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1 Corinthians 3:16 by Robert Dean
Series:1st Corinthians (2002)
Duration:1 hr 4 mins 40 secs

The Double Indwelling; 1 Corinthians 3:16


A passage we want to spend some time on is John 1:14-18. John chapter one is one of the most important passages on the person  of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

John 1:14 NASB "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." John uses the term LOGOS [Logoj] as a technical title for the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 14 we learn that this full deity became flesh, incarnate, and dwelt among us. So we [the disciples] beheld the glory of the second person of the Trinity. [15] John testified about Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'" So it is the clear witness of the New Testament that Jesus Christ pre-existed His incarnation. There never was a time when Jesus Christ did not exist. When he existed prior to the incarnation He was just deity, now He has had true humanity joined to that in the hypostatic union. [16] "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. [17] For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. [18] No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained {Him.}"

So when we connect John 1:14 with 1:18, the statement that no man has seen God at any time we realise that no one in the Old Testament saw God the Father. The manifestations in the Old Testament were always of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, and as such has revealed His role as the revealer of the Godhead. So the conclusion is that the Shekinah glory, the presence of God in the Old Testament, was the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ.

That leads us to the next plank in the construction of this doctrine, and that involves the question: Who indwells the believer? We have taught many times that the believer is indwelt by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Now we look at the doctrine that underlies that and the verses that help us understand that because this is not something that is commonly accepted or commonly understood, even among orthodox Bible students, and we need to understand why it is that we say that we are indwelt by both God the Holy Spirit and God the Son.

1)  We have to answer the question: Is the indwelling of Jesus Christ distinct from the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit? In other words, are these two distinct indwellings of two distinct personages or are these simply synonymous concepts for one indwelling. Are there two distinct indwellings or one in dwelling? That is really the basic question. There are two positions taken by Bible students on this teaching. The first position is that these are synonymous terms. These theologians suggest that Christ's indwelling is simply mediated through or by God the Holy Spirit. In other words, Christ indwells the believer through the Holy Spirit. There seem to be some passages that support that, so we need to look at them. First of all, what they do is separate personality, they do recognize that God the Holy Spirit is a distinct personality from God the Son, but they don't separate the activities or ministries. In other words, what one does the other does and the activities of Jesus are equivalent to the activities of the Holy Spirit, and that because God the Holy Spirit is subordinate to God the Son, to way that God the Holy Spirit indwells the believer is to say God the Son does because He is ministering to the believer through or by means of God the Holy Spirit. One reason they say that is because of the term "spirit of Christ" that is used many times in the New Testament, and what they try to do is make that a term where the phrase "spirit of Christ" is a genitive they try to make that a genitive of source. One again we get into grammar. When we have in the English a phrase that involves the preposition "of" that usually relates to a genitive construction in the Greek. There are at least 18-20 different ways in which the genitive case can be used. It can describe relationship. For example, you can say someone is the daughter of Bill. That means that Bill is the father, so that is a genitive of relationship. You can say that is John's car, and we use an apostrophe s. That is a genitive of possession. You can say that work was done of someone, indicating that they are the originator of a certain amount of work. You can indicate a number of other different things with the genitive case and so we always have to ask what the nature of the genitive is. This phrase, "spirit of Christ" can be taken one of two distinct ways. The first is that this can be taken as a genitive of source, and in this case this would mean the spirit who comes from the source of Christ. This would then indicate that this would be the Holy Spirit and is distinct from the person of Christ—so Christ sending the Spirit, He comes from the source of Christ. The second way to look at this is a genitive of possession. In this case it is Christ's own spirit. Then the spirit of Christ would be another way of talking about the person of Christ Himself. There are a number of different passages that use a phrase related to the spirit of Christ—the spirit of Christ, the spirit of the Lord, or the spirit of the Son—and in each case we have to look at the context to determine whether the phrase is the first option or the second option. It is not the same in every case. Romans 8:9 NASB "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you..." There we would take it as the Spirit who comes from God, i.e. the Holy Spirit. We get that in context because Paul has been talking about the Holy Spirit all the way down through verse 9. "…But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." There we could say that the second term "Spirit of Christ" could also refer to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit who was sent from Christ. But look at verse 10: "If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness." It doesn't say "Spirit of Christ" there, it specifically refers to Christ. In v. 10 Paul is clearly saying that Christ is in you, so that means the term "Spirit of Christ" in v. 9 must be taken as Christ Himself, Christ's own spirit in contrast to the Holy Spirit. So that is one reason why context is so important. Then again, in 2 Corinthians 3:17 NASB "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, {there} is liberty." It seems from the context that "the Spirit of the Lord" there is referring to the Holy Spirit. Then in Galatians 4:6 NASB "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'" By comparing that with Romans chapter eight we know that this is the Holy Spirit who is sent by or proceeds from the Son. Philippians 1:19 NASB "for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." There it is referring not to Jesus Christ but to the Spirit who has proceeded from Jesus Christ who is the source of all provision and enablement in the spiritual life, and that is the Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 1:11 NASB "seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow." There again, it refers to the Holy Spirit and not Jesus Christ Himself. So in most of these there is reference to the Holy Spirit but in others they refer to Jesus Christ Himself, so the phrase can be taken in two distinct ways.

