Friday, May 23, 2014

The Presence of the Holy Spirit

Most Christians can probably point to a time (or many times) in their life where they experienced the presence of God. Whether that be at a Sunday morning worship service, a conference, or on their own. It is amazing to experience the presence of the living God. However, there is something that we must understand as Christians. The presence of God is not merely at church services or conferences. The Bible makes it clear that the presence of the Holy Spirit is within believers. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says that a believer's body is "the temple of the Holy Spirit." Let's take a moment and realize what this truly means...

In the Old Testament God commanded Moses in Exodus 25:8: "Have the people build a holy sanctuary so I can live among them." The God of the universe wanted to live among his people. He asked Moses to have the Tabernacle made. Moses went ahead and made it. The Tabernacle was continually torn down and built back up, as Israel traveled through the wilderness on their way to the promised land. After Israel was established in the land God had given them, they built the Temple, which was a permanent version of the Tabernacle. It was within the Tabernacle (and later the Temple) that the presence of God dwelt.  

Within the Temple there was a place called the Holy Place. Various sacrifices were offered here on a daily basis. Beyond the Holy Place was a curtain. Past this curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place--also known as the Holy of Holies. It is here that the Ark of the Covenant stood. This is where the presence of God is said to have been. This Most Holy Place was a sacred place. Unlike the Holy Place, the Most Holy Place was only to be entered once a year on the Day of Atonement, by the High Priest (Leviticus 16). Each year the High Priest would offer a sacrifice to the Lord to atone for the sins of himself, and the sins of Israel. This was the only time that a person would be permitted to enter into the presence of the Lord.

Fast forward now to the death of Jesus. When Jesus died something very interesting happened. After Jesus died in Matthew 27, it says in verse 51: "the curtain in the sanctuary of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom." This was the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. It is what represented the Presence of God. When Jesus died the Old Covenant was fulfilled, and the age of the New Covenant had begun. No longer would God dwell within the temple. No longer would the presence of God be unavailable for the people of God. Instead, the people of God (believers) would be the temple of God, like it says in 1 Corinthians 6. Now believers all have access to the presence of God every day, instead of the High Priest once a year. 

This is an amazing privilege and something that we need to recognize! God the Holy Spirit lives within us! This should change the way we live, think, and do everything. This should encourage us, for not only is God for us, he is within us! He is transforming us to become more like Jesus! He is using us to accomplish His will, which is greater and more important than ours! We can experience God's presence every day, because his presence is within us! 

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