Archive for the 'Major Ian Thomas' Category

For Christ To Be in You

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

2 Peter 1:3-4

The truth of “Christ in you” is the theological fact God has most used to bring freedom, peace, joy, rest, grace, strength, etc., in my walk with him. Without the knowledge and experience of Christ’s personal presence, I would have quit the ministry, given up on the church, and forsaken all hope for victory over sin. The Spirit of Christ makes Christ’s hope available when I feel downcast, he assists my feeble attempts at ministry, and he is my constant knowledge of God’s love. Faith is the channel by which his his presence is made known and the avenue by which his life is manifest. Christ in you and me is our righteousness (acceptance before God), sanctification (Christian growth), and redemption (blood-bought freedom from slavery) (1 Cor. 1:30).

To be in Christ–that is redemption; but for Christ to be in you–that is sanctification! To be in Christ–that makes you fit for heaven; but for Christ to be in you –that makes you fit for earth! To be in Christ –that changes yours destination; but for Christ to be in you–that changes your destiny! The one makes heaven your home–the other makes this world His workshop.

Major Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ/The Mystery of Godliness(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988), 22.

Christ in the Christian

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory

Col 1:27 NLT

Christ in the Christian is a faith-grounded, Spirit-empowered, Christ-dependent, heart-surrendered, fruit-bearing, trial-overcoming, daily-sustained life (Gal. 2:20). “Christ in You,” is another way of describing the life of abiding in Christ (Col. 1:27), or praying continually (1 Thes. 5:17), or enjoying the life of faith (Heb. 11:6).

Abiding in Christ is daily experiencing the presence of Christ and allowing him to live his life in and through us (1 John 4:9). Christ lives the Christian life in us because by our efforts alone, we cannot produce righteousness, bear fruit, or convince the lost (Gal. 5:22-25).

Abiding in Christ is holding steady in the presence of Christ trusting his promises by faith irrespective of the challenges, trials, and tribulations of our lives. Remaining in faith and looking to Christ to be our sufficiency in the midst of our inadequacy keeps us in his constant, conscious presence. Only by abiding can our ministry efforts have an outcome that will last for eternity (John 15:1-5).

Abiding in Christ is an on-going conversational relationship with Jesus Christ which is maintained through continual dependence on the Holy Spirit and a constant looking to God’s grace for power in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:7-10). Qualities of abiding in Christ are gratitude in life disappointments, sweetness in God’s presence, and joy in the daily, mundane tasks of life.

To get light from an oil lamp, filling it first with oil is entirely reasonable. To get a car to provide you with transportation, filling the tank with gas is completely logical. In the same way, a divine logic affirms that obtaining righteousness from a man or woman happens only when that person is filled with God. Oil in the lamp, gas in the car . . . and Christ in the Christian. It takes God to be a man, and that is why it takes Christ to be a Christian, because Christ puts God back into man, the only way we can again become functional.

Major W. Ian Thomas, The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2006), 21.


Fruit Bearing vs. Fruit Producing

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Fruit Bearing Is the Overflow of the Life of Christ in You

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

John 15:8

Fruit bearing is the overflow of the life of Christ dwelling in us. Fruit producing is attempting to live the Christian in our own power. Fruit bearing is the result of faith: fruit producing is striving and struggling. Fruit bearing abides in Christ bringing rest and peace. Fruit producing is rules and self-effort never knowing if one has done enough. Fruit bearing produces good works that last for eternity. Fruit producing is short-lived and only gives the appearance of true Christianity. We are called by Christ to be fruit-bearers not fruit-producers: fruit is borne when we allow enabling grace to work out the life of Christ in us (John 15:1-5; Gal. 5:16-24).

Fruit is not what we do, but who we are; not our activity, but our Christlikeness; not our relationship to people, but the condition of our character. Do you remember what James said in his epistle? “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). The “spirit” there means breath, and a body without breath is dead. Stop breathing–and folk will bury you! In other words a living breathing body breathes, and a living faith breathes with divine action. A living faith breathes with the activity of Jesus Christ. That is why the Lord Jesus, in John 6:29, said. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

That is the work of God. It is your living faith in the adequacy of the One who is in you, which releases His divine action through you. It is the kind of activity that the Bible calls “good works,” as opposed to “dead works.”

Major Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ/The Mystery of Godliness (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 25.

The Work of God

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

The Work of God Is to Believe

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.

John 6:29

God never calls us to be adequate, but he always calls us to be available. We can be available to his Holy Spirit by trusting his promises through believing his Word. As we trust him, his Holy Spirit works in and through us touching lives, encouraging faith, and expressing God’s love. This is the work of God: trust the Christ that lives in you to minister the life of God to the people of God for the glory of God.  The overflow of Christ in you is good works and that is New Testament ministry.

That is the work of God. It is your living faith in the adequacy of the One who is in you, which releases His divine action through you. It is the kind of activity that the Bible calls “good works,” as opposed to “dead works.”

