Dwelling in God’s Heart – The Bedroom

Dwelling in God’s Heart – The Bedroom

Dwelling in God’s Heart – The Bedroom.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  (James 4:8).

“I am inside My Father, and you are inside Me, and I am inside you.” (John 14:20).

Even though the phrase “accept Jesus into our heart” is not in Scripture, we get the picture. Accepting Jesus into our hearts means we receive Him into the very core of our being, into the centerpiece of who we are, affecting everything about us. When we receive Jesus into our heart-home, our identity becomes His, the essence of our personhood is intimately wrapped into the essence of Christ’s Personhood. When we make our home in His home, He miraculously become a resident inside each of us as well. And when we experience that Double Union with Jesus Christ, we discover that our spiritual location is inside of the very heart of God. In other words, if the Son is inside the Father, and we are inside the Son, then logically we are inside the Father! By dwelling in the Son’s heart, we dwell in the Father’s heart as well. By living inside the “Person after God’s own heart,” we find ourselves inside God’s heart! As Paul claims in Colossians 3:3, believers are “hidden within Christ, inside of God.”

Way back in 1954 there was a creative little evangelistic tract produced by Inter-Varsity Press, written by a pastor named Robert Boyd Munger. He entitled his brief tract, “My Heart – God’s Home.” I recommend it if you find it. Following up on Revelation 3:20, Pastor Munger imagined a believer opening his door and escorting Jesus through the home of his heart, now that Jesus has taken up residence in him. Now that Jesus dwells in him, and He has moved into his heart, what will Jesus see there? So the believer in the tract proceeds to give a tour of his heart-home with Jesus as he welcomes Christ into his heart. Together they tour the person’s study, dining room, living room, workroom, recreation room, bedroom and hall closet. I thought this was an engaging idea, but now I would like to give the other side of the story. Jesus lives within us, to be sure. But we also live within Jesus, hence inside the very heart of God. So if the Father was to give us a guided tour of His heart, what would we find? What will be waiting for us to discover in the many rooms of God’s heart? We could easily entitle this, “God’s Heart -My Home.

Like anyone’s home, God’s heart will reflect His attitudes, motivations, personality, character traits, His heavenly “tastes” in interior décor. God’s deeply held convictions will be revealed in His heart-home, as they are in our own hearts. Using Scripture as our guide, we will explore God’s heart as we make ourselves at home and abide in Him. We will explore everything from the front porch to the front door, the living room to the dining room, from the kitchen to the study to the chapel. And many more rooms as well, like the bedroom, the bathroom, and the nursery. There may even be a sneak peek at the family room, the children’s playroom, and the school room.

“No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. But if we love one another, God remains united with us, and He makes His permanent home in us and we make our permanent home in Him. His love is then brought to its full expression in us. He has given us His Spirit within us so that we can have the assurance that we remain united with Him and He with us…. Those who confess and give thanks that Jesus is the Son of God remains in union with God, they live inside of God, and God lives inside of them. We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love He has for us. God is love; and those who remain in this love remain united with God, and God remains united with them.” (1 John 4:12-16The Complete Jewish Bible and The Passion Translation).

The Double Union. The idea that Jesus through His Holy Spirit is inside of me is pretty familiar. How many times did Paul say something along the lines of “Christ in me”? Actually, about 160 times. But to read that at the same time as Christ is in each of us, each believer is actually inside of Christ! Now, that is something fresh and I want to sink deep into that mystery.  Christ in me, and me in Christ! Christ inside of you, and you inside of Christ! What a tremendous and wonderful mystery, a truth we accept by faith in the Christ who said it. There have been many descriptive titles given to this idea of union with Christ, of being within Christ, including: the Double Union; the Mutual Indwelling; the Mystical Union; The Double Mystery. And there have been some interesting ways to try to describe this two-way unity we enjoy with Christ: bonded in union within Christ; somehow inside of each other; a believer’s new spiritual location; participating in the interior life of Christ; intimately joined together with Christ; hidden with Christ inside of God; a Christian’s spiritual address; in a new sphere of spiritual existence; fellowship with God inside the Person of Christ; tightly wrapped around the Personhood of Jesus; regaining our original identity in Christ; being inside of Christ, we have shared in His death and resurrection, and we now we will go wherever He goes, including being seated in the heavenly realms.

