SECRET OF CHRIST'S INDWELLING.
first of these, glorious as it is, we cannot now stay to discuss, though it
wrought a revolution when first preached and maintained by the Apostle in the
face of the most strenuous opposition. Till then, Gentiles were expected to
become Jews before they were Christians, and to pass through the synagogue to
the church. But he showed that this was not needful, and that Gentiles stood on
the same level as Jews with respect to the privileges of the gospel fellow
heirs, and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in
Christ Jesus through the gospel (Eph. 3: 6).
second, however, well deserves our further thought, for if only it could be
realized by the children of God, they would begin to live after so Divine a
fashion as to still the enemy and avenger, and to repeat in some small measure
the life of Jesus on the earth.
mystery is that the Lord Jesus is willing to dwell within the Gentile heart.
That He should dwell in the heart of a child of Abraham was deemed a marvellous
act of condescension; but that He should find a home in the heart of a Gentile
was incredible. This mistake was, however, dissipated before the radiant
revelation of truth made to him who, in his own judgment, was not meet to be
called an Apostle, because he had persecuted the Church of God. God was pleased
to make known through him "the riches of the glory of this mystery among
the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory" (Col. 1: 27).
where dwellest Thou?" they asked of old. And in reply Jesus led them from
the crowded Jordan bank to the slight tabernacle of woven osiers where He
temporarily lodged. But if we address the same question to Him now, He will
point, not to the high and lofty dome of heaven, not to the splendid structure
of stone or marble, but to the happy spirit that loves, trusts, and obeys Him.
"Behold," saith He, " I stand at the door and knock. If any man
hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him." "We will
come," He said, including His Father with Himself, "and make our abode
with him." He promised to be within each believer as a tenant in a house;
as sap in the branch; as life blood and life energy in each member, however
feeble, of the body.
probably came in so quietly that we failed to detect His entrance. There was no
footfall along the passage. The chime of the golden bells at the foot of His
priestly robe did not betray Him. He stole in on the wing of the morning, or
like the noiselessness with which nature arises from her winter's sleep and
arrays herself in the robes which her Creator has prepared for her. But this is
the way of Christ. He does not strive, nor cry, nor lift up or cause His voice
to be heard. His tread is so light that it does not break bruised reeds, His
breath so soft that it can re illumine dying sparks. Do not be surprised,
therefore, if you cannot tell the day or the hour when the Son of Man came to
dwell within you. Only know that He has come. "Know ye not as to your own
selves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless ye be reprobate?" (2 Cor.13:
is very wonderful. Yes; the heavens, even the heavens of heavens, with all their
light and glory, alone seem worthy of Him. But even there He is not more at home
than He is with the humble and contrite spirit that simply trust in Him. In His
earthly life, He said that the Father dwelt in Him so really that the words He
spake and the works He did were not His own, but His Father's. And He desires to
be in us as His Father was in Him, so that the outgoings of our life may be
channels through which He, hidden within, may pour Himself forth upon men.
is not generally recognized. It is not; though that does not disprove it. We
fail to recognize many things in ourselves and in nature around, which are
nevertheless true. But there is a reason why many whose natures are certainly
the temple of Christ, remain ignorant of the presence of the wonderful Tenant
that sojourns within. He dwells so deep. Below the life of the body, which is as
the curtain of the tent; below the life of the soul, where thought and feeling,
judgment and imagination, hope and love, go to and fro, ministering as white
stoled priests in the holy place; below the play of light and shade, resolution
and will, memory and hope, the perpetual ebb and flow of the tides of self
consciousness, there, through the Holy Spirit Christ dwells, as of old the
Shechinah dwelt in the Most Holy Place, closely shrouded from the view of man.
is comparatively seldom that we go into these deeper departments of our being.
