under a special agreement with
presents "New Life in Christ" Course 2
under a special agreement with
"At that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." (John 14:20)
For three and a half wonderful years the Lord Jesus had walked and talked with His disciples. As He neared the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus spoke to them of His death, His resurrection, and His going back to the Father. Would this mean that they would be left alone? No, not at all. Jesus said,
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” John 14:18
What was Jesus saying to His disciples? He was saying, “I am going away, but I am coming back in a new and different way. I am coming back in the person of the Holy Spirit. I am coming to live in you. Just as the Father lives in Me, I am coming to live in you.” The Lord Jesus said,
“At that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” John 14:20
From our Lord’s words, “You in Me, and I in you,” we learn that there are two aspects of our new relationship with Christ. These can be expressed in two simple statements:
1. The believer is IN CHRIST.
2. Christ is in the believer.
Let us consider these two aspects of our new relationship with Christ.
The Believer is IN CHRIST
God has put us IN CHRIST. This is God’s fact, and it is true of every believer. The Bible says,
“Of Him [God] are you IN CHRIST JESUS…” 1 Corinthians 1:30
There are no words in the entire Bible more precious than these two words—“In Christ.” But what does it mean to be IN CHRIST?
To be IN CHRIST means to be in union with Him. When we are born again, we become one with the Lord. The Bible says,
“He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit [one with Him].” 1 Corinthians 6:17
Because we are one with Christ, we share in all that He is and all that He has done for us. Because we are IN CHRIST, we are the object of God’s pleasure and delight. Just as God loves His Son and delights in Him, so He loves us and delights in us because we are in Him. The Bible says,
“…as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17
Let us think of a young girl who was born into a very poor family. She is a lovely girl but her future is not very bright because her family is so poor. But one day a wealthy prince sees her and is attracted to her. In time he falls in love with her and asks her to be his bride.
At the moment these two are joined in marriage, this young girl is no longer poor. She is joined in marriage to a wealthy prince and she now shares in all that he is and all that he has.
Because we are joined to Christ, we share in all that He is and all that He has done for us.
How can we be sure that we are IN CHRIST? We can be sure because the Bible declares that it is so. It was God who put us IN CHRIST and it is God who tells us that He has done this. The Bible says,
“He who establishes us with you IN CHRIST…is God…” 2 Corinthians 1:21
Our being IN CHRIST—in union with Him—is not something we have done. It is something God has done for us. Our part is to see it, believe it, and rejoice in it.
Christ is in the Believer
Because we are IN CHRIST—in union with Him—we have a perfect standing before God. But what about our life here on earth?
We want to live a life that is pleasing to God, but in ourselves we are unable to do it. We want to do what is right and good, but it seems that the more we struggle to live right, the more we fail. The Apostle Paul had this same problem. He wrote,
“For the good that I would [do] I do not; but the evil which I would not [do], that I do.” Romans 7:19
No matter how hard Paul tried, he could not live the way he wanted to. Paul said,
“For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” Romans 7:18
Christians down through the ages have had the same experience that Paul had. We want to do what is right and good, but we are unable to do it.
How does God solve this problem? He solves this problem by giving Christ to live in us. The Bible says,
“Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your heart…” Galatians 4:6
We know that Christ is living in us because of God’s clear statements that the living Christ is dwelling in us.
In Galatians 2:20, Paul said, “I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” In Colossians 1:27, Paul says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Again and again in His Word, God seeks to impress on us the great truth that the living Christ is dwelling in every one of His children. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul wrote, “Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” In Ephesians 3:17, Paul prayed for the believers, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.”
Sometimes a Christian will look for some special feeling or emotion before He will believe that Christ is living in his heart. But God plainly tells us that Christ lives in the heart of every child of His. What God says in His Word is true regardless of our feelings.
Accept God’s clear statements that the living Christ is living in you. Believe it to be true because God says that it is true. Believe it to be true regardless of your feelings because it is true.
Christ is All that we Need
In our last lesson we learned that Jesus Christ is the great “I AM.”
Christ is the answer to our every need. He is our righteousness, our love, our joy, our power, our wisdom, our holiness, our victory, our patience, our strength, and much, much more. He is indeed our “all in all.”
You may say, “But how do I experience all these things that Christ is to me?” We experience them as we “abide” in Christ.
Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you.” Our part is to abide in Him. His part is to be everything that we need. Let us see what it means to abide in Christ.
Abide in Christ
God has put us IN CHRIST and He wants us to “abide” in Him. We are never told to get into Christ, for we are already IN CHRIST. But the Lord Jesus says to us, “Abide in Me…” (John 15:4a)
The word “abide” means “to stay.” If you go to your home and abide there, it means that you stay there.
