Wednesday, January 5, 2005

The Abodes of God

Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (1 John 3:24)
The commandments of the Lord are these: Believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another (1 John 3:23). On our own, these are very difficult — in fact, they are impossible. But with God they are simple: Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), so it becomes easy to believe in Him when we have received His Word. And God is love (1 John 4:8), so with Him at work in us, it becomes easy to love one another. The Bible says that faith expresses itself through love (Galatians 5:6).

It is really not a matter of doing a work, but of receiving a gift. It is letting His Word and His Love be at work in you. It is not your work, it is His work in you. It is allowing God to be who He is in you. That is why John said, “He who keeps His commandments abides in Him,” because it is all about God living and working His way in you. By faith, we become His dwelling place. Not only do we abide in God, John says, but God abides in us.

God abides in us. That’s potent, or perhaps I should say omnipotent (seeing that we are talking about God).

Remember in John 14, when Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions. …I go to prepare a place for you” (v. 2) The translation “mansions” lead us in the wrong direction. We think of mansions as huge houses set apart. That is not at all what Jesus was talking about. He was not picturing places of separateness, but places of intimacy. The Greek word is mone, and refers to dwelling places — abodes. The NIV says “rooms.” Jesus has prepared rooms for us to dwell within our Father’s house.

This is not “end time” truth, or about when we die someday. It is about right now, in this life.

Jesus continued, “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (v. 3).

Jesus went to prepare a place for us — He did this at the Cross. He was gone for three days, and then He returned (the Resurrection) to receive us to Himself.

Now our abiding place is in Him, and we dwell in His Father’s house. Right now. Not only that, but Paul says that we are now seated in Christ Jesus at the right hand of the Father, far above all principalities, power, might and dominion (Ephesians 2). That is, not only do we dwell in our Father’s house, we rule and reign from there as well.

Again, Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23).

The Greek word for “home” is mone. The KJV renders it, “make our abode with him.” This is the word translated “mansion” in verse 2. These are the only two places in the Bible where this particular Greek word is used.

Jesus also promised this:
I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)
The Greek word for “abide” is meno (closely related to mone). God has prepared a place for us in His house, and a place for Himself in us, and He dwells in us by the Holy Spirit.

Remember that, in his epistle, John said that we would know that God abides in us, and this knowledge would be by the Spirit whom He has given us. This is the Spirit of truth whom God has given to dwell in us. He knows us and we know Him, because He dwells in us.

When we keep God’s commandments (believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and walk in love) we know that we are abiding in God and God is abiding in us, and He gives this witness to us by His Spirit. Enter into this love relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Believe and abide. Be at home in Him and enjoy His abiding presence in you. These are the abodes of God — us in Him, and Him in us.