God in Us (Part 2)

At Christ’s first Advent, we were blessed with “Immanuel”–“God with us” (Isa 7:14; Matt 1:23). Through the New Covenant, we have an even greater advantage–God in us! We are His tabernacle on planet earth today. As 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” This glorious reality is of being indwelt by God is beyond our full comprehension, but let’s consider a couple of lessons it reveals.

1. Our indwelling by God reveals the source of our strength.

2 Corinthians 4:7 says “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” Like the O. T. tabernacle, inside believers resides the spiritual glory of God! [5]

Christ demonstrated the source of strength available to His people. He did not cease to be the eternal Son of God while ministering on earth. Rather, Christ laid aside the independent use of His attributes, and depended fully on the power of the Holy Spirit. In so doing, He intentionally modeled for His people, not only the STANDARD of Perfect Life but the DYNAMIC of it. As believers, we are designed to be Godly by the same kind of glad surrender and wholehearted trust the Lord Jesus exemplified.

Capernwray Bible Schools founder, Ian Thomas, notes that, “Man was created in such a way that he could bear the image of God without God becoming visible, so that not his physical form, but his CAPACITY TO BEHAVE was designed to be the means through which God intended to express His nature and His character… This godliness or God-likeness was not to have been an imitation of God by man, but the direct result of the ACTIVITY OF GOD IN MAN. In other words–God Himself behaving in and through you!” [6]

And how does this source of strength become effectual for us day by day? Thomas counsels that, “…the primary limitation imposed upon you as man, in order that you may be in the likeness of your maker and bear the image of the Invisible, is that of total dependence upon God–in that your behavior, to be godly, must derive directly and exclusively from God’s activity in and through you. Any activity, therefore, in which you may engage, no matter how nobly conceived, which does not stem from this humble attitude of dependence upon God violates the basic principles of your true humanity and the role for which you were created.” [7] God IN us is the source of our strength.

2. Our indwelling by God reveals the sanctity of our fellowship.

In the upper room, Christ assured His troubled disciples, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). And in Revelation 3:20 He gave this invitation: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” This is a greater fellowship than Moses or Joshua enjoyed at the Tent of Meeting (Ex 33:11). William Culbertson observed, “A Christian is one who has received a Person. As a matter of fact, one of the distinguishing features of Christianity is that its Author is alive. But additionally understand that the Author, the Lord Jesus Christ, actually lives in His followers. Here is something on which we may count, of which we may be absolutely certain … Praise God that the Son is ever present, NOT ONLY WITH US BUT IN US. As in consecration we look to Him, we shall find that He is the mighty Victor for us.” [8]

This story illustrates the blessing of our fellowship the King of Kings: “Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their ruler. One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left. Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying, ‘I am your king!’ The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn’t. Instead he said, ‘You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the course food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!'” [9]

We never need to be lonely if we reckon on our Lord’s unfailing presence. No wonder the prophet announced that Messiah’s name should be called “Immanuel” — “God with us.” As His permanent tabernacle, let’s celebrate the honor of God IN us!


Dec. 18, 2000, vol.3, #49

Part 2 of 2

[5] Note, that as “earthen vessels,” we DO NOT become little gods. God remains distinct and transcendent from His creation.

[6] W. Ian Thomas, The Mystery of Godliness, (Zondervan, 1964), p.45.[emphasis added]

[7] Ibid., p. 49.

[8] William Culberston, God’s Provision for Holy Living, (Moody Press, 1970), p.68. [emphasis added]

[9] Brett Blair, Sermonillustrations.com

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