© Marcelo A. Tolopilo
Remember that song you likely learned in Sunday school when you were little, “Count Your Blessings”? It encouraged us with “Count your many blessings, name them one by one… Count your many blessings, see what God has done.” That’s an excellent exhortation, isn’t it? It’s good to take inventory of our blessings especially since we live in such a privileged period of redemptive history.
Of all the times and epochs to walk this earth…
the age of Adam and Eve
the dawn of a new day in Noah’s postdiluvian world
the period of the beloved patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job)
the days of Moses and the exodus
the era of the great kings of Israel and the ministry of God’s mighty prophets
the time of Christ and the apostles, when the Son of God dwelt among men and proclaimed the promise of His coming Spirit…
Of all eras in which to “live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28), we live in days that supersede all past ages in terms of spiritual blessing.
Many longed to see our day
In fact, these are days that Old Testament prophets (the most privileged of God’s people) and even angels longed to see and understand. They yearned to wrap their minds around the gospel truths we readily know and cherish.
Regarding their longing Peter writes, As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look(1 Peter 1:10-12).
More privileged than the greatest prophet
We live in amazing days. In fact, Jesus taught that the humblest believer living in God’s kingdom today is more blessed and exalted than the greatest Old Testament prophet ever born, John the Baptist.
Consider Jesus’ words, “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!John was the most privileged of the prophets because he got to see the promise of Messiah fulfilled. Old Testament prophets pointed to Christ’s coming, but they never saw that promise actualized. John was tasked with the privilege of introducing Messiah Jesus to Israel, but hold on to your hat because listen to what Jesus says next, “Yet the one who is least(literally, “of least importance”) in the kingdom of heaven is greater (“exceedingly” greater) than he”(Matthew 11:11). I.e., A present day believer of the humblest origin—no matter how weak and lowly he might be—is more blessed than the greatest Old Testament prophet!
Each one of us is the dwelling of the Triune God
How is this true? In many ways, but let me simply point out one reality that stresses the blessing of living in God’s present economy. My friends, one of the supreme blessings we enjoy through the gospel is that we have the Triune God living, dwelling inside each of us! Allow that to percolate in your mind and soul for a bit.
It began with the advent of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised to send His “Helper” to dwell in those who would believe in Him (John 14:16, 17). Speaking to His disciples Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). That is now every Christian’s ever-present reality. Paul teaches us, Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’(emphasis added). We now enjoy the resident Holy Spirit living within us.
What’s more, in that same fourteenth chapter of John, Jesus made a staggering promise to those who loved and obeyed Him. Not only would kingdom citizens possess the Holy Spirit, but they would also enjoy the indwelling presence and fellowship of God the Father and God the Son.Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:23)
What a mind boggling and magnificent promise! The Jewish nation as a whole understood that Messiah was coming, but what they could not comprehend (not even their prophets) was that when Messiah came He would indwell His people. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit would make His abode in each individual believer, not a mountain, not a tent, not a temple, but God would dwell in the believer—even His elect from among the Gentiles!!! No prophet could have imagined this let alone explain it, and that’s why Paul called it a “mystery” (Colossians 1:27).
Do you remember how zealously King David wanted to build a temple for God (2 Samuel 7:1-4)? David was denied the right to build a dwelling for God because he was a man of war with much blood on His hands (1 Chronicles 28:3). My friends, God has said to YOU, “You will be My temple! I will dwell in you.”
And so you and I, through the gospel of Christ, are the blessed beneficiaries of unbroken, intimate fellowship with the God of David, the God who is not remote or impersonal but who loves us perfectly and dwells inside each one of us. There must have been a collective breath in heaven when God made known His gospel and His intention to tabernacle inside of us.
Take a survey of your blessings and let the accounting begin with this great truth: the Triune God abides in you.
He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. … “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.(John 14:21b, 23)