Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Reciprocal Indwelling

"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 John 3:24 (KJV) 

This reciprocal indwelling is a double wonder. If the indwelling of Christ by his representative, the Holy Spirit, is a mystery, the indwelling of the believer's soul in Christ is to one who has no experience a mystery of mysteries beyond reason, and beyond such natural faith as is possible to the unregenerate, except on the theory of pantheism. This theory exaggerates God's omnipresence. It makes him everything as well as everywhere; as a soul in man, in nature, in the universe, just as life is in animal bodies. This soul has self-consciousness only in man. Man's individuality is a brief illusion, as a bubble momentarily floating on a river, then losing its form in the current which bears it onward to the ocean. There is in pantheism no such thing as personality in man or in God. It denies freedom in both. This implies that neither God nor man has a moral character or a moral sense. God is a blind, non-descript force acting through material organisms. Neither sin nor holiness has any place in this philosophy. There are two objections: first, the testimony of consciousness to freedom and moral accountability; and second, the Bible idea of God as a perfect personality, having intelligence, feeling, will, and moral freedom. We now have a basis for stating the doctrine of the indwelling of God in the believer and the indwelling of the believer in God. Both personalities are retained, but mentally interpenetrated. The Spirit does not take forcible possession of the body and mind, as evil spirits do in the case of demoniacs, dervishes, and devotees of Hinduism, but he gently enlightens, purifies, and guides the trusting and renovated soul, and through it he controls the body. As a Person the Spirit has an intelligent and definite aim, which is to produce and conserve holiness in the believer. Such a person dwells ill Christ because he is ensphered in his mighty personality, and encompassed by his love: —

"Plunged in the Godhead's deepest sea,
And lost in its immensity."

The reciprocal indwelling is the strongest possible expression for the union of God and the believer. The relation so intimate is indescribably blissful. It begirds weakness with omnipotence. It banishes fear. It arches the future with the rainbow of hope.

"And when I'm to die,
'Receive me,' I'll cry,
For Jesus hath loved me,
I cannot tell why.
"But this I do find,
We two are so joined,
He'll not live in glory
And leave me behind."

What a sense of security one has who carries God in his bosom and at the same time is consciously dwelling in the Gibraltar of God's overshadowing presence, power, and love. Such a man is gloriously delivered from fear and doubt. He has the full assurance of faith, and the victory over the world which comes through faith.

Jesus Exultant (1899) Chapter 12.