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When God comes to live inside you

Courtesy Pixabay
Courtesy Pixabay

The famous Egyptian actor, Omar Sharif, once said, “The divine spark that you seek is already within you. Allow it to shine through you unobstructed and it will eternally light your way.”

But what if it isn’t already within you? That is to say, what if your soul is devoid of the divine until the Creator of the Universe takes up residence within you?

The truth of the matter is that God does indeed come to live within those who experience Christian conversion. 

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The Apostle Paul wrote to believers in Jesus: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

But Paul didn’t stop there. The apostle described the transformation that takes place once your body becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit.

“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).

Notice the result of having God living within you. Sin no longer controls you.  Several chapters earlier Paul wrote, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18). 

In other words, believers are free to say “No” when being tempted to sin. The chains have been broken, and “the benefit you reap leads to holiness” (Romans 6:22).

But there is still more! Paul adds: “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness” (Romans 8:10). 

That’s right! As a believer in Jesus Christ, you also have the Prince of Peace living within you.

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges explains Romans 8:10 this way: “The supreme work of the Spirit is to acquaint the soul with Christ; hence the indwelling of the Spirit as the Divine Teacher results by holy necessity in the indwelling of Christ as the Divine Guest.”

Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:16-17).

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is working to empower you “in your inner being,” and Christ is “dwelling in your heart through faith.” 

When God comes to live inside you, He makes all things new! “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Christian conversion, however, does not make a person immune to temptation or sinful desires. In fact, a daily battle takes place within the soul of every follower of Christ. 

Paul instructed Christians to “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law” (Galatians 5:18).

Those who are led by the Spirit do not pursue a life of sin. Instead, they seek to please the Lord. But what happens when a Christ follower takes a 10-second or a 10-minute detour down a path that is off-limits to God’s people? Spiritual unrest ensues because giving into temptation produces guilt and shame in a believer’s heart. 

The way to put that wrongdoing behind you is to confess your sin to the Lord and rely upon the blood of Jesus to wash away your transgression. Once you confess it and renounce it, (see Proverbs 28:13) the joy of the Lord will return to your soul as you recommit yourself to doing things that please the Lord rather than offend Him. 

Paul instructed Christians: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).

Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, and God leads his children along the path of righteousness. Paul wrote, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2).

Once you understand and personally embrace the message of the cross, God comes to live inside your soul. You then realize that only the blood of Jesus has the power to wash away your sins. Believers rely upon Christ’s sacrifice for salvation rather than their righteous deeds.

Prior to God living inside you, unbelief prevented you from knowing the truth about salvation. But after you were saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ, you began to eagerly anticipate the day when the Lord will welcome you home to Heaven.

Are you anticipating that day? Are you saved, or do you still assume that your good works are your ticket to Paradise? 

Paul wrote to the church of God in Corinth: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless of course you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Are you relying upon Christ’s death on the cross as payment for your sins? If so, Heaven is your eternal home, and God’s presence in your soul motivates you to want to please the Lord with your thoughts, words, and deeds. 

You see, followers of Christ walk on the narrow road not in order to be saved, but because we have been saved through faith in the Messiah (see Ephesians 2:8-10). Thankfully, our blindness to the Gospel (see 2 Corinthians 4:4 & John 3:16) was miraculously healed when God came to live inside us (see John 3:1-21 & 1 Corinthians 2:12-16).

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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