Does the Spirit of God Dwell in You?
Turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 6 if you would. Verse 19 says; “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit in you, which you have from God, and you are not your own?”
“The holy Spirit, in you..” The KJV adds the word “which”; “The holy Spirit which is in you..” Either way, makes no difference. The point is, if you are a faithful Christian, then the same spirit which is in God, is also in you. And that spirit which is in you, “you have from God”. That spirit comes from God, and from nowhere else. Without God giving us His word, we would have no idea that there’s another spirit that we should live by, besides the spirit that is in this world.
Do you remember our study not too long ago, on the word “holy”? The word “holy” means “different” and “set apart”. The spirit that God has given us through His word, is “set apart” from the world. And having the same spirit dwelling in us, that dwells in God, means that we now belong to God. “You are not your own”, the scripture says. If we have the spirit of the world, then we belong to the world. But if we have the spirit of God, then we belong to God.
Verse 20 says; “For you have been bought with a price, (the price being the life, and the blood of Jesus Christ) Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
God Himself paid a very high price, to enable us to have His spirit, dwelling in us. Remember Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20; “..it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..” That’s what it means to glorify God in your body. It means to live as if Christ Himself was living in your body. That’s a pretty tall order isn’t it? Do we actually do that? We need to think hard on that. In all that we do, how much of what we do, is what Christ would be doing? That’s just something that we always need to keep thinking about. In everything that we do, we need to ask ourselves; Would Christ be doing what I’m doing, right now?
And we need to remember the fact that we are not our own. And it’s not because God has taken us over, and taken control of us. It’s because we have willingly relinquished that control. We’ve handed it over to God. Sometimes we want to take control back, don’t we? But that’s where “self-control” comes in. Controlling ourselves, so that we don’t take that control back from God.
How do we “make room” so to speak, for God’s spirit, so that it can dwell in us? We’ve got to give up something so that we can be “a housing” so to speak, for God’s spirit. What we’ve got to give up is control. If we want to inherit eternal life, we cannot be the one in control! God has to be in control! The scripture says; “Your body is a temple of the spirit in you..” The word temple, means.. “a divine dwelling place”. Not that we’re divine, but the spirit that dwells in us divine. Again, God Himself doesn’t dwell inside of us, but a very divine spirit does dwell in us. A spirit that emulates the very characteristics of God.
Here’s a definition of the word “temple” that I think really fits the Christian.. “a place of divine manifestation”. Our body is a place where the very characteristics of God, should be manifested to the world around us. And again, that’s why Paul said; “..It’s no longer I that lives, but Christ lives in me..” Paul is saying that the qualities and attributes, and characteristics of Jesus Christ, of God, are being displayed, or manifested, in his body, through the things that he does every day. Again, that’s quite a goal to set our sights on.
The bible suggests that what we join ourselves to, is what we become. That’s what 1 Corinthians 6, verse 16 says; “Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot, is one body?” (one body with the harlot) “For He says; (God says) The two shall become one flesh.”
Now God isn’t just teaching about the sin of being joined to a harlot, but He’s teaching a much broader principle. In the next verse, verse 17, It says; “But the one who joins himself to the Lord, is one spirit (with Him)!”
So it doesn’t matter whether you’re joining your body to something or someone, or if you join your spirit to something or someone. Whatever you join yourself to, you become “one” with that. Whether it’s one body, or one spirit, you become one.
Now here’s a statement made in verse 15, that I want you to think about; “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” How can your body be a member of Christ? 1 Corinthians 12:27 says; “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” We all know, that our body is not who we are. When our bodies are long gone, we, you and I, will still be alive, and hopefully, well. Our eternal spirit is who we are. You and I, as individual Christians, are members of the one body of Christ. Our eternal spirits are members of the “body” of Christ, and our bodies, well they simply do the bidding of our spirits. So how can our bodies be members of Christ? In what sense is that so?
That can’t be taken in a literal sense, because we know that our bodies are physical, and Christ’s body is spiritual. So then, in what sense are our bodies members of Christ? Well, in the sense that we belong to Christ, is how even our bodies are members of Christ. Christ owns our entire being. He owns our soul!
There’s a verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that I think shows what we’re talking about here, the idea that God owns our entire being. Here’s what it says; “Now may the God of peace Himself, sanctify you entirely. And may your spirit, and the soul, and the body, be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” God owns it all!
