God Dwells within Christians by Love

Each Christian is to be filled with all the fullness of God, with His Spirit, and with Jesus Christ. God indwells within Christians when those believers abide in love for God is love (1 John 4:16). Christians know the love of Christ by Jesus’ selfless sacrifice (1 John 4:9-10). Thus, the love of God has been poured into the hearts of Christians through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5-8). God’s love is completed in believers when Christians love one another, and by love, Christians dwell in God, and God in them (1 John 4:12-13). That love compels and controls the believer, who judges, “that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor 5:14-15).

The first of the fruits of the Spirit is love (Gal 5:22-23). Only by Christ’s sacrifice can anyone really know love and be compelled by love. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16, cf. 1 John 5:1-3, emp. added). Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). When God indwells by love, Christians gain their strength. God is able “to strengthen through His Spirit into the inner person, to abide the Christ through the faith in your hearts being grounded and settled in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:18-19, emp. added).

Christians know that they are in God when they keep His word, and thereby the love of God is completed in them (1 John 2:5). Jesus taught that God the Father and Christ dwell within those who have Christ’s words and keep them (John 14:23). When believers receive the Word of God, the Truth, then the Word works within those who believe (1 Thess 2:13, cf. Col 3:16). By that Truth in the New Covenant, the Spirit transforms believers into the image and glory of Christ (2 Cor 3:6, 18, 4:4). Believers are transformed by the renewing of their minds (Rom 12:2). “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom 8:5-6). Therefore, the Spirit and Christ must dwell within each Christian to give each believer life (Rom 8:9-11, cf. 1 Thess 4:7-8).

The transformation of the Spirit by the Word begins in each believer when that person is born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:5). A believer’s soul is purified in obeying the truth through the Spirit having been born gain through the Word of God (1 Pet 1:22-23). This is when the Word first began to work within each believer (1 Thess 2:13). Because of God’s love, believers are made alive and are saved by grace when each is raised with Christ from being dead in one’s trespasses (Eph 2:4-6). For a believer to be raised with Christ, that person must first die and be buried with Christ. For the Gospel that saves everyone is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4). That love of Christ’s sacrifice compels and controls believers to die with Christ (2 Cor 5:14-15, cf. Gal 2:20). Christ’s Spirit teaches that for the believer to be raised with Christ, then that person must first have died to sin and been buried with Him in baptism (Rom 6:3-7, Col 2:12-13). Therefore, each believer is born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:3), and therefore “baptism now saves you” “through the resurrection” (1 Pet 3:21). The Spirit teaches, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

“The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him” (2 Tim 2:11, cf. Rom 6:8).

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
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8 Responses to God Dwells within Christians by Love

  1. Phil says:

    Job 33:14 “For God does speak, now one way, now another, though man may not perceive it.”

    Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”

    Isaiah 58:11
    And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

    Scott, have you ever experienced the presence of God apart from the bible? Does God give you understanding that you cannot get from yourself?

    Your title of this thread is: “God Dwells within Christians by Love.” We all know that love is more than just following written instruction. Love is interactive in nature, and one must transcend the boundaries of what they have read about love to actually live in love. And anyone can experience love w/o reading any words about what love is, yes or no?

    I urge you to learn to become interactive with God apart from what you read. Otherwise God remains a concept and not a living interactive guide for you “personally.” Christianity is so much more than reading the Bible and doing what it says. I would hope you agree.

    God does dwell within Christians by Love, and Love is interactive.

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  2. Phil says:

    More important than having God’s word, we have His Spirit within us to guide in ways that words cannot convey. Words can give us knowledge and instruction but the Spirit gives us understanding that transcends those words. Obeying the words of scripture does not require any direct Spiritual input from God.
    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

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  3. Phil says:

    Anyone can go under water w/o loving God. Physical baptism does not require one to love God.
    Yet, if love causes one to go under water then love is the cause and not effect, right? Is the new covenant a covenant of “cause” or “effect?”

    The Baptism established by Christ was Baptism by the Spirit.
    John 1:33
    “And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”
    The New Covenant is of the Spirit, something that seems to evade you. The Spirit (by nature) refers to the inner and not the outer.

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    • Do we not have God’s word and keep it because we love God (John 14:23)?

      While Jesus promised the baptism of the Spirit, did He not also institute baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19)? Is that baptism not for salvation (Mark 16:16)? Is not the baptism in Jesus’ name is in water and reoccurring throughout the New Testament (Acts 2:38, 8:12, 10:47-48, 19:5)?

      Lastly, was the baptism in the name of Christ that the Corinthians had (1 Cor. 1:11-13) also when the Spirit sanctified and justified the believers (1 Cor. 6:11)? People, who have the Word of God and obey it, know that this baptism is of the Spirit into the one Body, the Church (1 Cor. 12:13). This is exactly how we see believers being added to the Church, who were baptized in Jesus’ name and thus saved (Acts 2:38, 41, 47).

      The baptism of the Holy Spirit has 2 common and respectable interpretation. One is the direct reference to the Spirit falling upon the Apostles and then later Cornelius’ household to receive miraculous portion of the Gift of the Spirit. The other understanding is that the baptism includes the whole Gift of the Holy Spirit including all of the blessings of the Spirit from the pouring out of the Spirit upon the believers including each blessing such as all Truth, the indwelling, salvation, justification, sanctification, and the miraculous gifts. Not that these all came at once as we can read that these did not, but the baptism of the Spirit is general reference to immersing Christ’s disciples with the Spirit.

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  4. Phil says:

    One does not have to go under water to receive the love and grace that God promises to believers. NT Christianity is about the inner content, not the outer action. The outer action is an effect of the inner transformation. Sorry, but you have got this wrong, Scott.
    Romans 12:2
    “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
    There is nothing in the Scriptures that state that we are transformed only by reading words. An illiterate has the ability to be transformed (through a spiritual means) apart from being able to read and comprehend what is read or preached. An illiterate can learn to be still and know that God is love. If not then God is a respecter of beings and favors the literate and those who have higher intellect.
    Psalm 46:10
    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

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  5. Pingback: God’s Covenant with You For Your Family — John Eckhardt | Books Books Wonderful Books!

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