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Luther says: “Christ should be set forth in such a way that apart from Him you see nothing at all and that you believe that nothing is nearer and closer to you than He. For He is not sitting idle in heaven but is completely present with us, active and living in us as [Galatians] chapter two says (2:20): . . . Hence the speculation of the sectarians is vain when they imagine that Christ is present in us ‘spiritually,’ that is, speculatively, but is present really in heaven. Christ and faith must be completely joined. We must simply take our place in heaven; and Christ must be, live, and work in us. But He lives and works in us, not speculatively but really, with presence and with power” (Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 26, pages 356–357).

christ_in_me

God says that the devil is “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31) and “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), and the devil constantly tries to live within you (1 John 4:4), as here illustrated as the devil passes constantly through your spiritual veins.

Christ Lives in Me!

In past issues and in this issue, Good News has repeatedly emphasized Christ’s clear teaching that He actually lives within His children. Because this Scriptural teaching is almost always highly controversial, some prefer to simply dismiss the discussion of whether Christ actually lives in you each hour as nit-picky and irrelevant—and get on with the important teachings of Scripture. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Holy Spirit teaches that it is absolutely necessary to know that Christ lives in you. Why? Christ, the Father, and the Spirit promise to reside hourly in you (John 14: 17, 23) Why? To do battle with the devil and the power of Sin that is now trying to enslave you and destroy you (Romans 6:6–23). It is for this same reason that Christians have always treasured and clung daily to the precious promise the Holy Spirit gives through 1 John 4:4: “Greater is He [Jesus] Who is in you, than he [Satan] who is in the world.” It is also for this reason that the greatest missionary in history, St. Paul, made that great confession: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

EVEN LIMITED ILLUSTRATIONS EXPOSE THE DEVIL’S TEACHINGS

Any human illustration designed to teach the great mysteries of God as revealed in Scripture will always be inadequate. Nevertheless, Luther explains that these human illustrations give us at least a “faint” idea of God’s teaching. This is also true of the visual shown on the opposite page—the illustration of Jesus, using the Sword of the Word to drive the devil out of your spiritual veins.

WHEN AND HOW DOES CHRIST ACTUALLY COME TO LIVE WITHIN YOU?

When you are born, Christ does not live in you. So how does His residence within you begin? Through His miracle of Baptism, God “unites” you to Christ (Romans 6:5). From the moment of your Baptism, God has created a relationship with you—which could be compared to a divine “umbilical cord” through which Christ’s life now flows into you, and without which you will quickly die, spiritually. 


Consider the illustration Jesus used to describe His relationship to you/with you, that is of a branch and a Vine (John 15:1ff.). Jesus says: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4). Like a type of umbilical cord, the life-giving nutrients of the Vine (Jesus)—and the disease-fighting antibodies of the Vine, which are also from Jesus—flow into the branch, you! These spiritual antibodies attack the power of Sin that is now raging deep within you. Without Christ’s life flowing into you every minute, Sin will eventually enslave and destroy you (Romans 6:6–23).

ALWAYS A CONTROVERSY

Christ’s teaching that we are attached to Him, and that He lives in us, has always been one of the great mysteries of His church. In order to try to make the Christian faith more palatable and acceptable to the mind of man, many so-called teachers of the Bible began to mix human reason into this great mystery taught in God’s Word. An immediate disaster occurred! Why? When reason is introduced in order for man to comprehend the mysteries of God, the Holy Spirit departs. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:12–14).

JESUS IS NOT INTERESTED IN HEARING ANY REASON-DRIVEN OPINIONS!

Jesus Christ is not interested in your reason-driven opinion as to whether or not He actually lives in you. Rather, listen to what Jesus Christ says to you: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him” (John 14:23). As He was returning to the Father, Jesus also promised to send His Spirit to live “in you” (John 14:17). When Christ lives daily in you, the power of His resurrection opposes any and all attempts by the power of Sin to enslave you and to destroy you spiritually (Romans 6:6–23).

SET ASIDE YOUR HUMAN REASON—RECEIVE ONLY CHRIST’S REVELATION!

Set aside all human reason as you consider the great mystery of Christ living in you! The Holy Spirit says reason is hostile to the mysteries of God (Romans 8:7). Continue to study and meditate upon the Scriptures of God, His “living Oracles” (Acts 7:38). Then, each new day, the Spirit will teach you more and more clearly how God’s miracle of Baptism IS NECESSARY for your life in Christ. Through His miracle of Baptism, God the Father unites you to Jesus Christ and His sin-atoning death and death-defeating resurrection, as the Holy Spirit teaches in Romans 6:6–23. Then, in every following hour, minute, and second, the Sin-defeating spiritual antibodies of the risen and victorious Christ flow into you and through you, keeping the demons in submission and the devil at bay. “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus . . . For sin shall not be master over you” (Romans 6:11, 14). “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).


Blessed Lord Jesus, by the power of Your Spirit, cause my heart to believe Your great mystery, Your precious teaching that You, the Father, and the Spirit, live within me every hour. Through that teaching, assure my heart that no matter how intensely the devil may attack me, he will never succeed in enslaving me. In the power of Your Name, I believe. Amen.… 

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