The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 3:17 ~ The Distinction Between the Indwelling of Christ and Christ Dwelling in Your Heart

Vol. 15 No. 17

that Christ may dwell in your hearts thru faithSo far, we have noted vs. 14-16, Paul’s prayer, that begins in vs. 14 and runs through vs. 22. In that, we have noted principles regarding our prayer life including:

  • Pray to God the Father only.
  • Have humility in approaching the Father in prayer.
  • Glorify God in your prayers.
  • Offer petitions to the Father for various needs; in this case intercessory petitions for others.

In this prayer of Paul, we have also noted that there are five intercessory petitions for Church Age believers in vs. 16-19. We have noted the first one.

  • A petition to receive God’s inherent power through the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit of God’s Word, which we call the Grace Apparatus for Perception – GAP, that is manifested in your life through Divine Good Production, vs. 16.

Now we turn to the second intercessory petition in vs. 17a, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

  • This is a petition that the Church Age believers might receive God’s Word through GAP so that the mind of Christ is resident within the heart of our soul, 17a,

The four key words in this petition are “Christ,” “dwell,” “heart,” and “faith.”

Christ” is CHRISTOS in the Greek. This is emphasizing the Deity of Christ that already indwells us from the moment of salvation. Here with “dwell in your heart,” it speaks of our experiential relationship and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, which is based on having His Word, “the mind of Christ,” resident within your soul.

Next we have “dwell,” which we noted above, that is in the Aorist, Active, Infinitive of the Verb KATOIKEO, where the Infinitive Mood establishes a purpose or even the result of vs. 16. The purpose of the strengthening by the Spirit is now given. The purpose of the GAP is for the “mind of Christ” to “dwell in the heart,” (right lobe) of your soul. The personal presence of the Lord Jesus in the heart of the believer is not in view here. That is taken for granted. The Aorist tense shows finality, speaking of your experiential relationship with Christ as you grow to spiritual adulthood.

KATOIKEO is a compound word from KATA, that means, “down, toward, or in,” and OIKEO that means, “to dwell or live,” where the word OIKOS for “dwelling or house,” comes from, thus KATOIKEO means, “to settle down and be at home.”

The meaning of KATOIKEO and its usage is similar to OIKEO, especially in contexts designating places of residence, but KATOIKEO is a more forceful, intensive term. It is an old verb that means, “to make one’s home, or to be at home.”

Liddell-Scott lexicon notes, “Although in several instances it has special religious connotations designating the “dwelling place of God” in the LXX, e.g., Isa 8:18; 57:15, Philo extended the meaning of the term to include spiritual virtues and vices “inhabiting” persons.” (cf. Liddell-Scott).

As such, the spiritual aspect of the term in our passage means, the consistent intake of Bible Doctrine via GAP, with the result of spiritual advancement toward the super-grace life, because of the Word of God / mind of Christ that is resident and functioning within the heart of your soul. Therefore, the reason or purpose of God the Holy Spirit teaching us God’s Word is, so that we would have the mind of Jesus Christ / God’s Word / Bible Doctrine resident within our souls.

The place of residency of Christ is the “heart,” KARDIA, which we call the right lobe of your soul where you store and retain God’s Word for application.

Then finally, we see the basis for the attainment of “Christ being at home in your heart,” via the GAP; “through faith,” which in the Greek is DIA HO PISTIS for “through the faith.”

PISTIS πίστις here is in the Genitive Singular. It can mean, “faith, trust, confidence, conviction, belief, or doctrine.” It denotes the trust one has in another, but it may also indicate the trustworthiness, reliability, of someone or something. BDAG notes a “ranging in meaning from subjective confidence to objective basis for confidence,” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature.) Therefore because of the Genitive use in our passage, it is used objectively meaning, “That which is believed, doctrine, the received articles of faith,” which is God’s Word / Bible Doctrine. Therefore, in order to have “Christ being at home in your heart,” you must take in, store, and retain God’s Word / Bible Doctrine / The Mind of Christ, via GAP, which is the application of faith towards the Word of God.

Col 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Here it relates to the Word of God that is taught by the Holy Spirit via GAP. So the context points to this being the “mind of Christ,” i.e., the Word of God.

1 Cor 2:16, “For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE SHOULD INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.”

We could translate this portion as, “that Christ might finally settle down and feel completely at home in your hearts (right lobe).”

This is not a passage speaking of the permanent indwelling of Jesus Christ in the body of every believer from the moment of salvation, which is part of the 40 Things you receive at the moment of salvations, (John 14:19-20; 17:22-23, 26; Rom 8:9-10; 2 Cor 13:4-6; Gal 2:20; Col 1:27; 1 John 2:24, and any verse that uses the phrase “in Christ, in Him,” etc.), which speaks to our position in Christ, our positional sanctification.

This is a verse that speaks to the experiential sanctification of having the mind of Christ resident and operating within the mentality of your soul, the “heart,” KARDIA, to be exact, which we call the right lobe of our soul. So it means to have the mind of Christ / Bible Doctrine resident within the heart of your soul in the advancement of the spiritual life towards super-grace. This is synonymous with the 11th Problem Solving Device of being “Occupied with Christ,” and having “Christ formed in you,” Gal 4:19.

Gal 4:19, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.”