We are content to live the superficial life of sense. We eat, we drink, we
sleep. We give ourselves to enjoy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life. We fulfil the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
Or we abandon ourselves to the pursuit of knowledge and culture, of
science and art. We make short incursions into the realm of morals, that sense
of right and wrong which is part of the makeup of men. But we have too slight an
acquaintance with the deeper and more mysterious chamber of the spirit. Now this
is why the majority of believers are so insensible of their Divine and wonderful
Resident, who makes the regenerated spirit His abode.
is to be accepted by faith. We repeat here our constant mistake about the things
of God. We try to feel them. If we feel them, we believe them; otherwise we take
no account of them. We reverse the Divine order. We say, feeling, FAITH, FACT.
God says FACT, FAITH, feeling. With Him feeling is of small account He only asks
us to be willing to accept His own Word, and to cling to it because He has
spoken it, in entire disregard of what we may feel.
am distinctly told that Christ, though He is on the Throne in His ascended
glory, is also within me by the Holy Ghost. I confess I do not feel Him there.
Often amid the assault of temptation or the fury of the storm that sweeps over
the surface of my nature, I cannot detect His form or hear Him say, "It is
I." But I dare to believe He is there; not without me, but within; not as a
transient sojourner for a night, but as a perpetual inmate; not altered by my
changes from earnestness to lethargy, from the summer of love to the winter of
despondency, but always and unchangeably the same. And I say again and again,
"Jesus, Thou art here. I am not worthy that thou shouldest abide under my
roof; but Thou hast come. Assert Thyself. Put down all rule, and authority, and
power. Come out of Thy secret chamber, and possess all that is within me, that
it may bless Thy holy name."
of Siena at one time spent three days in a solitary retreat, praying for a
greater fullness and joy of the Divine presence. Instead of this, it seemed as
though legions of wicked spirits assailed her with blasphemous thoughts and evil
suggestions. At length, a great light appeared to descend from above. The devils
fled, and the Lord Jesus conversed with her. Catherine asked Him:
where wert Thou when my heart was so tormented?"
was in thy heart," He answered.
Lord, Thou art everlasting truth," she replied, "and I humbly bow
before Thy word; but how can I believe that Thou wast in my heart when it was
filled with such detestable thoughts?"
these thoughts give thee pleasure or pain?" He asked.
exceeding pain and sadness," was her reply.
whom the Lord said, "Thou wast in woe and sadness because I was in the
midst of thy heart. My presence it was which rendered those thoughts
insupportable to thee. When the period I had determined for the duration of the
combat had elapsed, I sent forth the beams of My light, and the shades of hell
were dispelled, because they cannot resist that light."
when we accept the fact of His existence within us deeper than our own, and make
it one of the aims of our life to draw on it and develop it, we shall be
conscious of a glory transfiguring our life and irradiating ordinary things,
such as will make earth, with its commonest engagements, like as the vestibule
wife of Jonathan Edwards had been the subject of great fluctuations in religious
experience and frequent depression, till she came to the point of renouncing the
world, and yielding herself up to be possessed by these mighty truths. But so
soon as this was the case, a marvellous change took place. She began to
experience a constant, uninterrupted rest; sweet peace and serenity of soul ; a
continual rejoicing in all the works of God's hands, whether of nature or of
daily providence; a wonderful access to God by prayer, as it were seeing Him and
immediately conversing with Him; all tears wiped away; all former troubles and
sorrows of life forgotten, excepting grief for past sins and for the dishonour
done to Christ in the world; a daily sensible doing and suffering everything for
God, and doing all with a continual uninterrupted cheerfulness, peace and joy.
glory the certain pledge of the glory to be revealed is within reach of each
reader of these lines who will dare day by day to reckon that Christ lives
within, and will be content to die to the energies and promptings for the self
life so that there may be room for the Christ life to reveal itself. "I
have been crucified," said the greatest human teacher of this Divine art;
"Christ liveth in me; I live by faith in the Son of God."
