Can God Live in My Heart?

August 1, 2020 Save Article

1 Corinthians 6:19

Do you know where God lives? Where is God’s home? A beautiful church building? The Bible reveals God has lived in a series of homes, moving in and moving out. When He moves in, if the home is defiled by the owner, God moves out. He hasn’t seemed to stay put in one particular place—until recently. So where does God live now?

Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

Since the creation of Adam and Eve, God has lived in four homes. Each of them went through four phases, all beginning with the letter “D.” 

  • Designed specifically by God
  • Desecrated later by sin
  • Desolate when God had to abandon them
  • Destroyed (all but the last one)

God’s First Home—a man named Adam

Design

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." Genesis 2:7

He gave us a spirit by breathing into us the breath of life—the Spirit of God.

God created human beings with three distinct parts: body, soul, and spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 names them, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

To understand ourselves and how we interact with our world and with God, we must understand we are body, soul, and spirit by divine design. When Adam came off God’s assembly line, he was a three-part being and so are you.

  • With your body you know the physical world around you.
  • With your soul you know the world within you.
  • With your spirit you can know God.

I used to think soul and spirit were about the same, but God differentiates between spirit and soul: “your whole spirit and soul and body” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Hebrews 4:12 says, “even to the division of soul and spirit.”

Your soul is your emotional, cognitive part—your mind, will, emotions, personality, intelligence, sense of humor—all those things that make you who you are.

Your spirit is that part which communes with and worships God.

"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:24

If we’re saved, God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we’re children of God. He put a spirit into the crown of His creation—people—so His Spirit could dwell within us, His royal residence, a home with three rooms.

But what if we choose to live on our own terms, without our designer having His rightful place in our lives? We’re headed for desecration, desolation, and destruction.

Desecration

The house God designed was desecrated. Adam and Eve’s disobedience (Genesis 3:6) defiled it.

Desolation

God moved out (Genesis 3:19). Their house was desolate, their spirit dead, but their soul and body still alive. Rather than the spirit having dominion, sin dominated body and soul.

Destruction

They died immediately in their spirit.

God warned them this would happen (Genesis 2:17). Physically, they lived on for many years, but the minute they sinned, they died in their spirit. Your heart may be beating, your mind working, but you are spiritually dead (1 Timothy 5:6). How much sin does that take? One-half of one sin.

They died progressively in their soul.

Fears, neuroses, and sorrows came into their souls. Instead of centered on God, their minds, will, and emotions became a garden of weeds.

They died ultimately in their bodies.

The seeds of death were in them the minute they sinned. Many of us at Christmastime buy what we call a “live tree.” It’s not. All those live trees stacked up at the tree lot look alive for a while, but wait till after New Year’s. When did they die? The minute they were cut down.

God’s Second Home—the Temple

Design

The Old Testament temple God instructed His people to build in the wilderness was an elaborate tent with specific, detailed design. Later it became a permanent home, the glorious temple Solomon built for God on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was a gigantic pattern, an object lesson (Hebrews 8:5), corresponding to the human body. Like God’s first home, it had three parts:

  • The outer court with a brazen altar was the place of sacrifice. We present our bodies a living sacrifice.
  • The inner court where people met represents the soul, where we fellowship with one another.
  • The innermost room, the “Holy of Holies,” represents the human spirit communing with God.

Desecration

It was desecrated by sin (Matthew 21:3).

Desolation

Left desolate—abandoned by God (see the event in Matthew 23:38).

Destruction

Finally destroyed (Matthew 24:1-2). God moved out and moved on.

God’s Third, Perfect Home—Jesus Himself

Design

Jesus was the Incarnation of God. He was “the second Adam,” perfect and sinless. Only a perfect sacrifice could be acceptable.

Desecration

God took my sin, your sin, all the perverted sin of this world and put that upon the Lord Jesus (Isaiah 53:6, 1 Peter 2:24). “God made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Desolation

Abandoned by the Father, Jesus cried out on the cross in agony, “My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). God the Father, for the only time, turned His back on God the Son, for the Bible says of the Father, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look on wickedness” (Habakkuk 1:13).

Notice that in Psalm 23 David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” But Jesus the Son walked that dark valley all by Himself.

Destruction

Jesus knew the temple of His body would be destroyed and said so in John 2:19-21. Our sins nailed Him to the cross, but the One who put Him to death was God Himself. “God spared not His only Son” (Romans 8:32, Isaiah 53:10).

If God did not spare Jesus when He was bearing our sins, what makes you think God is going to spare you if you reject the sin-bearer? If God would ever have been lenient on sin, it would have been when that sin was on His Son, Jesus. If God could not overlook the sin that was on Jesus, I’ll tell you, my friend, God cannot overlook your sin.

God’s Final, Permanent Home—Every Believer

In the Old Testament, God had a temple for His people. In the New Testament, God has a people for His temple. Since Jesus’ death and resurrection, God has a new, permanent home.

Designed by God—that He would live within

Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are His royal residence. At last, God has stopped moving. He’s moved in, and He’s not moving out!

No longer desecrated by sin

Through the blood of Jesus, we are forgiven and forever cleansed.

Never Desolated

Forever united with Him. He will “never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Never Destroyed

Remember, when Adam sinned, he died immediately in his spirit; progressively in his soul; ultimately in his body. But at salvation, God puts all that in reverse! The moment you’re saved, you are:

  • Justified immediately in your spirit. Every sin is buried in the grave of God’s forgetfulness.
  • Sanctified progressively in your soul. Day by day, God is making you more like Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
  • Ultimately, glorified in your body. One day He will change my mortal body to be like His glorious body.

“It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2).

You ask, “Pastor, are you sure He’s not moving out?” Absolutely. He says, “For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people’” (2 Corinthians 6:16).

“Dwell” means to settle down with. “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:17). Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper [the Holy Spirit] that He may abide with you [how long?] forever” (John 14:16). God comes to live in you once and for all.

Salvation is not getting man out of earth into Heaven, but God out of Heaven into man, into your heart. You’re now a temple of the Holy Spirit.

You are eternally secure in God. He dwells in our hearts by faith. Do you fear because you’re not sinless God won’t dwell within you? Because of Calvary, no sin will ever be imputed to you (Romans 4:5-6). When you sin, God will carry you to the woodshed (Hebrews 12:6), but you are secure. He will never move out again.

What a day it’s going to be when the reddening shadows of this life mingle with the purpling dawn of eternity, and Jesus comes, and we’ll rise to meet Him in the air.

If you’re not saved and you want to be saved, let’s get it settled today. 

Pray this prayer:

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that You love me and want to save me. Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God, who died on the cross to pay for my sins. I believe God raised You from the dead. I now turn from my sin and, by faith, receive You into my life as my personal Lord and Savior. Come into my heart, forgive my sins, and save me, Lord Jesus. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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