"Ye in Me, and I in You"

John 14:20.

One of the most remarkable and wonderful communications, which the blessed Lord made to His disciples, is to be found in John 14:20. The deep affections of His heart were fully in exercise in those solemn closing hours of His life on earth. "Having loved His own … He loved them unto the end." Marvellous communications, which were but little understood, fell in rich abundance from His lips, the intelligence of which was left for a time then future, but not far off. Among the many new and divine revelations of which the Lord spoke, perhaps none were fuller in meaning or result, than that contained in the verse named: "At that time ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you."

That the Son was "in the Father" had already been referred to (verse 11) and had been demonstrated in the life of the Son on earth. "Ye in Me, and I in you," had never yet received its demonstration, but awaited, as to an existing fact, the presence of the Holy Ghost promised at this time by the Lord. The anxious intelligence of the three announced facts hung, however, upon that same Spirit's presence. These two latter priceless germ-truths announced by the blessed Lord, as was the case with many others, are developed in detail by that special servant and apostle to whom all the divine revelations were made that were essential to the full intelligence of Christian standing and Christian state. Hence, in several epistles, these corresponding and related truths appear, and, though the same in fact, it will be found that they are varied as to application to the believer.

Looking at the Epistle to the Romans first, we shall see that the believer is in that epistle viewed both as "in Christ" and "Christ in him," in chapter 8. In verse 1 the application of the truth of the believer's being "in Christ" is connected with the intelligent consciousness that he no longer belongs to, or stands in, the order to which condemnation attached, and in which acceptance was impossible. But now he belongs to that which, having Christ risen as its head, he stands, and necessarily so, emancipated from all association with Adam's headship and its consequences for God.

This is the soul's "deliverance" in its first apprehension, and is accompanied by thanksgiving. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Its character being negative rather than positive - in application not going further than "no condemnation." Relief is reached at last, through searching exercises, that have produced thorough self-knowledge.

But in verse 10 we read, "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." This, being connected with verse 9, is evidently by the indwelling of the Spirit of God, and results in Christian state. The body annulled as to active obedience to sin (the nature), by reckoning dead, and taken up again as the vessel whose life is the Spirit of God.

This is probably the most remarkable statement of what Christian liberty is; for such a state could only result in fullest, holiest liberty, in its character anticipatory of resurrection, of which again the Spirit is the quickening power, as to the mortal body referred to in the next verse. Thus, "in Christ" in Romans is deliverance, while Christ "in" the believer is liberty.

Colossians may furnish us with the next instance of the application of these words to the believer, in chapter 2:10. This will be found to differ materially from that in Romans.

The subject of Colossians is separation from the world in all its rudiments or elements, including its philosophy, its ordinances, or its grosser attractions, by means of the heart's full satisfaction. This is summed up and expressed by the apostle in the words, "Ye are complete [filled full] in Him, who is the head," etc. It is positional satisfaction; the One in whom the believer is suffices to meet the deepest and holiest desires; all that He is, of divine life in him, circumscribing his joy and satisfaction, including Christ as the full measure of the Father's revelation of Himself: "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."

But the alternative truth, "Christ in" the believer is also presented in this epistle. (Chapter 1:27.) "Christ in you, the hope of glory," begetting the prospect of eternal glory by His presence; the realization in the believer, as yet in hope, of the Lord's own words in John 14:3, "That where I am, there ye may be also." His indwelling effects this.

Colossians consequently presents the believer as "in Christ" for fullest satisfaction, and "Christ in" him as "hope of glory," in perfect suitability with the general object of the epistle, which treats of divine counter influences to the present scene through which the believer is passing, and in which he is encouraged to set his mind "on things above, not on things on the earth."

In Ephesians these terms are also found. "In Christ" (chapter 2:6) being the believer's heavenly position as viewed from the height of God's eternal purpose. "Seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." It is not yet with Christ as accomplished fact, which awaits the application of that same quickening power to the body in a coming day. We are here in the presence of the highest and most marvellous communication expressed in scripture by the words, "in Christ."

But Christ is also spoken of as being in the believer in this same epistle (chapter 3:17), viz. dwelling in the heart by faith, i.e. intelligently, through the affections, apprehending Him who thus indwells as the centre and circumference of all that purpose stands connected with, viz. (verse 19), "the fulness of God" so vast, so infinite, that the heart turns with relief to that which, in its simple and perfect expression, furnishes definite and satisfying rest, viz. the love of Christ, sensible of being the object of that love which passeth knowledge.

In Ephesians, consequently, "in Christ" has to do with heavenly position, while "Christ in" the believer connects itself with "all the fulness of God."

Thus "ye in me" tells of

Deliverance in Romans;

Satisfaction in Colossians;

Heavenly Position in Ephesians:

While "I in you" is expressive of

Liberty in Romans;

The Hope of Glory in Colossians;

All the Fulness of God in Ephesians.

How perfect in their simplicity the blessed Lord's words were; and what profound and inexhaustible truth lay concealed beneath them, to be appreciated and enjoyed only by the communication of their deep meaning by the Holy Ghost! "At that day [this day of the Spirit's presence] ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in Me, and I in you."

M. C. G.