Exactly what does the Bible mean when it states that Christ is IN us, as, for instance, in Colossians 1:27?


In writing to the Christians living in Colosse, a city in western Turkey, Paul addressed the unique revelation that they, as converted Christians, had received the Holy Spirit—that is, that Jesus Christ was living within them through the Holy Spirit–and this fact was their assurance of the hope for eternal life.

In verses 24 and 25 of Colossians 1, Paul speaks of the Church of God by calling it the “body” of Christ. He also addresses the fact that he, Paul, had become a minister of the word of God. In this context, he continues addressing these faithful brethren:

“…the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ IN you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works IN me mightily” (Colossians 1:26-29).

Even as Paul reminds these Gentile converts of the fact that Christ was in them, he likewise speaks of Christ working in him “mightily” to accomplish his assigned ministry.

We see, then, that Jesus Christ is spoken of as somehow being IN His Church in all of its aspects–it is emphasized that He is somehow living IN His converted disciples, individually and collectively.

Let us ask again–How does He accomplish this?

Jesus spoke of this shortly before His death. In preparing His disciples for the traumatic events surrounding His arrest and execution, Jesus made this statement:

“‘I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you’” (John 14:18).

In the previous verses we find the answer as to how Jesus would “come” to His disciples. As usual, we are quoting from the New King James Bible, but please take careful note of our comments immediately following the quote:

“‘And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for he dwells with you and will be IN you’” (John 14:16-17).

The pronouns translated as “He” and “Him” in these verses are more accurately understood in modern English by using the Neuter form of “it”—and so with “whom”. The idea that the Holy Spirit is a person is a false teaching and one of the tragic deceptions adopted by the majority of professing “Christian” churches. For an in-depth study of this subject, please refer to our booklet, “Is God A Trinity?”

Please note Jesus’ statements in John 14:23:

“… ‘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.’ “

Here we see the astounding fact revealed that both the Father and Jesus Christ would live IN those that love Jesus and keep what He has commanded! They will live in them–making their home with them–through the Holy Spirit, which emanates from both the Father and the Son. Earlier, Jesus had spoken of something that would accompany the indwelling of the Spirit of truth and this occurrence would define a new kind of relationship between the Family of God and mankind: “‘At that day you will know that I am IN My Father, and you IN Me, and I IN you’” (John 14:20).

In the prayer of Jesus that is recorded in John 17, He very specifically addresses the emerging way in which both He and the Father would now begin to associate with those who were no longer of this world—those who would keep the Word of God:

“‘I do not pray for these alone, 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, that the world may believe that You sent Me’” (John 17:20-21).

Continuing in verses 22-23: “‘And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one; I IN them, and You IN Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.’”

Jesus concludes His prayer with these words: “‘And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be IN them, and I IN them’” (John 17:26).

In this series of statements from Christ, He speaks of “glory” and “love” being in His disciples, and He asks that they might have the same kind of unifying relationship that He has with the Father.

Paul reminded the Corinthian church of the vital fact that God had placed His Spirit in them, when he stated: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16). He adds: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [which] is IN you, [which] you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

We also find this illuminating explanation from Paul, in which he explains that we have BOTH the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of Christ:

“But you are not in the flesh but IN the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells IN you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is IN you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells IN you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit [which] dwells IN you” (Romans 8:9-11).

As mentioned, the Holy Spirit emanates from both the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ. The Father and the Son are Spirit BEINGS–GOD beings–composed of Spirit. Technically, the Holy Spirit emanates from both Spirit beings, but it is still “ONE” Spirit, in that both the Father and the Son are “ONE”–they have the SAME character, and they are totally UNITED (“one”) in purpose and will power.

Paul appeals to the Christians in Ephesus “…to keep the unity of the Spirit” (Compare Ephesians 4:1-3). Next, he declares: “There is one body [but there are many members of that body] and one Spirit [emanating from both the Father and the Son, and living in each member of the body], just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and IN you all (Verses 4-6).

Paul boldly proclaimed: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13); and: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth IN me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, Authorized Version). For a fuller explanation of this verse and the fact that the faith OF Christ resides in converted Christians, through the Holy Spirit, please refer to our Update #299, June 22, 2007, in the Q&A—titled, “Faith of Christ?”

The Bible very clearly reveals that Jesus Christ lives in converted men and women through the Holy Spirit—the one Spirit that is from the Father, and the same Spirit that is Christ’s Spirit.

The fact that Jesus does guide His Church in such an intimate fashion and that this relationship is described in such inseparable terms is absolutely crucial for those who call themselves “Christian.” We have this challenge:

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is IN you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Our booklets, “Jesus Christ—A Great Mystery!” and “God Is A Family,” offer broader examinations of the astonishing truths about the Father, Jesus Christ and the glorious future that is in store for mankind. The promise is that each man and woman will be given their opportunity to turn to God and to allow Jesus Christ to become their Savior—to live IN them!

Lead Writers: Dave Harris and Norbert Link

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