As we approach Easter, a time to celebrate the cross and resurrection of Jesus, it brings to mind an important question that hardly anyone asks: “What does it mean to have Christ living in me?”
Some will say, “I grew up in a Christian home,” or “I’ve been baptized,” or “I’m a member of such-and-such congregation.” That’s not what I’m talking about here. And I’m not even talking about inviting Christ to live in you. I’m talking about what it means to have Him living in you now that you’re already a believer. Hardly anyone asks about how His indwelling presence affects their everyday perspective and life.
Almost nobody is talking about it at all. I’ve asked myself why many times, and I think it comes down to this: Most of us are still asking questions about Friday, so to speak. We haven’t graduated to Sunday. In other words, most of us are still asking “cross” questions:
Am I forgiven of my sins?
Does God really accept me as I am?
Did I do something to mess up my relationship with God?
If you don’t have solid answers to these cross questions, it’s hard to move on to get your resurrection questions answered. We can easily find ourselves stuck in a “Friday” experience and miss all that “Sunday” (the resurrection!) has to offer us.
Resurrection thoughts might include:
- What does it mean that Christ lives in me?
- How do I live from my union with Jesus?
- What should I expect from His indwelling life?
Living in a post-crucifixion world means we have received God’s forgiveness and we are at peace with Him in every way. But we need to be living in a post-resurrection world, too, as the resurrection gave us victory over sin and an unbreakable spiritual union with Jesus.
How miraculous it is to be totally forgiven and to live under grace as a new creation! But maybe it’s time we now focus on what it means to have new life — His resurrection life in us, here and now.
Have you considered that eternal life is more than everlasting life? Everlasting life is life with no end. But the word “eternal” means “having no beginning and no end.” Whose life is the only life with no beginning? God’s life, of course. To have eternal life is to have the life of God Himself within you!
So, the gift of eternal life is not your life made longer. And eternal life is not your life made better. Eternal life is actually Christ’s life.
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:11-13).
Eternal life isn’t just a ticket to Heaven. Having eternal life is not primarily about reading a book or visiting a building for an hour a week. Whoever has the Son has the life. Having eternal life means having the Son’s life. The life lost in Eden is restored to us in Christ.
A building of brick and mortar is not the house of God. You are!
Some may think experiencing eternal life is about book knowledge — knowing facts and figures from the Bible. Jesus Himself dismissed that idea:
“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40).
The Jews were certainly dedicated to studying Scripture and memorizing what it said. But getting to know the book is very different from getting to know the Author. You can see how easy it is to get off track.
I taught linguistics for two decades and wrote a textbook. My students read the textbook to get to know linguistics, not to get to know me. Growing up in school, you read your math book to learn the formulas. You read your history book to learn the facts. Likely, you never once thought about getting to know the author of those textbooks. But with the Bible it’s different: It’s ultimately not about being an expert in the Book. It’s about knowing the Author.
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
Knowing the presence of Christ Himself within us is nothing short of miraculous. It’s the core of true Christianity. Paul says the test you need to pass is this:
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail the test” (2 Corinthians 13:5)?
The best revelation a Christian can have is to realize that you contain within you every attribute of Christ at every moment. Need more patience? Don’t wait for a gift package to fall from Heaven. Trust God within you here and now. Need more love? Recognize God poured out His love into your heart through His Spirit (Romans 5:5). You have all that you need.
There’s no more waiting or hoping, begging or pleading. Instead, count yourself alive and connected to the One Who is pure patience and pure love. No more long-distance phone calls to Heaven asking for a special visit of God’s Spirit to “fall fresh” on you. The presence of Christ is local, powerful, and all-encompassing. He is everything you need!
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Our union with the resurrected Christ means our attempts at getting “more of Jesus” can come to a screeching halt. We’re complete in Him. Through the resurrection, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3), and we have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). This is the greatest news we could ever receive. This Easter season, and every day, celebrate all you’ve been given through the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Adapted from The Grace Message by Dr. Andrew Farley, released March 8, 2022, from Salem Books.
Dr. Andrew Farley is a bestselling author of nine books including The Naked Gospel and Twisted Scripture. He serves as president of The Grace Message – a nonprofit Christian media ministry dedicated to proclaiming the love and grace of God with boldness and clarity. Andrew hosts The Grace Message with Dr. Andrew Farley– a live, call-in radio program– every weeknight on Sirius XM Satellite Radio and on stations across North America. He is also the lead pastor of The Grace Church and has been recognized with several awards for his excellence in teaching. Andrew lives in Texas with his wife Katharine and their son Gavin. Learn more at www.andrewfarley.org.