Now, that verse confuses a lot of people, and it confuses them for a couple of reasons. Do you think that you understand it perfectly? Here’s the first thing that’s misunderstood. I think that we were all probably taught that man is made up of three parts; Namely, body, soul, and spirit. And I think people get that from this verse in particular. But that simply isn’t the case. Man is only made up of two parts, not three. Now some people get really wound up about this, but just listen to the bible for a minute.
Genesis 2:7 says; “Then God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” The dust from the ground is the body; There’s one part. The breath of life is the spirit; There’s the second part. And when the second part was added to the first part, the result was a living soul, also called a living being. How many parts are there? Two parts, body and spirit. What did the body become, when the spirit was added to it? The body became a soul. Is that a third part? No, it’s simply the sum of the two parts.
Why did the body become a soul, when the spirit was added to it? Because the spirit was already a soul; The spirit is already a living being, and so when it gets added to the body, then the body also becomes a living being. What happens when the body is separated from the spirit at death? Does the spirit cease to be a living soul? No it doesn’t. The spirit continues to be a living soul, just like it was before it was added to the body. When a different type of body is added to the spirit at the resurrection, the spirit just keeps right on being a living soul, just like it’s always been.
So that’s the first thing that people are confused about, concerning 1 Thessalonians 5:23. There are only two parts that make up a living human being, not three parts. But here’s the second thing people get confused about. The verse says; “May your spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So people think that our physical body will be “preserved” somehow, until Christ comes again. But there’s at least a couple of very clear verses that tell us without any doubt, that our physical bodies will not be “preserved” if we die before the Lord returns.
For example; Ecclesiastes 12:7 says; “Then the dust returns to dust as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” And then of course 1 Corinthians 15:50; “..Flesh and blood CANNOT inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” When we die, the dust will return to dust, there’s no reason to preserve it any longer, because it cannot inherit heaven to begin with.
So then that statement about the spirit, the soul, and the body, being preserved blameless until the coming of the Lord, is spoken with the expectation of remaining alive until the Lord comes. Knowing, that indeed some Christians will be alive when the Lord returns. There is simply no other rational conclusion. The idea of being “preserved”, means.. “to be guarded, and watched and maintained”. The verse is actually a prayer for the well-being of Christians. “Now may the God of peace sanctify you entirely. And may your spirit and soul, AND body, be guarded and watched over and maintained, blameless, when the Lord comes.”
And that also goes right along with the thought that we started with; That our entire being, belongs to God. Even our bodies are members of Christ, because we have sacrificed them, and devoted them to the service of God.
Think back again to 1 Corinthians 6:15; “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ.”
Here’s one way that Thayer’s Greek Lexicon explains that idea of our bodies being members of Christ; “The bodies of Christians are called “members” of Christ, because the body is the abode (the temple) of the spirit of Christ, and is consecrated to His service.”
So then really, when we are joined to Christ, it’s our whole being that becomes joined to Him. Our spirits are joined with His spirit, by being in agreement with His teachings and with His principles and with His goals, and our bodies are joined with Him, in being dedicated to Him, by using them to fulfill His purposes and goals. That’s what we read so often from Romans 12, verse 1; “I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, (in other words, by the grace and compassion of God) to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, well-pleasing to God, which is your divinely reasonable service.”
Present your bodies to God; Here’s my body Lord, I’m relinquishing the control of it over to you. It now belongs to you. You’re spirit is going to live in this body, not the spirit of the world that I used to have, but the spirit of Christ is going to live here. From now on, I’m giving You the control. Your word is going to tell me what to do, and I’m going to do it.
This idea of even our bodies being a part of Christ, begins with 1 Corinthians 6, verse 12. It says; “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” In other words; I will have the self-control over my body, so that I will use it only, to do what is pleasing to God. I will not abuse my body, or mistreat my body, so as to cripple myself, or handicap myself, so that I cannot serve God effectively.
And I will not join my body to anything immoral. Verse 13 says; “Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them! Yet, the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord! And the Lord is for the body.” Even though God will do away with the body, (You see; It is not going to be preserved after death. God is going to do away with it) But even though He’s going to do away with it, while we still live in it, we are not to abuse it or to use it, in any harmful or immoral way. It belongs to God! Our whole being belongs to God!