Recently, A fellow Christian told me that Jesus does not literally come to live inside those who believe in Him, but it is the Holy Spirit who lives in us. I found this view very interesting considering all that Jesus said about this subject. I often find statements like these from persons who are untrained in what the Bible teaches.
What is actually true, is that many people hear a doctrine like this from another person and then begin to carry it in their minds—teaching these things to others—without really having a scriptural basis to prove their doctrine.
The best place to know whether Jesus intended that He literally comes to live in the believer, is to read what Jesus Himself said about this subject. In John chapters 14 and 15, Jesus explains what He means by His statement that He is “in us.”
Three With One Purpose
The issue of whether Jesus actually lives in us, is primarily based in the necessity of unity. Many people have a problem with the idea that God is described as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and these Three are One God. People read these texts and imagine the mathematics and cannot understand how three can be one. I have seen many graphic illustrations for how this concept can be understood. None of these illustrations are necessary because scripture is not describing the math of three who are one, but the unity of mind, purpose, and will.
When the Bible describes the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as One, it is speaking of a unity that causes these three to be in complete agreement in all things. There is never a time when the Father and Son disagree. The Holy Spirit never opposes the Father. The Son does not seek His own will independent of the Father and the Spirit. For eternity these three have existed as one God who is perfectly united in every way. It is this complete Unity that make the Three, One God.
We read in Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17 that His desire is that all those who love Him and believe in Him, would also be one, just as the Father and the Son are one.
I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. ~John 17:20-23 (NLT)
Here we see that it is not only the Holy Spirit who lives in the believer, but the Father and the Son also inhabit those who love Jesus and believe in Him. Jesus specifically states that “I am in them…” This is not figurative, but literal.
In John Chapter 14, Jesus Tells Us That The Father Is In Him, And He Is In The Father:
Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. ~John 14:10
Jesus Promised To Send The Holy Spirit
If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. ~John 14:15-17
Here Jesus describes the Holy Spirit who was with believers before His resurrection, and is In all believers after Jesus was raised from the dead. How can The Father and Son be in the believer, if the Holy Spirit is also in the believer? The answer is in the question. The Bible teaches that this One God who is Himself, indivisible, lives in the believer, indivisible. When we believe in Jesus and live for Him, the Triune God comes to live in us. It is not only the Holy Spirit who is in us, but God Himself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
It is the desire of God that by living in us, we would learn to be in unity with all other believers in all things. We would not argue, find disagreement, or reasons to fracture our unity, but work together as one. We should surrender ourselves to each other and seek a oneness of mind that imitates the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Today, Christians fight over doctrine, worship style, verses of scripture, and nearly everything that concerns this life. Imagine in heaven if the Father, Son, and Spirit acted in the same way that we do here on earth. The universe and heaven would collapse in chaos. God wants us, as the followers of Jesus, to be of one heart, mind, and spirit. He wants us to have the unity of mind, purpose, and will that God has. When we live in this way, we are acting as the Father, Son, And Spirit have lived in their unity for eternity.
What, “Jesus Living In Us,” Means
Because Jesus does live in the believer, He is able to communicate directly with us through our own mind. I have had thousands of instances in the past 45 years of knowing Jesus, where He has spoken to my mind and communicated specific details that I did not, could not, know. Only those who have Jesus living in them can understand this or verify that it is an absolute truth. Jesus said that this would be the reality of those who love Him. Whenever Jesus speaks to our mind, it is always in conformity with what He has already said in His word.
We remember that when Jesus asked the disciples who they say He is, Peter said: “I say you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus responded that it was the Father who had told Peter this (Matthew 16:15-17). The Father was speaking to Peter’s heart and mind and communicating this information. Jesus confirmed this was true by His statement to Peter.
I have often heard from critics of the New Testament that there is no possibility that the disciples of Jesus were able to remember all of the specific and detailed things that they are reported to have been written in the New Testament. What the unbeliever fails to understand is the spiritual element of this reality. Jesus said in John 14:15-17: “It is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”
God Is Spirit
The world does not understand that the God whom we love and serve, exists as Spirit. It was only when Jesus came to earth and took the body of a man, that God had a permanent physical form. Hebrews 10 describes a body that was made for Jesus so He could come and dwell with us (Hebrews 10:5). When we read the descriptions of Jesus in the book of Revelation, we see that sitting on the throne of God in heaven, today, is a man, Christ Jesus (Revelation 5). It certainly appears that Jesus will reside within the body of a man for eternity. In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is described as “Our High Priest Forever” (Hebrews 7:28).
God in His Essence, is non-finite, non-contingent, existing as a non-material, Eternal Spirit-Being. As Spirit, God in all His fulness, can come to inhabit every person who loves Him. We see that the Father, Son, and Spirit are One, and by His living within those who love Him, He makes us One with Him.
