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The Indwelling of God
When does it happen? How does it happen?

There is an important article on this website titled “The Three Big Questions.” It deals with those questions that all (or most) human beings ask:

“Who am I?” “Why am I here?” and “Where am I going?”

Recently, I found a comment waiting for my approval that was posted at the end of this article. First, I approved the comment (so it could be seen), then I responded to it with an answer. I believe my response is so important, it needed to share it with our entire internet list.

Here is the post from a visitor to the True Light site:

In John 14:20 Jsus (sic) says: “Don’t you know that I am in the Father and the Father is in me and we are in you.” Please explain this. Also, how do we experience it? Why do we react with with amazment (sic) and resistmennt (sic) to this comment straight from Jesus’ lips?

Here is my answer:

Thank you so much for visiting my site and sharing your heart. If you read Jesus’ quote that you mentioned in context, it changes the interpretation dramatically—from a present possession to a future happening for the disciples. Again, He wasn’t talking about their present spiritual condition when these words were spoken, but what would happen for them and to them in the future.

Let me quote six Bible verses, five of which precede the verse you referenced (in bold):

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—
John 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.
John 14:20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

Please notice verse 17—Jesus makes it clear that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, exists apart from the world and from the disciples (He is external initially in our lives). In verse 17 He is “with” the disciples, but Jesus declares that at a certain point in the future, He will be “in” them. As indicated in the next verse, prior to that indwelling—spiritually speaking—all of us are orphans. We become sons of God when God sends forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts (see Galatians 4:6). That is a specific spiritual event; it happens when we are born again (John 3:1-7).

Going back to this passage, Jesus indicated that this indwelling would take place after He departed for “a little while” (John 14:19, also 16:16). He died and His soul departed from this world for three days and nights. After the resurrection, He spent 40 days with His disciples training them in the nature of the Kingdom of God. Then He ascended to heaven. Ten days after that, He sent the Holy Spirit to them in the upper room. This “indwelling” was not something internal that was awakened; it consisted of something external that entered their hearts (the personal presence of God). That is why, in the beginning of the verse that you partially quoted, Jesus qualified his statement by saying, “In that day.” He was referring to the day that the Spirit of God would come to dwell within their hearts—hearts that had been washed clean from sin by the blood He shed on the cross. Anyone who truly experiences being born again will comprehend why Jesus said these words initially, for it is a spiritual awakening that all believers inherit, and a promise fulfilled for each believer personally:

John 14:20 “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

In the “day” we give our hearts to the Lord Jesus and have an authentic encounter, we know that the Father is in us, the Son is in us and that we are in Him. Oneness with God only comes with spiritual rebirth – and that spiritual rebirth is only available through Jesus. No wonder He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

I believe you are a seeker of truth or you would not have taken time to read the article on my site. I urge you to pray and ask the Lord Jesus to come to you and affirm the correct path to truth and to God. He promised He would manifest Himself to those who love Him in the very next verse:

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21) I pray this verse will be fulfilled in your life. It happened for me; it will happen for you.



Leave a reply

  • Hallelujah! Thankyou so much pastor Mike, for this clear response. It perfectly matches my own experience, but sometimes i find it hard to explain!
    Thankyou for your understanding of the scriptures, and clarity of expression.
    This is really spot on! I’m grateful.

    • I am very glad it was a blessing to you Tara. Words are important–with their subtle nuances of meaning. The truth is constructed with proper words properly explained. It’s something I have studied closely for many years.

Written by Mike Shreve