Dr. Max Reich once said in the hearing of the writer, “If we make room for the Holy Spirit, He will make room for the Lord Jesus.” That is, if the saint lives in conscious dependence upon and yieldedness to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will make room for the Lord Jesus in the heart and life of the saint by eliminating from his life things that are sinful and of the world, and thus enable the saint to make the Lord Jesus feel completely at home in his heart.” (Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament.)

Adam Clarke noted, “That man’s heart which is not God’s house, must be a hold of every foul and unclean spirit; for Satan and his angels will endeavor to fill what God does not.” (The Classical Study Bible.)

Therefore, every believer is indwelt by Christ at the moment of salvation, Rom 8:9-10; Gal 2:20, but Christ is “at home,” finding comfort and satisfaction, only where hearts are cleansed of sin, filled with His Spirit, and have maximum Bible Doctrine cycling through the heart of your soul, cf. John 14:23.

John 14:23-24, “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. 24He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

Distinctions Between the Indwelling of Christ in Your Body and

the Dwelling of Christ in Your Heart.

1) “Christ dwelling in your heart,” Eph 3:17, is the experience of spiritual adulthood as a result of consistent Occupation with the Person of Jesus Christ through the persistent intake and application of God’s Word / Bible Doctrine / The mind of Christ, through the Grace Apparatus for Perception, GAP. It is Christ being at home in your heart as a result of your experiential fellowship with Christ.

2) On the other hand, the indwelling of Christ in your body is not an experience. It speaks to your position in Christ, (your union with Jesus Christ), that you receive at the moment of your salvation as a result of His indwelling you. While the Indwelling of Christ is not an experience, it provides for your experience with Christ to be at home in your heart, as you are able to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 2 Peter 3:18, by means of GAP.

3) Every believer, whether he is a winner or a loser, is indwelt by the person of Christ. That is the permanent status quo of the Plan of God. This is taught in John 14:19-20; 17:22-23, 26; Rom 8:9-10; 2 Cor 13:4-6; Gal 2:20; Col 1:27; 1 John 2:24, and any verse that uses the phrases “in Christ or in Him,” or the like. Yet, the experience of “Christ dwelling in your heart” is achieved and maintained only when the priority of your life is to grow spiritually and become occupied with Christ in your life.

4) Being occupied with Christ is our side of the equation, when we are focused on the person of Jesus Christ through His Word. Christ being at home in your heart is Christ’s side of the equation, where He enjoys fellowship with you on a consistent basis due to the Word of God consistently cycling through the heart of your soul.

5) Occupation with Christ is a main solution to the problems of life, the focal point of worship, the basis of your spiritual motivation, and the ultimate means of glorifying God, 1 John 3:23‑24.

1 John 3:23-24, “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

Christ keeps on residing in the heart of the believer who keeps on residing and functioning inside of God’s Power System, (GPS), for their life, (i.e., the Filling of the Holy Spirit, plus the Word of God resident within your soul). This is for the purpose of motivation for momentum inside the spiritual life.

6) Occupation with Christ is one of the Problem Solving Devices, (PSD):

  • The Rebound Technique, application of 1 John 1:9.
  • The Filling of the Spirit.
  • The Faith-Rest Drill.
  • Doctrinal Orientation.
  • Grace Orientation.
  • Authority Orientation.
  • Personal Sense of Destiny.
  • Personal Love for God. This is distinguished from Occupation with Christ as a problem solving device.
  • Impersonal Love for all Mankind.
  • +H or Sharing the Happiness of God.
  • The priority solution: Occupation with Jesus Christ.

Occupation with Christ is the ultimate PSD. It prevents the outside pressure of adversity from being converted into the inside pressure of stress in the soul.

7) Occupation with Christ is personal love for our Lord Jesus Christ through the Balance of Residency, (maximum metabolized doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness of the heart, (pre-frontal right lobe of the soul), plus the filling of the Holy Spirit).

1 Peter 1:8, “And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”

8) Capacity to love someone who is invisible requires a tremendous amount of information in the right lobe of the soul. The Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age is described as the thinking or the mind of Christ in 1 Cor 2:16, which we must know well, in order for us to be occupied with Him and for Christ to be at home in our heart. Those who love Christ have made a role model out of our Lord and are occupied with Him, resulting in Him being at home in their heart.

Phil 2:5, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Heb 12:2, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

1 Cor 1:9, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

9) Essentially, the distinction between Christ indwelling our bodies and Christ being at home in our hearts is the glorification of Christ as an experience in spiritual adulthood. God the Father glorifies Christ as a result of having Him indwell the believer at salvation. The believer, (and technically God the Holy Spirit), glorifies Christ as a result of growing spiritually. You glorify God in your body by the knowledge of, and then the execution of, the Plan of God for your life, which is the lifestyle of wisdom and the unique life.

  • We will always have the indwelling of Christ whether we are winner or loser believers.
  • Yet, Christ dwelling in your heart is an experience that belongs only to the positive believer who advances to spiritual adulthood by means of the consistent intake and application of God’s Word through the Grace Apparatus for Perception, GAP.
  • You cannot have Christ dwelling in your heart, (i.e., be Occupied with Christ), and at the same time be living in sin and Satan’s cosmic system, which the status of the loser of rewards believer who is failing to execute the Plan of God.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson #’s:

16-051 & 16-052

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If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.

To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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