WHERE DOES GOD DWELL TODAY? - In the OT Solomon asked "Will God indeed DWELL with mankind on the earth?" (2Chr 6:18) In the NT Stephen made it clear that "the Most High does not DWELL in TEMPLES made with human hands" (Acts 7:48), quoting Isaiah 66:1 where Jehovah proclaimed "Heaven is My throne and earth is the footstool of my feet. What kind of SANCTUARY will you build for Me? Where will My RESTING PLACE be?" Arnot comments "While the universe is the only proper dwelling of God, there are places which, in condescension to our weakness, are especially designated HIS dwelling to signify that He especially manifests His presence there, is especially worshiped there, and bestows there special spiritual blessings, rich spiritual banquets." The psalmist echoes this thought declaring "How lovely is Thy DWELLING PLACE, O LORD of hosts!" (Ps 84:11ESV-note) The prophet Isaiah provides a clue as to where God dwells today, declaring that "this is what the high and lofty One says--He Who lives forever, Whose Name is holy: 'I live in a high and holy place, but also WITH HIM who is contrite (crushed, broken, humble) and lowly (bowed down) in spirit, In order to revive (cause to live) the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." (Isaiah 57:15-note)
In the Upper Room Discourse Jesus answered the OT question, declaring to His disciples that "the Spirit of Truth… abides WITH you and will be IN you… In that day you shall know that I am IN My Father, and you IN Me, and I IN you." (Jn 14:17, 20-note cp Jn 14:23-note) Spurgeon wrote "Mysterious triple union — Christ IN the Father, we IN Christ, and Christ IN us. This wondrous unity is a complete riddle to all who have never been taught by the Spirit of God." Indeed, may the Spirit open the eyes of our heart (Eph 1:18-note) to ponder deeply and often, the truth that God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the omnipresent Triune God has chosen to TABERNACLE "forever" (Jn 14:16-note) not in buildings but IN BELIEVERS, a promise first fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, when the Spirit came to REST on each disciple (cp Acts 2:1-4-note). O precious mysterious truth that believers today are God's DWELLING PLACE, even His place of rest! Indeed, Paul explained that "the Spirit of God the Father (Who is also) the Spirit of Christ" now DWELLS IN EVERY believer. (Ro 8:9-note, cp 1Cor 12:13-note) adding that "Christ (is) IN us, the hope of glory (the absolute assurance we will be glorified like Christ-Ro 8:17-note) ." (Col 1:27-note, cp Gal 2:20-note) How marvelous is the revelation that every believer is "complete in Christ" and now possesses all of the triune God we will ever need for "life and godliness." (Col 2:10-note, 2Pe 1:3-note) Which begs the question - how much of our heart does He possess? Or as someone has said, we have all of Jesus we will ever receive, but how much of us does He have? O, to be daily fully surrendered to the sweet indwelling "SPIRIT OF JESUS" (Acts 16:7-note, cp Php 1:19-note) and His life giving grace and power which enables us to live a God glorifying, supernatural life, life on a higher plane. O for "A heart resigned, submissive, meek, My great Redeemer’s throne, Where only Christ is heard to speak, Where Jesus reigns alone." (C Wesley)
Writing to the saints in the sin saturated city of Corinth, Paul sought to motivate them to a higher, holier life asking "do you not know that your BODY is a TEMPLE (Gk = NAOS-note = the inner Sanctuary, the Holy of holies! Pause and ponder this awesome truth!) of the Holy Spirit Who is (present tense - continually, permanently) IN you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For (explaining why we are not our own) you have been bought with a price ("a price incalculable, stupendous, infinite" [Spurgeon], Christ's "precious blood… unblemished, spotless"-1Pe 1:18-19-note, Acts 20:28-note, Titus 2:14-note, Rev 1:5-note). Therefore (because of WHO is in us and WHOSE we are) GLORIFY (not a suggestion but a command to give a proper opinion of and honor to) God in your BODY." (1Cor 6:19-20-note) John Piper emphasizes that "The body in which you dwell is not yours to do with simply as you please. God bought your body from the curse of sin by the payment of his own Son (Gal 3:13-note), and now your body should serve one all-encompassing purpose: "Glorify, God in your body." "I belong to Jesus; He has died for me; I am His and He is mine, Throughout eternity." (M Fraser)
Olav Olavson was a free citizen of Sweden, but he found himself hard pressed for money and in desperation sold his body to the Karolinska Institute for medical research. A year later, he inherited a fortune, but when he tried to buy himself back the Institute refused to sell him the rights to his own body, and in a lawsuit retained possession, even collecting damages for two teeth that were extracted without permission! Before being purchased by Christ, we were obligated to obey our old master, Sin, but now that we have been "ransomed from the direst slave-master to the dearest Lord," we do not have to live like Olav Olavson who could never free himself. Jesus to Whom we now belong promised that when "the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36-note), describing a freedom which is not the right to do as we please, but the power to do as we should! "Sudden expired the legal strife, ’Twas then I ceased to grieve; My second, real, living life, I then began to live." (O, For A Thousand Tongues to Sing by Charles Wesley) (More classic version)
