(Photo: Dan Delzell)
No religious organization has a corner on Christ's real presence. You can't box Him in. Jesus goes wherever He wants to go....and one of the places He chooses to go is on the inside of everyone who believes in Him as Savior. Therefore, a Christian can literally say, "My heart is Christ's home."
We all know (or at least many of us) that Jesus Christ lived on earth 2000 years ago....and then died....and rose again....and ascended into heaven....where He sits at the right hand of the Father, which is a place of great honor. But that's not all. Jesus isn't limited to heaven. He is God, and so He is omnipresent. Christ literally dwells within the soul of every single believer. How you ask? Well....you will have to ask Him that one. His Word just says it's a fact, but it doesn't give a full explanation that we can completely grasp with our finite minds.
The only reason we know that Jesus dwells within every believer is because God's inerrant Word says so. It's not like this is "common sense." It has been revealed to us in God's Word. Specifically where you ask? Right here....
"But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness." (Romans 8:10)
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20)
"….so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." (Ephesians 3:17)
"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27)
"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 Cor. 13:5)
"Jesus said, 'Remain in me, and I will remain in you.'" (John 15:4)
"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
So you see....that is where Jesus is today....at least one of the places....within every believer. But why does it matter? I mean why even bring it up? Very simply, because God placed it in His love letter to His children....and so it's a big deal because it is taught on the pages of Scripture.
Just think about some of the implications of this reality. The living Lord of the universe actually dwells inside of you....that is, if you are trusting in Him and His death for your sins on the cross. If you believe in Him, then He lives inside you 24/7. Remember....we are talking about God here....the Creator of the world. "By Him all things were created." (Col. 1:15) Christ that is....He created it all....and then He came here and suffered an agonizing death for sinners like us. What amazing love!
How can you as a believer be sure that Jesus really does live inside of you? By having a certain feeling? No. Feelings cannot always be trusted. Feelings are far too subjective. We need objective truth if we are going to know something this remarkable. The only way to know...and I mean really know....is to base your knowledge on the Word of God. If God says something is true, then it's true....with or without warm fuzzy feelings. The Scriptures are the objective anchor for our soul....and for our beliefs about God and salvation.
Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35) And then He took it to a whole new level when He said, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him." (John 6:53-56)
So there it is....the real presence of Christ....inside every believer. Jesus Christ is truly present in, with and under the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood through faith in Christ alone. Christians do not orally chew Christ's flesh and swallow His blood....ever....not in the Lord's Supper....and not any other time. This spiritual eating and drinking goes on 24/7 for the believer through faith. The real presence of Christ does not leave the believer, but remains within all who trust in the Savior.
Some religious organizations lead their followers to think that the only time they truly come into contact with the real presence of Jesus is during the celebration of the Lord's Supper. That simply is not true. That would be like saying that the only time you ever enjoy food is when you are in a restaurant. That is only one of the times you enjoy food. And since Jesus is "the bread of life," He chooses to feed our souls all day everyday with His grace and mercy.
In his lectures on Galatians, Martin Luther said that true faith "takes hold of Christ in such a way that Christ is the object of faith, or rather not the object, but so to speak, the One who is present in the faith itself....therefore faith justifies because it takes hold of and possesses this treasure, the present Christ." In their statement of faith, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland describes it this way: "We receive the salvation that Jesus prepared by believing that He suffered the punishment for our sins. The faith by which the salvation is obtained is a gift of God. When we are convinced of God's grace and love, Jesus Himself comes to dwell in our hearts." Many other Christians from many other churches recognize this truth as well.
Do you enjoy the real presence of Jesus 24/7, or only on rare occasions? He desires to have a close relationship with you....so close in fact that He will come to live inside your soul. "But He is way up in heaven already....so how can He be here in my heart as well?" That is a very natural question....and one which our human reason tends to ask. The answer, however, cannot be understood with simple human reason. We need divine revelation. We need God's Word. We need illumination from the Holy Spirit if we are going to accept the truth that Jesus dwells inside every believer. We cannot figure it out on our own. That is simply impossible. God must teach it to us, and He does so through His Word.
Are you listening to God's Word on this and every other issue in your life? Do you desire to have the Creator of the universe dwelling within your mortal body and your immortal soul? Or would you rather go it alone....and take your "chances" in the end....as if chance has anything to do with it. It's not that shaky, In fact, it is very solid and secure. You can bank on the Word of God because He said it....and "it is impossible for God to lie." (Hebrews 6:18)
The opposite of a lie is the truth. Jesus said that He is "the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) This could be your day to understand the truth....and then to have this Man who is the truth come to dwell inside of you. But don't forget. He is more than a Man....He is also God. And if you can find a better offer than that, take it. Needless to say, you will never find one. God designed it that way....so that He would be the main event. Now all that remains is for you to determine if you are OK with the Lord taking up residence within the home of your heart. Do you want that to happen in your life, or not? God won't force Himself upon anyone.
Jesus said, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me." (Revelation 3:20) So are you hungry....and ready to feed your soul? Or do you naively think that your soul will be just fine without Jesus coming anywhere near it? What a tragic way to live....and an even more tragic way to die. It doesn't have to be that way for you my friend....it really doesn't.
If you hear Jesus knocking on the door of your heart, you stand to gain so much....if only you will respond in faith to His kind and generous offer. Will you pray this prayer my friend?
"Lord Jesus, I need you in my life. I need your forgiveness and your love. I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. But I believe that You died for my sins on the cross, and I am willing to hand you control of my life. I will follow where you lead me. Wash me....cleanse me....and make me whole. Come to live in my heart as my Lord and Savior. I am tired of trying to do this on my own. I need your presence today....tomorrow....and forever. Thank you Jesus for being such a wonderful Savior, and for giving up your life so that I could have eternal life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit, and help me to learn more about you everyday. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."