The Nature and Offices of the Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?…

I. HIS PERSONALITY. To dwell in a temple is a personal act. We understand by person a distinct, subsistent, intelligent being, as distinguished from a mere property or attribute. It is quite necessary to draw this distinction, otherwise we might imagine the Spirit of God to be nothing but a Divine power, virtue, or efficacy, resident in God, or derived from God. There are, certainly, attributed to the Holy Spirit faculties and operations which can only be attributed to a person, and not to a quality. He possesses understanding, "The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." Affections are ascribed to Him, when we are bidden not to grieve Him, and when the Israelites are said to have provoked Him. He teaches men; guides them into all truth; can be blasphemed, and Christians are baptized into His name equally with that of the Father and the Son, whose personality are not disputed.

II. HIS DIVINITY. If it be a personal act to dwell in a temple, there must, it would seem, be Deity in the person who, by His indwelling, makes the temple the temple of God. But we have clear evidence in abundance that He must be actually God. What inherent property and perfection of the Divine nature is there which is not attributed to the Holy Spirit? What operation is there, transcending that of a finite and created thing, which the Spirit is not said to perform?

III. HIS OFFICES. If the residence of the Spirit in a man convert him into the temple of God, it is evident that the Spirit must be a renewing and sanctifying agent. Man being naturally inhabited only by what is evil, therefore a work of regeneration must be effected ere he can be dwelt in by One infinitely holy. Here we may observe that the office of the Spirit, in the economy of redemption, is a fresh proof of His Divinity. Man having been "born in sin, and shapen in iniquity," it is the office of the Holy Ghost to effect such a change that the sinner may be described as born again, and made a new man in Christ Jesus. It were even nothing that Christ bore our sins in His own body on the tree, if there were no supernatural agency to apply to ourselves the expiatory virtue of Christ's sacrifice. It is the office of the Spirit to translate us from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God's dear Son; and having once made us fellow-citizens with the saints, He equips us for spiritual conflict, enables us for every spiritual duty, and furnishes us with every spiritual consolation. Indeed, it were little to be brought within the circle of the family of God, if we were not also kept in it by the power through which we were first introduced. But this power never deserts those who give themselves to its guidance.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

WEB: Don't you know that you are a temple of God, and that God's Spirit lives in you?

The Mystical Temple
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