The pursuit of holiness is a wonderful thing. That God, in His mercy and grace, would set apart a people unto Himself through the sacrifice of His Son is cause for great worship and rejoicing. Where the tabernacle and temple once stood for the people of God we now, through Jesus Christ, are able to encounter and have access to the presence of God through Jesus Christ. As Pastor Kurt put it in a recent blog, “We are cleansed by Jesus, forgiven by Jesus, filled with Jesus, and living for Jesus. That is what the tabernacle pointed to. That is what we live for.”
And so, by grace through faith, we are saved and our salvation leads us into the opportunity to experience the presence of God. We have confidence, as the author of Hebrews writes, to draw near to the throne of grace (4:16) by the great high priest, Jesus Christ. This is not some ephemeral or passing experience nor is it something set to a ritualistic routine by our Sunday morning worship services. The presence of God, in the life of a disciple, is much more, much greater, than that. The Spirit of God dwells in us, uniting the church as the Body of which Christ is the cornerstone. The access we experience to the Father that comes through the shed blood of the Son happens because the Holy Spirit of God dwells in us. Three times to the Church at Corinth the Apostle Paul will say as much as He implores the people of God to live a holy life in step with the calling that they have received (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19, and 2 Corinthians 6:16). And yet, so often, the church today is marked more with a passivity, a blending of the world around us, than we are by holiness and God Himself in us. How can we get back to living a life in the presence of God? Leave it to Jesus to fill the gap where we so often get it wrong.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” – John 15:4
The presence of God is transforming and is faithfully lived out as we abide in the Savior. We encounter the presence of God as we, the branches, remain in the Vine, Jesus Christ. We experience the life-changing shift toward holiness and righteousness and the full and abundant life as we hold fast to He who alone can save us. Specifically, the presence of God inside us, happens as we remain in His Word, walk in step with His Spirit, and engage in the local body of believers. As we invest intentional time in studying the Scriptures, pursuing the fruit of the Spirit, and living out the “one anothers” of community, the presence of God is on full display in all that we do. We begin shining a brilliant light that expels the darkness, advances the Kingdom, and brings new people into the faith.
The presence of God is an amazing and supernatural gift that we now have access to by the shed blood of the perfect Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. Do you want to experience and live out the presence of God this week in your life? Dive into His Word with fresh eyes and a pure heart. Do you want to experience the transformative effect of God as you come before His throne of mercy and grace? Remain in Him, putting into practice the fruit of the Spirit of God which dwells in you Christian. Do you want to have a life marked by a pursuit of holiness, a life of light and the presence of God the Father? Gather together with the church, pursuing intentional community and fellowship with other believers.