Returning to Paul’s prayer in EPH 3:14-19, we find one of the great manifestations of the glorious wealth of God towards us, unbelievable really if it were not so plainly stated in the scripture:
Holy Spirit and the Christ working closely together within us in order to produce in us a certain type of clarity of thought and way, in fact, the most beautiful of all thought and way against which all others seem base and dark.
If we see them through the eyes of our heart (Paul’s first prayer in Eph) then every false thing stated about them and their function within us will be rejected.
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.
The indwelling of the Trinity is wonderful. In trying to understand more about it than is revealed, the church has often wrapped a sort of staleness around it by over systematizing it or over analyzing it. The worse thing the false teachers in the church have done is to allegorize it, not accepting it as real and literal, but having another meaning. It is as wonderful as can be, just as it is written. It should be accepted in the simplest and most joyous and thankful manner.
Being within you to work, the believer must know that all his strength comes from God.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
Man likes to boast of his strength. Paul boasted of his weakness, his earthen vessel’s frailty, for when he knew this about himself he was made strong by Christ who spread Himself over Paul like a tent.
God choose the ignoble, unwise, unmighty; which is all men, but only the believer knows it. He knows something of it at salvation, for the Holy Spirit reveals to him that he is a sinner in need of the One and only Savior, and after salvation, over time, he really comes to know how weak he is. He must throw up his hands and know that only God within him can do anything good. This is purely a matter of faith.
When Israel deserted their Law and their institutions and went after idols of demons, this did not frustrate the truth that God meant for them to show to the world. Their faithfulness would have meant that God would display His power by subjecting the surrounding kingdoms, but their unfaithfulness meant that God would make those nations the very instrument of His punishment upon His chosen people. And this was accomplished under such peculiar circumstances that the conquerors would eventually have to acknowledge the supremacy of Yavah, and that they had been blind agents of His will. Esther would become queen in Persia, Daniel high counselor, Magi would be so influenced by the truth, especially Balaam’s prophecy of the star out of Jacob, that five generations later they would come to Jerusalem looking for the King. How many other countless similar instances occurred we can only imagine. Soon after God used the nations to punish Israel, they were themselves overthrown. And although Israel would be forced into captivity, they would return. In our time they have again returned, and when Christ returns, the King of the Jews, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. Nothing frustrates the power of God.
God indwells you. The power of God is in you. The times of you trying to rely on your own wisdom and power and cunning are over. God is in you to do His good pleasure. Obey Him and trust Him and it will come to pass.
But first, some systematic looking.
The indwelling Spirit and the indwelling Christ are very closely related, though they are not identical.
The Trinity is one and triune. Some, even modern expositors, have confused the Trinity into a form of modalism, the belief in one God showing Himself in three modes, but not being three distinct persons. Modalists claim that the Christ and the Holy Spirit are one and the same.
Walvoord in “Jesus Christ Our Lord” writes: “The confusion of the person of Christ with that of the Holy Spirit is a very common one, however. Milligan writes: “The Spirit bestowed by our Lord in His glorified condition is not really the Spirit but the Spirit in which He Himself is filled; or, in other words, His own spirit.” Such a view of the Holy Spirit of course tends toward a Unitarian point of view which in essence denies that there are distinct Persons in the Trinity.”
Milligan is not alone. There are many established and well-read theologians who hold similar views. The error results from trying to reason about things that are too high for us, like the Trinity and the indwelling of the Trinity. We can understand the facts laid out in the Bible and we can put our faith in them, and that is as far as any believer can go. That should not disappoint us, but rather give us joy.
God has made it simple for us - the riches of glory is Christ and He is in you and that is your hope of glory. Now put your faith in that.
Thus says the Lord, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, "declares the Lord.
It is also made clear in the New Testament scripture that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer. He is to lead us into truth, bear witness to our inner man that we are children of God, give strength to our inner man, and to help us in every endeavor under the will of the Father.
We read of the spirit of Christ and we also read of the Holy Spirit. They are one but not identical. However, another error is made by trying to over distance oneself from modalism in which we seek to find distinctions between the Son and the Holy Spirit that don’t exist.
When it comes to the Son and the Spirit ministering to us from within us, we find more similarities than we do distinctions.
One person stated, “It is essential to preserve with care both sides of this truth. Christ and the Spirit are different yet the same, and same yet different. Perhaps the best expression we can give is that while the Personalities are never identical, their presence always is.” [Griffith Thomas, The Holy Spirit of God] That doesn’t clarify much, but helps us to see that further mysteries exist.
It is important to know this before we delve into the revelation in the scripture concerning the indwelling Holy Spirit and the indwelling Christ. Don’t add anything or deduce anything that is not clearly taught in the word of God.
The work of the Holy Spirit and the work of Christ are often equated. It is important to never forget that they are both in you and will never leave you.
Jesus said that He was the Helper of the disciples, but on the eve of His death He said that He would give them another Helper. Then He said that the Helper, the Spirit of Truth, will be in you while simultaneously stating “I will come to you.”
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
The Helper, the Spirit of Truth, will be in you while simultaneously stating “I will come to you.”
John uses the first-person singular or erchomai = I will come to you. The context seems to equate the coming of the Spirit with the coming of Jesus, meaning, His indwelling presence.
The Holy Spirit came to men at Pentecost. By faith in Christ men were baptized by the Holy Spirit, entering them into union with Christ, making their bodies the temple of God into which Christ dwelt. Such a rebirth had never happened before, and its been happening every day since.
The work of the Spirit and the Son are in conjunction:
for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh
The Spirit will bear witness of all that Christ is and has done.
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me, 27 and you will bear witness also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”
“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.”
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that [the] Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith [fully know Him]