“ … to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith … ” (Eph 3:14-19)
What is it in a believer’s life that validates their faith in Jesus Christ? The answer really isn’t complicated. What validates any true believer’s faith in Jesus, is the presence of the Lord in their heart and life.
Peter address this validation:
“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.” (1Pe 3:15)
Paul also addresses this quite plainly:
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Rom 8:15-16)
The Power and Presence of a Person
When the apostle said that the believer is to be, ‘strengthened with power in the inner man,’ he was not addressing an abstract notion. Paul is speaking of the very personal presence of Christ Jesus Himself.
It is the presence of Jesus in the hearts of believers that enables them live in an overcoming life. Jesus strengthens us, nurtures us, corrects us, guides us, disciplines us, but He will never leave us.
The apostle explained this personal aspect of our walk with the Lord. Listen:
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal 2:20)
This is why it is so important to realize something of …
The Voice of God
The call of salvation is a personal call to come walk with Jesus. It can never be merely about religion. Nothing can substitute for the call from Jesus Christ. This is why faith in Jesus cannot be conjured up. It is a living reality.
Faith is responding to a living voice.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word (or, ‘utterance’) of Christ.” (Rom 10:17)
Paul is stating something that Jesus had said:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish … ” (Joh 10:27-29)
The Greek term for voice [phõné] speaks of the cry of a living being which can be heard by others, or by someone in particular. It always addresses a voice. In this case it is the call of Jesus for His sheep to follow Him.
Again from Jesus:
“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice [phõné]; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” (Joh 10:16)
Phõné is the word used when the Father speaks at the baptism of Jesus…
“And behold, a voice [phõné] out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’” (Mat3:17)
Then we have this from the book of Isaiah about the voice of Christ leading us to correct paths:
“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (Isa 30:21)
The issue in Isaiah has to do with God bearing witness, even through others.
No matter how much we love where the Lord has placed us in His body, we must never let our religion take the place of our relationship with Jesus.
Religion Was Nailed to the Cross – Relationship Takes its Place
It was religion that was nailed to the cross when Jesus was crucified. I realize this may seem difficult to grasp, but it is very crucial to understand when it comes to living by faith.
We are to have faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of where we may find ourselves worshipping.
Both Jesus and the apostle Paul addressed this. Listen:
[To the woman at the well.] “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. … God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’” (Joh 4:21-24)
Jesus is telling her that there is no longer a need for religion of itself to serve as her guide. The time had come when true worshippers will know a personal reality of the Father and will serve Him in spirit and truth.
Paul also shares how the Jewish religion [law of Moses] was nailed to the cross:
“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him,
“… having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us;
“… and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Col 2:13-14)
This brings us to the place where we need to …
Expect the Unexpected
The apostle explained that in learning to walk with the Lord Jesus, we must learn to expect the unexpected.
“ … so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, …
“ … and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
“ … Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” (Eph 3:17-20)
Every word that the apostle shares, counts.
Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. We are to be rooted and grounded in His love for us, that is, a love that we can never be fully comprehended or that we can ever be separated from.
But we are to seek to comprehend that which seems incomprehensible. Thus we have the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus spoke of this teaching aspect as the schoolhouse of the Holy Spirit. (Schoolhouse is my term.)
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
“He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.
“All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (Joh 16:13-15)
The Call of Love
Expect the unexpected can be reckoned as the call of God’s love.
We are to realize that God truly loves us, and that Jesus Christ is not limited in our lives to what we think He can do. His presence and power knows no limit.
Expect the unexpected works on two levels. It works in providence, that is, where we can look back and see how the Lord cared for us through time and circumstance. We even see where our trials were a form of blessing.
Expect the unexpected also continues to work with Christ speaking into our lives. (We’ve already address the voice aspect.)
The point is simple. The Lord’s call to, ‘Come walk with Me,’ is the call of God’s love. It includes the call to a straying child. It is the call of love that reaches past our failures, our sins, and even our greatest disappointments.
It is the call of eternity.
What you don’t hear is, “Follow Me, and I will make a wreck of your life.”
Jesus said that He came to give us life and life abundantly.
This is what Jesus said:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mat 11:28-30)
Do you need a validation for your faith?
God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, saying,
“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jer 33:3)
Have you called upon the Lord? Think about it.
In the meantime, here is a song for your meditation - ‘How Great is Our God’
In Christ always,