Christ in you

Christ in you, the hope of glory.
The ministry and teaching of Major Ian Thomas


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What does it mean the Jesus lives in the believer? Does it make a difference in your life?

John 14:16-20 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you... On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

1Co 3:16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Col 1:25-27 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness -- the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

As a young believer I came across the books and messages of the late great Major Ian Thomas. Those that are familiar with him will know that his sole message was Christ in you - the hope of glory. It didn't matter whether he was preaching from Genesis or Revelation (or anywhere in between!) - the message always revolved around the risen Lord and how His life can be seen through you today. His teachings really spoke to my heart (and some of that can be seen on this study on Christ in you - the hope of glory ) and I wanted to share with you on this page some of those teachings from Major Ian regarding this critical truth of the Lord's life in the believer. I'll do that through the following which all speak this .


Short video messages
Book extracts and quotes
Audio messages

Videos - Major Ian Thomas - Salvation & Evangelism

Lets start with a couple of short videos I recently came across which give a portions of his messages. You may find them challenging. You may find them eye opening. You may find them freeing if you've been struggling to make the Christian life 'tick'. But without doubt you will find they broaden your concept of what it means to be a Christian.

Quotes and book extracts

The following quotes are from the books of Major Ian Thomas. I encourage you to read the books, and I hope you benefit from them as I have.
I have listed them on my recommended reading page here . They can be viewed and/or purchased from Amazon amongst other places.

Major Ian Thomas' testimony of finding Christ as his life
True Christianity
The Exchanged Life
Pig is Pig!
Purposeful living
Losing and finding your life Carnal Christianity and Spiritual burnout
Basis of True Commitment
Taking the Lord Jesus into account
Being delightfully detached from the pressure of circumstance

Major Ian's testimony of finding Christ as his life

"At the age of fifteen, he felt convinced that he should devote all of his life to the service of the Lord Jesus. He told God that he would become a missionary. He began to preach out in the open air at Hampstead Heath at that early age. He was also actively engaged in Sunday School work as well as in the Crusaders' Bible class. Life became a round of ceaseless activity.

Speaking of his youthful decision to become a missionary, he said: "I began to consider the best area in which I could become a missionary and the best means I could employ to be most effective--perfectly sincere and genuine questions." The first missionary influence upon young Ian's life came through a doctor serving in Nigeria in the Housa Band. "First impressions are often the strongest," related Major Thomas, and so it became his ambition one day to go an join the Housa Band in Nigeria, West Africa. He thought the best thing for him to do was to become a doctor.

At the university Ian became a leader in the Inter-Varsity Fellowship group. If ever there was any evangelistic activity going on, this youthful zealot was "buzzing around the place, every holiday, every spare moment"! He started a slum club down in the East End of London "out of a sheer desire to win souls, to go out and get them. I was a windmill of activity until, at the age of nineteen, every moment of my day was packed tight with doing things. Thus by the age of nineteen, I had been reduced to a state of complete exhaustion spiritually, until I felt that there was no point going on."

Then, one night in November, that year, just at midnight, I got down on my knees before God, and I just wept in sheer despair. I said, "Oh, God, I know that I am saved. I love Jesus Christ. I am perfectly convinced that I am converted. With all my heart I have wanted to serve Thee. I have tried to my uttermost and I am a hopeless failure." That night things happened.

I can honestly say that I had never once heard from the lips of men the message that came to me then but God, that night simply focused upon me the Bible message of Christ Who Is Our Life. The Lord seemed to make plain to me that night, through my tears of bitterness: 'You see, for seven years, with utmost sincerity, you have been trying to live for Me, on My behalf, the life that I have been waiting for seven years to live through you.'" That night, all in the space of an hour, Ian Thomas discovered the secret of the adventurous life. He said: "I got up the next morning to an entirely different Christian life, but I want to emphasize this: I had not received one iota more than I had already had for seven years!"

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True Christianity (from the forward in the book 'Classic Christianity')

"There are a few things quite so boring as being religious, but there is nothing quite so exciting as being a Christian!

Most folks have never discovered the difference between the one and the other, so that there are those who sincerely try to live a life they do not have, substituting religion for God, Christianity for Christ, and their own noble endeavors for the energy, joy, and power of the Holy Spirit. In the absence of reality, they can only grasp at ritual, stubbornly defending the latter in the absence of the former, lest they be found with neither!

They are lamps without oil, cars without gas, and pens without ink, baffled at their own impotence in the absence of all that alone can make man functional; for man was so engineered by God that the presence of the Creator within the creature is indispensable to his humanity. Christ gave Himself for us to give Himself to us! His presence puts God back into the man! He came that we might have life – God’s life!

