Reimar A.C. Schultze
GOD: THE DWELLING PLACE OF MAN
All our needs are met in God!
"Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations" (Ps. 90:1).
As humans, we need places to keep us from rain and snow, from heat and cold. We need a place to rest, to eat, to recharge our physical batteries. Hence, we need homes, apartments, huts, and tents.
But just as man needs a physical dwelling place, so he also need a spiritual dwelling place. Man needs an abiding place for his soul, for his spiritual life.
The abiding place for the soul of man is God. God is the dwelling place of man--indeed, you cannot find a single saint in the world who does not dwell in God. There is only one address for every true child of God on the earth, and that is: G - O - D!
The saints of Africa dwell in God; so do those of China, of India, of Europe, and of the Americas. The rich and the poor, the learned and the unlearned saints dwell in God. G-O-D is the address of all saints of all time. The saints yet on earth dwell there along with the saints who have gone before to their eternal reward. Hence, Hebrews 12:22-24 reads:
"But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
Yes, this is all in God--our dwelling place: the heavenly Jerusalem, the angels, the church triumphant, and the Lord Jesus.
Oh, how much is there in the words of this prayer of Moses, "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations" (Ps. 90:1). How beautiful also is this quotation of the Apostle Paul taken from pagan poets: "For in him we live, and move, and have our being..." (Ac. 17:28).
We cannot exist outside of God. Everyone who dwells in God shall live forever with God, and everyone who does not live in God will perish forever. As there is no end to the life of those in God, there is no end to the death of those outside of God. As there is no end to the joy of those in God, there is no end to the suffering for those outside of God.
This is also what Jesus taught in John 15: "I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (v. 5).
If we Christians abide in Jesus, we abide in God, for Paul also says that our "life is hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3).
So, it is only in the abiding in Jesus that we can have fruit, for he stated that "for without me ye can do nothing."
Think of it: all the religious work done outside of Christ, outside of God, is nothing! The spiritual works of almost all of the Pharisees--their prayers, fasting, tithing, Bible studies, and proselytizing--were worth nothing. Those works were without value: useless and unrecognized by God because they did not originate from their dwelling in God.
We can have beautiful-looking church programs, excellent preaching, and missions programs, but if they originate from our dwelling outside of God, these works are nothing. Hence Jesus said:
"Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, Sir, open the door for us. But he will answer, I dont know you or where you come from. Then you will say, We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets. But he will reply, I dont know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!" (Lu. 13:24-27 NIV).
He also declared in Matthew 15:13, "...Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up."
God must be our dwelling place. If we are not abiding in him, Jesus says we shall be cast forth as withered branches to be gathered by men and burned in the fire (Jn. 15:6). But if we abide in the Lord, we have access to the unlimited resources of God: in him, we shall ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us. In him, we seek nothing but his perfect will (v. 7). It is only as we abide in God through Christ that we are the disciples of Jesus and that God is glorified in us (v. 8). Hallelujah!
Now, if we abide in God, the one who has unlimited resources, why, then, do we find ourselves so often in need and disappointments? I believe it is so because we often become forgetful of what is ours. Sometimes, we are like the Irish immigrant who, on his trans-Atlantic crossing to America, subsisted on cheese and crackers out of his suitcase while others feasted sumptuously in the dining room of the ship. He did not know that his ticket included all the meals for the crossing. Oh, dear one, do not forget what is yours in God.
How good is the dwelling place of God? Where are its borders of goodness? What are the depths of its mercies? What are the number of its blessings? Can we count its provision, fathom its wisdom, grasp its love, and declare its wealth? God: the dwelling place of man.
Here in America, we have a rating system for hotels. If it is a one star hotel, it means it is at the bottom of the list. The one star hotel has nothing more than the basics. But if it is a five star hotel, it has everything: lovely rooms, heated swimming pool, a spa, an exercise room, several restaurants, room service, up-to-date hi-tech telephone and computer internet systems, etc..
How many stars do you think we should put behind the great hotel called GOD? Should it be five, fifty, 5,000, or more?
The Bible tells us that God knows the number of stars, and he "calleth them all by their names" (Ps. 147:4). So there is a number to the stars; there is a limit to the stars. Are there enough stars to put behind "God, the dwelling place" to properly declare its greatness, or do we have to go on to infinity?
Can you consider a better place to dwell in than God? Can you consider that in God, the poorest man on earth can be as blessed as the richest man? Can you think of any lack in God: any lack of power, of encouragement, of love, of compassion, of knowledge, or of supplies? Yes, because of the abundance in their dwelling place, Paul could tell the Philippians, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (4:19).
Because of that, the apostles could also say, "...Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Co. 2:9). What all is there in these great storage bins of heaven, "things" reserved just for you?
Let us now consider what is not in God. In God, there is no division between any two brothers; there is no pride; there is no jealousy; there is neither resentment nor criticism; there is no greed, no fear of man, no danger, no ingratitude, no murmuring nor complaining, no love of the world nor joy in its toys or entertainments, no foolishness nor jesting, no impatience, bitterness, or hurt feelings.
Jesus came to help us find our way into God, the dwelling place of man. In fact, he is the "door" to God.
Brother and sister, if your Christian life is scrawny, anemic, pale, weak, as unstable as the waves of the sea driven by the wind, full of anxiety, fears, worries, and worldly thoughts, ambitions, and attachments, it is likely to be outside of God. But if our Christianity is rich and deep and joyous and all-sufficient, it is because it has come to rest in the arms of Almighty God.
Finally, what are the pre-requisites for our dwelling in God?
1. There must be the confession of sins (see Ro. 3:23 & 1 Jn. 1:9).
In my ministry of over thirty years, for every person who comes to me confessing their sins, there are about 50 wanting to confess the sins of others. Confessing others sins will get us nowhere but into everlasting flames. We must confess our own sins to Jesus.
Confess your sins to Jesus. Neither blame others for your sins as Adam did, nor blame the devil for your sins as Eve did. Recognize that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness and cleansing. Confess your sins to Jesus.
2. Repent of your sins.
To repent means to turn away from your sins and from the lifestyles, the habits, and the attitudes that have caused you to sin. Turn your back on your sins. Forsake not only your sins but also your sinful ways, or you will perish (Lu. 13:3).
3. Receive the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ask Jesus to come into your heart. Unless you do this, you will have no power to live a godly life, and you will have no entrance into God, the dwelling place of man. Revelation 3:20 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, and will sup with him, and he with me."
As you sense Jesus knocking at the door of your heart, invite him to come in. If you confess, repent, and believe, he will come in!
4. Live an overcoming life.
Revelation 3:21 states, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."
You must overcome the Self-life: the fleshly and earthly desires that draw you away from Gods will. If you do this, your final destiny will be nothing less than a seat with Jesus in the very throne of God.
God is the dwelling place of every saint. In him, we live and move and have our being. Are you there? If not, get there!