Part 8 of 8

Coming to Realize “His Life” Within Us

Righteous Christian living is only possible by learning to completely rely upon Christ’s indwelling life as the spontaneous mover and doer from within our spirit. Apart from Christ, all our works are of “the flesh,” which “cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). Actually, we can call ourselves Christians only because we believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our justifier before God. The Spirit then places believers into “His body” (1Cor 12:13), called “the church, which is His body (Eph 1:22b-23a). He simultaneously comes to indwell every believer as their new life (Gal 2:10). He then is the Christian within; leading us and living through us.

Believers need to learn to trust the Lord within as He leads them in and through all the circumstances and situations of their daily living on earth... leading them ultimately to the literal heavenly places as their eternal abode in Christ.

The believer’s spirit union with the Lord is an already accomplished fact from the moment of their regeneration (new birth)... then we are “one spirit” with Him (1Cor 6:17). Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Yet, the believer’s realization of the deposit of literal “life” of Christ into their human spirit may come to them some time after being saved and regenerated. Sometimes it is many years later before the believer comes to an unshakable realization and knowledge of his spirit-union with Christ. The awareness of that union is derived by revelation of the Spirit, most often on the heels of a personal experience of the Lord. He then realizes his spirit-union with the very “life” of Christ within him.

This realization often comes to believers in times of trial, by their enduring and suffering the difficult circumstances and situations they may encounter in their daily life. God the Father intends that each overwhelming circumstance or situation will turn our heart to the Lord, pushing us to find and trust the indwelling “Christ who is our life” ( Col 3:4a) as our ALL. Colossians 3:10 (Believers) have put on the new man, which IS RENEWED IN KNOWLEDGE (Gk., epignosis, full knowledge) after the image of him that created him:

Christians should grow in their knowledge and awareness of His all-sufficient ever-presence, then learning to listen to and trust His inner speaking. “…he that is of God heareth God” (John 8:47). We are now free to live spontaneously, trusting this new life of Christ within us to guide us. As we become attuned to the sense of His indwelling life we may sometimes hear Him by our new sixth sense… as He may seem to internally say “NO,” to our particular planned intention, motive, or deed. Thus, we are then guided or corrected by the Lord within.

When we turn our heart to His Spirit within us He is able to shine into our heart’s mind and imprint us with a growing degree of the realization of His presence and sufficiency. We learn of His life and speaking within as we sense either the pleasant lightened presence of the Lord or the loss of His light, liberty, buoyancy, peace and rest within. The genuine effectual knowledge of the Lord comes to believers by their experience of the inward sense of the Lord who is the “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” within them.

The seemingly insurmountable situations of life that come upon us are ordained of our Father, being expressly intended to turn our heart from self-dependence to trust Christ within. Paul describes these times as follows. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Paul says “Nevertheless when it (our heart) shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17 NOW the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2Cor 3:16-17) Being turned by the hand of the Lord, we become unveiled. We, by the light of His life, come to see Him as the supply of God within us, more and more. In the light of His Spirit our heart is exposed and purified; our soul is then being transformed “from glory to glory” (2Cor 3:18).

Many Christians study and learn the Bible in words only. They then only know the Bible as so much information. In this way we may only come to know about Jesus of Nazareth – what He did and what He said. This is the shallow kind of knowledge that Paul says is; “… knowledge (that) puffeth up…” (1Corinthians 8:1b (KJV). “Knowledge” here would be the Greek word “gnosis,” meaning “knowledge as science, as information. Paul also wrote of those who are ever learning but never able to come to the (FULL) KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH (2Tim 3:7). Here the desirable “knowledge” is seen by the Greek word epignosis,” meaning full knowledge of the truth.” The “truth” here is “reality,” which is “Christ” Himself – He is the living truth or reality within every believer. God’s objective is that we might come to know and trust Him, personally, intimately.

Paul also wrote; “The letter (Gk., gramma, the written word) killeth, but THE SPIRIT giveth LIFE.” (2 Corinthians 3:6b). The written Word of God, by itself, can kill. But the word, seen by “the Spirit… giveth life.”

Bible learning alone, even knowledge of Biblical truth, does not necessarily bring us the experiential awareness of His “life.” Only “the Spirit” gives us real “knowledge” of “the truth.” Truth is Christ as the real life, the “eternal life” (1John 5:11-12), now within us. Thankfully, “now the Lord is that Spirit” (2Cor 3:17) in us.

