n spring of 2016 my husband and I bought our first house. Originally built in 1948, you can imagine it needed a little bit of TLC. The first thing we did after purchasing it was buy a steamer, score the walls, and watch the hideous wallpaper peel away. Then came chiseling the pink tile off the kitchen walls. Then more painting. Afterward we got even more bold, going on to finish the basement and re-stain the hardwoods. Then converting a covered porch into a home office. Next we plan on knocking out a wall between the dining room and kitchen.
The point is, we like making this brick-and-mortar shell into something more akin to a "home." Not unlike most people, we yearn for a safe, beautiful, place with our touch of personality on its walls. We long to feel comforted and secure, having a place to recharge emotionally, physically, and spiritually, while also inviting others to enjoy the fold we've established. We enjoy the process of making
a home for ourselves. A place where we can and will dwell freely, closely, deeply, with the Lord and help empower others to do the same.
I was reading a book filled with essays recently, and one such piece stuck out to me like a sore thumb (in a good way). The author spoke of God and how He is in the business of making homes. The first evidence that we see of this is at the very beginning: Genesis. The first chapter of the Bible tells the story of God making a home for man, those made in His image. As I thought more and more about this concept through Scripture, I realized a prominent, beautiful theme: God longs to dwell with His people. His mission of redemption is joined with a mission to live alongside us in community. He created everything good and right, He dwelt with Adam and Eve in the garden. He created a place that He could and would live with His creation.
But we're not in the state of Eden anymore. It didn't take long before Satan wooed us to the brink of death. We obviously don't tangibly walk with God in a perfect garden anymore. Sin made that impossible. God's holiness is good and pure, but it's also unsafe for those who aren't good and holy as well: us. So God made a way for His chosen yet sinful people to live in His holy midst through the law imparted to Moses at Mount Sinai. Within those laws, we see echoes of His holiness: impurity and uncleanness can't be near Him, and so the Israelites find themselves abstaining from things that symbolize death and sin. He also provided plans for a tabernacle, a tent of meeting between Him and His people. He gave the law to make Himself a home. He tabernacled
in the center of the 12 tribes of Israel; His glory and presence lived in the middle of His people, a symbol of the centrality the Lord should have in Israel's life. The tabernacle itself was dressed in Eden imagery, a visual reminder of the first, perfect home that God had made for Himself and His people to dwell together in harmony.
Then we have the earth-shaking sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The divine incarnation, God Himself made His home among us again. He touched the unclean lepers, healing them. He met scandalous people, forgiving them. He performed miracles and casted out demons. God was among His people again. God was tabernacling with His creation. God became man so that He could make His home with us again, this time in complete freedom from the law. The sacrifice of Jesus offered salvation and tore the curtain that separated us and God. The sin, impurity, and defilement that once divided us was abolished with Christ's last breath on the cross.
But then Jesus left. He ascended on high to the right hand of the Father. He made a promise though: a Helper was coming to His people. This Counselor would dwell inside
of those who knew Him. There was no need for a tabernacle or temple. Believers became the resting place of God. He made a home within us. God doesn't only want to dwell with us. He provides a way to make it possible.
Now we're believers on earth, just trying to abide by the Holy Spirit's leading to the best of our ability. We prune away the works of the flesh to make room for the growth of the Holy Spirit's fruit within us. We try to make our bodily, spiritual home as sanctified and holy as possible for the indwelt Spirit. We try to make our physical homes as nice, cozy, beautiful, and hospitable as possible. All the while we're making our homes here on earth, God is still crafting. He is still making another home, and this one will be perfect and eternal. God is creating a new Heavens and a new Earth. This one will pass away.
There's so much hope in that, so much vitality. God is making a permanent home for us, a home that isn't affected by sin and death. A home that doesn't perish, but one that endures. While we work to make a home here, God works far above us, constructing a place that will be our eternal inheritance in Christ. God is making a place for us to dwell alongside Him forever.
Sarah Morrison is a staff writer for The Daily Grace Co.