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Our inheritance in Christ Part 2/4: Temple of God- Christ through us.

Updated: Mar 6




"Come to him as to the living stone, rejected by men, but chosen and precious by God. 5 And you also, as living stones, build yourselves up into a spiritual house and holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is written, "Behold, I lay in Zion a chosen and precious cornerstone; and he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame." 7 Now to you who believe, it is precious. But to those who do not believe, he is "the stone which the builders rejected; it has become the cornerstone," 8 and "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense" They stumble against him because they do not believe the word, to which they were also destined. 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for a possession, that you should proclaim the benefits of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; 10 who once were not his people but are now God's people, and once were not in grace but are now in grace." ( 1 Peter 2:9, emphasis author)


"For if because of the sin of the One, death reigned through the One, how much more shall those who receive the fullness of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, just as through the sin of the One condemnation came upon all men, so also through the righteousness of the One justification has come for all men, leading to life. 19 For as through the disobedience of the one man the many became sinners, so also through the obedience of the one the many become righteous. 20 But the law was added, that sin might become more powerful. But where sin has become powerful, grace has become much more powerful, 21 so that just as sin reigned through death, so also grace may reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." ( Romans 5:17 emphasis author)



"Now I rejoice in the sufferings which I suffer for you, filling up by my flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for his body, which is the church. 25 I have become your servant through the commission God gave me for you, that I should preach the word of God in its fullness, 26 namely, the mystery which was hidden for ages and generations, but is now revealed to his saints. 27 To whom God would make known the glorious riches of this mystery among the nations, namely, Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 This we proclaim, and exhort all men, and teach all men in all wisdom, that we may make every man perfect in Christ. 29 For this I also labor and wrestle in his power, which worketh mightily in me. ( Colossians 1:24 ff, emphasis author)


My dear friends, dear followers,


Jesus often spoke (and speaks!) in parables.


He always used worldly images on earth, eternal principles such as sowing and reaping, or even everyday situations with which His listeners could identify, in which they could comprehend what He was saying.


And also Paul- did the same. He used imagery in which his listeners/readers could grasp what he was trying to express.


One of the most powerful images, preached to this day, is probably the image of the temple of God, now no longer static and worldly, but being built up alive in Christ. It is a beautiful image that Christ lives in us, that we are to be the temple, a place where and through which one can encounter God.


Many years ago I was on a little honeymoon in Sardinia with my husband. We found a small church, somewhere on the island, on a very hot day.


The door was not locked, and we entered.


The place was breathtaking. It was a simple church, at first sight nothing special, quite pretty perhaps in this overgrown idyllic garden with the little fig tree from which hung two ripe figs-one for each of us.


But when I entered the church, I didn't want to leave.


Coolness enveloped me, peace, silence, clarity. There was a warm smell of cedar in the air, and I at once felt at peace. It was as if the whole room was saturated with all the hymns, prayers, intercessions and blessings that were said there. An indescribable atmosphere, and when I closed the door behind me and stepped back into the sweltering heat, chirping and life, everything seemed garish, loud, too much.


I left with regret, but also with blessing. Never have I forgotten this place.


Temple of God.


We are called to be a temple of God, an oasis of His peace.


A place where people can come and be embraced by God's presence, where they can find peace, silence and security. To be allowed to be. Find encounter with the eternal God who outlasts all time. A living stone of the temple, in whose presence others feel the many prayers, the many songs of praise, the faith in and trust in God. His presence, his favor and clarity.


You know, simplicity- it is not disturbing in this, but rather conducive.


When we ourselves are so much, bring so much pomp, it distracts from the presence of our Lord. In fact, it is often the ancient little chapels, the small village churches with their simple benches and reduced wall decorations, where we exhale and direct our gaze to the cross on the wall instead of the colorful window pictures, the gold-decorated stucco work, the shiny murals.


But how, how does Christ live in us? How is it possible? Is it real?


Or did Paul choose only a metaphor, an image, to describe his trust and faith in Christ? His thoughts that circled ceaselessly around him, his prayers, his zeal also for his God?


There are many indications in the Bible that this is not so. I think what has just been described is the basic framework of any temple. We cannot escape any form if we want to be recognizable as the temple of God. But that which fills the temple, that which fills its innermost being, it does not come from us. It is the presence, the presence, the love of our God. Christ- in us.


