Pastors Column -- Vernon Maxted
Why Christ Indwells
"Christ in you, the hope of glory" -- Colossians 1:27
The most amazing truth in the gospel of Christ is his dwelling in every believer by the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised this to his followers as he anticipated his death, resurrection and return to the Father (John 14:18-23). He said he would not leave them as orphans but would send them the Helper, the Holy Spirit, from the Father. Then he added that both he and the Father would dwell in them by the Spirit. This personal indwelling is received when a person receives Jesus as Savior and Lord. It is the spiritual birth Jesus said every person must have to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:3-7). The apostle Paul testified to it in his own experience when he said in Galatians 2:20, "Christ lives in me..."
There are many benefits that come by Jesus' personal indwelling, but one is fundamental. It is that he may live out his glorious life and continue his redemptive work in that person as a member of his corporate body, the church. There are two glorious possibilities in this.
The first potential is transformation into Jesus' likeness. This requires a will fully surrendered to the Lord's control so he can work freely in the person's life. That is where we are most likely to be defeated from the very start. Satan doesn't want it; and we want to retain control ourselves with Jesus helping and blessing us as if he would be our servant! Therefore, many remain slaves to attitudes, habits and addictions they cannot control. There are no persons so sinful that they cannot be gloriously delivered and transformed by Jesus when he has full control. It is a choice that begins a journey of faith, daily surrendering and depending on the Lord Jesus.
The second glorious potential is supernatural power, the power that came on that little company of believers on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:8; 2:1-47) and continued with them as they spread the gospel throughout the vast Roman Empire as recorded in the Book of Acts. The church lost that power when they ceased to be persecuted, gained favor with the Roman emperor as an influence in his empire and became comfortable and self-serving (do we see any parallel in American History?). It has been recovered in periods of thorough repentance and revival that have occurred in various countries and localities in the history of the church, including three times in America in the 1730s, the 1790s and 1850s. It is what we most desperately need today to empower the churches, win the lost and save America.
Whether it is a church or an individual Christian, the Lord will not release his transforming, supernatural power where self rules and sin hinders. He must have control, and sins must be recognized, confessed and forsaken. It can begin with us.
"Christ in you (is) the hope of glory!"