Jesus Inside

In How can I be a good husband? I wrote:

Jesus is inside her and when she speaks to me, Jesus speaks to me. Loving and supporting my wife is loving and supporting Jesus.

What do I mean by that?

First of all I use it as a metaphor to promote a way of treating people — how to listen or attend; how to value them, even in their weakness.

But I do think it is more than a metaphor, that it is true in some way.

Here are two ways:

  • I think of the “body of Christ” as humanity as a whole. So every person — Christian or not — is part of the body of Christ.
  • One way I think of Jesus is as the perfect human. Jesus is the ideal in whose image we are all created, and which we strive (knowingly or not, Christian or not, consistently and effectively or not) to realise.

In both senses every person has Jesus inside them in some way.

The force of the argument is similar (imho) to Romans 2:15 when Paul writes of the Gentiles that, “the work of the law is written on their hearts”.

I would say the Holy Spirit inspires everyone too (to a greater or lesser extent, etc.). This is manifested in the “striving” I mention in the second point above. Sometimes I think of the Holy Spirit as a kind of force, like a force of gravity, that wants to pull or turn us toward the light.

Obviously God acts on everyone too.

Part of “being a Christian” (imho) is being conscious of this reality — while secular thinkers will be unconscious of it, or describe it in other ways, or deny it — and to try and live in accordance with it.

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4 Comments

  1. Hey David, I appreciate your desire to view your acts of love and service to your wife as being done with the mindset Christ talked about in Matthew 25:31-46–“unto the least of these, you’ve done them unto me.” But I don’t see this or the verse you mentioned from Romans as being biblical evidence that Christ is “within” or “inside” unbelievers. And I wonder why you want to view it that way. I’d love for you to flesh out your thoughts on that here in the comments or at a later post.

    As you probably already know, I believe that Scripture teaches that the Spirit indwells “believers” only. That doesn’t mean Christ doesn’t constantly speak to unbelievers or try to influence them in all sorts of ways. I believe that Christ surrounds unbelievers, including your wife, and loves her–desiring that she receive His salvation and even impressing that invitation upon her constantly. But until she makes that decision in faith, I don’t believe Christ comes to live within her.

    I believe that the verse in Romans 2:14 that you cited is a great verse, but doesn’t mean the Spirit indwells believers. It simply is a statement that God influences and convicts people of what is right and wrong–which is the core of the law. Christ puts His truth inside every unbeliever as their “conscience.” We are told in James 1:17 that every good and perfect gift is from above or from God. Therefore, our good conscience is from God, enabling us to see what is right so that we can choose Him who is right and the only way to righteousness. Paul wrote that verse (v. 14) to explain that unbelievers can choose Him through this inward knowing or conscience, but (v. 16) when they don’t, they will stand before Christ who will judge them for that choice one day. The only way they can stand and be proclaimed pure, is if they stand in Christ’s purity. That is a choice that Christ constantly extends to them. I’m quite sure that Christ is influencing your wife in that very same way with every good choice she makes. But the choice that trumps every good work or good choice is the choice to follow Christ.

    Can you cite any other Scriptures that give an indication that unbelievers have Christ living within them? To me, this doesn’t square at all with the truth of the gospel. I hope you don’t take offense. You told me to “bring it on!” So that’s what I am doing, my friend! I love that you want to wrestle with God’s word and understand it more! You have incredible insight that I can tell has been given to you by God alone. Know that I respect your views, but also respectfully disagree. ;-)

    Reply
    • Dear Beth, thank you for your comment. A theological dispute! So accepting Christ is more than just becoming conscious & is more like taking Christ in? I can see merit in that. I shall have a think :)

      Reply
  2. Most definitely! Much, much more!

    Reply
    • Dear Beth

      Thanks again for your serious comment. Here are some more thoughts.

      I can’t cite Scriptural authority, you have the advantage on me there. The only other Scriptures I would draw on are Genesis 1:26&27 where God creates people in His own image. All people, believer or unbeliever, are created in God’s image. Every person (believer or unbeliever) carries that image inside or with them. A better way of putting it might be that we inhabit, embody, realise that image.

      How accurately or strongly each person embodies that image varies (between people, and during a person’s life). My argument is not that each person carries actively, clearly, fully and vibrantly, Christ in their heart — and they just don’t know it. The image (or rather the embodiment) might be distant, distorted, obscured — in believers as well as in unbelievers — but it is there. Recognising and accepting Christ into one’s life brings that image out of the shadows and into the limelight.

      You wrote, “Christ puts His truth inside every unbeliever”. That is similar to what I want to say, I think.

      Why do I “want to view it that way”? Most of my thinking and feeling about this (for years) was done before I started thinking of myself as a Christian. So most of my thinking has been with my “secular hat” on.

      How you describe it is certainly how it feels. I described it to myself as “crossing the line” (from unbeliever to believer) — and the closer I got to the line the wider it seemed to get — perhaps I am not all the way through even now. I thought of it as an “investigation” but you are right, at a definite point I made a decision (or if you like, a “choice”). I want to turn to God for help, I want to be in harmony with Him, I want Jesus to be with me, I want the Spirit fill me and carry me.

      Two quite different descriptions, but I don’t think they are incompatible.

      No doubt this is rather wayward, but I have to range around like this. Not being part of “a” church, I don’t feel the need to accept a church’s doctrine. At the same itme, I don’t want to “choose” a church that has a doctrine in line with what I already think. My way of being a doubting Thomas perhaps.

      Reading 1 & 2 Peter with your reading group has completely changed how I think/feel about the Letters. I’m sure that, as I continue to read and study, and live in this new way, the way I experience God’s presence will change too.

      David

      Reply

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