As Christians, our lives have been purchased for a price, and we now belong to God. The price was the blood of Jesus Christ, which He shed on the cross. Just as Israelites in the Old Testament belonged to God through covenant, Christians belong to God through the salvation we have experienced. We are God’s people now. We belong to Him—rescued out of the clutches of sin, guilt and condemnation, and adopted into His family. In this case, being bought and owned by someone isn’t a negative thing; it’s a beautiful thing.
God saved us for the purpose of making us human temples, inhabited by His Spirit. During Old Testament days, God dwelt within the inner room of the temple—a place called the Holy of Holies. That’s where He made His home. When Paul said Christians were the “temples of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19), the word he used for “temple” was not the word used for the outer rooms of the Old Testament temple. It was naos, which referred to the inner sanctum, the place where there was a visible manifestation of the shekinah glory of God.
That indwelling of God through the Holy Spirit makes Christianity different from any other religion on earth. Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism—none of these religions claim that their god inhabits their followers. The leaders of those belief systems may try to proselytize with their doctrine, but the gospel of Jesus Christ is different. Faith in Jesus makes us walking miracles who have been changed through the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
God’s plan in redemption was that we should live life full of the Holy Spirit. “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The metaphor here is that we might be filled with the Spirit to the point where He overflows—spilling out unto others with love and grace.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.