The Review and Herald


December 31, 1908

A Habitation for the Spirit


Christ is represented as dwelling by his Spirit in his people; and believers as “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,” Paul says, “beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. There is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” RH December 31, 1908, par. 1

From eternal ages it was God's purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator. Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the divine One. But by the incarnation of the Son of God, the purpose of heaven is fulfilled. God dwells in humanity, and through saving grace the heart of man becomes again his temple. RH December 31, 1908, par. 2

God designed that the temple at Jerusalem should be a continual witness to the high destiny open to every soul. But the Jews had not understood the significance of the building they regarded with so much pride. They did not yield themselves as temples for the divine Spirit. The courts of the temple at Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts. In cleansing the temple from the world's buyers and sellers, Jesus announced his mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin,—from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits that corrupt the soul. “The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver.” RH December 31, 1908, par. 3

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” No man can of himself cast out the evil throng that have taken possession of the heart. Only Christ can cleanse the soul-temple. But he will not force an entrance. He comes not into the heart as to the temple of old; but he says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.” He will come, not for one day merely; for he says, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and ... they shall be my people.” “He will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” His presence will cleanse and sanctify the soul, so that it may be a holy temple unto the Lord, and “an habitation of God through the Spirit.” RH December 31, 1908, par. 4

By this beautiful and impressive figure, God's Word shows the regard he places in our physical organism, and the responsibility resting upon us to preserve it in the best condition. Our bodies are Christ's purchased possession, and we are not at liberty to do with them as we please. Man has done this. He has treated his body as if its laws had no penalty. Through perverted appetite its organs and powers have become enfeebled, diseased, crippled. And these results which Satan has brought about by his own specious temptations, he uses to taunt God with. He presents before God the human body that Christ has purchased as his property; and what an unsightly representation of his Maker man is! Because man has sinned against his body, and corrupted his ways, God is dishonored. RH December 31, 1908, par. 5

When men and women are truly converted, they will conscientiously regard the laws of life that God has established in their being, thus seeking to avoid physical, mental, and moral feebleness. Obedience to these laws must be made a matter of personal duty. We ourselves must suffer the ills of violated law. We must answer to God for our habits and practises. Therefore the questions for us is not, “What will the world say?” but, “How shall I, claiming to be a Christian, treat the habitation God has given me? Shall I work for my highest temporal and spiritual good by keeping my body as a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, or shall I sacrifice myself to the world's ideas and practises?” RH December 31, 1908, par. 6

“Know ye not ... that ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price.” What a price has been paid for us! Behold the cross and the victim uplifted upon it. Look at those hands, pierced with cruel nails. Look at his feet, fastened with spikes to the tree. Christ bore our sins in his own body. That suffering, that agony, is the price of your redemption. Know you not that he loved us, and gave himself for us, that we in return should give ourselves to him? Why should not love to Christ be expressed by all who received him by faith, as verily as his love has been expressed for us for whom he died? RH December 31, 1908, par. 7

“Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Christ the Word, the revelation of God,—the manifestation of his character, his law, his love, his life,—is the only foundation upon which we can build a character that will endure. RH December 31, 1908, par. 8

We build on Christ by obeying his word. It is not he who merely enjoys righteousness, that is righteous, but he who does righteousness. Holiness is not rapture; it is the result of surrendering all to God; it is doing the will of our Heavenly Father. Religion consists in doing the words of Christ; not doing to earn God's favor, but because, all undeserving, we have received the gift of his love. Christ places the salvation of man, not upon profession merely, but upon faith that is made manifest in works of righteousness. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Not those whose hearts are touched by the Spirit, not those who now and then yield to its power, but they that are led by the Spirit, are the sons of God. RH December 31, 1908, par. 9

To live by the word of God means the surrender to him of the whole life. There will be felt a continual sense of need and dependence, a drawing out of the heart after God. Prayer is a necessity; for it is the life of the soul. Family prayer, public prayer, have their place; but it is secret communion with God that sustains the soul-life. It was in the mount with God that Moses beheld the pattern of that wonderful building that was to be the abiding-place of God's glory. It is in the mount with God,—in the secret place of communion,—that we are to contemplate his glorious ideal for humanity. Thus we shall be able so to fashion our character building that to us may be fulfilled his promise. “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” RH December 31, 1908, par. 10