God has promised His people to take up residence in them. Yahweh gave His word through Jeremiah. He promised that He would dwell in us with His Spirit abiding in us. “Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel (10 lost tribes), and with the House of Judah (two tribes)…I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts, and will be their God and they shall be my people…for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer. 31:31-35).
Here the Spirit promises to come into us writing in our hearts His law. “Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?…For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Cor. 3:16). When you are born of the Spirit, “you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people…” (II Cor. 6:16).
But There Is a Condition
God has promised us that He would dwell in us. He has given us “exceeding great and precious promises, that by these [we] might be partakers of his divine nature.” The way that we partake of His “divine nature” is by receiving the Spirit of truth. But He won’t stay in a heart and mind filled with error. That is why it is necessary to purge out the old leaven. He has promised us the gift of His Spirit of truth that dwells in us (II Pet. 1:4). This is what gives us everlasting life, for He is life.
We know that promises are presented through words, whether uttered or written down. God’s word to us is the Word/Logos. He says that we are partakers of his Spirit by faith and that we can grow up into Him by adding to our faith. Our faith is the “faith of the Son of God.” Our faith can grow by adding certain aspects of his very “divine nature.” And through these additions, we grow into his witnesses, laden with the same power that the early church possessed (II Peter 1). But we must obey one of Christ’s New Commandments: Purge the old false teachings.
His abiding presence does not happen overnight.
God’s promise to abide in us is not fulfilled through a magical Poof! He does not just appear all at once in us. To the contrary, God has a special step-by-step program in order to accomplish His purpose dwelling in us fully. That is one of the problems with modern day churchianity. People are so used to instant mashed potatoes and instant everything that they want God’s “baptism in the Holy Spirit” without the true knowledge of just what God is doing and how He does it.
Very few know His purpose and plan. Most are wanting something from God which is what little children do. But they are wanting the gifts of God that are way above their pay grade. They want to feel good and be closer to God. But there is much more to it than that.
The abiding presence that the apostles spoke of is the Father Himself, the great Spirit Yahweh, dwelling in his temple. And that temple is us. But He will not reside in unclean temples. When God fully abides in us and fully lives in us and fully walks in us, then He will have reproduced Himself in us. This is nothing less than the fulfillment of not only His eternal purpose, but also His promise to dwell in us. He has promised us immortality. When He fully abides in us, then everlasting life will be ours in a reality. This is the fulfillment of His eternal purpose based on His promise to dwell in us. This is the knowledge that is lacking in churchianity.
What are the obstacles that block this process?
The chief obstacle that thwarts human beings is the clinging to false concepts about God and His plan. The abiding is when the Father, the Spirit of truth, resides in us. But for Him to abide/stay/ remain in us, we must obey one of Christ’s new commandments: “Purge out the old leaven (I Cor. 5:7). This means to get rid of false concepts and false doctrines, for they like leaven will take over a person’s mind like leaven does to a lump of dough.
One piece of old leaven that blocks Christians is that they still think that they are alive and doing the struggling. But the Spirit says that “you are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). Our new life is hidden. In this new life, we are in Him, and He is in us. We are abiding in Him, and His Spirit of truth is abiding in us, reaching out and forgiving everyone in the world.
Yet, the minds of people are rife with old leaven/false concepts about God, about who He is and how He works. We didn’t know any better at the time. We were children. Unfortunately, those false doctrines that we were taught stick with us. But God is requiring that we repent of them.
Kenneth Wayne Hancock