What is the difference between the spirit being “with you” as opposed to “in you”? And why did Christ have to “go away”so that the holy spirit could come? Don’t Christ and the holy spirit get along? That doesn’t make much sense, does it? And yet there must be a simple explanation.
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
What does this mean? Do you know? I have always been told that this meant that the holy spirit was AROUND THEM, working WITH them, but that it wasn’t IN them yet. And that’s what it says, isn’t it? Well, not exactly. But let’s table this question for a moment and come back to it later.
Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
It is having the spirit of CHRIST in you that determines whether or not you are a REAL member of the Church of God. If you don’t have that spirit, you are not a Christian, no matter what physical church you attend. And this spirit of Christ is HIS spirit, the spirit that makes Christ who and what He is. It is what determines what He would do in any situation; in essence, it is His conscience.
And Christ gave you His conscience, if you are in the church, so that you would have a way of knowing right from wrong. A yardstick, beside which to compare your own actions and change your heart for the better. And this yardstick was created, affected, and influenced by the experiences Christ had while living as a man on this earth.
Hebrews 4:14-15 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
God the Father hasn’t been tempted like this! He hasn’t been sick, He has never had a headache, never experienced a cut, never had the temptation to commit sin that we experience every day. In that sense, He cannot identify with our frailties. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, HAS been tempted in ALL points like as we are. He has suffered pain, experienced the manifold temptations of the world, and everything that the devil could throw His way, and so He can UNDERSTAND the pressure we are occasionally under! And because of this, it is Christ who advocates our position before the Father – as our defense attorney, you might say.
Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
And He is qualified to do this because He lived as we do. And He LEARNED, His spirit GREW and became better able to do these things because of His life as a man!
Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet LEARNED HE obedience by the things which he suffered;
But, now that we know that He does this, HOW does He do it? We read a moment ago that it is Christ who makes intercession for us to God. We also read that the holy spirit that the Church has is the spirit of CHRIST. Now look at the next scripture…
Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
This is CHRIST’S SPIRIT, that spirit which has been tempted in all points just like we are! It is that spirit that lived a perfect life amidst more pressure than any man has ever faced, YET WITHOUT SINNING which lives in us, and argues our position before the judgment seat of God!
But wait a moment! Christ’s spirit is able to do this ONLY because He lived His life as a man… It is only able to do this because HE LEARNED THOSE THINGS BY SUFFERING! So before He suffered… His holy spirit WAS NOT FINISHED!
Furthermore, while He was walking this earth as a man, His spirit was busy – it was KEEPING HIM ALIVE! So He couldn’t give someone His spirit, because HE STILL NEEDED IT to keep breathing!!
Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
He hadn’t given up the spirit until THIS happened! Had you ever wondered why Christ had to go away in order for the comforter (the holy spirit) to come to the Church? I used to. What say we see if we can figure it out now, with this new knowledge we’re gathering?
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Why, it’s so obvious now! Christ was talking about giving the Church HIS spirit, the spirit that He was still using because HE HADN’T YET DIED AND GIVEN UP! And Christ couldn’t live IN them, any more than *I* can live IN you, while He yet lived! And so it was NECESSARY for us that Christ die, it was for OUR good, that He might be able to live IN us, and give us HIS conscience!
John 14:25-26 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Of course, the King James translators supplied the “he” because they believed in the Trinity, and that the spirit was an entity in his own right. We of course, know otherwise. The original Greek word translated “he” here translates equally well as “she” or “it”. This should be read as “it”, since it isn’t a person, but the conscience and character of a person, namely, Christ.
Back on topic, Christ promises that the spirit will lead us into all truth, and teach us all things. It does this largely by providing a perfect record that lives in our mind, a sort of auxiliary conscience that catches mistakes our conscience might not care about, and pricks our minds about it.
John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Looked at in this light, it seems almost impossible to apply this scripture to mean that the holy spirit was somehow AROUND them, in and out of their minds, and it would someday be IN them! Christ was speaking of HIMSELF HERE! CHRIST, and CHRIST’S HOLY SPIRIT STILL INSIDE HIM, was living WITH them, and after Christ GAVE UP that spirit, IT WOULD BE IN THEM!
Don’t believe that? Still a little dubious? Well, check out the very next verse…
Verses 18-19 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
He shows He is talking about Himself in the next verse, for he says that HE, HIMSELF, HE PERSONALLY WOULD COME TO THEM! He was WITH THEM now, but soon the world wouldn’t see Him anymore, but THE DISCIPLES WOULD! Because Christ’s spirit isn’t IN the world, but HE DOES LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF EVERY WILLING MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF GOD!
Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the RICHES of the GLORY of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY:
This simple bit of understanding, explaining that the holy spirit wasn’t some weird entity that was somehow AROUND them, and yet not IN them, but that it was the very SPIRIT that made Christ who and what He was, makes sense out of a great deal of scriptures in John 14-17 which had always, until now, been relegated to the area of an incomprehensible mystery!
John 15:4-7 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
And there we have the simple truth about a confusing scripture that leads most of Christianity to draw untenable conclusions about the nature of God, which relegate Him to the realm of a mystery and hide Him in darkness. This understanding opens up the floodgates to many other pieces of truth. We close with last-minute instructions for HOW to dwell in Him…
1 John 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.