From the Comments: More Holy Spirit Questions (the Spirit’s “indwelling”)


The Spirit “dwells” in the Christian. This is language borrowed by Paul from Exodus. I’ve already mentioned it in posts from earlier evenings.

God dwelled with Israel in the desert as a column of smoke and fire — which rested in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. It led them through the desert and to the Promised Land.

(Exod. 25:8 ESV) 8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.

(Exod. 29:43-46 ESV)  43 There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory.  44 I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve me as priests.  45 I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God.  46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.

When Paul says the “Spirit” dwells in us, he’s referencing the Exodus, with the Spirit living in us and leading us as the column of smoke and fire/God’s Very Presence did in the Exodus.

The Israelites had a book from God — the Law — but they were led through the desert by God himself. And that’s Paul’s points.

(Rom. 8:1-2 ESV) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

We are freed from slavery!

(Rom. 8:11 ESV) 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Just as God dwelled among the Israelites and led them to the Promised Land, the Spirit dwells in us and leads us.

(Rom. 8:14-15 ESV) 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!

(Deut. 14:1-2 ESV) “You are the sons of the LORD your God. …  2 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”

(Exod. 13:21-22 ESV) 21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.  22 The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.

The Israelites were declared “sons of God” in the Torah. No more slavery. We are God’s own sons because his Spirit leads us through the desert.

(Rom. 8:27 ESV) 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

As Moses interceded for the Israelites before God, the Spirit intercedes for us.

There are other themes running through Rom 8, but it’s all built on the Spirit dwelling in us as God dwelt among Israel and led them to the Promised Land.

The had a book — the book of the Law — but it was God himself who dwelled with them, led them, and made them sons.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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4 Responses to From the Comments: More Holy Spirit Questions (the Spirit’s “indwelling”)

  1. Ray Downen says:

    God surely led the Israelites to the gates of the city, and the spies sent to look over that city came back afraid, not trusting that God would enable them to take over Jericho. God then led the Israelites back into the “wilderness” so that all those adults who were fearful would be dead before He next led His people into the promised land. And ALL the adults except two who were faith-full were indeed dead when God later led His people through the Jordan riverbed into the promised land.

    The fate of the fearful should inspire us to trust God fully and obey Him without questions. It’s the Son of God who now is our leader. It’s to HIM we pledge allegiance. It’s by HIM we are saved. We truly are, regardless of the name on our buildings, the church OF CHRIST if we’re headed for Heaven.

  2. Clayton McCool (FB) says:

    Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

    Moses led God’s people as a physical nation.
    The indwelling Spirit of our Lord leads each of us as individual “discples” of our Lord.

  3. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Clayton M,

    Two things.

    First, what is “(FB)” about? I keep thinking “fullback” but I watch far too much football.

    Second, I agree that we are individually temples of the Spirit. Paul is plenty clear in 1 Cor 6, and so what you say is true. But twice Paul refers to the congregation as a temple of the Spirit. And so by the same (correct) logic, the indwelling Spirit leads each of our congregations just as Moses led Israel through the wilderness.

    Both are true.

    I like the metaphor of charcoal. Each is individually lit — but when you pile them together and blow some wind across them, they’ll melt steel. Separately, they soon go out. In fact, one way to kill a BBQ fire is to scatter the ashes.

    The Spirit and the church and individuals are the same. We have the Spirit each of us — but it glows so much more brightly when we’re together.

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