“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith … “(Eph. 3:14-17).
“CHRIST dwelling in the heart”: what is the special bearing of this deep phrase, as indicated by the surrounding words?
This is more than a large re-statement of the mighty truth that
- “Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates”; that,
- in the sense of the Mystical Union, He is in us and we in Him,
- as the tree is in the branch, its cause of life,
- as the branch in the tree, its living effect (2 Cor. 13:5) [John 15:1-8].
This is, indeed, an infinitely precious fact.
But this truth needs to enter far more than it often does into the daily food of the believer’s spirit. True, it is a thing which ultimately passes all understanding, all analysis, so that it is soon best to pause and say, as Hooker says in another connexion,
“O my Lord, Thou art true;
O my soul, thou art happy.”
United to Him in regeneration, in re-creation, I have from Him, in no figure of speech, life, life eternal, in all the meaning of that astonishing phrase. I “have the Son,” and He is my life (1 John 5:12) [Col. 3:4]. From Him to me flows the Virtue which is so widely different from the mere finite forces of myself. For peace, and strength, and purity, I draw upon, I drink into, that Source unfathomable, “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” Who is now, even now—realized or not—in me, and I in Him (Eph. 3:8). I am “joined unto the Lord”; He and I are “one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17).
Has this marvelous union been, indeed, effected? Then let me use it; let me reckon on it in every need. In temptation, in spiritual weariness and decline, in care and perplexity and toil, let me draw upon the fact, not the feeling, but the fact of “Christ in me.”…
For one thing, then, this surely means the warm personal realization of this mighty positive fact…, this vital union of the Lord with the regenerate [the born again believer]. It means the deep reception into the inmost heart of the certainty that Jesus Christ is in the believer, after that indescribable but real manner.
The mystical union, doubtless, underlies the passage before us [Ephesians 3:17]. But yet it scarcely forms its special teaching. For St. Paul is writing to those who undoubtedly “had the Son.” And for them he prays for a new beginning, a new development; that Christ may “take up His abode” (so literally) “in their hearts by faith…”
[I pray…”that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3:17b-19]
Part 1 of 2
From Chapter 7 of Thoughts on Christian Sanctity, LONDON SEELEY & Co, ESSEX STREET, STRAND 1888. Bracketed content added; with minor editing to update – JBW
“H. C. G. Moule… became first principal of Ridley Hall Theological College, Cambridge, in 1881, and Norrisian Professor of Divinity in 1899. Moule was a convinced evangelical, but was understanding of other views… He was closely associated with the Keswick Convention. Although he was a profound scholar, he could speak and write for ordinary people…” -http://www.anglicanlibrary.org/