2)  We must recognize that at the instant of salvation the believer is inseparably united to Jesus Christ by the baptism by means of God the Holy Spirit—Romans 6:3-5.

3)  This also means that Jesus Christ is in the believer. For support for that we have the phrase in Romans 8:10 NASB "If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness." So at salvation we are indwelt by Jesus Christ.

4)  1 Corinthians 3:16 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit dwells in the believer. So we have two clear statements of two distinct dwellings now, Romans 8:10 [e)n u(min] and 1 Corinthians 3:16 [e)n u(min] .

5)  The phrase EN HUMIN [e)n u(min], meaning "in you" is crucial and is used in a number of different places, but you always have to examine the context to see exactly what this means. Sometimes the phrase is positional, e.g. Romans 8:10. Christ is in you at the point of salvation and stays in you. It doesn't have anything to do with what we do, it is part of the package that we get at the instant pf salvation. Another passage where we have it as an absolute concept related to our position is in 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19, related to the Holy Spirit being in us. But it is also used of the dwelling of Christ in an experiential way. Ephesians 3:17 NASB "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith..."  In v. 16 "that He would grant you…" is the key verb in a purpose clause. This is stating the purpose, and the purpose is expressed through a present active subjunctive (indicating potential)—"that he might grant you." This is second person plural, but who is he addressing? Believers, so they are already saved, they are church age believers, they already have received the 39+1 things that we all get at the instant of salvation. Yet this is referring to a potential, not an actual. The indwelling of Christ as a positional reality is an actual from the point of salvation on. It is not potential. The second person plural, present active indicative         here of DIDOMI [didomi], which means to give, to grant, to bestow; it is a key word for anything related to grace, and that is the main idea in God's giving: "that He might grant yo you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, [17] so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…" That introduces an aorist infinitive here for dwelling here, KATOIKEO [katoikew]. The aorist infinitive is translated as potential because the main verb in the clause is that present subjunctive of DIDOMI [didomi]. An infinitive doesn't have a potential sense, it is just to do something, it just expresses purpose. But you pick up the potential because of the main verb, that he is talking to believers and he is praying this in order that something might happen. If I am talking to you as a believer and I am talking about the indwelling of Jesus Christ, I am not going to pray that you will get it because you already got it at the instant of salvation. So when Paul is talking about the indwelling of Christ here he can't be talking about indwelling at the instant of salvation because that has already occurred. It is not a potential, it is an actual. So Paul prays that "Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." This is talking about experiential relationship of Jesus Christ dwelling in our life. So the potential is there from the indwelling of Christ in the temple but it is activated only when we are in fellowship. Let's connect this with the concept of abiding in Christ and Christ abiding in us. It is dealing with being in fellowship and taking the potential of Christ's indwelling and making it actual in terms of His abiding ministry. Ephesians 3:17 is simply to show that this concept of "dwelling in you" can be in some passages experiential and not positional. But then we have passages like John 17:23 where Jesus is praying, and He says, "I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me." So Jesus is using this positionally. The most central passage for understanding this is Colossians 1:27 NASB "to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." He ties this to the mystery doctrine. He is making known the riches of the glory, and then we have a relative clause that defines that, "Christ in you"—that is the riches of glory. Note Ephesians 3:16 NASB "…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory…" What does the phrase "riches of His glory" refer to? The riches of His glory in Ephesians 3:16 cf. Colossians 1:27 is the wealth that we have because of the indwelling of Jesus Christ. It is that indwelling of Christ which is then parlayed by Paul into a future confident expectation of glory. So what are we seeing here? We are seeing a connection between Christ as the riches of glory with the hope of glory. So what is the key term here? Glory. What was present with Israel in the Old Testament was the concept of glory. So the indwelling of Christ is related to glory, it is a potential until the believer learns doctrine and applies doctrine, and then it becomes an actuality because he is growing and advancing in the believer's life. In Colossians 1:27, Christ is "in you, [EN HUMIN] the hope (ELPIS [e)lpij] = confident expectation) of glory." So the second use of glory refers to something that is anticipated with conviction and confidence, that is yet future, whereas we have already have obtained the riches of the glory, which is "Christ in you." So we have the indwelling of Christ, which is one source of glory, which is the basis for reaching a future glory. The glory here is not talking about heaven.

