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Theology 101 Jesus: The Indwelling Christcomment (0)

March 27, 2014

By Jerry Batson

This week we continue thinking about Christ as the Word that is. He is not only the Word of proclamation but also the Word of personal experience. 

While the Christian life begins with the incoming of Christ, it continues with His indwelling. The picturesque promise of Revelation 3:20 tells of Christ knocking not at a window but at the place of entrance — the door. He seeks not simply to look in upon us from time to time to see if we are doing the best we can, but to enter our lives. His intent is to indwell us and thus to be at home in the house of our hearts. When invited in, the visitor at the door becomes an indwelling guest who remains in our lives the rest of our days. 

According to the word picture of Revelation 3:20, as a consequence of His indwelling, Christ wants to eat with us. In short, He wants to be the indwelling guest in life’s ordinary, everyday moments, such as sitting at a table with us. Once He has come into our hearts, He never leaves us or forsakes us (Heb. 13:5). He goes where we go. He hears what we say. He is party to our thoughts. He sways with our emotions. Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, the indwelling Christ is present as the heaven-sent Guest at home in the house of our hearts.

As to the method of His indwelling, from His point of view it is by means of His earthly representative, the Holy Spirit. The Bible puts it like this: “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit” (1 John 4:13). From our vantage point, His indwelling is by faith. The prayer in Ephesians 3:14–21 includes a purpose statement that reads, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (v. 17).

Christ’s indwelling also has a forward looking dimension. The fact of His indwelling assures our future glory. Colossians 1:27 speaks of “the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Back to our present experience of the Word that is, the last clause of Revelation 3:20 suggests that Christ seeks to trade places with us. At His incoming, we are the host and He is the Guest. However, His design is not to remain a guest. His goal is to trade places with us. He seeks to become the Host as Lord of the house. After all, Christ is the builder and buyer of the house. 

As such, more than eating with us, He wants us to eat with Him: “I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.” This last clause envisions Christ becoming the Host with whom we are invited to eat. And He knows how to prepare a table, even doing so in the presence of our enemies (Ps. 23:5). 

He is prepared to nourish our spirits. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his young assistant, about how Timothy needed to be “nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:6).  The apostle Peter admonished his readers that they should “desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2). Might we not say with the hymn writer, “Feed me ‘til I want no more”?

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