President Hunter states, when Christ is born in our lives. We talk about having His image in our countenance (Alma 5:14, 19); this perhaps describes the beginning of that process. As He is born in us, formed in us, He becomes the primary influence, the core of our being, the center of our choices and priorities. As we become more like Him, we become the "express image" of Him, just as He is of His Father.

The key to the process, according to President Hunter: "This presupposes that we take Christ into our hearts and make him the living contemporary of our lives." It's up to each of us to start the process.

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15