Christ Dwelling in You
by Norman P. Grubb
have been born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit;
however, many of us still have a problem. We have entered
into a new world of praise and worship in the liberty of the
Spirit, but we quickly discover that daily living still
brings with it a multitude of pressures and problems. We are
unable to come up with an honest and satisfactory solution
to them. We find ourselves, as did Paul, unable to do what
we ought to do and unavoidably doing what we should not do.
conversion experience, I was looking from the bottom up instead of
from the top down. The bottom in this case was I, myself, in my
humanity. I was a slave to sin, under the curse and condemnation of
the law, and that is where I wished to remain.
when I was a young man, hospitalized by a football injury, I suddenly
saw how totally self-centered I was. Everything was for me. Something
was wrong somewhere. In fact, I had seen sin in its very essence. Soon
after that a British army major, who used his lovely home to invite
young people in for lawn tennis, asked me if I belonged to Christ. Had
he said to a church, I would have said yes; but because he said to
Christ as a living person, I had to say no.
I saw then that without Christ hell was
my destiny. I recognized that it was the only place where I was
fit to go. So in
my first act of genuine personal faith I asked forgiveness for my
sins, and in a flash I knew my sins were gone forever. Jesus was my
personal Savior, God was my Father and heaven my home.
Quite a change for a young football
fanatic. But while I knew that I was a new creation in Christ, I had
yet to get things into full focus. I could only say with Paul that now
I delighted in the law of God after the inward man. But I also knew
from obvious experience that my renewed self had attached to it my
outer “flesh” —
my bodily desires and my soul or
emotional reactions in daily life. There were resentments, attractive
lusts, hates, depressions, fears, pride and all the rest.
My error was
that I hadn’t realized the fall of man meant separation from God. I
now had my relationship to God restored by my new birth in Christ, but
I still regarded myself as a distinct human being apart from him.
in my new way of Christian living by “looking unto him” for
help in all my tribulations
and temptations. Notice the emphasis on the word “help.” In other
words, as a renewed human in Christ, I believed he could make me
better, more patient, pure, loving, free from fear, resentment, lusts,
and other sins.
As a result
of taking the step of sanctification by faith, I expected to become a
holy person. My eyes remained really on myself. Why then did I not
improve? Why did I still fall into sins? Why couldn’t I conquer these
things? Why couldn’t I have peace, power, heart satisfaction? Again, I
was looking from the bottom up, rather than from the top down.
something new to me to realize that, in spite of what we like to
think, the human self never improves. Left to myself I can only be
self-loving (for only in union with God who is other-love, can I be an
other-lover). By myself I am helpless, a slave to my flesh which in
this self-loving world forces me to live for myself. In my new nature
I don’t want to conform to the world, but I can’t help it. As Paul
puts it: “To will is present with me, but how to perform that which is
good I find not” (Rom. 7:18).
Struggle as we may, call on God for help
as we may, we find no relief. We remain bound.
It took Moses forty
years of running from Pharaoh (instead of Pharaoh running from him).
Jacob was exploited twenty years by Laban and terrified of his brother
Esau before he discovered he was a prince in God’s household. David
spent eight years hiding in a cave before he could sit on the throne.
It took Elisha eight years to find he must have the Spirit of Elijah.
So it is in the life-history of every man of God, great or small,
including ourselves. We must have the revelation of the new covenant
so that we may come into focus more quickly. Why? It is a necessary
part of spiritual education.
I am to be a
real person through eternity and must function effectively as a son of
God. So if I am to operate and manage God’s universe as co-heir with
Christ, I have to learn the difference between a misused self in its
false separation, and a rightly used self in its Vine-branch union.
And that is
the secret. After our conversion, like these men, we each have to
learn by experience that a redeemed self, regarded as independent and
separate from God, is an illusion. We have to be cornered until we are
so done in, that the revelation can dawn on us. We know
reconciliation. Now we must know union. We are never again separated
perfect man, said, “1 and my Father are one.... Of myself I can do
nothing... .The Father that dwells in me, He does the works.”
unites with spirit. “I live,” wrote the redeemed Paul, but then
corrected himself: “yet not I, but Christ.” He did not mean Christ
dying for him, nor Christ near him, not even Christ in him as if
separate from him, but Christ living his life, Christ in Paul’s form;
and so for each of us, Christ in Tom’s form, Christ in Elizabeth’s
What that means to me in my life’s struggles is, first,
that this inner “mystery” is a conscious inner reality to me—that I am
in this eternal unity with the Trinity. That is precisely the full
meaning of Pentecost and the baptism of the Spirit in its personal
effect on me, and as explained by the writers of the Epistles. Christ
and I have seen ourselves by grace as one, and I am inwardly conscious
of it. I never have to question that fact again. I live, like Paul,
“by the faith of it.”