6)  The conclusion that we reach from Colossians 1:27 is that it is the reality of Christ's indwelling presence that provides the believer with the basis for a future expectation of glory.

7)  That leads to the question: What is glory? To understand glory we have to go back into the Old Testament. We have to understand that, while there are some concepts in the New Testament because Paul is dealing with the Greek culture he does use some idioms that have their source in understanding classical Greek, the primary frame of reference for much of this terminology is not contemporary Greek culture for Paul but is the Old Testament theological concept. Glory has two concepts. We have the expression of the physical manifestation where you have the bright light, the pillar of fire, the blinding brilliance of God's presence when Isaiah is before the throne of God. So we have this first expression which is a physical brilliance, and we see this in the New Testament on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17. This takes place in the latter period of Jesus' ministry on the earth, and we have an episode here where His glory, that physical manifestation of His glory, is revealed to His disciples. Matthew 17:1 NASB "Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. [2] And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light." This was the unveiling of His glory to reveal that to His disciples. [3] "And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. [4] Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.'" Peter once again demonstrates that he doesn't have a clue what is going on, and opens his mouth and inserts his foot before he thinks. (We all relate to Peter many, many times) [5] "While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, 'This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!' [6] When the disciples heard {this,} they fell face down to the ground and were terrified." The glory that is revealed here—this is the only time in Christ's ministry where the brilliance of His glory is unveiled and manifested tom His disciples. This is the first category of the glory, the physical manifestation of it. But there is another passage that relates to the glory of Christ and it does not refer to this brilliance, it has another connotation and this is important for us to understand. John 1:14 NASB "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." John is writing this. He is 90 years old or thereabouts when he writes this and he was one of the three disciples that went up with the Lord on to the Mount of Transfiguration. So we will often hear it interpreted that when John says "we beheld His glory" he is referring to the transfiguration. However, that is not how John uses glory in his Gospel. He has a distinct concept of glory and it is not this overt, physical manifestation of the brilliance of Jesus Christ's deity. John 2:11 NASB "This beginning of {His} signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him." If Jesus manifested His glory at Cana it wasn't the brilliant flashing forth of the white light and the demonstration of His deity as on the Mount of Transfiguration. How did he demonstrate His glory? By doing something that indicated His deity. In other words,  it is very subdued, it has to do with performing in terms of His nature and it is a demonstration of His character.  John 11:4 NASB "But when Jesus heard {this,} He said, 'This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.'" At the conclusion of this episode when Jesus is talking to Martha, He says, [40] "Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" They didn't see the glory of God is terms of the glory manifest on the Mount of Transfiguration. What they saw was the revelation of the character, the compassion, and the grace of God by what Jesus did. So once again we see the application of doctrine, as it were, which reveals character is what is meant by glory. So glory has two connotations. One is that physical manifestation, but the physical manifestation is simply a representation of the character of God. It is the character of God Himself that is the core issue in glory. That is going to be important because when the believer is going to be revealing the glory of God in his life it is not so somebody is going to look at you and is going to see a halo around your head, or they are going to see some brilliant white light, but what is displayed is the character of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ indwells us as "the riches of His glory," which is a potential, then when we grow as believers and that abiding in Christ produces filling of the Holy Spirit, walking by means of the Spirit, that produces in us the character of Christ, which is the fruit of the Spirit, then that demonstrates the glory of God. That is what is meant here. So the conclusion to this point is that the manifestation of divine glory in the church age is the manifestation of the character of Jesus Christ, not the brilliance of His glory or the flashing forth of some brilliant white light. In His high priestly prayer Jesus says, John 17:5 NASB "Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was." When is this going to happen? The next day on the cross. Jesus Christ is glorified on the cross where He demonstrates the love of God. What does John say in 1 John 4:9, 10 NASB "By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son {to be} the propitiation for our sins." Again in His high priestly prayer he says, [22] "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one." So there the unity of the body of Christ again relates to the glory of God. Then [24] "Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world." Here it is a reference to His full deity.

