Why isn’t the promise of God-With-Us (Emmanuel) in the New Testament? (Don’t worry, it’s good news!)

God is WITH ME. I’m hanging on tight to that promise.

HE IS WITH US. That’s good news, but it isn’t the end of the story.

In this season I feel God inviting me deeper.

When I searched the Bible and pulled a long list of God’s WITH US promises, I saw that they are all over the Bible… Until you hit the end of the Gospels.

Then you don’t see “WITH YOU” promised again until it’s fulfilled in the Revelation, with “the tabernacle of God … among men…”

In all these years of clinging to the promise of God with us, I never noticed that the promise doesn’t come up in Paul’s writing or any letters from the early church in our New Testament. Paul and the other NT Writers don’t talk about God WITH US.

The primary promise of the new covenant is God IN us. CHRIST IN US, the hope of glory.

The turning point is Acts 2: When the Spirit comes and fulfills the WITH YOU promise of Christ by indwelling – coming to LIVE IN – His people. Emmanuel, the WITH US God, is now through the Holy Spirit IN US. And Yahweh who once led His people in a pillar of cloud and fire, has actually taken His people – us – and placed us IN CHRIST.

He is IN US and we are IN HIM.

Once again, we could do a 12 week study:

Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:9-11 …If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you….

1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption…

Ephesians 1 is a long list of the beautiful gifts we have IN Christ, beginning with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies” and ending with the promise that we … “having also believed, were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

This is new covenant living: To see ourselves only and always as IN CHRIST, and Him in us. Intimately and beautifully connected, inseparable.

Can I plant my stake in the ground here? Can I pitch my tent, or even better, dig my foundation and build my house right here: Living in the truth that Jesus is IN ME? Can I refuse to see myself as separate from God in Christ? Can I enter every circumstance, face every fear, every challenge, by stepping back and seeing myself as IN CHRIST? When my world is shaken and I feel insecure: Can I remember that I am not orphaned and alone? I am in Christ and He is in Me.

I’ve spent years practicing believing that God is WITH me, so I felt very confident inviting you to join me, reaching out to hold on to Him.

But I’m just beginning to wade into what it means that Jesus is in me, so I’m not sure how it looks practically. In my mind’s eye, it seems less like holding hands with Jesus and more like a deep breath, a settling, a reality.

I’m trying to spend at least a little time at the beginning of every day, sitting with this truth: God is more than with me, by His Spirit He is IN me, and I am in Him. We are one.

And I will invite you to join me here: Let’s together ask God to show us what it means to live In Christ, with Christ in us. Let’s believe that the indwelling that happened in Acts 2 at Pentecost hasn’t stopped happening, that the actual Spirit of the living God dwells with us and in us.

Will you join me and say a big fat YES to our God who wants to live in us, intimately and beautifully connected, inseparable.


 

If you’d like to join me in trying to practice and live in this truth, take a few minutes to journal, think and pray through the following steps:

Think for a few minutes about the promise that Jesus is IN you, and that God has placed you in Christ. Sit with that for a moment.

 

Take a deep breath, and imagine breathing Jesus in.

Imagine being totally safe, totally connected, one with Him.

 

What difference does it make to believe that Christ is in you?

How does it change how you view your physical body, the temple of the Holy Spirit?

If this is hard for you, that is OK too. Just be where you are, with Jesus, in Jesus.

 

Take a few moments and write out a prayer (or prayer out loud), thanking Jesus that He is in you, and you are in Him. Ask Him to help you live aware of this intimate connection with Him.

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