The Secret of the Indwelling Christ (Part 1)

[To the apostle Paul] we owe, under the Spirit of God, the unveiling of two great mysteries, which specially touch us as Gentiles.

The first of these… that Gentile [believers now] stand 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 (Ephesians 3:6).

The second… 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.

This 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 marvelous act of condescension; but that He should find a home in the heart of a Gentile was incredible … 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” (Colossians 1:27).

“Master, where do you dwell?” they asked of old [John 1:37]. And in reply Jesus led them from the crowded Jordan bank to the [tent] 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,” He says, “I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” [Rev. 3:20] “We will come,” He said, including His Father with Himself, “and make our abode with him” [John 14:23]. 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 [John 15:1-5;Eph. 5:30].

The Mystery

Christ is in the believer. He indwells the heart by faith, as the sun indwells the lowliest flowers that unfurl their petals and bare their hearts to its beams. Not because we are good. Not because we are trying to be wholehearted in our consecration. Not because we keep Him by the tenacity of our love. But because we believe, and in believing, have thrown open all the doors and windows of our nature. And He has come in. [“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” John 1:10-12 NKJV].

He 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 reillumine dying sparks [Matt. 12:20]. 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. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified” (II Corinthians 13:5,6 NKJV].

Part 1 of 2 from The Secret of Guidance ch. 3 (Fleming H, Revell: 1896) Biblical quotations are from KJV except where the editor has used New King James Version. Bracketed references added; John 1:10-12 added.

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