Confusion often arises over this very issue:


How can another live in us, even if only in spirit? How can we have a new spirit, a new heart, in which little by little the entire sanctification, the laws of God- recorded on the stone tablets, are written alive in us? So that they can be lived, experienced and bring their blessings?


It is the mystery of Christ, it is the level that can only be accessed through faith and experience.

But is that possible at all? That, as it were, a second person lives in us, fills us, while we continue to exist, because we do not really die when we convert? We continue to live, to be who we were before, in the same environment, in the same professional paths, in the same social relationships?


It would be simpler, so much easier to understand, if our old shell was also transformed with the emergence from the water!


But the only thing we see is this glow that is common to all the newly baptized, and that makes them almost float when they tread the solid ground again. It shines from every pore, a joy, a purity that makes us rejoice- for a little moment.


The seed is planted, the Holy Spirit is received, but: how does it go on now, and what does it actually mean?


To receive new life, to accommodate foreign life, to allow oneself to be changed by it, to step back in order to give it space - it is a profoundly feminine mystery.


Every woman knows that it is possible, many have experienced it, lived through it, until they gave birth to the life they carried. We women know what it is like to be changed by a new life without having any influence on it. The child within us, hardly noticeable at the beginning, takes its space, it is inseparable from us, and yet it has its own will, its own identity.


It lives in unity with us and yet remains completely itself.


We learn to pay attention to it. To its impulses and peculiarities. When we feel it for the first time, it is only a flutter, a small moment that may or may not be true. We listen inward, align ourselves, and - "yes! Yes, there it was again!" Joy floods us, indescribable happiness about this strange being in us, which now becomes so real. And without our intervention, without our influence, it grows bigger, adapts our body to its needs, serves itself to us, while we become less and less capable of acting.


Our task is to give the framework, to nourish, to adapt our circumstances so that it can grow to the best possible.


The joy of the child, its presence in us - it is visible from the outside. Pregnancy rays are called the "good hope", the "being in expectation".


Other people, strangers, notice it, and not infrequently they are happy, even to the point of wanting to touch it. "Oh, how beautiful! Is it kicking already? Girl or boy?"


Christ in us.


You receive the Spirit, you receive His heart, His Spirit as a gift.


He lives in you, inseparable from you - yet not you.

In order to notice him, you must want him, be willing to engage with him, to give him space in your life. You drop what he cannot realize and nourish him with what he needs. In return, he interacts with you, he gives you impulses, makes himself felt, is always there, always in you, poured out into your heart. He floods you with God's presence, he uses you, expresses himself through you. Through you, as you are.


But you can grieve him, push him away, ignore him. Then he doesn't grow any further. If you don't ask for him, then the seed can't sprout. If you continue to live only for yourself, then the conditions are not there in which he can sanctify you, transform you.


It is a symbiosis - a symbiosis of mutual service, of mutual love.

With time you will be able to relate to his impulses, you will understand his speech, accept his guidance. It is like a dance in which you will be blessed, loved, changed.


You will be blessed because you know that you carry him in you - and that others can meet him - through you, in you. You will be blessed because you take care that he finds a framework in which he can grow while you decrease.


You surrender to him, but you do not die. You become an expression of Jesus in your unique story, shape and personality.


And so you become the temple - he through you, he in you:


  • I step back- you act through me, Lord.

  • I step back, you pray through me, Lord.

  • I can't - you take the lead, please.


Guide me, heal me, show me the way, and change me into what you want me to be.


It is not struggle, it is not power, it is not war against yourself.


It is trust, surrender, unity and acceptance of a new life in you that cannot be surpassed in glory.


Give it space, stone of the living temple of God, high priest, living letter of his benefits. Entrust yourself to it. And be sure that the seed planted in you is the same one that raised Christ from the dead.


  • Do others experience Jesus through you?

  • Are you a temple of God?


Where you are not yet, ask him to take you over, to put you under his care. And trust that it is he who will change you - and allow it.


Be blessed in your uniqueness, indispensable living stone of the temple of God.


Sibylle/Daughter of Zion.


Sources:

The Bible- Luther 2017, quoted here from www.bibleserver.com


Photo: La Basilica della Santissima Trinità di Saccargia Church, Sardinia, Italy, Europe, Pixabay.


Worship: City Alight -Christ in me.












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