Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Christ in the Heart
As we approach this staggering statement ["That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith"] -- and we must walk...warily, carefully, and circumspectly -- it is essential that we remind ourselves yet once more that this prayer is offered for believers. I emphasize the matter because a phrase has gained currency in connection with evangelism which has often caused confusion with respect to this particular verse [Eph. 3:17]. In giving their experience and talking about their conversion people often say, "it is now many years since I first received Christ into my heart." Evangelists often put this message in that way, and ask people whether they will receive Christ into their hearts. But this is not a scriptural expression and it can be most misleading, particularly when we meet with a phrase such as the one which we are now studying. It is for this reason that I remind you that the Apostle is offering this prayer for people who are already believers. They were people who once were afar off but who have now been made nigh, brought nigh, by the blood of Christ. They are already believers, they are already united to Christ as their Head, they are already members of His body which is the Church. They are "in Him" and He is in them.
In other words, the Apostle is not praying that these people may become Christians, He is praying that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith, although He is already present. Paul is not praying for their conversion, or their salvation, or their justification. All that is taken for granted; it has already taken place.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ: An Exposition of Ephesians 3, p.143-144