"Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God far off? " (Jeremiah 23:23).
The Lord is indeed a "God at hand," and in terms of the New Testament, a God in heart.
"Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).
We exist to be "a habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22). Not content to merely dwell with us, our Heavenly Father purposes to dwell within us, making our spirits His home. Sin made this impossible - "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God" - but the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ received by faith makes actual the living presence of God in us - "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Isaiah 59:2; Galatians 4:6). This constitutes the greatest gift of the redemption provided by our Lord, namely, the gift of Himself. "He is thy life" (Deuteronomy 30:20).
Long ago, Solomon wondered how God could dwell in an earthly temple. "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded?" (I Kings 8:27). We should even more wonder that our spirits exist to serve as our Lord's home. Moreover, it does not always appear or feel to be true, nor do we always live accordingly. For the born again believer in Christ, however, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit abides regardless of our response to such grace. "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5). The cost of this eternal presence? The cross of Calvary, where the Lord Jesus cried out in brokenhearted loneliness, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?!" (Matthew 27:46). To the degree our Savior suffered and died alone, we will forevermore live in the promised and inviolable presence of God. The greatest suffering made possible the greatest gift.
The mystery has been unveiled: "Christ in you, the hope of glory." However, wonder remains, and always will. Our Father loves us so much as to make us His home. The building of this spiritual abode required the sacrifice of His Son to a cross more sorrowful than we will ever know. The Lord Jesus died alone that we might never be alone. Such truth must fortify our determination to avail ourselves of "so great salvation," particularly, the remembrance and affirmation of God with and within us (Hebrews 2:3). We must seek to requite the love of God by loving Him in holy response, and by sharing in the gladness of our hearts as His dwelling place. We will never begin to fully understand such wonder. We can, however, seek to avail ourselves of the gift, the greatest gift. In Christ, God gave us to us Himself. He loved us to the degree He inhabited us when we believed. And He paid the highest cost imaginable to make the gift possible. The unveiled mystery actually elicits more astonished fascination and grateful devotion as the One whom the Heaven of heavens cannot hold becomes the very Life of our lives.
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"
Weekly Memory Verse
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
(II Timothy 2:23)