Wednesday, July 08, 2015

THE GOD WHO DWELLS IN HIS PEOPLE

"19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." Eph 2:19-21.
There are many religions and many idols which men turn to. But what religion has a God that dwells in its followers?
What a beautiful thing to see in Ephesians that we go from being dead in trespasses and sins and servants of the devil to being the habitation of the Lord. God dwells in the temple which is what you are if you are a true disciple of Christ. God dwells in His people through the Spirit. I am not ashamed of the Gospel and I'm not ashamed to say that God dwells in me.
There are Christians who have been conditioned and trained to say the Holy Spirit could never dwell in a man. Why not? If God could dwell in the Solomon temple and in the tent Moses carried around the wilderness for forty years, why couldn't God dwell in His children? If God could been so close that Paul says to the Athenians that in Him we live, move and exist and that he's not far from any one of us, why couldn't God move an inch closer to dwell in those men and women who have been made a holy habitation by His grace? The logic of man can not be allowed to dismiss the beautiful mystery that God lives in His people through the Spirit.
We are conditioned to distinguish between the flesh and the spirit and so it is insisted that God wouldn't dwell in a man. Why not? God provides for the sanctity of the tent. Jesus could come and indwell a body for 33 years. The flesh didn't contaminate Him. Jesus was Holy and the body was Holy. We sing "Holy, Holy, Holy" and think that God alone is holy. It's true that He's never been unholy, but it's not true that none other is holy. God says we are to be like Him and has provided that we can share in His holiness; we have a borrowed holiness which God gives from Christ to us who are of faith. And so there's no reason to object that God could dwell in us because we aren't holy. God dwells in the one made holy by Jesus. This is so important Paul says if God doesn't dwell in you, then yo are lost and not saved, Romans 8:9ff.
The skeptic says, "No, there are no miracles and therefore He can't dwell in Christians because that would be a miracle." This logic doesn't follow. The dwelling of the Holy Spirit isn't the classic miracle as we see in the New Testament. It is like the work of providence that is a reality, a work of God which is only accepted by faith being worked by God behind what is seen. To say that God dwells in a Christian man is accepted by faith. We accept by faith that God answers our prayers and we don't so, 'not to because miracles have ceased', and we shouldn't diminish that God has benevolently chosen to dwell in His people. Sure, His word is in us. It must be. But the word alone being in a person isn't good enough. God wants to dwell in His people in a very personal way.
Buddha and Confucius and Allah doesn't dwell in their adherents. But God will dwell in the redeemed. Christians live with a sense of wonder over the work of God in their lives.
"Repent and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT." Acts 2:38.

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