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About Doctrines

Indwelling of God

1 John 4:13
We are sure that we live in union with God and that he lives in union with us, because he has given us his Spirit

A major difference in the Old and New economies is the action of the Holy Spirit vis-à-vis a believer. This is highlighted by David's plea in Psalm 51:11

Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Under the Old Testament economy, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was both selective and temporary. Indeed, the Old Testament language of indwelling, "coming upon," implies the transitory nature of the Spirit's actions. This indwelling or "coming upon" was for a specific task or purpose. When the task was completed, the inference is that the Spirit departed. It should be noted that both Joshua (Num 27:18) and David (1 Sam 16:12-13) were said to be indwelt.

Many of the instances of the Spirit's "coming upon" appears to be for the purpose of physical empowerment and had no relation to salvation. Examples of this are Othniel (Judges 3:10), Gideon (Judges 6:34), Jephthah (Judges 11:29); Samson (Judges 14:6), Balaam (Num 24:2), and Bezalel (Exod 31:2-5).

It should also be noted that the Spirit is said to have come upon Saul (1 Sam 10:10) and to have departed Saul (1 Sam 16:14). This might suggest the basis behind the plea of David's Psalm.

The conclusions of the Old Testament are that the indwelling or coming upon had no relationship to one's salvation, was clearly a sovereign work of God for a specific task or purpose, and was temporary. All of this changes with the New Testament and the coming of Christ, although it might be noted, though, in transition that the change is anticipated by the Old Testament.

Ezekiel 36:27
I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. NKJV

The basis of the New Testament indwelling is found in John 14:16-17:

John 14:16-17
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

The key differences are the reverse of those suggest for the Old Testament. The indwelling was just that, an indwelling based upon, or a part of, salvation, was permanent, and was given to all believers. These are supported by the statements of Jesus in John 7:37-39:

37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

As stated above, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a part of the salvation event (Eph 1:13; Gal 3:2) and is not in and of itself an experience, but it will lead to spiritual experiences, such as outgrowths of the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). All believers are indwelt without exception. As indicated, it is permanent, is the source of new life in the believer, and is the basis of all other ministries of the Spirit and is the power of all ministries of the believer.

1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

The indwelling or presence of the Spirit makes each individual believer the house or home of God. The bodies of believers replace the Temple.

1 Corinthians 6:19
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

2 Corinthians 6:16
16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:"I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people."

Further, the body of Christ, the Church, is collectively viewed as the Temple of God, because each of its individual members are indwelt by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1 John 4:15
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

Beyond this indwelling of the believer by the Holy Spirit, we need to note that Scripture teaches the believer is also indwelt by both the Father and the Son. Romans 8:9-11 demonstrate both the indwelling of the Spirit and of the Son.

Romans 8:9-11
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (NKJV)

The indwelling of Christ is through faith:

Ephesians 3:14-19
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The indwelling is the seat of all life and power:

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

And is a mystery of the Scripture

Colossians 1:27
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

The indwelling of the Father is a benefit of faith.

1 John 4:15
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

Exactly how the Trinity indwells is unclear from Scripture. In one sense, if God is One, then the indwelling of any part of God means that all of God has indwelt the believer. Thus, a person might argue that if the Holy Spirit indwells a believer, the believer is indwelt by all of the Trinity. This position is supported by the Words of Jesus in John 10:30:

John 10:30
I and My Father are one."

On the other hand, in His High Priestly Prayer, Jesus talks of God and a believer being one.

John 17:20-26
20 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."

On yet another hand, passages such as John 15:5 speak of Christ being in the believer.

John 15:5
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit:

Is to illuminate our spiritual life
Ephesians 1:13-18
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,. . . 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints

Is to purify our heart
John 17:17
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
John 4:14
but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

And the Spirit is the Author of grace
Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

What is certain, is that Scripture teaches the indwelling of the Spirit is the proof of being Christ's.

Romans 8:9
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

1 John 4:13
By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

And, after all, isn't this the goal we aimed towards? Being Christ's?

Scriptures not otherwise designated taken from the NKJV





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