"I in them." John 17:23
OBSERVE, these are not the words of the apostle, whose ardent mind and glowing imagination might be supposed to exaggerate a truth beyond its proper limits; but they are the words of Jesus himself— of Him who is the Truth, and who therefore cannot lie. "I in them." Christ, dwelling in the soul, forms the inner life of that soul. The experience of this blessing stands connected with the lowest degree of grace, and with the feeblest faith; the lamb of the flock, the soul that has but touched the hem of the Savior's garment, prostrate as a penitent at the feet of the true Aaron, in each and in all Christ alike dwells. He has a throne in that heart, a temple in that body, a dwelling in that soul; and thus, as by a kind of second incarnation, God is manifest in the flesh, in Christ's manifestation in the believer.
You are, perhaps, a severely tried, a sorely tempted, a deeply afflicted believer. But cheer up! you have Christ living in you, and why should you yield to despondency or to fear? Christ will never vacate His throne, nor relinquish His dwelling. You have a suffering Christ, a humbled Christ, a crucified Christ, a dying Christ, a risen Christ, a living Christ, a triumphant Christ, a glorified Christ, a full Christ, dwelling in you by His Spirit. Yes; and you have, too, a human Christ, a feeling Christ, a sympathizing Christ, a tender, loving, gentle Christ, spiritually and eternally reposing in your heart. Why, then, should you fear the pressure of any want, or the assault of any foe, or the issue of any trial, since such a Christ is in you? "Fear not!" They are His own familiar and blessed words—"It is I, do not be afraid." You cannot want for any good, since you have the Fountain of all good dwelling in you. You cannot be finally overcome of any spiritual evil, since you have the Conqueror of sin, and Satan, and the world enthroned upon your affections. Your life—the divine and spiritual life—can never die, since Christ, ESSENTIAL LIFE, lives and abides in you. Like Him, and for Him, you may be opposed; but like Him, and by him, you shall triumph. The persecution which you meet, and the trials which you endure, and the difficulties with which you cope, shall but further your well-being, by bringing you into a closer communion with Jesus, and by introducing you more fully into the enviable state of the apostle—"Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. . . . For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us afar more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."