GOD IN US and WE IN HIIM
God in us, and we in Him, are two aspects to our relationship with God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. On several occasions Jesus told us that He was in us, and we in Him.
“At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” John 14:20.
“I do not pray for these alone [disciples], but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us…” John 17:20-22.
Broadly speaking, Christ in us refers to His indwelling life, and His attributes that may be imparted to us, as we receive them by faith.
We in Him refers to being united with Him in His works of redemption, by which we are eternally saved and made children of God. Because we are united with Him in His works, we are entitled to be recipients of all that they acquired for us.
Being in Him also means that we are surrounded by His Spirit, providing us with a haven of protection and peace that we may retreat into in times of spiritual warfare. Paul describes this peace in Philippians 4 as “…the peace of God which transcends all understanding…” This indescribable peace, the peace of God, may be our experience as we embrace being ‘in Him.’
HE IN US
The presence of Christ’s Spirit in us means that we may partake of His attributes to meet our needs as we ‘feed on Him.’ Jesus told us, “he who feeds on Me will live [be partakers of spiritual life] because of Me.” John 6:57-58.
Partaking of His indwelling life, as in His joy, His peace, His righteousness and sanctification, wisdom, and so forth, is a major part of our Christian walk, for as He said, “without Me you can do nothing.” On the other hand, by His presence in us, it is possible that we can do all things, even as Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13.
WE IN HIM
Christ dwelling in us is readily understood, but the connotations of we dwelling in Him may require more study and meditation, for unless we understand the blessings of being in Him, and on what grounds we are entitled to them, we cannot receive them by faith.
INCORPORATED INTO HIS WORKING
Being ‘in Him,’ speaks of our being incorporated into all of Christ’s works of redemption, for instance, His death, burial, and resurrection.
What are the spiritual grounds for us being included in His redemptive work?
1. It was through Jesus that we were created. “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” Col 1:16-17. Jesus bore the responsibility for mankind He created, in particular delivering them from bondage in Satan’s kingdom, by paying the cost of their redemption and reception into God’s kingdom.
2. As our Creator, Jesus willingly became the representative of mankind on the cross. He was corporate man on the cross, bearing the responsibility for our sins, and suffering the punishment that was due to us.
3. Because Jesus became mankind on the cross, spiritually we are included in all that happened to Him - in His suffering trials, His death, His burial, His resurrection, and His glorification. The outcome of our involvement in these events depends on our belief, and willing participation of them as we are directed by the Holy Spirit.
INCORPORATED IN HIS DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION
As a starting point, being in God is brought about by our acceptance of the fact that we were in Jesus Christ, in His atoning sacrifice on the cross. For instance, Paul said that we were baptised into God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Paul said that this meant that we were in Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead [as new creations united with Christ] by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Rom 6:3-5.
All that baptism acquired for us by our union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, is now part of our spiritual history, and now we are encouraged to participate with each in our present spiritual walk.
In His death:
Because we were baptised into Christ’s death, we can now declare our ‘old man,’ with its carnal nature that we had before being saved, is incorporated in Christ’s death. Paul called this ‘putting off our old man,’ which is followed by putting on Jesus Christ, so that we might be partakers of His life.
“…that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man [Christ in you] which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph 4:22-24
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Gal 3:27.
Jesus likened putting off our carnal self-orientated nature, and putting on Himself, to taking up our cross daily as part of our morning commitment. This does not bring about an instant death of our carnal nature, but it opens the door for the Holy Spirit to engage in a prolonged work of dismantling its power.
In His burial:
Being baptised into Christ’s burial means that all of our past life with its sins and misdemeanours, has now been spiritually buried, or taken out of sight, and there are no grounds whatsoever for Satan to accuse us concerning our past life.
Raised in His resurrection:
Because we have been baptised into Christ’s resurrection, we may believe that now we are raised from death to the life as new creations. Spiritually, we are raised in Him to ‘heavenly places,’ far above principalities and powers, and recipients of every spiritual blessing that Christ procured for us.
WE MAY APPROPRIATE EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING FROM GOD
It is God the Father, who is the source of the blessings we have by Christ’s indwelling presence, for He dispenses all things to us through Jesus Christ by the Spirit. “But of Him [God the Father] you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Cor 1:30-31. As members of his body, we are “the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Eph 1:22-23.
