V 16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
Ephesians 2:18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
One of the underlying aspects of our culture is individualism – the ‘I’ as a distinct and important person with certain rights. We can look at the ‘I’ as a shopper, going through the market place of life making personal choices. It might be clothing, food, reading material, my e-identity and even the local Christian congregation I choose to belong to. It’s a matter of my choice, my preferences, my lifestyle; the ‘I’ as a consumer of life takes centre stage and ‘My’ rights seem to be enshrined in the fabric of society. When it comes to Christian faith, it is my personal profession of faith, my decision to follow Jesus, and it is the Holy Spirit who comes to live in ‘Me’. It is all part of ‘Me’ at the focal point of life.
Now you can’t read the Bible and live easily with this view of live! Sure, the Holy Spirit comes to me in a personal sense, but Paul is for ever using the plural. ‘All of you together are the temple of God … the Spirit of God lives in you (plural)’ The emphasis is on the corporate nature of our faith. The Church, as the Body of Christ, is the larger location for the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We do not lose our identity as we give ourselves wholly to Christ and his Church; quite the opposite! Our identity is only made complete when we become part of the body indwelt by the Spirit. Our life becomes incorporated into the fellowship of the Trinity as the Holy Spirit lives and works in us.