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 Vol. 4, No. 3 

 

March, 2002

  

~ Page 9 ~

 

The Habitation of God

By D. Gene West

D. Gene West In Ephesians 2:19-22, the grand old Apostle Paul spoke of Christians being fellow citizens with the saints and members of the family of God. Then changing the figures of speech that he was using to that of a building, or a Temple, he said that we are built on the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. He went on to say that the whole building fitly joined together grows into a holy temple in Christ, and that it is in him that the Christian is being (notice the present tense) built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.

There are many things in this periphrastic rendering of these verses that would be profitable for study, but today we wish to look at the fact that Christians are built together for a "habitation of God in the Spirit." During the dispensation of Moses, the people in whom God dwelt, by dwelling in the Temple which they had built for him, were the people of Israel. For many generations these people were the "chosen" of God and held the unique position of having a very special relationship with him because of who they were.

In the dispensation of grace, God no longer dwells among a physical people such as he did in the days of the Law of Moses, but he dwells in a spiritual Temple which is made of living stones. This spiritual Temple is also known as "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people," as Peter put it in 1 Peter 2:9. Other passages of Scripture that indicate that God dwells in his people as in a Temple can be found in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:16; and 1 Peter 2:5. When one comes to think of it, there are at least two wonderful and thrilling concepts to be found in this figure of speech. The first one is that God dwells in us. To just think about such a concept is a very humbling experience, and one that should make one very happy that he can be in such a good relationship with God the Father. Among other things, if God dwells in the Christian, is the fact that the Christian is never alone, never without the aid and comfort of God. Not only is it true that God dwells in us, but it is also true, as Paul pointed out in Ephesians 3:17, that Christ dwells in us. And from 1 Corinthians 6:19 we learn that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. So, one can say, without any fear of contradiction that Deity (God) dwells in the Christian, and in the church which is made up of Christians. As we mentioned before, all this is a very humbling concept for who among us feels worthy, either individually or collectively, to be the habitation of Deity?

A second concept is that if we are the habitation of Deity, there must be a very special relationship between God and us. In 1 Peter 2:9, the Apostle Peter declared that there is a very special relationship between God and his people in that we have been called to be "his own special people." God has always had a special people with whom and through whom he worked upon this earth. In the days of the patriarchs, these people were the great families such as those of Noah, Enoch, Abraham and others. In the days of the Law, God claimed for his own special people the children of Israel so long as they remained faithful to him (Deuteronomy 14:2). But when they became idolatrous, God strongly punished them in an effort to bring them back to that special relationship that he had with them. Though only a remnant came back to him, God preserved this nation until the birth of his Son who is the Savior of us all.

God literally dwells in heaven and the earth is his footstool, but at the same time the Christians, and the Temple that we make up as living stones, are the dwelling place of God. God has promised in his Word that he will never leave us nor forsake us, unless, of course, we leave and/or forsake him. This is the reason that the Hebrew Christians were warned not to abandon the worship of God and go back to the shadows of the New Covenant, which of course, was the Law of Moses (Hebrews 10:19-25).

Therefore, it is with great humility that we should consider these things, and consider also how God has honored us by giving us a Savior and a plan whereby we can become living stones in the habitation of God! We praise his holy name forever!

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A Look at Personality & the Bible
by Rebecca Rushmore
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