GOD’S dwelling-place in the past eternity was in the high and holy place (Isa. 57:15). Speaking after the manner of men, God desired another dwelling-place, and so created man that He might have a companion to dwell and commune with. Sin came in and separated man from God. Notwithstanding this, God’s heart went out towards him, for He says, “My delights were with the sons of men” (Prov. 8:31), and He commanded Moses to make Him a sanctuary, that He might dwell among them (Ex. 25:8), which was but a shadow of Him who should come tabernacling among us (John 1:14, R.V., M.), and having by His own blood put away the hindrance-sin-and made a way even into the very presence of God, the sinner can now draw near to God, and God can dwell in the believer, on the ground of the finished work and living Person of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What was the Tabernacle Made for?
God Himself gives the answer, “that I may dwell among you,” but God comes nearer than that to us who believe in Him; “I will dwell in them.” This tells us that God dwells not now in any earthly temple of man’s making, but in the individual believer in Christ (1 Cor. 6:19), and also in the Church as a whole (2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:22). This implies many truths. Among these we might notice-
Regeneration by the Spirit of God through the truth. He it was who quickened us from the death of sin, led us to Christ, begot in us a new nature, united us to, and made us one in, and with Christ, and He now dwells in every child of God as the One who witnesses to our acceptance, as God’s mark upon us, as the Comforter to cheer, as the Teacher to instruct, and as the Indwelling Power, for us, in us, and by us to overcome our enemies, to glorify God, and to work in us mightily, thus to manifestly show that we are born again.
Satisfaction in and with Christ. He says, “He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56). The thought here, is our union with Christ and His with us, and the satisfaction that flows to Him and to us, because we are in Him. What satisfaction it gives us as we remember that we are accepted in all the worthiness of the Person and work of Jesus, and also that He is in us the hope of glory!
Relationship to God as our Father. “I will dwell in them.….and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.….and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:16-18). Here we have God’s relationship to us-”Father”-He has sent forth His Spirit in our hearts, crying, Abba Father; and we have our relationship to Him-”sons and daughters.” Thus, the Spirit, Son, and Father dwell in us.
Standing. “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9). We are no longer in the first Adam, but we stand accepted in the last Adam, the Lord from heaven; and the fact that this is so, is, that the Spirit of God dwelleth in us.
Separation from the world. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them” (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
Notice a Sevenfold contrast here:
- Christian and Unbeliever.
- Righteousness and Unrighteousness.
- Light and Darkness.
- Christ and Belial.
- Believer and Infidel.
- Temple of God and Idols.
- Clean and Unclean.
Well may Paul ask, what agreement have these one with the other? None; therefore, there is no other alternative for us but to be practically separated from the one to the other.
Power. “I will dwell and walk in them.” This is our power. The Spirit is in us as our power to pray (Rom. 8:26); He is in us as our power to keep (2 Tim. 1:14); He is in us as the source of fruit-bearing; He is in us as our power to enable us to walk in Christ; He is in us as our power to separate us from the world, and our power in work and testimony.
Resurrection. “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from among the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies, because of His (margin) Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8:11). By His own almighty power shall He quicken our mortal bodies should we die; and if not, by His power shall we be caught up to meet Christ, and be changed in a moment, and be like Him.