Imagine a very important person you respect greatly is coming to live in your home.
How would you feel? Probably honored, yet concerned.
What preparations and changes do you need to make?
Then you discovered that your honored guest had already moved in, and you had not even been aware of his presence.
That was my experience as a new follower of Jesus.
At the beginning of my new life in Christ, I understood that something significant had happened, but I didn’t even know a tiny fraction of that significance. If you have received Christ, I suspect your first understanding was much the same.
When I met a mature Christian named Tom, he began to uncover the many great things that God had done and was doing in my life.
As Tom introduced me to the Bible, he showed me that God Himself had taken up residence in my life.
Here are a few of those Bible texts we read together.
The first text was Romans 8:9-11. I encourage you to read the larger context. Here is what we read together:
… you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
When it says, “God dwells in you,” the word “dwells” translates the Greek verb oikeō. The noun, oikos, means a house—the verb is the action of living in that house. So, God is living in the Christian—in me.
As I pondered the text, I asked about the word “if.” How do I know the Holy Spirit is living in me? Maybe I am not fulfilling the condition of the “if …then.”
Tom explained to me that the Greek language has specific structures to distinguish the various meanings of “if.” There is one structure that requires that you read “if” as a condition. There is another that requires you to read “if” as a certainty or a truth, which is the structure used here. Technically, this structure is the word “if” linked with a verb in the indicative mood.
Some may translate this as “since”: “since the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Greek language scholar, Daniel Wallace, explains it this way:
“The audience would most likely respond along these lines:
‘If the Spirit of God dwells in us?
Of course he does!
And this means that we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit?
The other side of the equation is “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” The conclusion is obvious:
If you do not have the Spirit, you do not belong to Christ.
If you belong to Christ, the Spirit dwells in you.
Numerous biblical texts confirm the Spirit is living within those who belong to Christ. Some of those texts are:
Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:14)
Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? (James 4:5)
Other portions of Scripture that teach us the Holy Spirit lives in all people who are “in Christ” include references to the paraklētos and parallels with the temple. We will examine those texts in the following articles.
For now, let us consider four of the practical implications of the wonderful reality that the Spirit of God lives in those who have received Christ.
Here are four practical implications of the few verses we have examined about the indwelling of the Spirit of God.
1. Does the Holy Spirit dwell in you or not?
We are called to examine whether we are truly “in Christ” or not. I have met people who claim they prayed a “sinner’s prayer,” or were “christened” as a child, or for other reasons believe they are a Christian—yet they do not manifest Christ-like living.
Ponder this text:
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5)
What is your honest evaluation of your relationship to Christ?
If you have any doubts or questions, refer to the little booklet I mentioned in the previous post: “the Four Spiritual Laws.”
2. The Holy Spirit is present in your life.
You are alive to God, meaning you are loved, accepted, and forgiven by God (Romans 8:10). This is the amazing privilege and opportunity for a growing intimacy with the One True God.
3. The indwelling of the Spirit motivates us to be faithful to God.
James 4:4-5 speaks to followers of Jesus as “adulterous people.” Just like a husband or wife who is unfaithful to their marriage partner, these Christians were unfaithful to their divine covenant partner. They were choosing loyalty to the “world” in place of God the Father.
Are there areas, issues, or activities in your life that contradict or conflict with your love for the Father?
4. The indwelling Spirit empowers us to serve effectively.
In the context of 2 Timothy 1:11-14, the Spirit dwelling within us is God’s empowering presence who enables and ensures the success of His mission through us.
There is more to come. Let me know your thoughts, comments, and questions by contacting me here.
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