“Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK IN THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.’ ” 2 Corinthians 6:16 (NAS)
We press on in our continuing study of Old Testament quotes appearing in the New Testament considering this week the above text penned by the apostle Paul, one of the men “moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21b)
Close investigation of the segment of the verse which quotes the Old Testament reveals that there are several Old Testament passages that one could tie to this latter day inspired utterance. The best single verse in the Old Testament that could be directly tied to this summarized quote would be Leviticus 26:11, 12: “Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. ‘I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.’ ” There are a couple of other verses in the Old Testament that contain similar verbiage in some form of the above quote “I will dwell in them and walk in them.” They are Exodus 29:45 “And I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God.”; and Zechariah 2:10, “Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the LORD. But notice that in these three verses it never states, as Paul did, “I will dwell in them and walk in them.” The Old Testament verses only speak of the LORD being among them, not in them . The key to understanding why the Holy Spirit impelled Paul to write the quotes the way He did, is contained in the context of the above verse to the Corinthians, as well as the context of the Old Testament references to which his declaration refers. In the Old Testament passages we’ve cited, the context speaks of God’s dwelling place, either the tabernacle in the wilderness (Ex. 29:45; Lev. 26:11-12), or the temple (although Zechariah’s proclamations deal specifically with prophecy of the church “when many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day”). In the letter to the Corinthians, Paul, through the Spirit, has prefaced his quoting of the Old Testament by reminding the Corinthians (and the church as a whole) that “we are the temple of the living God.” OK, time for a little review. God has said I will dwell in them and walk in them. For starters brethren, consider these verses: 1 John 4:12 “No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:15 “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” Now, how did He come to dwell (abide) in you? You know, right? Yes, whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him. Remember, those words are written to those already in Christ, although we do know that confession of Jesus Christ as the Son of God is part of the plan of salvation. Back to our verse quoted above in the letter to the Corinthians. Notice that the quote implies that when God dwells in you and walks in you, then He is your God and you become a part of His people. Does the rest of the New Testament back that up? Hear again: “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Rom. 8:9) Oops! You’re not part of His people if the Spirit of God (a.k.a the Spirit, Spirit of Christ) does not dwell in you. We know these to be interchangeable terms for the Holy Spirit. Just as in the Old it was necessary for God’s presence to be among His people to denote them as His people, for us under the New Covenant, He better be dwelling in us (by means of the Holy Spirit) or we are not His people. So one of the most important questions that can ever be asked is “did you receive the Holy Spirit (God dwelling in you) when you believed?” (Acts 19:2) How do you receive the Holy Spirit? There’s but one way. The old man of sin has to die , God creates a new creature, also called a living stone in the New Testament (1 Pet. 2:4, 5) being built up as a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5) a fit dwelling place for the presence of God. These things only happen, according to the Bible, in our immersion into Christ by means of the element of water. Brethren, there’s a lot more we could consider, but you get the picture, right? Amen.