Colossians 1 (post 3 of 3)
“For in him [Jesus] the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” (Colossians 1:19)
God actively and continuously pursues us. From the Fall in Genesis 3 to Revelation, God is drawing closer to us to bring us back to Genesis 1…the beginning, when God’s creation walked and talked and DWELT with Him without constraints. He longs to dwell with us again.
In the Old Testament, God dwelt in the tabernacle tent and later the temple, constructed according to meticulous details and instructions. “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may DWELL in their midst.” Exodus 25:8
Tucked deep in the temple was the Holy of Holies behind a thick curtain that only the high priest…only once a year…could enter to make a sacrifice for the sins of the people. Access to the presence of God and the forgiveness of sins was only available via the high priest. And the forgiveness of sins was temporary.
For over a thousand years, this is how the people of God would approach Him. One high priest, once a year on the Day of Atonement. The high priest would cleanse himself, put on special garments, and then sacrifice a bull for him and his family. The blood of the bull would be sprinkled over the Ark of the Covenant (which contained the 10 Commandment tablets, Aarons staff, and some manna...symbols of the law, the miracles, and the provisions). He would then take two goats and one would be sacrificed for the sins of the people. The other was called the scapegoat. It would be released into the wilderness, carrying off the sins of the people, which were forgiven for a year. Rinse & repeat. Every. Single. Year.
Fast forward to the New Testament and the account of Jesus entering the world. God in the flesh. The presence of God – God Himself – getting closer to His people. “And the Word became flesh and DWELT among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Where God dwelt with the Israelites in the temple, He now dwelt in the person of Jesus, God in the flesh. And when Jesus fulfilled His mission here on earth, the presence of God was released from the confines of the Holy of Holies. The curtain was torn in two, no longer separating God from His people.
The sacrifice of Jesus sets us free, like the goats on the Day of Atonement, taking on our punishment and washing our sins away. But His sacrifice was perfect and complete and permanent.
As Jesus prepared to go back to His dwelling place, He tells of the Holy Spirit who will come when He leaves and dwell in us…“he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever...You know him, for he DWELLS with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)
God is getting closer to His people. First in the temple, then in the person of Jesus walking AMONG His people, then via the Holy Spirit IN His people. For now, we live in this earthy tent, grateful for God in the person of the Holy Spirit in us, but still longing for a time to come when we will again dwell face to face with our God. “For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly DWELLING” (2 Corinthians 5:2)
The entire Bible is the story of God’s plans unfolding. Redemption, reconciliation, restoration through Jesus. The promise of a new heaven and new earth, a new dwelling place with God for eternity, is in the final chapters of God’s word…
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the DWELLING place of God is with man. He will DWELL with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’” (Revelation 21:1-4)
In the new heaven and new earth we will dwell with God as in the early days of creation. We are reconciled to God because the fullness of God dwelt in Jesus, the blood of His cross, the Lamb that was slain, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, the One who conquered sin and death, the One who is worthy.
Until that day, let us dwell well in these earthly bodies.🧡
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