Harry Ironside asks "In light of the truth that our bodies are not our own but are Temples of the Living God, "Do we think as much of this truth as we should? Would we allow many things about which we are too often careless into God's Holy Temple if this truth were continually before our mind? We think of a church building as a sanctuary set apart for the work of the Lord. We step in from the outside, and immediately our hat comes off, for we realize that we are in a holy place." We shutter at the thought we would think or speak or act in a way that would desecrate, profane or pollute such a holy place. Even more let us ponder this, that our body is God's SANCTUARY, His resting place, His holy (set apart) TEMPLE, in which His Holy Spirit dwells. How careful we ought to be not to grieve or quench that blessed One Who dwells within (Eph 4:30-note, 1Th 5:19-note), lest we fail to honor and glorify the Name of the Savior Who has sent His Spirit from the Father (Jn 15:26-note) to live forever in our body. Let us say the words over and over lest we forget or become indifferent to the truth that "My body is THE TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit. God Almighty DWELLS WITHIN my frail frame." Spurgeon adds that "the most potent plea for sanctity (holiness) is not that 'You were made (creation),' but that 'You were bought (redemption).'" Frequent meditation on this truth will temper our conscience with a still small voice, which speaks of the incomparable dignity of our bodies and the solemn responsibility we have to be holy as He is holy (1Pe 1:15-16-note), daily cleansing "ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2Cor 7:1-note) How might our lives be transformed, if we awoke each morning and as royal priests of His HOLY TEMPLE (1Pe 2:9-note) offered ourselves to Him as living and holy sacrifices, surrendering ourselves wholly to His holy will for us for that day? (Ro 12:1-2-note) Then all through the day, wherever we, His SANCTUARY, traversed, we could do so with an attitude of praise and worship, ever "lifting up holy hands in the SANCTUARY" (cf Ps 28:2-note, 1Ti 2:8) declaring in our heart, His throne, "You are awesome, O God, in Your SANCTUARY." (Ps 68:35-note) Would this not change our lives? Where we go? (Ps 1:1-note) What we listen to? What we look at? (Ps 101:3-note) What we say? (Ps 141:3-note) "Our souls and bodies we resign; With joy we render Thee. Our all, no longer ours, but Thine, To all eternity." (C Wesley)
Under the Old Covenant of Law, God provided a Temple for His people. Under the New Covenant of Grace, He redeemed a PEOPLE for His TEMPLE. "The Temple was the one place in all the land of Israel which was entirely dedicated to God’s use. It existed solely for His service, and from all profane purposes it was completely separated. God’s ownership was recognized in every detail of its construction and service—it was truly the House of God. So it is with all who are called now to be His TEMPLE." (James Hastings) As Adrian Rogers said "Being saved is not just getting man out of Earth into heaven; it is getting God out of heaven into man!" Spurgeon asks "Does this not make a man outstanding? Have you never stood in awe of your own self? Have you thought enough about how your poor body is sanctified, dedicated, and elevated into a sacred condition by being set apart as the TEMPLE of the Holy God?" F B Meyer adds "Built from the dust of the earth, our bodies are rarer than the most glorious structures that ever the sun shone on, because they are meant to be the SHRINE and HOME of God!" Is this not amazing grace! Meyer goes on to remind us that "Jesus spoke of the TEMPLE (Gk = naos-note) of His Body (Jn 2:19-21-note) and if He was so zealous for His FATHER'S HOUSE that He drove out the unholy traffickers (Jn 2:14-16), and refused to allow a vessel to be carried through the courts, should we not be equally careful, we who are His FATHER'S HOUSE? We are the custodians of the DIVINE RESIDENCE, so let us be very careful that there be nothing to offend or trouble the Celestial Guest." "May we make it our business, to the last day and hour of our lives, to glorify God with our bodies." (Matthew Henry) "Let Him to Whom we now belong, His sovereign right assert, And take up every thankful song, And every loving heart." (C Wesley)
A Puritan's Prayer - "O Holy Trinity, three Persons and one God, inhabit me, a TEMPLE consecrated to Thy glory. When Thou art present, evil cannot abide. In Thy fellowship is fullness of joy. (Ps 16:11-note) Beneath Thy smile is peace of conscience. By Thy side no fears disturb, no apprehensions banish rest of mind. With Thee my heart shall bloom with fragrance. Make me meet (suitable), through repentance, for Thine indwelling. Nothing exceeds Thy power, Nothing is too great for Thee to do, Nothing too good for Thee to give. Infinite is Thy might, boundless Thy love, limitless Thy grace, glorious Thy saving Name. Amen" (The Valley of Vision - click left column for today's devotional)
In light of the life transforming truth that we are God's Holy Temple through which His Shekinah Glory now shines into a dark world, let us prayerfully sing Frances Havergal's famous hymn…(Take My Life and Let it Be - Chris Tomlin)
Take my life, and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be
filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own;
it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.
Your eyes are not your own—that you may feed your lusts, that you may go about gaping, and gazing, and looking into every shop window to see the fashions of the day—learn the prevailing pride of life—and thus lay up food for your vain mind—either in coveting what must be unfitting to your profession—or applying your money to an improper use—or being disappointed because you cannot afford to buy it.
Your ears are not your own—that you may listen to every foolish tale—drink in every political, worldly, or carnal report which may fall upon them—and thus feed that natural desire for news, gossip, and even slander —which is the very element of the carnal mind.
Your tongue is not your own—that you may speak what you please, and blurt out whatever passes in the chambers of your heart, without check or fear.
Your hands are not your own—that you may use them as implements of evil—or employ them in any other way than to earn with them an honest livelihood. Our hands were not given us for sin—but for godly uses.
Your feet are not your own—that you may walk in the ways of the world—or that they should carry you to haunts where all around you are engaged upon errands of vanity and sin.
HAWKER - Oh! be thou ever with me in all places, at all times, in all the Jordans of difficulty, and in all the Canaans for happiness; for without thee nothing is safe, nothing desirable.