“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16).
The Apostle Paul; amazed at the inconsistencies existing among the Corinthian Christians, accounts for them in one of two ways: either th ey are ignorant of the fundamental facts of Christian faith and life, or they are ignoring those facts to the point of rendering them inoperative. Bringing his opening argument to a conclusion, he appeals to them: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” These words set forth two things:
A. THE FACT THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT INDWELLS THE BELIEVER
This we have already seen to be a revealed fact of God’s Word. If there ever could be found a believer of whom this was not true, God would be found a liar. The Spirit’s In-coming is His immediate response to saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. By His In-coming He baptizes us into the Body of Christ and makes secure to us a past, present and future salvation. Moreover, He has come to “abide,” to dwell, making our hearts His permanent abode.
B. THE APPEAL FOR A LIFE IN KEEPING WITH HIS INDWELLING
These Corinthians could live unworthy lives, as they are doing, only by disregarding the provision God has made in them for a life in harmony with Himself. This provision is the giving to them of His Spirit as an indwelling and transforming presence. The purpose of that indwelling, fraught with boundless possibilities, they have set aside, only to slip back into their old ways of living. The Greek verb “to indwell” means to use as a house, to make it one’s home. It is like an open window through which we look in upon a home scene. We see One adjusting Himself to His new surroundings, rather, adjusting them to His holy tastes, until He is at home in them and feels at home. Before the open window we are moved to make a restatement of the above:
- THE FACT…
- THE APPEAL…
That these present two phases of the same thing should be evident to all. The second grows out of the first. In the first the emphasis is upon the divine personality. In the second it is upon the human. They constitute the two phases of Sanctification [the process of becoming holy]. We may state them as follows:
- HIS PRESENCE SECURES OUR POSITIONAL SANCTIFICATION, WHICH IS ALWAYS PERFECT, ALWAYS COMPLETE–WHAT WE ARE IN CHRIST.
- OUR RESPONSE TO HIS PRESENCE SECURES OUR EXPERIMENTAL SANCTIFICATION, WHICH IS PROGRESSIVE AND INCOMPLETE–WHAT WE SHOULD BE IN CONDUCT.
A gem-like illustration of the two is Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. It divides symmetrically at the center. Chapters 1-3 are a matchless presentation of Positional Sanctification. Our Standing in Christ, not in ourselves, unalterable and equally perfect in the case of all who believe. It is the product of the combined work of Father, Son and Spirit, so set fort h in each chapter.
Chapter 1: As Believers–the Father chose us for Himself; the Son purchased us unto Himself; the Spirit sealed us unto Himself.
Chapter 2: As His Body–the Father quickened us from the dead; the Son formed us into a New Man in Himself; the Spirit gives us “access” as such.
Chapter 3: As His Building–the Father constitutes us His “household”; the Son builds us into a ” temple in the Lord;” the Spirit occupies it as His ” habitation in the Spirit.”
In the entire picture neither our duty nor our conduct has any place. The remarkable statements made concerning us are wholly due to our position in Christ, and are equally true of all believers, at all times, without condition or qualification. Chapters 4-6, however, open with a “beseech,” and are an appeal to appropriate all the possibilities of our position by a life, a walk, an experience, that shows us to be set apart unto Him in all actuality. We are exhorted:
- — To ” walk worthily of our calling,”
- — To “grow up into Him in all things,”
- — To “no longer walk as other Gentiles walk,”
- — To “put off the [behavior of the] old man” with his doings,
- — To “put on the [behavior of the] new man” with his ways,
- — To “walk in love,”
- — To “walk as children of light,” etc.
Experimental [experiential] Sanctification is the realization of a life growing out of, and in keeping with, Positional Sanctification. “Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!” (I Corinthians 6:7,8). Yet these Corinthians had the name, “saint,” fastened to them [1 Cor. 1:2]. No unworthy conduct could drive from them the Indwelling Spirit, nor could it divest them of a name expressive of this abiding relationship.
I. His Indwelling–Our Positional Sanctification
BY THE BAPTISM WITH THE SPIRIT OUR POSITIONAL SANCTIFICATION IS SECURED TO US. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit ” (I Corinthians 12:13). We are all in the position secured to us by the baptism with the Spirit. Made to drink of the one Spirit, of the one life common to all, in the one body, the Body of Christ, we are grafted into Him, joined to Him, identified with Him, so that wh at is true of Him is true of us.
Judicially, His death and resurrection are ours. Positionally, His perfection of life is ours. What this means for success in Christian living, a victory-wrought out in Christ’s physical body, nineteen hundred years ago, flawless and complete, and now made over to us who are in His mystical Body, no one should fail to see. It is the only place for us to start, in a victory already won. We were baptized into, and now are, “the Body of Christ ” (I Corinthians 12:13, 27). But the Body of Christ has died to sin [freed from sin’s authority]. Therefore, in the purpose of God, and in the sight of God, we have died to sin: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? ” (Romans 6:3). This divinely administered baptism with the Spirit, of which man’s administration of water is an outward symbol, makes us one with Him in a Body that has passed through: (1) death, (2) burial, (3) resurrection, into (4) new life (Romans 6:4). Hence Jesus’ declaration that the believer “shall not come into judgment ” (for he is baptized into His once-for-all judgment for sin), “but is passed from of death unto life” [John 5:24].
Then Paul proceeds to ingrain the fact of this tremendous transaction into the consciousness of our Christian living, thereby to translate its priceless worth into practical values. Into three great words-“KNOW,” “RECKON,” “YIELD,” he compresses the threefold secret of writing these facts into Christian experience [Romans 6:6-13].
A. We must KNOW that we were included in His death and resurrection; know it, not by reasoning but by revelation, just because God tells us it is so; know it, as accomplished in the basic facts of our redemption 1900 years ago, lest we attempt to bring it about by any struggle or effort of our own.
B. We must “RECKON” ourselves to be “surely, truly, certainly” (for such is the force of “indeed “) “dead unto sin and alive unto God.” How shall we “reckon” it so? Count it true and act accordingly. Take it into account in all our actions.
C. We must YIELD ourselves as instruments, no longer to sin, to which we died, but to God, to whom we are now alive. Alive for service! The nature of this new life and service now becomes apparent.
The implications of all of this should be apparent to all. Positional Sanctification is the only true, scriptural basis for Experimental Sanctification. The Holy Spirit brings us into our positional victory in Christ before He leads us into any personal victory in practical living. He takes us back to the one place where God has wrought a perfect work on our behalf; then He starts us out to make its blessed achievements our own in daily life. To begin anywhere else is to imperil our whole structure of Christian experience by resting it upon the shifting sands of human effort and experiment.
Part 1 of 3
From HIS INDWELLING PRESENCE: Intimate Studies in the Things of the Spirit, by Norman B. Harrison, D. D. Pastor, Bible Teacher and Evangelist (1928). CHAPTER FOUR: HIS INDWELLING–OUR SANCTIFICATION.
 The reader is referred to the author’s His Salvation as Set Forth in the Book of Romans, page 64ff.
Note: The author’s observations on Ephesians, chapter two indicate that positional sanctification is also spiritual. The beliver’s new human spirit is the “new man” created in righteousness and holiness. (See also Eph 4:24; 2 Cor. 5:17)
Mirror graphic from howtobeachildofGod.com
Biblical quotations updated to NKJV, bracketed words added.
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