“Good works” are those that have their origin in Jesus Christ– whose activity is released through your body, presented to Him as a living sacrifice by a faith that expresses total dependence, as opposed to the Adamic independence (Rom. 12:1-2).

Major Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ/The Mystery of Godliness (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988), 26.

Stop Pushin’ It

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Stop Trying to Live the Christian Life by Your Own Strength

For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Col. 1:29

We come to Christ by faith. We believe that the finished work of Christ on the Cross was for us. Christ’s death saves us from the penalty of our sin, his burial delivers us from the power of sin, and his raising to life again overcomes the presence of sin. We are free indeed.

Yet, we continue in the Christian life struggling and striving to live a life of holiness. Frustrated, we read the New Testament’s instructions for Christian living and find them impossible to obey. We want to quit, it’s all too much and too hard in a world gone mad.

Yet, God has something better for us. He wants us to trust his Son: that very Son who lives in us by the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 2:20). The Lord never intended for us to live the Christian life in our own strength. God’s intention: allow Christ to live the Christian life in and through us (Col. 2:6). By faith, we trust the only one who has ever successfully lived the Christian life to empower us to say, “no,” to sin and “yes,” to righteousness (Titus 2:12).

How stupid it would be to buy a car with a powerful engine under the hood and then to spend the rest of your days pushing it! Thwarted and exhausted, you would wish to discard it as a useless thing! Yet to some of you who are Christians, this may be God’s word to your heart.

When God redeemed you through the precious blood of His dear Son, He placed, in the language of my illustration, a powerful engine under the hood–nothing less than the resurrection life of God the Son, made over to you in the person of God the Holy Spirit. Then stop pushing! Step in and switch on and expose every hill of circumstance, of opportunity, of temptation, of perplexity–no matter how threatening–to the divine energy that is available.

Major Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ/The Mystery of Godliness (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 22.

Men and Women of the Fire

Thursday, October 7th, 2010


Are You of the Fire?

For our God is a consuming fire.

Heb. 12:29

Our God is mysterious, holy, and wholly other. Therefore, we have limits in our ability to comprehend the characteristics of his nature and attributes (Isa. 55:8-9). To assist us, the Lord uses human nature (i.e., anthropomorphism), qualities of creation, and ideas (i.e., personification) to describe what he is like.

By example, the Bible describes the Lord as fire (Heb. 12:29). As fire, the Lord spoke from the burning bush (Ex. 3:22); he dwelt above the Israelites as they traveled and camped in the Sinai (Ex. 13:22); he resided in the Holy of Holies as fire between the wings of the cherubim (Ezek. 10:2), and he revealed himself to the prophet Ezekiel as “a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself” (Ezek. 1:4).

In keeping with God’s own revelation in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit visits the apostles on the Day of Pentecost as fire. “Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them” (Acts 2:3 NLT).

The God who had appeared to them as fire throughout all their long history was now dwelling in them as fire. He had moved from without to the interior of their lives. The Shekinah that had once blazed over the mercy seat now blazed on their foreheads as an external emblem of the fire that had invaded their natures. This was Deity giving Himself to ransomed men. The flame was the seal of a new union. They were now men and women of the Fire (pg. 100).

The exterior God of fire had moved into believer’s hearts bringing “the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27) to live within them, operating through them, and manifesting himself on them. This fire brings about a new union between God and humankind transforming believers into a people of the flame: passionate lovers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Because of Christ finished work on the Cross, Divine Life has entered our hearts granting us new intimacy with God, enabling grace to live the Christian life, and power for witness to the world.

On the first day of Pentecost He returned, not this time to be with them externally—clothed that sinless humanity that God had prepared for Him, being conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary—but now to be in them imparting to them His own divine nature , clothing Himself with their humanity, . . . .

[Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ/The Mystery of Godliness (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1961), 17.]

This divine flame burns within us developing a hunger for holiness and passion for Jesus. This renewed spiritual hunger makes us a people of the burning heart: wholly sold out for his glory. The Holy Spirit’s internal fire actively enables each of us to do ministry by equipping all of us in the gifts of the Spirit. The indwelling flame melts our hearts producing yielded wills ready to do the will of our Lord. “The mark of the fire was the sign of divinity; they who received it were forever a peculiar people, sons and daughters of the Flame” (pg. 101).

God’s fire overcomes blackness defeating all the powers of the evil one. His fire purifies bringing all selfishness to the surface. Fire destroys thereby burning away all sin.

Deity indwelling men! . . . Man, who moved out of the heart of God by sin, now moves back into the heart of God by redemption. God, who moved out of the heart of man because of sin, now enters again His ancient dwelling to drive out His enemies and once more make the place of His feet glorious (pg. 100).

Quotes not otherwise cited are from A. W. Tozer, God’s Pursuit of Man (Camp Hill, PA: Wingspread, 1950).

Grace: Freedom Not to Sin

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Power to Say, “No,” to Ungodliness and, “Yes,” to Righteousness

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age . . . .

