Understanding that Christ is living in man is not the same as realizing he is in us. One is factual knowledge, the other is a subjective experience in reality. One is based on our human intellect, the other is formed by the Spirit of God. One is a piece of knowledge, the other is a relationship with God. The Spirit of reality is living and active (Heb. 4:12) today causing Christians to realize that Christ is in them. (2 Cor. 13:5) As we realized that God is living inside of us, a relationship will begin to develop between God and us. We begin to enjoy his presence. “So that they may have my joy made full in themselves.” (John 17:13) Although he is holy, our relationship with God is no longer in fear, but we begin to find enjoyment in his presence, we begin to love him. Only the Spirit of reality can make the love for God real to us. Love cannot be taught, it can only be realized. Of all the people of the opposite sex, why did we fall in love with our spouse? We somehow knew this person was special and will gain meaning and predominance in our lives. Man cannot teach man to fall in love with God. It can only be realized as a truth within. The love for God is only realized as a truth in us by the Spirit indwelling us. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth [reality], whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17) By dwelling in us as a Helper, the Spirit makes real the love for God in us. This love will affect every aspect of our being. We are like “a letter of Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Cor. 3:3) God’s attributes and nature are written, not on tablets of stone, but on our hearts as a response to him in love, made real to us by the Spirit of the living God. God is inscribing himself into our beings. That is why in the second covenant, “And they shall not teach, each one his neighbour and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” (Heb. 8:11) To know the Lord is simply to realize Christ, loving him with all our heart, realizing all his aspects and attributes – his very nature, living within our spirit. Realizing Christ is living in our spirit will bring us constantly into the enjoyment of his presence as we love him. As we love him, we would spend more and more of our time in his presence, “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18) so we are “transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from [the] Lord, [the] Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18) The Greek text simply uses the words, the “Lord Spirit,” to denote that the Lord Jesus is no longer outside of us as an understanding, but a reality inside of us as the Lord Spirit. He no longer “dwells with you“ (John 14:17) like Jesus with his disciples; but through the process of death and resurrection, Christ now lives in us, “and will be in you,” (John 14:17) giving us God’s life as “the life-giving Spirit,” (1 Cor. 15:45) writing himself into our human hearts as the “Spirit of the living God,” (2 Cor. 3:3) transforming us into the same image like himself, just as from the Lord Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18) Like Christ, who is the son of God, we humans have become the sons of God, made real to us by the Spirit, so we love our Father. “You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [sonship], by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Rom. 8:15-16) This relationship of love between a son for his Father is made real by the Spirit in our spirit. This love is natural, spontaneous, vibrant and real. This love softens our hearts of stone, (Eze. 11:19; 36:26) so we love him. We love him. We love him with all our hearts, all our souls and all our minds. (Mat. 22:37) The intimacy of our relationship with God in what God wants. “Who is a God like you, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of his possession? He does not retain his anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.” (Micah 7:18) Our God delights in unchanging love realized in us by the Spirit. The love between God and man is one of the elements that will withstand the test by fire, (1 Cor. 3:11-15) lasting into eternity. “Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psa. 136:26)
This love extends to all Christians as we realize Christ lives in them. (1 Cor. 6:19) They might do all the wrong things still, but we love them because God lives in them. Those who have received Christ are our brothers, (John 1:12-13; Rom. 8:29) holding a special place of intimacy with us. (2 Thes. 1:3) “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom you have given me; for they are yours.” (John 17:9) Being finite, we only love each other in a limited way, but realize Christ, living through us, loves each of us in a limitless way. (Eph. 2:4-7) He makes us one with his love. “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and love them even as you loved me.” (John 17:22-23) The testimony to a world that does not know God is our perfect oneness in Christ living within us. It is not in our policies and agreements. “I made known to them your name, and will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:26) Christ is continuing to ‘make known,’ to realize in us, that the Father is living in us so that the same love with which the Father loved Christ may be in us. We love our brothers as Christ loved them. This love is the expression of Christ in us – the “I in them.” (John 17:26) When we love our brothers, realize it is Christ loving them through us. Each member, young or old, holds unique value as they are the sons of God. The infinite God holds each member so special and unique to himself that each member to our Father is like our children to us. The realization that Christ lives in us, (2 Cor. 13:5) loving the brothers through us, breaks all the barriers we have set up between each other in the churches today. It unifies us into one Body through the one Spirit. (Eph. 4:4) It extends to all of mankind, as the Spirit realizes in us, all mankind are “earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7) capable of containing Christ, to become a part of his Body. We finally love our neighbours as ourselves in reality. (Mat. 22:39)
The ability to live righteously following our conscience becomes a consequence of our love for God through Christ living in us. That is why Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Mat. 5:17) We did not have the ability to live righteously, so God came to live in us, transforming us by living his life out of us, so we are able to keep the Law and fulfill what the Prophets said about him. (Luke 24:27) When Christ lives through us, we, ourselves, are no longer important, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” (John 3:30) but the love for those around us becomes most important, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17) Because we are finite, we cannot affect everyone’s lives. We can only affect the lives of people around us, loving them and providing them with the secret of how to follow their consciences by enjoying and loving the Christ living in them. Christ living out of us will show the people around us, whom we love, how to fill their gloves with the hand — how to fill the God-shaped void within their images of God — how to realize the Christ within their beings, fulfilling their purpose so they find contentment. When Jesus was living in human form on this earth, he was limited by space and time as a solitary man. Through his death and resurrection, he has released his life-giving Spirit, now living in all those who believe him. That is why he said to us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14) In resurrection, Christ is no longer limited by space or time. He is able to do greater works through all the Christians over many generations. We need to do our part by letting him work through us, realizing the Spirit within.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom. 12:1) “That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to 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 breath 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.” (Eph. 3:16-19) “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39)