Experience: Christ in Me 


“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) 

St Paul is clear that he participates in Christ’s life and death and that now Christ lives in him. The sense of participating in Christ has been key to an Orthodox understanding of Christianity from its earliest days. Origen, writing in the 3rd Century, says: 

“‘The WORD became flesh‘ (John 1: 14). This is what is of benefit to the faithful: that the WORD comes to be in each one. For what good is it for me if the WORD comes to dwell in the world, but I have no part of him? . . .  What good is it to me that he brings the whole world into subjection and possesses the cities of his enemies if he does not also conquer his enemies who are within me, if he does not destroy ‘the law which is at war in my members with the law of my mind, and making me captive to the law of sin‘ (Roman 7: 23)?   . . .   For what good is it to you if God renews his promises and you are not renewed? – if he speaks ‘from heaven’ and you listen from the earth?”  (SPIRIT AND FIRE, pp 186, 187) 


Salvation is something that has happened to the entire cosmos. But it is not merely some objective truth, an idea which we can learn about. It is something we participate in – and because we can experience it personally, we know of God’s love for us by experience. It is not something we only hear about, it is something we experience by allowing Christ to live in us. As the Prophet Job exclaims after his encounter with God: “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). We encounter the God of love and in knowing God as love, we also experience total amazing grace as we realize our own sinfulness has made us unworthy of being in God’s presence, and yet God has made that possible through Christ.