Tag Archives: Indwelling Christ

Christ Permeating You


In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

1 John 4:9

At Lamb of God: A Three Streams Church, we talk much of the indwelling Christ who is present in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our Christian growth comes by trusting the Christ who lives in us. Jesus is grace in us–a person not a quantity. Christ in us is freedom from performance-driven Christianity. The question is not what would Jesus do if he were here, but what is Jesus doing in us at this moment. Jesus is the moment-by-moment, minute-by-minute, constant, conscious presence of God. Christ in us is the freedom to enjoy God now in this life at this moment in this very place.

Again, Christ lives in our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. All that Christ is in the gospels, all that Christ is as the second person of the Trinity, and all that Christ is as Lord now lives in us as believers. Since Christ lives in us, we are never alone. Since Christ lives in us, we have the power to live holy lives. Since Christ lives in us, we can respond (not react) to every life situation according to the will of God. Since Christ lives in us, we can daily experience Him intimately and powerfully. Therefore, we desire all of Him in all of us all the time.

Unbelief says: Some other time, but not now; some other place, but not here; some other people, but not us. Faith says: Anything He did anywhere else He will do here; anything He did any other time He is willing to do now; anything He ever did for other people He is willing to do for us! With our feet on the ground, and our head cool, but with our heart ablaze with the love of God, we walk out in this fullness of the Spirit, if we will yield and obey. God wants to work through you!

A. W. Tozer, The Counselor  (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1993), 122.

 

Whereas I Was Blind, Now I See!

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On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

John 14:20

The secret to living the Christian life is no secret at all, it is the mystery of Christ in you (Col. 1:27). The indwelling Christ is our hope of intimacy with the Father, he is our joy and forgiveness in the Son, and he is our holiness in the Spirit. As we trust Christ by faith, he gives us the power to love the unlovely, the freedom to walk apart from sin, and grace to experience God’s presence moment-by-moment (Gal. 2:20). The indwelling Christ is joy, liberty, and fullness in the Holy Spirit (Eph. 3:20).

J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), founder of the China Inland Mission, reads a letter from John McCarthy on September 4, 1869. McCarthy is a fellow missionary in China and a man who hungers for a deeper, more intimate relationship with Christ. Upon reading McCarthy’s letter, Hudson Taylor declares that he has entered into the “exchanged life.”

McCarthy wrote to Taylor:

I do wish I could have a talk with you now about the way of holiness. At the time you were speaking to me about it, it was the subject of all others occupying my thoughts, not from anything I had read . . . so much as from a consciousness of failure—a constant falling short of that which I felt should be aimed at; an unrest; a perpetual striving . . . .

Then, while reading that same letter, the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of the indwelling Christ to J. Hudson Taylor. Taylor describes the experience:

Abiding, not striving or struggling; looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power . . . resting in the love of an almighty Saviour, in the joy of a complete salvation, “from all sin”—this is not new, and yet ‘tis new to me. I feel as though the dawning of a glorious day had risen upon me. I hail it with trembling, yet with trust. I seem to have got to the edge only, but of a boundless sea; to have sipped only, but of that which fully satisfies. Christ literally all seems to me, now, the power, the only power for service, the only ground for unchanging joy . . . Not a striving to have faith . . . but a looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need; a resting in the Loved One entirely, for time and for eternity.

After reading McCarthy’s letter of September 4, 1869, Taylor tells a Mr. Judd,

Oh, Mr. Judd, God has made me a new man! God has made me a new man! Wonderful was the experience that had come in answer to prayer, yet so simple as almost to baffle description. It was just as it was long ago [at his conversion], “Whereas I was blind, now I see!”

Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret (Chicago: Moody Press, 2009), 156.

Filled to Overflowing

 

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

Col. 2:9-10

Fullness is being completely filled to the full, nothing lacking, complete in the character of God, but not in the nature of God (Eph. 3:19). Fullness is having all that Jesus was and is living in our hearts now. Jesus indwells our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit and this fullness is available for any need, any ministry, any godly purpose. We lack nothing that we need as live the words of Jesus and trust the Father to perform the works of Jesus.

The fullness of the Holy Spirit is a continuous supply from Jesus Christ himself; a moment-by-moment faith in a moment-by-moment filling and a moment-by-moment cleansing. The moment I begin to believe, that moment I receive, and as long as I go on believing, praise the Lord! I go on receiving.

Charles Inwood quoted in Alan Redpath, “Full of Faith  . . .Grace . . . Power,” Keswick Week 1957 (London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1957), 155.

For Christ To Be in You

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.

Men and Women of the Fire

 

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).

Its Impossible!

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).