St. Paul has confirmed our union within Christ many times, including: “Now you have been united with Christ Jesus and are inside of Him. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13); “There is no condemnation to those who are inside of Christ Jesus, those who belong to Him and are joined in life-union with Him.” (Romans 8:1); “God made this sinless Man to be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with Him we might fully share in God’s righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Paul has a very eye-opening passage in 1 Corinthians 6:17 in which he said, “Anyone united with the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.” The word Paul used here for “united” could just as well have been “joined to,” or “knit together,” and is the word used in the Greek OT for “cleave” in Genesis 2:24. Paul used a 2-becoming-1 word in the biblical tradition.

What has been helpful as we consider this mystery of the Mutual Indwelling is the many times Scripture includes an analogy about it, a metaphor that describes a physical union that points to a spiritual union. Looking at a double union in tangible reality will help us think more deeply about a double union in a spiritual sense. There are physical signs in our earthly life that illustrate at least some of the meaning of our union with Christ. Uniting with Jesus as a branch grafted onto a vine is one way (John 15). Another way to picture this spiritual union is through marital relations.

Starting with the definitive word from Jesus: “Haven’t you read the Scriptures about creation? The Creator made us male and female from the very beginning, and for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, sticking to her like glue. He will be literally joined with his wife, and the two will become one flesh. Husband and wife will be two persons united into one.” (Mathew 19:4-6).

The Bedroom. Let’s consider the spiritual aspect of marital relations. Stretching way back to the beginning of the universe, it looks like Creator God designed a secret plan to have intimate fellowship with all those humans of His, all made in His image. God has desired fellowship with us since the beginning. He instituted marriage with that in mind, in which a man and a woman join into a union of 2-becoming-1 flesh. Hebrew scholars have noted that “flesh” in this Genesis context actually suggests something close to a blood relative. That’s how intimate this marriage was to be. God designed marriage to be pleasurable, fruitful, fulfilling, satisfying. And God wanted the marriage to be a foretaste of the desired union with each of us. God, believe it or not, yearns to be intimate with each of us, and what better illustrates that union than a joyful experience of a marital union at the human level? Marriage is a sign that points to the spiritual unity planned for us inside God. So the intimate, pleasurable and fruitful marriage is actually meant to be a sacramental sign, pointing us to our destiny as believers, a spiritual union with Christ! The physical union signifying the spiritual union, the physical reality of marital relations giving us a vivid picture of the spiritual reality of living within Christ. The sexual act, as wonderful as that is, is not intended to be the end of the story. It is meant to suggest the spiritual relations we could enjoy with God. Marriage reveals the type of relationship God wants with each of us. Physical sex, which pretty much involves every aspect of our being, is a profound part of what it means to be human. Sexual activity in a marriage enables each spouse to give pleasure to the other out of love and devotion. Dare we say that our intimate fellowship with Christ, which also demands our all, is a spiritual version of marital sex?

Distorting the Design. Marriage is God-defined, God-designed, and God-ordained. No human person has the right to redefine marriage, tear apart God’s plan, or remove its sacred foundation. God’s plan from the beginning was to create a home in which a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife in a permanent, faithful relationship. The 2-in-1 union of husband and wife was intended to, among the other obvious joys, an exciting reflection of the relationship between God and a believer. So what happens when a society tries to dismantle God’s design? A same-gender relationship, for instance? Or sexual activity outside of a faithful marriage of husband and wife? When that happens, God’s plan is torn asunder, it tragically obscures the understanding of God’s desired union with us. If the sacred illustration of God’s purposes for each of us is broken or rejected or distorted, then the true picture of spiritual union with God will become unknowable. There will be no reference point. Without a pure human experience to point to, how could anyone even begin to imagine the type of relationship that Christ wants us to have with Him? It’s no wonder that the downfall of marriage and family spells the downfall of the Christian faith in a society.

Room in the House of Refuge. It looks like Paul wanted to focus on the worldwide community of believers more than the individual believer in his letter to the Ephesians 5:30-32. After quoting Genesis 2:24 like Christ did, Paul goes on to say, “Yes, I truly believe that we are all living members of Christ’s body, and as I relate this to marriage, it is indeed an enormous mystery. I may not understand all of this, but I can tell you this… the marriage of 2-becoming-1 is meant to be a vivid picture, a clear illustration of the union between Christ and the Church, the oneness that exists between Messiah and His universal household of faith.” Isn’t it amazing to think about the fact that Christ wants to contain the whole world inside Him if it comes to that? Since creation, God has wanted to enjoy a unity with His people. As individual believers, we are inside Christ, and as a universal body of believers, we are likewise inside of Christ. God is our eternal home base of love, and fortunately Jesus says that the more the merrier!