THE COMFORTER AS THE INDWELLING SPIRIT OF REALITY
John 14:16-17a says, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever, even the Spirit of reality.” The Comforter is the Spirit of reality. Without the Spirit there is no reality and everything becomes doctrines in letter. Verse 17b goes on to say that “the world cannot receive” the Spirit of reality, “because it does not behold Him or know Him; but you know Him, because He abides with you and shall be in you.” Before we were saved, we did not have the Spirit of reality, but after we have been saved, we have Him abiding in us. Sometimes He makes us happy, while other times He gives us trouble. For example, before you were saved, you did not have any uneasy feeling when you went to any department store to buy anything. However, after you have been saved, because the Spirit of reality dwells in you, sometimes when you want to buy something, He would not agree. If you disregard His feeling and buy it anyway, you will feel uneasy within and you will not be able to pray. This is proof that the Spirit is truly abiding in you.
Verse 18 says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.” First, verse 17 says, “He abides with you,” and then verse 18 says, “I will not leave you.” The subject is changed from He to I. This means that He is I. “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.” This coming is the coming of the Spirit of reality. The Spirit’s coming is the Lord’s coming. Moreover, verse 19 says, “Yet a little while and the world beholds Me no longer, but you behold Me; because I live, you also shall live.” The Lord was going to die and be buried, so the world would behold Him no longer. However, the disciples beheld Him because He was resurrected. After His resurrection, He became the Spirit to enter into the disciples and live in them. Therefore, just as He lived, so they also lived. They lived together with Him.
Verse 20 says, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” This is truly a mystery! We are in the Lord, and the Lord is in the Father; so we are also in the Father. Furthermore, the Lord is in us, and because the Father and the Lord are one, the Father is also in us. The three—the Father, the Lord (the Son), and we—mutually dwell in one another. Hence, anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus has the Spirit of reality abiding in him. Thus, he is mingled with God and partakes of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). We who are believers of the Lord Jesus become a peculiar people. Since we have the Spirit of the Lord in us as our supply, we are able to attain to all endurance and long-suffering with joy, enduring what others cannot endure (Col. 1:11). Sometimes we have been wronged, but we do not complain; other times we have been rebuked, but we are not angry. Rather, we give thanks and praise to the Lord in everything. This is the story of “you in Me, and I in you.”
THE MUTUAL ABIDING OF CHRIST AND HIS BELIEVERS
John 14:23 says, “Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.” Verse 20 already indicates that “I [the Lord Jesus] am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” This means that the Lord Jesus abides in the Father, and we abide in the Lord Jesus, and the Lord Jesus abides in us. Thus, the Lord becomes our abode, and we become His abode. Moreover, He and the Father will come to us to make an abode with us. In 15:4a the Lord Jesus went on further to say, “Abide in Me and I in you.”
John 14 speaks about the matter of mutual abiding in one way, while John 15 goes further and speaks about it in another way. Chapter fourteen says, “You in Me, and I in you” (v. 20); it also says, “If anyone loves Me,…We [My Father and I] will come to him and make an abode with him” (v. 23). Then chapter fifteen says, “Abide in Me and I in you” (v. 4a). Not only so, Romans 8:9 goes further to say that “the Spirit of God dwells in you.” The Spirit of God here is the Spirit of Christ, even Christ Himself. Then Ephesians 3:17 goes even further to say that “Christ may make His home in your hearts.” In Greek the word for make…home is different from the word for dwells in Romans 8 and from the word for abide in John 14 and 15. The word for abide in the Gospel of John is used in a general sense. The word for dwells in Romans is the verb form of the word for house; it means to inhabit as one’s abode and is a stronger word than abide. To make home in Ephesians is even stronger than dwells in Romans; it means not only to inhabit but also to settle down in a dwelling, to make home by being deeply rooted. Christ not only dwells in us but also makes home in us, and He even settles down in us by being deeply rooted in our heart. The experience of believing in the Lord Jesus is a matter of changing residence. Before we believed in the Lord, we dwelt in Adam; when we believed in the Lord, we moved into Christ. In Adam, all we had were the fall, sin, darkness, and death; in Christ, we have transcendence, victory, light, and life. When we believe in the Lord Jesus, we move out of Adam into Christ; we no longer dwell in the old Adam but in Christ. Hallelujah, we are those who have changed our residence and have a new address!
(The Subjective Experience of the Indwelling Christ, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)