Jesus Predicted A Reliable Written Text Of Himself
After Jesus was risen from the dead, He met with His disciples over a period of 40 days, showing himself to more than 500 eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15). The purpose for this extended stay is obvious. Jesus wanted the disciples to write a testimony about Him, and to have a reliable eyewitness basis for their writing, preserved in the text.
The idea that the disciples did not write what they had seen for many decades later, is a fabrication. There is absolutely no indication anywhere in the New Testament, or in early church history, that this is true. The idea of a later writing for the four Gospels is a fabrication by critics to try and discredit the reliability of the Gospels.
The assertion that the stories of Jesus existed only as oral traditions for many decades before they were written, is also a fabrication. You will never find any actual evidence to support this idea. These are false assertions made by conjecture and speculation that have no actual evidentiary basis.
The Fallacy Of The “Majority Scholar” Claim
Atheists will often say that “a majority of reliable scholars state that the Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses and were written much later.” When we investigate who these scholars are, we find that nearly all are either atheists, agnostics, or critics of the New Testament. In essence, they have an agenda to try and make people believe the Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses, and were written much later. They provide the world with no evidence, only their personal opinions.
People who see that these scholars have a Ph.d. and are called “New Testament Scholars,” accept their statements as facts, without demanding evidence to support their claims. Many of these men and women have become extremely wealthy by writing books that say that the Jesus of the New Testament is a fabrication made by the men who wrote the text. The problem is, they never prove this claim by actual evidence. These critics of Jesus expect the reader to trust them because they are a scholar with a Ph.d. The readers willingly obey and not only believe these scholars, they tell everyone else that “a majority of scholars say this is true.”
New Testament Scholarship is not biased, but many New Testament Scholars are. Every human being is capable of cognitive prejudice. People tend to choose their preferred conclusions and then justify their choices by fallacious reasoning.
In truth, these scholars are not the majority, but a fringe group of radical atheists who have no purpose other than to profit from the lies they tell about Jesus in their books and articles. These men and women knew that taking an adversarial position against Jesus, while being a New Testament scholar, would bring them great recognition and wealth. We see these liberal scholars on the talk shows and in liberal news articles where the idea that Jesus is a myth is sought out in order to impeach Christianity and the Bible. These critical scholars without evidence, are merely mercenaries who write for profit and fame. They are not traditional scholars who write to proclaim the truth of the New Testament by evidence and history.
As one who is also a Biblical scholar with nearly 45 years of education, research, teaching, writing, and publication, I can certify that these critical scholars are lying. There is no evidence anywhere that the Gospel writers were not eyewitnesses or wrote the text much later. In fact, the actual text itself states, in the words of these men, “We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands…We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard …We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy” (1 John 1:1-4)...”For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes“(2 Peter 1:16).
Jesus Said He Would Remind These Men What He Had Said And Done
If we really think about all that Jesus said and did while on earth, we understand that everything Jesus had accomplished was the fulfillment of what the Old Testament prophets had predicted for the Messiah. Understanding this, we know that Jesus intended all along that the men who saw Him would write a record of these events for the world. It was important to Jesus that His disciples document that He was the Messiah by showing that He had fulfilled all the necessary prophecies of the Messiah.
The arrival of Jesus on earth was not a random event that took place by accident. The coming of Jesus was planned and predicted by God from before He created the universe. Moses predicted Jesus, 1,450 years before He arrived (Deuteronomy 18:15). David stated, 1,000 years before Jesus came, that He would He would be both God and Messiah (Psalm 110:1). God wanted the world to know that He had kept His promise to send the world a Savior, and Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise.
The idea that Jesus intended that these men would wait for decades before writing their testimony about Him and send it to the four corners of the earth, is preposterous!
Of course Jesus wanted these men to record all they had seen and heard, as soon as He had ascended back to heaven. This is the evidence that we see in the historical record.
- Jesus said that He would bring to the remembrance—everything He had said and done during His three years on earth, so these men could remember and write an accurate account.
- Jesus said that the 12 Apostles were called to be His witnesses and write a testimony of all they had seen and heard concerning Him.
- Although Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and said that “not one stone of the Temple would be left upon another,” these events were never recorded in the New Testament, even though the destruction of Jerusalem did happen in 70 A.D. Jewish historian, Josephus, confirms this (Matthew 24:1-2).
- If the letters of the New Testament were written after 70 A.D., it is certain that they would have included the fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction and the obliteration of the Temple.
- The fact that these two critical events in the history of the Jews was never mentioned in the New Testament, is empirical evidence that the letters of the New Testament were written before 70 A.D.
- Every other event that Jesus predicted, such as Peter’s betrayal, were included as a fulfillment in the New Testament because they happened before the writing of the text. This is in comparison to the monumental destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, that were not included in the New Testament. The reason is obvious: the New Testament letters, including the four Gospels, were all written before 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.
Jesus Describes How He Will Communicate A Remembrance Of All He Had Said And Done
No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them. ~John 14:18-21
Jesus promises those who love Him that after He is raised to life again, He will come to live in each believer and reveal Himself to each one of us. It was by this method of communication that Jesus “brought to the remembrance,” all of the things He had said and done while here on earth. It was very easy for the Gospel writers to record these things because Jesus was communicating every detail to these men as He lived in them.
