Christ In You

I was born and raised in the state of Minnesota. I have a little pin that says I didn’t miss Sunday school for nine years in a mainline denomination. I have never known a time when I did not believe in God, but I didn’t come to know Him until I was in my mid-twenties. If you asked me if I was a Christian prior to that time, I would have emphatically said “Yes,” but I wasn’t. I was an aerospace engineer at the time, and our department did the final testing on the guidance system for the Lunar Lander, which was an integral part of the Apollo Space Program. I had previously served in the Navy.

I was the All-American boy who didn’t drink, smoke, or cheat on his wife. We lived in suburbia and I pitched for a softball team, played golf in a summer league, and participated in a bowling league. I was the Senior Warden of a small Episcopal church, which is essentially the same as being the chairman of an elder board. The priest and I were invited to attend a Lay Institute for Evangelism. I really didn’t know what evangelism was. Had I known I probably wouldn’t have gone. It finally dawned on me that I was learning to share my faith, and I really didn’t have anything to share. One presenter asked, “If you took Jesus out of your faith what difference would it make?” I thought at the time, “I don’t think it would make any difference, I believe in God.” That question penetrated my soul, and today my whole ministry is based on “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

Since I didn’t really know the Bible in those days, I wonder how I would have understood what the apostle Paul was writing in 1 Jn. 5:11-13; “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”

After my true conversion I became aware that I was surrounded by many religious non-believers, as I had been. I am deeply concerned for those who have never really heard or understood the gospel that would lead to a saving faith, and equally concerned for those who are truly born-again, but lack assurance of their salvation, as was the apostle Paul when he wrote: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test” (2 Cor. 13:5).

Dr. Neil

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