The Indwelling of the Holy Ghost

If you searched the New Testament you could not find a more arresting challenge than that made in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. "What! Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body." The challenge is addressed to those who are said, in verse 11, to have been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God; and it comes to all such down to this day. Let us consider this amazing fact of the indwelling Spirit, and discover the why and the wherefore of it.

In the first chapter of our Bibles we are told of the creation of man and the reason for it. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." The US is the Triune God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are admitted to the divine counsel and plan, and from it we learn that man was to be created to be the visible representative of God in the world; for that is what "image" means; and for this he was to be like God in character, for without this there could be no effective representation.

The great adversary, Satan, looked on God's work with envy and determined to spoil His plan and to rob Him of His divinely formed and well-loved creature, so that He might not be represented at all, and it seemed as though he succeeded beyond all his expectations. It seemed so easy; first a question as to God's Word; then a bold denial of its truth, and the suggestion that God was not as good as He pretended to be, and the work was done. The woman and then the man hearkened to the tempter; they disobeyed the God they knew, and obeyed the devil they did not know, and fell. They became lost to God, alienated from His life and purpose.

As fallen sinners they became the parents of the human race of whom God had to say, "There is none righteous, no, not one . . . there is none that doeth good, no, not one . . . there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:10, 12, 22, 23). It will do us no harm to face the situation once more, and learn how terrible and complete the fall was. We learn from Romans 5 that we were "without strength, " "ungodly, " "sinners, " "enemies, " and from Ephesians 2, "children of disobedience, " "dead in sins, " "having no hope and without God in the world."

The situation seemed hopeless and the triumph of the enemy complete, but then there came into activity all the resources of the blessed Trinity, and nothing less would have availed.

The FATHER is shown to be the Source from whence all blessing flows FOR men.

The SON became a Man that He might bring the blessing TO men.

The HOLY GHOST has come down from the Father and the Son to make the blessing good IN men.

Of the Father we read, "We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" (1 John 4:14). The Son came in complete obedience to the will of the Father to redeem men from the power of sin and Satan's dominion. There are some wonderful words of His as to this, "The good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep . . . therefore doth My Father love Me because I lay down My life that I might take it again . . . This commandment have I received of My Father" (John 10:11, 17, 18); and again, "But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do, Arise let us go hence" (John 14:31).

But the Father would have sent the Son in vain, and the Son would have come and died and rose again for naught as far as men were concerned, if the Holy Ghost had not come to give an answer in the hearts of men to the grace of the Father and the Son. His work is as essential to the carrying out of the divine purpose as is that of the Father and the Son. The glorious Persons of the Trinity are one in purpose and equal in glory. There could have been no Christianity, not one of us would have been a Christian, apart from the Spirit. He it was that convicted us of our sinful, lost condition; it was by Him through the Word that we were born again. He showed us that Jesus the Lord was our only hope and Saviour, that only through His blood could we have redemption; and when we believed the Gospel He sealed us as God's property.

The first effect of His indwelling was the shedding of the love of God "abroad in our hearts" (Rom. 5:5), and following that we could be called "them that love God" (Rom. 8:28). What a mighty change is that from the time when our minds were enmity against God.

Now we see how God has wrought to give effect to His original purpose that man should be, in His own image and after His likeness. We read of Jesus that He was the Image of the invisible God when He was here, and the Spirit dwells in us to fashion us after Him. He produces in us likeness to Christ, and brings forth in us fruits of His indwelling, such as were seen in Christ in all their perfection. These are, "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance [self-control]" (Gal. 5:22-23). As these things are manifested in the Spirit's power, God is glorified, and the devil is defeated in his determination that God's image should not be seen in any of us; we are more than conquerors through Him that loves us.

Nor is that all, God's purpose is that we should be wholly "conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29).

Now the challenge comes afresh to us. Do we not know that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, that God Himself dwells in us? — with the great end in view that we might truly represent Him before men, being like Him in character and ways. "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of .a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life" (Phil. 2:15-16).

If we see that in the first instance this is a question between God and the devil; that God has not given up His original purpose in regard to us, and that the devil is as determined as ever he was to frustrate: that purpose; and if we realize that God has not only loved us and bought us with a great price, thus setting us righteously free from Satan's domination, but has sent His Spirit into our hearts that in and through us He might make manifest His triumph, then we shall earnestly seek that His will may prevail and that He may be glorified in our bodies, and that we may truly be in His image and after His likeness, while we wait for the consummation of all His thoughts towards us.