Empirical, Historical, Evidence Of Early New Testament Writing
One of the remarkable facts of the first century is the change in writing style that took place as a result of Jesus’ presence here on earth. Prior to the death and resurrection of Christ, the Jews had made use of animal skins as parchment, rolled into scrolls, as a method for preserving and making available the word of God. Beginning shortly after Paul began to write and distribute his letters to the Christian churches in Asia, Christian scribes began to use the codex method to preserve their writing. The codex takes the same animal skin parchments; and instead of creating long scrolls, the parchment is cut into pages and bound together as a book.
The Christian church of the first century used this codex method almost exclusively to write, copy, and distribute the New Testament scriptures. The existence of the codex at such an early date in the first century, corroborates the existence of Jesus in Israel, dying on a cross and risen from the dead, necessitating the massive distribution of these incredible facts to the world. Had Jesus not existed or risen from the dead, it is impossible that the codex would have been created so early in history as a method to preserve and distribute literature.
This is one of the empirical pieces of evidence that we have in the historical record that proves that the New Testament was written early in the first century.
Earliest Surviving New Testament Codex
John Rylands MS (AD 130) ~This papyrus fragment, is known as P52. Containing the actual words of Jesus in His trial before Pontius Pilate, the text is written on both sides of the papyrus, indicating that it was contained in a Codex book form.
P46 Is the Earliest Complete New Testament Codex Manuscript In Existence, Dated At 175-225 A.D. It Contains All 13 Letters Written By Paul:
- Romans 1:1–5:17
- Romans 5:17–6:14
- Romans 6:14–8:15
- Romans 8:15–11:35
- Romans 11:35–14:8
- Romans 14:9–15:11
- Romans 15:11
- Hebrews 8:8
- Hebrews 8:9–9:10
- Hebrew 9:10–26
- Hebrews 9:26
- 1 Corinthians 2:3
- 1 Corinthians 2:3–3:5
- 1 Corinthian 3:6
- 2 Corinthians 9:7
- 2 Corinthian 9:7–end
- Galatians 1:1–6:10
- Galatians 6:10–end
- 1 Thessalonians 1:1–2:3
- 1 Thessalonians 2:3–5:5
- 1 Thessalonians 5:5, 23–28
- 1 Thessalonians 5:28
- 2 Thessalonians
- 1–2 Timothy
Within these 13 letters by Paul, there are 151 references to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. See the list here.
Jesus Promises To Cause The Disciples To Remember All He Said And Did
In John chapter 14, Jesus specifically tells the men who had been with Him during the past three and one half years, that after He is risen from the dead, He would impart knowledge of all that He had said and done, so these men could record an accurate narrative of Him.
All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
Father. ~John 14:23-26 – 15:8 (NLT)
Jesus states that it will be the Holy Spirit who communicates these details to the disciples so they can write their record of Him. We should not be confused by this statement, imagining that the Holy Spirit in these men indicates that Jesus is also not in them. Whenever we see the Holy Spirit speaking or guiding someone, it is always the Father, Son, and Spirit who are present, for they never do anything independent of each other.
It is the job of the Holy Spirit to guide the believer and to make Him known to the world. Whenever the Spirit is present, this does not exclude Jesus and the Father. We repeatedly see examples where the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are used by name, interchangeably, whenever God is described as being in the believer. In John chapter 14 and 17, Jesus repeatedly describes the Father as in Him, and Jesus in us. Jesus also describes the Holy Spirit in the believer, the revealer of all that Jesus had said and done, and speaking to the believer today, revealing Jesus to the world.
“Father, 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. 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.” ~John 17:20-23 (NKJV)
We cannot say that only the Holy Spirit lives in the believer, because it is impossible to separate the Father, Son, and Spirit from each other. If the Holy Spirit is in the believer, so also are the Father, and the Son.
In Colossians 1:27, Paul writes that Christ in you is the hope of glory.
The Greek, ἐν en; (in you) is a primary preposition that is denoting a fixed position, literally Christ in you, not only relationally.
Christ Dwelling In The Believer Is The Grounds For Our Certainty Of Complete Salvation.
Christ dwelling in the believer is how He communicated the facts that we find in the New Testament. We can have great confidence that what we are reading, came directly from Jesus—to those who saw Him with their eyes. These narratives were written just after the events took place, and have been preserved by God for the past 2,000 years so that we might have a reliable copy to read.
 Roberts, Colin H.; Skeat, Theodore Cressy (1983), The Birth of the Codex, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 18 sq., ISBN 0-19-726061-6
Categories: Christ In Us, God knows all things, How The NT Writers Remembered, Jesus is God, New Testament Criticism, Reliability of the New Testament, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation through Jesus, The Claims of Jesus, The Nature of God, The Sovereignty of God, These Things Were Written, Three Persons One God