8)  The meaning of the term "temple of the Holy Spirit." Once again we have to look at the genitive. The phrase "temple of the Holy Spirit" can be taken two different ways. It can be taken as a genitive of possession, a temple possessed by the Holy Spirit or belongs to the Holy Spirit. Or it can be taken as a genitive of source. If it is a genitive of source that means that the Holy Spirit creates the temple. If the Holy Spirit creates the temple, what else can be said about it? The first concept, that the Holy Spirit would have possession or own the temple. The second idea is the primary nuance, the primary meaning of the phrase "the temple created by the Holy Spirit." Who is it that creates this dwelling place in the believer's body? It is God the Holy Spirit.

9)  When does this occur? At salvation. The mechanics are described in Titus 3:5 NASB "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit." The word for washing there is related to a word that is used to translate the Old Testament concept of KATHARIZO [kaqarizw] or purification. So what happens at salvation is positional cleansing of purification of the believer so that now he is cleansed God the Son can take up His residence in the believer.

10)  The purpose for the cleansing for the believer is to provide a home for Jesus Christ, a place where He can dwell. 2 Corinthians 6:16 NASB "…For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE." The implications that are buried in this verse are many but we will just extract a couple of things. First of all, Paul in the context is contrasting the believers with unbelievers and the whole issue of fellowship. Who is the living God in this verse?

11)  2 Corinthians 6:16 connects the "living God" here with the Shekinah of the Old Testament, because the statement "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" is from Leviticus 26:11 where we have a statement from the person who is the Shekinah glory: "Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. [12] I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people." So Paul takes this quote from the Old Testament referring to the person who dwelt and was enthroned among the cherubim and applies this to the present church age believer who is the temple of that same God. So of the person who indwelt the Old Testament temple was the second person of the Trinity then once again we are driven to the conclusion that the second person of the Trinity must indwell each and every believer.

12)  This means that the living God of 2 Corinthians 6:16 is equal to the God who indwelt the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament, the second person of the Trinity. 

13)  There is something else that is important in this verse, and that is that in the Hebrew Leviticus 26:16 uses the phrase "among you," based on the Hebrew term depok and means in the midst or among, it does not mean "in." Yet Paul, when under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, when he brings it over from the Old Testament he uses that phrase EN HUMIN [e)n u(min], meaning in—"in you." So it goes from being a corporate presence on the Old Testament to an individual dwelling in the New Testament.

14)  Paul changes the quote in 2 Corinthians 6:16 an it is not simply in you, not just the phrase OIKEO [o)ikew], it is EN OIKEO [e)n o)ikew]and he uses that same phrase in Romans 8:11 of the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit.

15)  Conclusion: It is God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who have distinct indwellings in the believer. We are indwelt by both persons from the instant of salvation. John 14:17 NASB "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, {but} you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you." [20] "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you."