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Residence of the Spirit

We used 2 Corinthians 1:21 - 22 in the Pentecost essay to establish that "ownership" of the Holy Spirit passed from God to us.  That same verse gives a hint as to its location:

 21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Verse 21 is included to establish that "God" is the "Who" of verse 22.  At the end of verse 22, we see that the Spirit is given "in our hearts".  (At first blush, it does not appear that this instance of "in Christ" refers to the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit as we established in the second essay.  It looks as if this is the "legal relationship" kind of "in Christ" ("For as in Adam, all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive").   However, the phrase "hath anointed us", is a reference to the Old Testament act of anointing so as to impart the Holy Spirit.  "Christ" is the Greek word for the Hebrew "Messiah", which means "anointed", so the concept here is that to be "in Christ" is to be in the same anointing he had.   Here, it seems that the Holy Spirit (anointing) is seen as a legal right because of a legal binding of the believer to Christ.  And since Christ was anointed (because that's what the word "Christ" means), then we legally have it as well.  Thus, we see that the death of Jesus Christ enables the believing sinner to be counted as one with Christ.  It is from that legal status that the actual act of anointing and bestowing of the Holy Spirit is legitimized despite the sins of the sinner.)

Galatians 4:4-7 repeats this theme of the human heart being the residence of the Holy Spirit:

4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 3:3 we read:

3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

However, lest we think that this establishes that the physical heart is the site, we have the following from Ephesians 3:16 - 17:

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith...

Here, the Spirit is said to strengthen the Christian via "the inner man".  The reference to writing on tables of flesh and not tables of stone in 2 Corinthians 3:3, where Paul is defending his ministry to the Corinthians, is a reference to Ezekiel 11:19-21:

19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD.

and to  Ezekiel 36:26-27

26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Paul cited an Old Testament passage to establish his credentials with the Corinthians as an Apostle whose ministry resulted in the fulfillment of an Old Testament promise of converting stony hearts to fleshly hearts, and putting a "new spirit" within the recipient. In both cases, the spirit is given, the stony heart is removed, and the fleshy heart is bestowed.  The end result of this process is that the recipients do God's will. 

Then we have this passage from Hebrews 13:9:

Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

This verse is at the boundary of the pastoral portion of Hebrews.  Having finished his exposition on the Levitical system and how the Melchizidek priesthood of Jesus Christ was superior to it, the author urges the readers to live the Christian life in practical ways that are mirrored in other New Testament passages.  This verse transitions from a discussion of the kind of living lived under grace back to life as it is lived under the law, and how those living under grace live in that environment.  "Established" here is bebaioo, to make firm and sure.  "Grace" is charis,  used with reference to the bounty and undeserved good favor of God.  Here, the author of Hebrews points out the inability of the levitical dietary laws to help establish the hearts of those who obeyed them and occupied themselves with the smallest details.  Here, the heart is not the physical heart, otherwise a preoccupation with eating the right kinds of meats would have made it firm and sure.

An interesting question to ask is which came first, the fleshy (new) heart, or the Spirit.  Is the new heart a result of the Spirit coming into Homo and transforming or replacing the stony heart, or is the exchange of a fleshy heart for a stony heart an act of Deus so that the spirit being bestowed has a suitable location within the host?  There are numerous verses that speak of the primacy of Spirit, and thus imply that the Spirit comes first.  Keeping in mind that the word "spirit" in the language in the bible originals is derived from words that signify "breath" or "wind",  Ezekiel's vision of the valley of dry bones that has the wind giving breath to dead bodies is pertinent.  "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit" is what God tells Zechariah.  Jesus assures us that it is Spirit, not flesh, that brings resultsThe new birth is described by Jesus in terms of being born "of the water and of the Spirit".  The Genesis account has the Spirit moving over the face of the waters at its start, while the location of God, who does the speaking, is not stated until the sixth day, when it can be reasonably assumed that He was on the ground when he formed man from the dust of the ground.

Thus, from the above verses, the location where Deus resides in Homo is the heart.  However, the term "heart" should be taken in the way the Bible writers understood the term, not in the way we today understand the term: word meanings change over time, and they were of a different culture with different ideas of how the human body was laid out.  While the more prideful of the moderns of today may boast that they "know more" than the ancients, one has to understand that the latter wrote the scriptures using words the way they themselves used them.  It is arrogance to believe that the definition of a term we hold today is the same definition held by the ancients then.

We may boast today that the way we use the word heart today is "more correct" than the way the Bible writers used it, but that doesn't mean it didn't have a meaning to them.   Rather than us imposing a defintion on their use of the term that we think is more "correct", perhaps some humility is in order and that we ask them what they meant by the human "heart".

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