SALVATION IN EPHESIANS

#18 THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD

On the night before Jesus was crucified he taught the eleven disciples that when he returned to God the Father, he and the Father would send the Holy Spirit to live within the disciples [John 14:15-31].

In this passage Jesus makes it clear that in this coming of the Holy Spirit to live in the believer, both God the Father, and he himself, God the Son, also come to live in the believer:

      • 'I will come to you' [14:16]
      • 'On that day you will realize that ... I am in you' [14:20]
      • '... we will come to him and make our home with him' [14:23]

This is a great and awesome mystery: that God, the almighty sovereign Creator, the Holy One, from whom our sins previously separated us, comes to us and lives within us.

In Ephesians 1:13,14 and 4:30 Paul teaches us that those who believe in Jesus Christ have been sealed with the Holy Spirit - marked as God's possession, and assured of eternal salvation. Paul also teaches a further truth,  that same truth that Jesus taught in John 14: that those who beleive in Christ are the dwelling place of God. This is true of believers both individually and coporpately as the church:

      • 'In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. and in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit' [Ephesians 2:21,22]
      • 'Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?' [1 Corinthians 3:16]
      • 'Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?' [1 Corinthians 6:19]

Similarly, in Romans 8:1-17, Paul's teaching is based on the fact that the Spirit of God lives in those who are genuine believers. He uses phrases like 'the Spirit of God lives in you', 'Christ is in you', 'the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you', 'his Spirit, who lives in you'.

What is the impact of this amazing truth that the believer is the dwelling place of God?

      • The knowledge and assurance that Jesus Christ is with us - he has not left us alone [John 14:15-23]
      • Comfort, counsel, encouragement - the indwelling Spirit is called 'the Counselor' [John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7]
      • Opened minds which can know God's truth [John 14:25,26; 15:26; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16]
      • The promise and eager anticipation of physical resurrection [Romans 8:11,23]
      • The indwelling Spirit of God testifies that we are God's children [Romans 8:16; Galatians 4:5-7]
      • Help in our weakness [Romans 8:26; Ephesians 3:16]
      • Help in our prayers [Romans 8:26,27]
      • Assurance of salvation [Ephesians 1:13,14]
      • Unity of all who believe [Ephesians 2:19-22; 4:4]

This unexpected aspect of salvation - that those who believe in Christ are the dwelling place of God - involves believers in a parallel responsibility: the responsibility of living a life that is worthy of God's holy dwelling place [Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 6:15-20; Ephesians 4:3,30; 5:15-21].

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2007