indwelling

October 26, 2004 | 6 Comments

I’m trudging through The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Lesslie Newbigin right now. Some good stuff, though it is taking some time to process through what he says. Here’s a quote I read this morning that jumped out at me:

In the Fourth Gospel Jesus defines for his disciples what is to be their relation to him. They are to “dwell in” him. He is not to be the object of their observation, but the body of which they are a part. As they “indwell” him in his body, they will both be led into fuller and fuller apprehension of the truth and also become the means through which God’s will is done in the life of the world.

I love to study the Scriptures and to hear people teach who really help develop my understanding of what the Scriptures have to say. I know I’m not alone in this, as many have praised churches that are really known for teaching the Bible, or critiqued those who don’t. However, how well we do or don’t teach the Scriptures isn’t the best criteria to gauge a church by. How much better to be called a “Jesus indwelling” church than a “Bible teaching” church. Unfortunately it is far too easy too intimately know the Scriptures and still not experience the Jesus they point towards. If our study of the Scriptures doesn’t lead us to life in Jesus, then we have missed it.

  • Gary

    Your thoughts made me think of James 1:22-.

  • david kendrick wheeler the rambler

    Does this make anyone else think of ‘do not merely listen to the word, do it, be it…?’

    To me it means not merely trying/wanting to be a better christian, but daily redeifining myself, my actions, and the very term disciple to being necessarily dwelling in a spiritual family that glorifies Christ as it loves together; verily dwelling in Christ, showing him, being him kinda. I can’t be a jesus follower by myself, anyone who follows him definitionally is in the bride and body of christ, whether I live like it; acknowledge the need, reponsibility, and power; or supress it with self-sufficiencey… to me dwelling in him is ackowledging and acting towards realizing the established fact that i am in the organism of the church…

    either being a blood cell who needs and is needed or a fat cell that hangs around… :0) some realize the body and are filled and emptied constantly with many others like them toward a goal of harmony, and some just sit around getting bigger, waiting to be asked for help, also in large groups that don’t work together, they sit around being selfishly lazy… so, Im in a community whether i see it or not, but im designed to recognize it, and giim gifted for it, to be an active part.

    At my house i could sit in a room and read all day, or i could get up and do the dishes and yardwork… i’m in the community either way, but if im dwelling in it then i recognize that i am needed by and enhanced and helped by the others… and thusly live as i was designed, synergetically, truer.

    my horse is dead.

  • Apparently it reminds someone else of that verse since Gary mentioned it (James 1:22ff) in the comment above you. 🙂

    You touched on something I didn’t comment on at all, but is definitely in the quote from Newbigin. We are IN Jesus IN community. Since the church is his ongoing presence in the world, it simply can’t be possible to be IN Jesus without being IN the church.

  • First, I would like to say that its good to read a post from you again.

    Second, I would like to say that your post touches on thoughts that I am gathering from 1 John as well; that we are to truly become one with Him. In any case, this short book has been my Biblical obsession for many years and I feel I am only partially closer to understanding what “the one that Jesus loved” so clearly understood. I hope to explore these thoughts some more at some point in monsuun.

  • Dean

    My immediate thoughts are how we are so self-centered. We always talk about how Christ is living in my heart. It is so….”me-oriented”. But when I read that Newbiggen quote it becomes so clear that it’s about Christ. We dwell in Him while at the same time He dwells in us – but it’s about Him, not us.

  • I think I only managed complete Newbigin’s other book faster “Proper confidence”, I think I’ll be returning to this one soon 🙂 But, I love his stuff, I recall downloading some of his articles to get bit size insights from here http://www.newbigin.net/ (which I presume you may have visited)