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17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.

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17. That Christ may dwell. He explains what is meant by “the strength of the inner man.” As

“it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell,” (Colossians 1:19,)

so he who has Christ dwelling in him can want nothing. It is a mistake to imagine that the Spirit can be obtained without obtaining Christ; and it is equally foolish and absurd to dream that we can receive Christ without the Spirit. Both doctrines must be believed. We are partakers of the Holy Spirit, in proportion to the intercourse which we maintain with Christ; for the Spirit will be found nowhere but in Christ, on whom he is said, on that account, to have rested; for he himself says, by the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me.” (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18.) But neither can Christ be separated from his Spirit; for then he would be said to be dead, and to have lost all his power.

Justly, therefore, does Paul affirm that the persons who are endowed by God with spiritual vigor are those in whom Christ dwells. He points to that part in which Christ peculiarly dwells, in your hearts, — to show that it is not enough if the knowledge of Christ dwell on the tongue or flutter in the brain.

May dwell through faith. The method by which so great a benefit is obtained is also expressed. What a remarkable commendation is here bestowed on faith, that, by means of it, the Son of God becomes our own, and “makes his abode with us!” (John 14:23.) By faith we not only acknowledge that Christ suffered and rose from the dead on our account, but, accepting the offers which he makes of himself, we possess and enjoy him as our Savior. This deserves our careful attention. Most people consider fellowship with Christ, and believing in Christ, to be the same thing; but the fellowship which we have with Christ is the consequence of faith. In a word, faith is not a distant view, but a warm embrace, of Christ, by which he dwells in us, and we are filled with the Divine Spirit.

That ye may be rooted and grounded in love. Among the fruits of Christ’s dwelling in us the apostle enumerates love and gratitude for the Divine grace and kindness exhibited to us in Christ. Hence it follows, that this is true and solid excellence; so that, whenever he treats of the perfection of the saints, he views it as consisting of these two parts. The firmness and constancy which our love ought to possess are pointed out by two metaphors. There are many persons not wholly destitute of love; but it is easily removed or shaken, because its roots are not deep. Paul desires that it should be rooted 136136     “Meaning (by a continuation of the same architectural metaphor) that ‘the love should be deep and sincere;’ and though ἐρ᾿ῥιζωμένοι be properly applicable to trees, yet it was sometimes used of the foundations of massy edifices; in which case, however, it is in the classical writers almost always accompanied with some word which has reference to buildings.”. — Bloomfield. and grounded, — thoroughly fixed in our minds, so as to resemble a well-founded building or deeply-planted tree. The true meaning is, that our roots ought to be so deeply planted, and our foundation so firmly laid in love, that nothing will be able to shake us. It is idle to infer from these words, that love is the foundation and root of our salvation. Paul does not inquire here, as any one may perceive, on what our salvation is founded, but with what firmness and constancy we ought to continue in the exercise of love.