Coming to this new “mindset” of trust in His indwelling life will free us from the hold of the soulish remnants of our “Old Man,” renewing our mind. Note that in Philip. 2:5, the word “mind” is the Greek, phroneo, meaning attitude of mind, mindset.

Informational knowledge, even of the Bible, is only a start; it will never satisfy our inner hunger for union and relationship with Him. What we hunger for is the experience of truly knowing Him and by our union with Him. God provided the possibility of that relationship for us the very moment we were regenerated and renewed in spirit (Titus 3:5), but we need to grow, to come to the knowledge of His love, grace and life.  Only by His working to bring under His sovereign loving grace and hand will we come to an experiential knowledge of Him – the knowledge of Christ life within us will quench our innermost thirst and constrain our hearts. Paul says we may be certain of God’s ongoing work within our souls. Philippians 2:13 For IT IS GOD WHICH WORKETH IN YOU BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO OF HIS GOOD PLEASURE.

Apart from having physical life, our eyes would only be non-functioning organs intended for vision, our ears as non-functioning organs intended for hearing, etc. Physical life is the necessary element for them to function. Likewise spiritually, the crucial element for Christian living is to make life work by knowing and trusting “Christ who is our life” ( Col 3:4a) as our inward source, guide, rest and peace!

We were created as containers, as three-part vessels (spirit, soul, and body), able to receive Him into our spirit and be marked with His life in our daily walk. We have the potential to really know Him and live as expressions of “His life.” Paul says we are “complete” by our Spirit-union with and “in Him” ( Col 2:10). Only Christ in our spirit offers us the potential of fulfilling all that we were created to be as a whole person. We need to receive salvation from judgment, but we also need to know Him and trust Him within us as the living Lord; He will guide and empower us to live righteously.

Paul also uses yet another word for “knowledge”; here he writes that I may know Him…” (Philip. 3:10). Here to “know,” is the Greek word, “ginosko,” meaning “to come to know, to come to see, to perceive Him by experience.” This would be an experience of Christ living in and through us. We often come to this knowledge through some experience of suffering or need. Not until we begin to live by His life by faith, by trusting the sense of Christ’s life leading us from within, will we truly come to know Christ. Then we have come to know Him by personal experience. The Lord uses every situation we face “for the good” (Rom 8:28-29), that we might be conformed to His image and “learn Christ” (Eph 4:20). This is a matter of progressive revelation and growth during our whole lifetime, just as our physical body grew progressively.

Some Christians ultimately come to know Him at this intimate level, but only after years of fruitlessly trying to employ the many manmade religious systems, gimmicks and methods that religion offers. We may have attended seminars, lectures and read books, made vows, and tried hard, only to have it end emptiness and frustration. This frustration is God ordained, to push us to find an intimate relationship with Him who all the time was there dwelling within us. Relationship with Christ within us is the reality we seek.

The burden of Israel ’s religious “Law” and “works” was given to Israel only, but today it’s the greatest hindrance that prevents Christian believers from coming to “know” the Lord within. The “Law” (the 613 Mosaic Laws) most often focused upon outward demands for outward works of conformance to “the Law.” Today, religious leaders invent more laws for Christians, dress codes, and many other demands and requirements - “do this and don’t do that.” By contrast, under Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God,” Israel ’s Old Testament Law relationship with the Lord is replaced by the pure “grace” of Christ working within us by faith alone. Paul says our works short circuit God’s grace; Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 

The grace gospel works differently; inwardly by “the law (operation) of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2). Paul preached this new “gospel of the grace of God” (Act 20:24) wherein the members of “the body of Christ” are “not under the Law, but under grace.” (Rom 6:14b).

Today the sole requirement for Christian living is for one is to believe and become a partaker of the genuine “life” of God, which is “in Christ Jesus.” Then we are able to grow in our union and relationship with Him, satisfying our deepest needs. Our Christ indwelled human spirit is the key to living righteously. The issue is learning to live by trusting His “Spirit of life,” which is now “one spirit” with our spirit (1Cor 6:17).

So, as we saw in Romans 5:10 in Part 1 of this series, there’s a salvation that’s “much more” than the legal transactional aspects of “redemption” and “reconciliation.” Paul says we shall be saved (Gk., sozo, completed) by His life.” To be “saved” is not only to have become a partaker of Christ’s divine life in our spirit, but also become partakers of His divine nature (2Peter 1:4), to renew our fallen souls.

We come to realize that we are completed as we realize, learn of, trust in and yield to “His life” within us as our new governing life.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet NOT I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME…” (Gal 2:20a)