There are those who have a life they never live. They have come to Christ and thanked Him only for what He did, but do not live in the power of who He is. Between the Jesus who "was" and the Jesus who "will be" they live in a spiritual vacuum, trying with no little zeal to live for Christ a life that only He can live in and through them, perpetually begging for what in Him they already have!”

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Godliness (from the 'The mystery of Godliness')

"Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16)
Godliness is a mystery! Fail to grasp this fact and you will never understand the nature of godliness.

God did not create you to have just an ape-like capacity to imitate God. There would be no mystery in that, nor would this lift you morally much above the status of a monkey or a parrot! The capacity to imitate is vested in the one who imitates, and does not derive from, nor necessarily share the motives of the person being imitated, who remains passive and impersonal to the act of imitation…

Remove the mystery or try to explain it away, and the result must inevitably be disastrous, for you will no longer be anchored to anything absolute; you will be at liberty to choose your own God ­ the object of your own imitation; and your “godliness” will be the measure of your conformity to the object of your choice.

The moment you come to realize that only God can make a man godly, you are left with no option but to find God, and to know God, and to let God be God in and through you, whoever He may be ­ and this will leave you with no margin for picking and choosing ­ for there is only one God, and He is absolute, and He made you expressly for Himself!"

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The Exchanged Life (from 'The Saving Life of Christ')

"Christian living is not a method or technique; it is an entirely different, revolutionary principle of life. It is the principle of an exchanged life - not I, but Christ liveth in me ( Galatians 2:20)
This is all part of our Gospel - it is not the Gospel plus! We must not get our terminology wrong. To divorce the behavior of the Christian from the Gospel is entirely false and is not true to the Word of God, yet all too often such is the characteristic of gospel preaching.

I would like to explore with you what is the true spiritual content of our Gospel ­ not just heaven one day, but Christ right now! Christ in you, on the grounds of redemption ­ this is the Gospel! To preach anything less than this must inevitably produce "Evan-jellyfish" ­ folk with no spiritual vertebrae, whose faith docs not "behave!"

Do you remember what James says in his epistle? "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead" (chapter 2:26). The "spirit" there means breath, and a body without breath is dead. Stop breathing ­ and folk will bury you! In other words, a living body breathes, and a living faith breathes, and a living faith breaths with divine action. A living faith breathes with the activity of Jesus Christ. That is why the Lord Jesus, in John 6:29, said, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent."

That is the work of God. It is your living faith in the adequacy of the One who is in you, which releases His divine action through you. It is the kind of activity that the Bible calls "good works," as opposed to "dead works."

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Pig is Pig and Flesh is Flesh! (from 'If I Perish, I Perish')

"It is absolutely imperative for your own spiritual well- being that you recognize the fact that this old nature will never change its character. All the wickedness of which it is capable today, it will be capable of tomorrow - or for that matter fifty years from now. The flesh within you then will be as wicked as the flesh within you today, and there is absolutely no salvageable content within it. What a relief it must be for you to discover that in all your attempts to harness the flesh in the service of Jesus Christ, and in all your painful endeavors to introduce it to godly principles of life and conduct, God has never expected anything of you but the hopeless failure you have been! You have been trying to do the impossible!

Imagine, if you will, that I have come to the conclusion that the pig as a species has been grossly misjudged; that the idea that a pig wallows in the muck by choice, and that by nature it loves the dirt, is wholly unfounded. I have become fully persuaded that it is a question purely of environment, education and upbringing! I decide, therefore, to adopt a little baby pig into the family, and in this way prove my point by offering to it those amenities of life which will enable the best side of its character to be developed... We give the little pig a pink satin shirt and some little blue velvet pants, with ivory buttons down the sides. We teach it to wipe its feet when it comes into the house, to sit up at the table, to bow its head when we say grace, and to sleep at night between the sheets and the blankets with which we provide it, in its own little bed... It becomes quite obvious to us that it is only a matter of time before our endeavors are crowned with success. Unfortunately, it is just at this juncture, when our hopes are running high, that we make one fatal blunder. Somebody leaves the door open that leads into the grounds! Fresh breezes blow into the room where the little pig is playing. Sensing the fragrance of new-mown hay; the little pig's nose begins to twitch. Stopping halfway across the room it gazes out in the park - its curly tail unwinds and shoots straight up, stiff as a rod - like an aerial! There is a moment of hesitation, and then suddenly - like a bullet from a gun - the little pig races out through the open door and across the park, moving at incredible speed! Reaching the muddiest bog it can find, the little pig plunges in, and after rolling over and over, it lies on its back in the mud, little blue pants and all. With a delightful grin on its face, and with its feet sticking up in the air, it cries at the top of its voice - "Home, sweet home!"

