The Indwelling Christ

Most discussions on indwelling appropriately focus on the Holy Spirit. At the same time, it is important to see a number of texts that connect indwelling to Christ. In fact, the New Testament is quite clear that the indwelling Spirit is the mediator of Christ’s presence with his people. Jesus indwells us by means of the Spirit.

Take for example Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19. He asks God the Father that the church would be “strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

The link is clear. Now take a look at these texts that speak of Christ indwelling his people.

  • “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20).
  • “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness” (Romans 8:10).
  • “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
  • “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
  • “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (1 John 3:24).
  • “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
  • “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 ESV).

The same principle can be seen in connection to God the Father. Take a look at 1 John 4:13-16.

“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit…Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

God the Father abides in his people through his Spirit. Indwelling is a Trinitarian dynamic, something we briefly touched on in one of the first posts in this series. The text that best captures this comes from John 14:23, “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.” By the Spirit the Father and Son reside within those who believe.

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