That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17 KJV)
Christ living in us is not only the definition of Christianity but is what God has always wanted to do. Paul quoted the prophets in the Old Testament and said, “as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16 KJV). Therefore a working understanding of Christ in us is mandatory to living a victorious Christian life and to fulfilling the Father’s eternal purpose for creation.
So how does Christ dwell in us? The key is understanding that Christ dwells in us not as Jesus the man but Jesus as God. Therefore, he lives in us similar to how God’s being fills the created universe in different degrees and modes of expression. So Christ, God the Word, dwells in us in different ways intricately related to each other. Furthermore, He dwells in an individual believer, the community of believers as His body, and also fills the atmosphere on earth.
It all begins with the new birth experience of the believer and Pentecost for the Body of Christ. When we believe in Jesus, Christ comes as the Person or Being of the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts. The Christ who came into your heart at salvation is the Holy Spirit! So the Holy Spirit is not only the Spirit of God or the Spirit of the Father, but He is the Spirit of Jesus! ( Phil 1:19). See how Paul beautifully interchanges “Spirit of God,” “Spirit of Christ,” and “Christ” in this passage:
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now, if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:9–10 KJV)
He uses the names “Spirit of God,” “Spirit of Christ,” and “Christ” to refer to the same Person who dwells in us—God!
But the Holy Spirit came into us only after the Word was engrafted in us! Christ does not only dwell in us as the Holy Spirit but as His words! He abides in us by His words: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7 KJV). Therefore as you enrich your heart with the Word of God, knowing, understanding, and believing it, you are enriching your life with Christ!
Besides the Holy Spirit and the Word/words, He dwells in us as divine virtues that fill our hearts/souls. Please reread Ephesians 3:17 above. Paul prayed that Christ would dwell in the hearts of the Ephesians, who were believers already filled with the Spirit. He takes this truth one step further with considerable drama in Gal. 4:19, where he said he was travailing again until Christ was formed in these believers. What mode or “manner” of indwelling was He referring to? It was certainly not the Person of the Holy Spirit or Christ, for they are already in the believer. Christ, just as the Holy Spirit, dwells in us as His virtues such as power, wisdom, love, joy, and peace or the composite character or personality that results from these.
After talking about his words abiding in us in John 15:11, Jesus went further and said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11 KJV). It is the same Jesus abiding in us as His Spirit, His words, and His joy! This third dimension of Christ in us is crucial for fulfilling God’s purpose. It is the Christ who fills our souls/hearts in this way that is in touch with the world. It is the power in your soul/heart that touches people, not the power in your spirit where God dwells. You are a mysterious bride between the spirit and the physical realm! I encourage you to read about “Spirit and spirit” to understand this mystery fully.
Christ in you is the hope of glory. If you want to experience and live in the glory, you must therefore understand and operate in the fullness of Christ in you.
What are the three principal modes in which Christ dwells in us as believers?
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Christianity is Christ dwelling and living in the believer(s). A working knowledge of this profound mystery is mandatory to knowing who we are and fulfilling God’s eternal purpose. May the Lord open your heart to understand and believe this truth.
Ask the Holy Spirit to open your to see more profound revelations of this mystery.
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