Titus 2:11-12

Grace is not the freedom to sin, but the freedom not to sin. Grace is God’s heart extending itself towards us as he initiates in us the ability to overcome our weaknesses, failures, and inadequacies. The foremost characteristic of living by grace is trust in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ: the Cross forgives our past sin through Christ’s death, puts away our present sin through Christ’s burial and triumphs over future sin through Christ’s resurrection. Grace is not an abstraction, but Jesus living his life in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

To be in Christ—that is redemption; but for Christ to be in you—that is sanctification! To be in Christ—that makes you fit for heaven; but for Christ to be in you—that makes you fit for earth! To be in Christ—that changes your destination; but for Christ to be in you—that changes your destiny! The one makes heaven your home—the other makes this world His workshop.

Major W. Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ/The Mystery of Godliness (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 1988), 22.

Its Impossible!

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

The Christian Life Is Impossible

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Col. 2:6-7

A dear friend used to say, “We all are the failures we were meant to be.” In other words, our attempts at living the Christian life in own power were always meant to fail. God never intended for us to succeed by self-effort, self-motivation, and self-striving. We were never designed to live holy lives without trusting the Christ who died for us. In short, we cannot live the Christian life without Christ. Only by grace through faith is Christian growth achieved (Gal. 3:1-5).

When we attempt to live the Christian life in our power, we find it impossible. We grow frustrated. Our up again, down again experience of momentary victory and devastating failure proves exhausting. The cycles of perpetual self-confidence/pride and shame/guilt leave us wondering if we are really saved. Then, we realize that our sense of desperation and defeat is what God is waiting for; he wants us to come to the end of ourselves.

God is waiting for us to admit our struggle, repent of our self-sufficiency, and pray for divine help (2 Cor. 12:8-10). It sounds a bit cliche, but God desires for us to stop trying and to start trusting. He wants us to give up striving and struggling to allow Christ to do the impossible: give us liberty and victory over our on-going struggles with sin (2 Peter 1:3-4).

The Lord’s purpose and goal is to allow his Son, Jesus Christ, to live his life in and through us (1 John 4:9). The only person who ever successfully lived the Christian life was Christ himself. Therefore, we need to allow Christ to live his life in and through us for victory over sin, power over temptations, and anointing for ministry (Gal. 2:20).

“It is not difficult for man to live the Christian life,” somebody once said, it is a sheer impossibility!”

A sheer impossibility, that is, without CHRIST but for all that He says, you have all that He is, and that is all that it takes!

The Christian life can only be explained in terms of Jesus Christ, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it!

Major Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ/The Mystery of Godliness (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988).

Faith Works and Grace Works, Too.

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Evangelical Essentials (Part Nine)

Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

Titus 2:13-14 (NLT)

Although good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow on after justification, can never atone for our sins or face the strict justice of God’s judgment, they are nevertheless pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ and necessarily spring from a true and living faith. Thus a living faith is as plainly known by its good works as a tree is known by its fruit.

Article Twelve,“A Contemporary Version of the 39 Articles of Religion,” available from;

Good Works as the Fruit of Salvation

No works can produce salvation. However, a faith-filled salvation will produce many good works. Good works are the fruit of salvation, not its cause or basis.

It seems that ‘good works’ is a general expression to cover everything a Christian says and does because he is a Christian, every outward and visible manifestation of his Christian faith . . . Rather we are to be ourselves, our true Christian selves, openly living the life described in the beatitudes, and not ashamed of Christ. Then people will see us and our good works, and seeing us will glorify God. For they will inevitably recognize that it is by the grace of God we are, what we are, that ‘our’ light is ‘his’ light, and that our works are his works done in us and through us.

[John Stott, Message of the Sermon on the Mount, John Stott Daily Bible Study Email, August 14th, 2007 (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1985).]

Justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. Good works can be described as the fruit of faith. An expectation of redemption is living in a godly manner. There is no place in the Christian life for claiming a “born from above” experience while giving no evidence of a changed life. A changed life is life that allows Christ to live His life in and through the believer (1 John 4:9).

This is the rest of faith. You relax, almost like a spectator, except that it is your hands with which He is at work, your lips with which He is speaking, your eyes with which He sees the need, your ears with which He hears the cry, and your heart with which He loves the lost.”

[Major Ian Thomas, The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2006). 99.]

Good works are not produced by the Christian, but good works are borne in the life of  the Christian by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). We are fruit-bearers not fruit-producers. Grace works out the life of Christ in us.

Saving faith has intrinsic power to produce fruit.

[John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1991), 244.]

Good works or deeds display to the world the changed heart that Christ has created (Matt. 7:15-20). Faith in the finished work of Christ expresses itself in deeds done for God and others.

Although we cannot be saved by works, we also cannot be saved without them. Good works are not the way of salvation, but its proper and necessary evidence. A faith which does not express itself in works is dead.

[John Stott, Christ the Controversialist (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1970), 127.]

Therefore, good works are the fruit of faith, they follow after justification, they are evidence of a changed heart, and therefore will flow from a life changed by the Cross.