Thousand Oaks Baptist Church
God in Your Heart
By David A. Tucker
Over the years, this author has heard many apparently well-meaning Christian teachers and preachers proclaim that it is wrong to teach folks that Jesus Christ comes into our hearts when we are saved. Because of this proclamation, many otherwise good Christian hymns, songs, and choruses (e.g., Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart) have been discarded. Many evangelists have been strongly urged to restate their invitations. Many childrenís workers have been strongly criticized for teaching that Jesus will come into the heart of all who accept Him as their Savior and Lord. Many Christians who thought Jesus had come into their hearts when they accepted Him are now not so sure that He lives in their hearts. In fact, theyíre not really sure where He lives in them, if at all, as the result of that proclamation.
But is it true that Jesus does not come into a new believerís heart at the moment of salvation? Is it true that Jesus does not live in the hearts of believers today? The test of truth is the Word of God. And so, letís examine carefully what the Bible has to say about this interesting subject. And as we do, we who are truly born again will discover that God is in us, that Jesus Christ is in us, that the Holy Spirit is in us, that the grace of God is in us, that the love of God is in us, that the Word of God is in us, and that the peace of God is in us. We will also discover that believing in our hearts was what God counted as righteousness in us.
God in You.
First, the New Testament declares that God resides in every born again believer. Look at the following Scriptures (italics are the authorís for emphasis):
1 Cor. 14:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
2 Cor. 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Cor. 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Eph. 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Phil. 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
1 Pet. 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1 Jn. 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 Jn. 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1 Jn. 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Specifically, God has shined into our hearts and we sanctify Him (set Him apart) in our hearts. Let me ask the detractors this: If God does not dwell in the heart of the believer, just where in the believer does God dwell?
I donít know what your dictionary says, but one of mine states that the heart, in this sense that the Bible obviously uses it, is the vital center and source of oneís being, emotions, and sensibilities. And in this sense, the dictionary and the Bible arenít talking about the physical organ in our bodies that pumps blood throughout our physical bodies. Theyíre talking about a basic and essential element of our being that is the essence of our being Ė that non-corporeal core element in our being which will continue to exist in either Heaven or Hell for eternity, with or without the presence of this present physical body.
Further, this same heart is the seat of oneís intellect and imagination. The heart of man is where oneís emotional constitution is found, the location of oneís basic disposition and character, whether evil or good. Our moods, our inclinations, our capacity for sympathy, love, generosity, compassion, affection, courage, and so much more are all found issuing from the heart. For, as Solomon said, ďKeep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.Ē (Prov. 4:23)
By the same token, but on the evil side, Jesus reminded us of the evil in our hearts.
Mark 7: 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
And the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah even earlier declaredÖ
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his
ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
I think we can safely say that the heart constitutes the real person, that part of man that God sees, searches, holds morally responsible, shines into, causes to believe in Him, and also enters when He comes into our life at salvation. How else can Christians act as moral beings in the will of God, unless God is moving and working in our hearts to produce the good fruit of the Spirit and to will and to do of His good pleasure?
Christ in You.
Second, the New Testament declares that the Lord Jesus Christ resides in every born again believer. Look at the following Scriptures (italics again are the authorís for emphasis):
Jn. 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Jn. 15:4 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.
5 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.
Rom. 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
2 Cor. 13:3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.
2 Cor. 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Eph. 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Col. 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:
1 Jn. 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.
1 Jn. 4:24 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.
Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Jesus Christ clearly lives and abides in every born again believer. Further, He dwells in our hearts by faith! The Greek word to dwell means to reside permanently. How then do some proclaim that Christ does not dwell in the hearts of believers today? I think it is all too obvious that when Christ comes into us at the moment of salvation, He comes into our hearts by faith. And He thereafter remains or abides there forever. Otherwise, please tell me just when and where is it that He comes in to dwell permanently? This should answer the question as to whether or not Christ comes into our hearts at salvation. Of course He does!
The Holy Spirit in You.