When you abide in your home, everything in that home is available to you—the light, the heating, the furniture, the food—everything. And when you abide in Christ, all that is in Christ is available to you—His love, His strength, His patience, His holiness, His wisdom—everything!
What does it mean to “abide in Christ”? It means to remain in unbroken fellowship with Him. How do we abide in Him? We abide in Him by recognizing His presence in us, obeying Him and drawing on Him for all our needs.
What breaks our abiding in Christ? Sin! When we sin, our abiding in the Lord is broken. As soon as we confess that sin to the Lord, our fellowship with Him is restored. Once again we are abiding in Him.
A great man of God, Evan Hopkins, once explained to his little six-year-old son what it means to “abide in Christ.” Little Evan had received Christ as his Savior when he was just six years of age, and his father wanted him to understand this truth of abiding in Christ.
Calling his son into his office, the father took a card and drew a circle. Inside he listed all of the things Christ is to us.
Putting the point of his pencil in the center of the circle, he said, “There, son, you see that pencil? I want you to keep in Christ as the pencil is in the circle. Inside you will find everything to make you happy and loving and obedient. But there are a lot of little doors all around the circle. It is when you go out by one of these doors that you are naughty.”
Then he drew little doors leading out from the circle. These doors represented the sins that take us out from abiding in Christ.
Little Evan was so happy to understand this, and he told others in his own language what he had just heard. He carried the card around so he could explain what it meant to abide in Christ, and how he was staying in the center of the circle.
But one day, the little boy came to his father crying. When his father asked why he was crying, his son said, “I have got out of the circle.” His fear was that he could not get back in.
The father kneeled down with his son and they looked at the card together. The father said, “Now, Evan, tell me what was the door you went out by?” The son showed it to his father. “Well,” said the father, “the way to get in again is to enter by the same door you went out by. And the way to do that is to confess that very sin to God. The moment we do this, God forgives us of that sin, and we come back into the circle and once again we are abiding in Christ.” How happy the little fellow was to learn this!
This is a simple story, but it explains what it means to abide in Christ. As we recognize Christ’s presence in us, obey Him, and draw upon Him for our needs, we abide in Him and enjoy His love and fellowship. If we sin, we should confess that sin to God immediately.
One of the great secrets of the Christian life is to turn to God immediately when we fail. Satan always tries to keep us from doing this, but God wants us to confess our sins to Him immediately. The moment we do this, God forgives us, and we are once again abiding in Christ.
We Live by Christ
The Lord Jesus said, “I live by the Father.” What was Jesus saying here? He was saying, “The Father lives in Me, and I live by Him. I recognize His presence in Me, I obey Him always, I draw upon Him for all that I need.”
Just as Christ lived by the Father who dwelled in Him, so we are to live by Christ who dwells in us. The Bible says that Christ is “our life.”
When the Apostle Paul realized that Christ was his life, he no longer had to say, “How to perform that which is good, I find not.” Instead, he said triumphantly,
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Begin now to do these three things:
1. Recognize Christ’s presence in you.
Say to yourself, “Christ lives in me! Christ lives in me!” Christ does live in you. Believe that He is there and begin to act accordingly, and God will make it real to you.
A little girl once said that she had learned the secret of overcoming temptation. She said, “When the devil knocks at the door of my heart, I just say, ‘Lord Jesus, will You please answer the door.’ When the devil sees Jesus, he bows down and says, ‘I see that I have come to the wrong place,’ and he leaves.”
What was this little girl doing? She was simply recognizing Christ’s presence in her heart, and she was trusting Him to be her victory over temptation. This is just what we must do.
2. Obey Him at all times.
We cannot enjoy this wonderful Indwelling Christ if He is not loved, honored and obeyed. We must be ready always to say, “Lord Jesus, I will please You, even though it may mean displeasing everyone else.”
3. Draw upon Him for all your needs.
Whatever you need, take Christ as that thing. Remember, He is the great “I AM.” Take Him as your victory—let Him overcome temptation for you. He will not fail you.
Abiding in Christ is simply giving oneself to the Lord Jesus, the great I AM, trusting Him to keep us and letting Him do all for us.
As we abide in Christ, He makes Himself real to us. He becomes the great “I AM” to us. Whatever we need, He becomes that very thing to us.
Day by day, as we learn to abide in Christ and to trust Him to be everything we need, we are being changed. The Bible says that we are being “conformed to the image of God’s Son.” This means that we are becoming more and more like Jesus.
One day, we shall see Jesus face to face, and we shall be like Him in every way.