You see, change its environment as you will, and train it as you may - little pink pants or blue, satin shirt or clean straw - Pig Is Pig! Given half a chance, the nature of the beast is to get back to where it belongs, and this you have found to be true in your own experience. The flesh within you has never ceased to love sin, and never will. Given half a chance it, too, will want to get back to where it belongs and wallow in the muck! This is why the godliest of men still have latent within them the most terrible potential for evil. It is the godliest of men who know it best, for it is the acknowledgment of this very fact which is the secret of their godliness. They have learned long since, and often by bitter experience, that character does not change for the better by improving the flesh, but by allowing it to be replaced by the Holy Spirit - for pig is pig! Only the Holy Spirit can render its pernicious appetites inoperative."

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Purposeful Living (from 'The Indwelling life of Christ')

"Do you know what it is to live purposefully ? Is there an urgent sense of mission or some compelling thrust within you which makes life add up to the sheer adventure that God always intended life to be ? Or are you simply engaged in the struggle for existence and survival ? Worse still, have you been caught up into the rat race of competitive existence ? Haunted by the fear of being overtaken by others at the next bend in the road ? Breathlessly trying to keep up with events that travel faster than your ability to cope with them ?

If so, there is good news awaiting you, good news about a treasury of purpose and truth and wisdom to be found in the person of Jesus, for living purposefully means trading our poverty for Christ's wealth....our weakness for His strength. We exchange the bankruptcy of the fallen Adam for all the fullness of His Life, and we discover the sheer adventure of allowing Jesus to be God in our own experience, for God He is !

That is why detaching Christianity from Christ is to reduce it to a dead religion, impersonal to Him and impersonal to you, just an intellectual exercise or a sentimental formula - and Christianity is neither ! It is Christ."

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Losing & finding your Life (from 'If I Perish, I Perish')

"In seeking to preserve your own life you will lose it. If you are prepared to lose your life for God’s sake, you will find it. This is your hour of destiny; choose wisely, do not throw it all away!' I believe that such a moment comes in the life of every child of God – the moment when God’s purpose for your life hangs delicately in the balance. It may be that at this very moment, these words find you too poised upon the threshold of that which Christ redeemed you, and at one and the same time you are both frightened and excited at the propect.

Fulfillment comes with the realization that you do not have in yourself what it takes. Death to all that you are in your own inadequacy is the only gateway through which you may enter into the fullness of all that Christ is, so that you may live miraculously in the power of His resurrection, crying from the heart, “Lord Jesus, I can’t but you can, and that is all I need to know – let’s go!” "

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Carnal Christianity and Spiritual Burnout (from The Saving Life of Christ)

"We have begun to see how victorious Christian living is not a method or technique to be worked out in our strength – it is an entirely different and revolutionary principle of life. It is the principle of the exchanged life. When the Spirit circumcises our heart by cutting off our old flesh-life, we can say with Paul – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”...

Unfortunately, there are many who refuse to give up their old way of living by self-will. They also prefer to rely on the strength of their flesh. Many Christians are like Martha. ( Luke 10: 41-42) They are dedicated Christians but they are still serving the Lord through their own human efforts. Like Martha, because they are still working in their own strength and will, they remain worried and upset about many things. And of course, this kind of service drains them of spiritual energy.

This may of course be a picture of you. Do not be shocked when I say that it is the picture of a carnal Christian. Yes, I am talking about Sunday school teachers, Sunday school superintendents, and pastors in the pulpit. I am talking about many ordinary, average, earnest Christians. They are not hypocrites. But they are tired – desperately tired! Furthermore, their old carnal nature is always rising up to overshadow the light and beauty of Christ’s life. But when you meet them, they will smile sweetly and mean it.

Story after story could be told of men and women who bravely, doggedly, out of a sense of duty and devotion, go on and on in their work for the Lord. But yet, deep down in their hearts, they are frustrated and spiritually worn out. These believers have not yet entered the Sabbath-rest of God where everyone rests from their own human effort. Like Martha, they still lack “the one thing needful.” (Luke 10: 42) They do not yet know about the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit that is able to raise their spiritual life up into the heavenly realms with Christ’s spiritual blessings. (Eph 1:3, 17-20) And so they still find themselves with an up and down spiritual life and constantly drained of spiritual energy. They still need to enter into a participation with Christ in His divine nature. (2 Pet. 1: 3-4) We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy which so powerfully works in me. (Col. 1: 28-)

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Walking in the Spirit (from 'If I Perish, I Perish')

"There is no climactic experience by which the evil influence of the flesh may be eradicated once and for all, though the flesh itself in its subtlety would like you to believe it - in the interests of its own self-preservation! Only be persuaded that the flesh no longer exists, and you are not likely to cause it any further inconvenience as it perpetuates its wicked activities in your soul. Nothing could please the devil more than that!

