Logistics (God in You)
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We saw in the previous chapter that you legally are God’s representative to this foreign world you live in. His plan of redemption has bought you back from the world system, paid the penalty for your sins and adopted you into his family. As your heavenly Father, God authorized you to use the resources of his kingdom to conduct his business in his behalf.
When it comes to knowing and adhering to the law, God literally wrote the book. Everything he does is perfectly legal and legitimate. The god of this age, Satan, is the one who tries to skirt the law and even blatantly violate it, but not so with God. When he directs you to conduct his business, you can be confident everything is legitimate and appropriate.
Okay, now that you have your job description and authorization to conduct kingdom business, do you have what it takes? In this chapter we will examine your capacity to do God’s work and see whether you are properly equipped and supplied.
The first point we must affirm is that God has not sent you out on your own; you are not alone and left to your own devices. The moment you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, God implanted his own Spirit within you, so from that moment on he has been with you continuously.
God “anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor. 1:21-22, NIV). To be anointed is to be set apart for a specific purpose, so anything else you do is either of no significance or even wasteful. And because he purchased you — redeemed you, bought you back from slavery to sin — he can legitimately put his seal of ownership on you. You are no longer your own; God secured the rights to your life at the price of his Son.
If you were to stop at this point in the verse, you could easily develop a sense of drudgery. You would be like an obligated servant who must serve because of what his master has done for him; he has no choice, only an obligation. This is not how God sees you, however. Having anointed you for a specific purpose and put his seal of ownership on you, he put his Spirit in your heart or spirit.
God himself actually lives within you the same way your own spirit does. I suppose if you were cynical, you could view this much like an ex-convict who has a radio transmitter attached to him so the parole officer could track him. God is not watching you like a parole officer. He put his Spirit within you to fulfill part of his desire for you: a continuous, intimate relationship between you and him. God is the only source of life in all of creation and that life flows from him, through your spirit into the rest of your being. His presence in you literally sustains you.
As significant as this is, his Spirit in you is mostly a deposit that guarantees more to come in the future. As an engagement ring is a down payment, a promise of much more to come, the Holy Spirit in you and all that he brings and makes available to you are a guarantee of what is to come. Paul restates this point later in his letter to Corinth with a little more explanation.
“For while we are in this [temporary earthly body], we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor. 5:4-5).
His Spirit in your earthly body now is a guarantee of a heavenly body for you later. Paul even said God made you for the purpose of replacing your earthly body with a heavenly one. To me this demonstrates what a victorious celebration it will be for God to “upgrade” you to your heavenly body, as the final phase of your redemption.
Your spiritual salvation occurred when you were born again. The current phase of your redemption is the renewing of your mind. And the last phase will occur in a moment, when you are changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. He will change you from mortal and perishable to immortal and imperishable. All the saints throughout history will experience the transformation and cut loose with a celebration, the likes of which has never been seen. Free at last! No more carnality, no more trauma from the effects of sin. Fully redeemed at last!
As totally incomprehensible as that experience is to us, God’s main purpose is to demonstrate his power and glory to every creature. He is God, and there is no one like him. That statement has been the motivation behind his plan of redemption throughout history. Sin perverted his creation and brought death upon his highest creature, man. By redeeming man from the effects of sin, God demonstrates to all those creatures who rebelled against him that he alone is God and that his kingdom is supreme.
You and I have been on the front lines of the battle since the moment we were conceived, but the battle is not about us. The battle is between God and Satan and their respective kingdoms. And each phase of your redemption has been a victorious demonstration of God’s power. So by placing his Spirit within you, he is guaranteeing to you and all of creation that he is already victorious, his kingdom has come and his will must be done. And you and I enjoy the benefits.
This is such an important concept that Paul states it a third time in another epistle. “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:13-14). There it is again: the ultimate purpose is the praise of his glory. God’s Spirit in you is part of his plan to display his glory.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). A temple is a structure set apart for God’s use, and your body is a temple of God, the Holy Spirit. Your body is God’s house. The context of the verses we just quoted is sexual immorality, but the principle is much broader. Christians say they are dedicated to God, then entertain impure thoughts, self-centered attitudes, and so on. How would you like the county using your house as a garbage dump? Is God any more at home in a believer still ruled by his sinful attitudes?
You know how personal your home is. When you are in the market for a home, you might look for weeks or months to find the house that is right for you. You would not feel at home in a house lacking those certain features you wanted, or in a place having features you definitely do not want. Your home must be compatible with your lifestyle and interests.
God feels the same about living in you. He is righteous and holy, meaning he is completely separated from sin and the world system, and completely dedicated to his purposes. As his dwelling, he expects you to become compatible with his lifestyle and interests. To be a suitable dwelling for God, you need to be striving for holiness and purity.
If you had a long-term guest in your home, you would accommodate their needs and interests as much as possible, not only to make them comfortable, but also to assist them. As God’s dwelling, how does your condition affect God’s freedom to perform his business? Through the Holy Spirit in you, Jesus is working to make you an appropriate temple or dwelling.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:25-27).
God is righteous and holy, and he is working to make you holy and blameless, without any blemish at all. Much of what God does in your life is to develop holiness and righteousness in you, to make you like himself. As his child, he wants you to be like your Father. As his temple, he wants you to be a suitable dwelling. Your home is where you are comfortable and free to be yourself. If God is at home in you, he is free to be himself, the King of all creation, God almighty.
You are God’s dwelling. He has not left you alone on this planet; his Holy Spirit lives within you, sustains you, helps develop you into God’s image and empowers you to do God’s work. Therefore, God himself works through you to conduct his business, providing the necessary power and authority, and developing you into his image so you can perform his work effectively. God created mankind to rule and it is still part of your nature to be in charge and do whatever needs to be done. As you rely on God within you, you can do that successfully.