“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16
Charismatic Lanny Wolfe wrote in a popular hymn that “surely the presence of the Lord is in this place”, because “I can feel the brush of angels wings”, and “I feel that same sweet Spirit.”
Sometimes people describe the Spirit dwelling in them like a pregnant woman does her baby: “he moved inside me”; but God never says we would feel the Holy Spirit in us.
Even so, it is the lack of a feeling that often prompts prayers for him to rain on us and to come into our presence, our house, and flood us with emotion.
Perhaps the fear is that the Holy Ghost in us gets stale like an old bottle of root beer. There just isn’t any fizz after a while and it needs a good shake.
Of course this is nonsense, but it does not prevent prayers to call the Spirit down upon us like rain when people want to “feel his mighty power”.
A popular Roman Catholic prayer, Come, Holy Spirit, asks the Holy Spirit to come and “kindle a fire” in the faithful. Pentecostals are inclined to pray on any given Sunday for the Holy Spirit to “come on down” like a religious Price is Right.
“Calling down”, “welcoming”, “tarrying”, and “praying to send the Spirit” are all appeals that have been made in church buildings in anticipation that the Spirit would “fill this place”.
To all these prayers perhaps the apostle Paul would respond with:
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you…?” – 1 Corinthians 6:19
The Spirit In You
There is no reason why anyone who knows 1 Cor 3:16 and 1 Cor 6:19 should ask for the Holy Spirit to come on them when Paul plainly says the Spirit is already present in everyone that believes the gospel of salvation.
While most of Christianity pleads “Come, Holy Spirit”, perhaps we should be thankful that he stays where he’s at by God’s grace. As our ever present seal of salvation he doesn’t need to move anywhere.
“… in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” – Eph 1:13
If the Spirit dwells in us then he does not need to come down like he did at Pentecost on covenant Israel. Neither does he need to find his place in us repeatedly every new Sunday as if the the first time was ineffectual.
The Holy Spirit must slide off like water off a duck’s back if continual prayers are needed for him to be “poured out like rain”.
Instead, we need to recognize that he is present every waking (and sleeping) moment of our lives in Christ (Rom 8:9). Paul presents this truth as one very good reason why the Corinthians should shape up their behavior.
Could it be that the wrong doctrine of a distant Spirit that needs to be invited into church meetings is what produces poor manners in many charismatic meetings?
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” – 1 Cor 15:33
If you are in the body of Christ, the Spirit dwells in you. What a grievance it must be for the Spirit among so many ignorant Christians who pray for him to “Come” when he dwells in every member of the body of Christ, that is, if they have indeed heard and believed the word of truth.