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STUDY 14 Christ in you (Colossians 1 v27).
Bible passages to be read: John 14 v15-20, Ephesians 3 v14-21, 2 Kings 2 v1-15, 2 Corinthians 6 v14-18, Galatians 2 v20, 1 John 4 v4.
It is understandable why in Colossians 1 v27 Paul speaks of Christ indwelling the believer as “the riches of the glory of this mystery”. We can only worship with awe and humble thanksgiving that the Saviour, who was “made flesh”, and deigned to use a human body; and then in that body “endured the Cross, despising the shame”, is ready still to dwell in human bodies by His Spirit. Such condescension is beyond our understanding. But it is a fact that it is Christ in us which is our “hope of glory”. There is a wonderful thought expressed in Exodus 12 v23; “For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you”. The thought is that He Himself will cross the threshold of the house, and that His presence will be the guarantee of safety from the destroyer. Their immediate safety and hope of deliverance, not only at that moment but all through their history, lay in His presence with them. So with us, our keeping in the present and our final hopes of heaven rest in His coming to make His purchased possession fully and finally His own. Our union with Him is the great secret of all true Christian living.
In John 14 v15-20 we have the Saviour’s own promise to make His dwelling place in the hearts of His own, and it is always good to see just what He has to say on any and every subject.
1. Can you trace in this passage the details of His teaching concerning this great subject? There is one particular verse, which provides a plain statement, which should be memorised. Which verse is this?
2. Now look at Ephesians 3 v14-21 and comment on the role played by the Holy Spirit in preparing us for the indwelling of Christ. Can you also give from this passage some idea of the results of His indwelling?
An Old Testament passage, 2 Kings 2 v1-15, has been included in this study because of the close identification of Elisha with his master. This is summed up in the testimony of the “sons of the prophets”, “The spirit of Elijah doth rest upon Elisha.”
3. Can you trace the steps which led to this transfer of power and authority? Do you think that this incident presents a picture of the dealings of the Lord Jesus with us? Give your reasons.
2 Corinthians 6 v14-18 gives another aspect of the conditions under which the Saviour indwells us. Just as the prosperity of the people of Israel went in double harness with the presence of God Himself in their midst, and rested on their putting away their false gods; this is also true of the Christian.
4. Discuss the whole question here raised as to our responsibility to maintain the conditions for His continued presence.
5. Read Galatians 2 v20 and comment on the teaching of this verse on the indwelling of Christ.
Lastly, turn to John 4 v4. There are many strange errors propagated to-day. This verse comes right in the middle of some clear teaching about such errors.
6. Would you say that the fact of the indwelling of the Saviour by His Spirit is a safeguard against false teaching? If so, how?