Third, the New Testament declares that the Holy Spirit resides in every born again believer. Look at the following Scriptures (italics again are the authorís for emphasis):
Mat. 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
Jn. 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
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.
Rom. 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.
Rom. 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
1 Cor. 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
2 Cor. 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Gal. 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Eph. 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
2 Tim. 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
1 Jn. 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
The moment we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, God the Father sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts and thereby made us children of God. From that moment on, the Holy Spirit continues to dwell in us, will be in us forever, gives us the new resurrection life of Christ to live on this earth, testifies in us that we are the children of God, provides Godís indwelling guarantee that we are saved, strengthens us in the faith, teaches us, guides us into all truth, and speaks in and through us to others.
And so, if you are a born again Christian, it is clear that God the Father is in you, God the Son is in you, and God the Holy Spirit is in you. And they came into your heart when you were saved. And they will dwell with and in your heart permanently Ė forever! You see, it really is okay to invite people to let Jesus come into their hearts.
The Grace of God in You.
Now then, as an added benefit, we also find that the grace of God is in every believer.
2 Cor. 9:14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.
What does it mean that the grace of God is in us? In this passage, the context speaks of giving of our material wealth (even if we are poor) to meet the needs of other Christians who are in more dire straits that we. God in His grace gave His only-begotten Son to die in our place and rise from the grave to give us salvation and eternal life. Now the same grace of God, working in us, will motivate our hearts to give to others in the same manner that God gave to us. Again, this is something that God does in our hearts, and that then issues from our hearts as they are filled with the grace and love of God. And God blesses us when we allow this to happen.
The Love of God in You.
Another added benefit is the love of God that He sheds abroad in our hearts through the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Rom. 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Jn. 5:42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
You see, the love of God is not something outside of the believer. The love of God is passed from the Father and the Son to the Spirit into and then through our hearts and from thence to others. Jesus made it clear that unbelievers do not have this love in them.
The Word of God in You.
Once we are saved, then we need to start filling our hearts with the Word of God, allowing His Word to dwell and abide in us richly, so that in all wisdom we can teach and admonish one another in the spoken word and in Christian music.
Jn. 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Rom. 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Col. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
1 Thes. 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
1 Jn. 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
1 Jn. 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
2 Jn. 2 For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
Once the Word of God is in us, then it can work effectively in us to cause us to defeat the devil with Godís truth. It can then also work effectively in us to keep us living for the Lord. This is why some believers seem to keep on growing in the Lord, while others seem to all but die on the vine. The former are allowing Godís Word to fill and work in them; the latter have not done this.
The Peace of God in You.
Of course we want the Lord to rule in our hearts. And when He does, then His peace, the peace that passes understanding, will rule (govern, decide what is the will of God) in our hearts.
Col. 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
God has called every one of us individually and as a body to allow Godís peace to turn our hearts in the directions that we should go. If God is in our hearts, then we can recognize Him and recognize His leading, and by following it we can experience His peace as the guarantee that we have indeed followed it.
Believing in Your Heart.
Last, but certainly not in any way least, it is in our hearts that we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
Rom. 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
At the first, God opens our hearts to attend to and to adhere by faith to the Gospel message. At the same time, it is in our hearts that we exercise faith to believe that Jesus is the Lord (Almighty God), and that God has raised Jesus from the dead to prove that God was completely satisfied with Christís death in our place, to pay for our sins. God sees our faith in our hearts and immediately declares us righteous in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ in His sight. From this point on, we are eternally secure in Jesus Christ. We have eternal life (eternal in the sense that once we have it, we can never lose it for any reason, right out into eternity yet to come).
From that point on, God wants us to walk (live) on this earth by faith. This means that we study Godís Word to discover what He wants us to be and to do, and in our hearts we believe what God has said, and from the heart we act on what God has said. This is faith in action. This is the faith that pleases God.
All of the issues of life come from the heart. If we are not born again, then we will have an evil heart of unbelief. However, if we have been saved, then Christ must dwell in our hearts and rule in our hearts by faith if the issues of our lives are to be pure and holy and pleasing to God.