Appropriation of the victory of Christ demands more than just one act of faith -it requires an attitude of faith. It is a moment-by-moment reckoning, and your reckoning for this moment is never adequate for the next. "Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh" (Galatians 5:16-17)

Walking in the Spirit is a continuous process, one step at a time. It means that for every new situation into which every new step brings you, you must reckon positively with the Holy Spirit, to keep the flesh in the place of death. I want to emphasize the need to reckon positively, for we are not only to reckon ourselves "to be dead indeed unto sin," but we are to reckon ourselves "alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6: 11). It is our enjoyment of the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus Christ, through reckoning positively with His presence, which sets us free from the law of sin and death."

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True Commitment (from 'The Mystery of Godliness')

"But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and he need not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. (John 2:25)

What is the quality of your commitment to Christ? You may be accepted into membership by the "church", approved by your friends and entrusted with responsible office, but of what possible value can these be if your commitment to Christ is such that He is not willing to commit Himself to you? The value of your commitment to Christ will only be the measure of His commitment to you!..

The Lord Jesus Christ refused to be committed to the parochial needs of His own day and generation; He was not committed to the political situation in Palestine, or to the emancipation of the Jewish nation from the Roman yoke! He was not committed to the pressing social problems of His time, nor to one faction as opposed to another, any more than today He is committed to the West against the East, or to the Republicans against the Democrats (as though either were less wicked than the other!). Christ was not even committed to the needs of a perishing world; He was neither unmindful nor unmoved by all these other issues, but as Perfect Man He was committed to His Father, and for that only to which His Father was committed in Him ­ exclusively!..

The basis of His commitment to the Father is the basis upon which the Lord Jesus Christ claims your commitment to Him; you are committed to Him for all that to which He is committed in you ­ exclusively! You are not committed to a church, or to a denomination, or to an organization; as a missionary you are not committed to a Mission Board nor even to a "field," and least of all are you committed to a "need"! You are committed to Christ, and for all that to which Christ is committed in You, and again I say ­ exclusively!"

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Taking the Lord Jesus into account (from 'The Mystery of Godliness')

"What are you reckoning with? Are you really reckoning with Christ? Upon what basis have you evaluated the many different situations which have arisen within the last twenty-four hours? Did you take the Lord Jesus into account - or did you consider Him to be irrelevant?

Remember that it is precisely in those areas of your life in which you have not considered Christ to be relevant, in which as yet you have not repented. In these areas you are still trying to be adequate without Him - trying to be the "cause" of your own "effect"; and if you are the cause there will be nothing miraculous about the effect!..

The Lord Jesus Christ wants to be to you now, all that the Father was to Him then - God; if only you will be to Him now, all that He was to the Father then - Man! Have you learned to expose every situation to the Lord Jesus Christ in humble dependence upon His adequacy , and simply to say "Thank you", and then to reckon with Him as you act to meet that situation?

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Being delightfully detached from the pressure of circumstance (from 'If I Perish, I Perish')

"The Lord Jesus Christ could afford to be reviled; He could afford to be spat on; He could afford to be weak and He could afford to be foolish in the eyes of silly, sinful men, because He knew the One by whom He had been sent and the One into whose hands He had committed His Spirit - not only in death, but in thirty-three years of life. He could afford to do as He was told, and He could afford to die, because He knew that Someone else was taking care of the consequences.

If you are not yet prepared to do as you are told, no matter how weak it may make you look, or foolish it may seem to other people, then whatever you may believe about the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is still purely academic - you have not yet entered into the good of it. The life of Jesus Christ within you makes human circumstances irrelevant when it comes to the point of obedience to His clear instructions; for to share His life now as He once shared His Father's life on earth then, is to know as He did, that Someone else is taking care of the consequences. I do not mean by this that God's purposes are always irrational in the light of human circumstance, nor that there is peculiar virtue in being eccentric or foolhardy. It is simply that you become delightfully detached from the pressure of circumstance, and it ceases to be the criterion in the decisions which you make. You do as you are told whether God's instructions appear to be compatible with the immediate situation or not, and you leave God to vindicate Himself and to justify the course of action upon which, at His command, you have embarked.

Upon this basis Abraham could afford to say to Lot, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left" (Genesis 13:8-9). Here was restful indifference to what others might reasonably have argued was legitimate self-interest. Lot could take the left or Lot could take the right, or for that matter Lot could take the lot, but God's covenant was still with Abraham - and he knew it. That was all that Abraham really needed to know."

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Audio Sermons

You can left click to play the audio or right click and choose 'Save...' to download it to your computer.

A grain of wheat - Come to Christ and die so that His life can be seen

The rediscovery of Jesus Christ

The sun and moon - Image by derivation

The principle of behavior - Instinct in the animal, Christ in the man

Further audio sermons offsite here