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Friday, November 07, 2014

The Dwelling of God

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.'
Revelation 21:3

Quoting from Leviticus, Jeremiah & Ezekiel, Jesus spoke of the dwelling of God with man, the Marriage of Heaven & Earth in these terms; 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.' John wrote, in the Revelation, as well as the apostle Paul in his second letter to the Church at Corinth ( 6:16, quoted from Leviticus, Jeremiah & Ezekiel when they prophesied of the future dwelling of God in the Spirit!

Most Christians today almost vehemently take the stance that 'God cannot dwell with sin'! While I would tend to agree that our Heavenly Father WILL not dwell with sin, I would beg to differ that He cannot dwell with sin! I would challenge ANY Christian to show me, in the proper context, that He CANNOT dwell with sin! Sure, a certain logic would tell us, that, as the History of Israel shows ( ' your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear' ( Isaiah 59:2 ), He chooses not to dwell with sin, or iniquity ( though, through the Temple, He still, for a time, dwelt in their midst )!

The Gospel according to Matthew ( 1:21 ) tells us that Jesus came to 'save His people from their sins'! If Jesus succeeded in this endeavor, which no Christian in their right mind would deny, would it not follow that we too, as the People of God have been saved from our sins? As the Psalmist prophesied in Psalm 103:12, 'As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.' Again, if our sins ( 'transgressions' ) have been taken away, and as Jesus promised, 'We will come to him and make Our home with him', then we must acknowledge that He NOW dwells with His People!

This is not to say that His People no longer transgress, or fail to keep His Royal Law of Love! Again, no Christian in their right mind would say that they love their neighbor as they should, or even God perfectly ( according to our modern definition of 'perfect' ) all the time, but, as the Body of Christ, we are, in Him, 'holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners' ( Hebrews 7:26 )! This same writer later wrote as well ( 10:14 ), 'by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified'. Admittedly, there is an aspect of the 'already, not yet' scenario to be considered here, but we should also recognize that while it may seem to us to be speaking of individual perfection, it is the ( corporate ) Body of Christ which has been perfected ( made whole or complete ), and not individual human beings!

It cannot be stressed enough that our Heavenly Father, in toto, now dwells with ( in ) His people! Although we all, as individual Christians, fail to keep His Law of Love at all times & in all ways, it is our ( corporate ) status as the Body of Christ which has rendered us 'without sin' in the eyes of our Heavenly Father!

Eschatologically speaking, and this is partially where the 'already, not yet' scenario comes in, most Christians believe that, though the Holy Spirit now dwells with us ( 'your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit'-I Corinthians 6:19 ), God Himself, our Heavenly Father, has not yet taken up that promised residence! Depending one one's eschatology, then, even though it does not effect the Truth of the Matter, one might understand that we are already 'a dwelling place of God in the Spirit' ( Ephesians 2:22 ), Jesus' promise in John 14:23 has not yet been fulfilled, or realized! Good, sound logic & reasoning, though, should tell us that our Heavenly Father, the Great & Holy Spirit, DOES dwell fully with & in His People, the Body of His Son & the True Temple!

Does God dwell with sin? According to Scripture, He does not! Can He dwell with individuals within the Body of Christ who stumble? Mot certainly ( I'm proof of that! ) Is He pleased when we fail? No, just like any good father, He is most pleased with His children when they obey Him, but He will not leave us or forsake us when we fail to keep ever jot & tittle of His Law! As individual Christians, we do face that choice, the choice of whether to love the unlovable, or even whether to love our Heavenly Father, every day, but as a part of the Sinless Body of Christ, we may take great comfort in the fact that, in spite of our manifold weakness, He has chosen to make His Dwelling with us!

Charles Haddon Shank

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