It is God’s will that we appropriate all that Jesus procured for us by His sacrifice on the cross, lest He died in vain. In the parable of the prodigal son, the elder son who had always been obedient to his father, became aggrieved because the disobedient son was seemingly given all, and he had received nothing. When confronted by his son’s sullen attitude, his father responded by saying, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” Luke 15: 31. The elder son was entitled to receive all that the father had, but had remained bereft of these blessings because he had not appropriated them.
God has potentially blessed everyone in Christ with every spiritual blessing. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…” Eph 1:3. Paul then goes on to name a few.
“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame…” Eph 1:4.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Eph 1:7.
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance [eternal life in Heaven], being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Eph 1:11-12.
“…in whom we have boldness and access [to the presence and grace of God] with confidence through faith in Him.” Eph 3:12.
Why are so many Christians bereft of the blessings we have in Christ? Perhaps because they seem so remote from us, or destined to be received by a few who are more spiritual than we are. When Paul addressed the uninformed crowd at Athens, he told them that they were created by God in the hope that they would ignore the fact that He seemed so far off, and to stretch forth their minds and hearts in the hope that they would discover the Lord. He told them-
“He [God] gives to all life, breath, and all things… so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being…” Acts 17:26-28.
What is involved in groping for the Lord in order to find Him? Firstly we should pray to the Lord to reveal His truth to us, and then ignoring feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty, meditate on the relevant Scriptures with quietness and patience, waiting on the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth to us.
There comes a time where we are convicted that what we are questioning is the truth, and we may step out in faith, and experientially claim a blessing, and after faith grows, further blessings.
Take for an example the Scripture, “But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Cor 2:16. Our first reaction may be that this is impossible, and yet the bible says that it is so. With persevering meditation eventually we realise that by the Spirit we have the capability to apprehend the Lord’s mind on a particular matter. As we daily consign our carnal minds to the death of the cross, and put on the sound mind of the Lord, His mind is gradually formed in us by the Spirit.
HOW DO WE KNOW THAT WE ARE IN GOD AND HE IN US
The following are Scriptures that shed light on the necessary spiritual conditions for knowing our blessings in Him.
Knowing and believing the Scriptures
The first essential thing is to know and believe the Scriptures, in particular that Jesus is the Son of God, and that it is by His cross that we have all of our blessings.
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” 1 John 4:15-16.
Love and Obedience
Love and obedience are two conditions for us to know the abiding presence of Jesus Christ and God the Father. God is love, and when we are one with Him and know His abiding presence, we have love for one another as He has loved us.
“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16.
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” John 14:23
“But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” 1 John 2:9-10.
If we have His Spirit
“By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” 1 John 4:13-14.
“Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” 1 John 3:24.
OUR BLESSINGS HAVE ALREADY BEEN ACCOMPLISHED
The Righteousness of God
Our blessings in Him, have already been accomplished by God through Jesus Christ, and are laid up in heaven for us to claim, and apply them to our spiritual walk. For example, in this next reading, it is knowing that we are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor 5:21.
We are sanctified, or set apart to God
“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands [by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross], by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ…” Col 2:11-12.
In the Old Testament, circumcision was a physical sign, denoting that a person was now sanctified, or set apart to God. By the virtue of Christ’s shed blood and sacrificed body, we have become new creations, sanctified, made holy and blameless, set apart to God for His purposes.
We are glorified in Him
When we walk in the light of Christ’s abiding presence, His glory is manifested through us.
“…that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thess 1:12.
WALK IN THE TRUTH
Once you have learned what are the blessings you have in Jesus Christ in God, Paul says that you should be rooted in them so that they are part of your being, and then to walk in them involving them in all of your activities.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Col 2:6-7.
WE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM
By abiding in Him and He in us He is working in our activities
Jesus said, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. This means that when we are in Him, and He in us, we can be assured that He is working with us in our ministering in His name. By this union with Him, we are made complete.
“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Col 2:9-10.
Here there are two aspects relative to our relationship with God. The first is that in Jesus Christ there are all the attributes and power of the Godhead that are available for us to receive by faith. Secondly, by our position in Him, the fullness of the blessings of Christ’s sacrificed body and shed blood are afforded to us.
We are made complete as we embrace and walk in BOTH aspects of our relationship with God - of being in Him, and He in us.