are riches of patience. Life is not easy to any of us. No branch escapes the
pruning knife; no jewel the wheel; no child the rod. People tyrannize over and
vex us almost beyond endurance. Circumstances strain us till the chords of our
hearts threaten to snap. Our nervous system is overtaxed by the rush and
competition of our times. Indeed, we have need of patience!
to relax the self watch; never to indulge in unkind or thoughtless criticism of
others; never to utter the hasty word, or permit the sharp retort; never to
complain except to God; never to permit hard and distrustful thoughts to lodge
within the soul; to be always more thoughtful of others than self; to detect the
one blue spot in the clouded sky; to be on the alert to find an excuse for those
who are forward and awkward, to suffer the aches and pains, the privations and
trials of life, sweetly, submissively, trustfully; to drink the bitter cup, with
the eye fixed on the Father's face, without a murmur or complaint: this needs
patience, which mere stoicism could never give.
we cannot live such a life till we have learnt to avail ourselves of the riches
of the indwelling Christ. The beloved Apostle speaks of being a partaker of the
patience which is in Jesus (Rev. 1: 9). So may we be. That calm, unmurmuring,
unreviling patience, which made the Lamb of God dumb before His shearers, is
Hall was once overheard saying amid the heat of an argument, "Calm me, 0
Lamb of God!"
we may go further and say, "Lord Jesus, let Thy patience arise in me, as a
spring of fresh water in a briny sea."
are riches of grace. Alone among the great cities of the world, Jerusalem had no
river. But the glorious Lord was in the midst of her, and He became a place of
broad rivers and streams, supplying from Himself all that rivers gave to cities,
at the foot of whose walls the welcome waters lapped (Isa.32: 21).
is a picture of what we have, who dare to reckon on the indwelling of our
glorious Lord, as King, Lawgiver, and Saviour. He makes all grace to abound
towards us, so that we have a sufficiency for all emergencies, and can abound in
every good work. In His strength, ever rising up within us, we are able to do as
much as those who are dowered with the greatest mental and natural gifts, and we
escape the temptations to vainglory and pride by which they are beset.
grace of purity and self control, of fervent prayer and understanding in the
Scriptures, of love for men and zeal for God, of lowliness and meekness, of
gentleness and goodness all is in Christ; and if Christ is in us, all is ours
also. O that we would dare to believe it, and draw on it, letting down the
pitcher of faith into the deep well of Christ's indwelling, opened within us by
the Holy Ghost!
is impossible, in these brief limits, to elaborate further this wonderful
thought. But if only we would meet every call, difficulty, and trial, not
saying, as we so often do, "I shall never be able to go through it,"
but saying, "I cannot; but Christ is in me, and He can," we should
find that all trials were intended to reveal and unfold the wealth hidden within
us, until Christ was literally formed within us, and His life manifested in our
mortal body (2 Cor. 4:10).
Be still each day for a short time, sitting before God in meditation, and ask
the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the truth of Christ's indwelling. Ask God to be
pleased to make known to you what is the riches of the glory of this mystery
Reverence your nature as the temple of the indwelling Lord. As the Eastern
unbares his feet, and the Western his head, on entering the precincts of a
temple, so be very careful of aught that would defile the body or soil the soul.
No beasts must herd in the temple courts. Get Christ to drive them out.
"Know ye not that ye are a temple of God? The temple of God is holy, and
such are ye."
Hate your own life. "If any man hateth not his own life," said our
Lord, "he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 4:26). And the word translated
"life" is soul, the seat and centre of the self life with its restless
energies and activities, its choices and decisions, its ceaseless strivings at
independence and leadership. This is the greatest hindrance to our enjoyment of
the indwelling Christ. If we will
acquire the habit of saying "No," not only to our bad but our good
self; if we will daily deliver ourselves up to death for Jesus' sake; if we will
take up our cross and follow the Master, though it be to His grave, we shall
become increasingly conscious of being possessed by a richer, deeper, Diviner
life than our own.