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A Righteousness by Faith #5: Where am I?

Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. John 14:19-21

Righteousness starts with Jesus. He is not just our example of righteousness—like he’s the poster boy of the Church. He is our life, our hope—present in our lives so that we will be safe while we are on this journey from here to eternity.

Remember that when Jesus was explaining this, the disciples were three days away from knowing the full reality of the life Jesus would delivering to them through his death and resurrection. Hearing these words before the cross probably did not convey the depth of what they meant. It was like blind men hearing about the amazing wonders of light and color of a fireworks show at Disney. The disciples could not have grasped the power of these words because they were expecting a different kind of kingdom from Jesus. Until Jesus resurrected from the grave, his declaration that, “Because I live, you also will live.” may have sounded more like a political slogan than a life-changing promise.

The disciples were in this for the glory of reigning over a restored Israel. What they became was the temple where the glory of God reigns.

During the transformation training I do, I teach believers how to pursue intimacy with God. This includes learning to rest, understanding how to appropriate what God has already given to us, and meditating on the love of Christ. But what people need to know first is that God himself has pursued intimacy with us. He is not out there somewhere, just out of reach, waiting for us to make a move in His direction. What Jesus makes plain here is that the life we are getting to live is possible because the Father and the Son have immersed us in their presence within and without.

This is what it means to be the temple. We are a place where God dwells. Paul put it this way: “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 1 Corinthians 6:16 When Jesus said that he was in the Father and the disciples were in him and he was in them, this was temple talk. The presence of the Lord in their midst. Not in a building made by hands, but inside them as living stones of His temple.

I did not understand this as a reality for years. Then someone led a group that I attended through an ‘Envelope Exercise.’ It was based on this teaching by Jesus. The exercise requires four envelopes and one piece of paper. On the piece of paper, we wrote Jesus. Then we took one envelope, wrote our name on it, and put the paper in it. This is Jesus in us. Then we took the second envelope and on it wrote Jesus. We then took the first envelope with our name on it and put it inside this one. On the third envelope, we wrote The Father and put the Jesus envelope inside it. Finally, we labeled the fourth envelope, The Holy Spirit and put everything inside it. On the basis of Ephesians 1:13-14, we were told that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, so we closed this last envelope and sealed it!

Where was I? Not in Kansas anymore. What I learned visually was that I was securely enfolded in the presence of the Father, Son, and Spirit. That like Paul, I am found in Christ—and he is in me so that his righteousness is now the defining reality of my life. It makes the journey possible to face without fear. Without lies. With hope in the glory of God.

Steve Smith