Most Christians know that when they trusted Christ as their Savior that God the Holy Spirit came to indwell them. Many Christians do not realize that at the same time God the Father and God the Son came to indwell them. Each member of the Trinity has a specific purpose for indwelling the believer.
God the Father indwells us for a purpose. There are no direct statements in Scripture to tell us exactly what this purpose encompasses. Therefore, we will need to examine the role of the Father in relation to the Son, the Holy Spirit and the believer. (John 14:23; Ephesians 4:6; II John 9)
How can we human beings understand the infinite persons of the Godhead and their purpose for indwelling us? One method that God the Holy Spirit uses to reveal this truth to us is the use of language of accommodation. Anthropomorphisms and anthropopathisms are two such methods. Anthropomorphisms ascribe to God portions of human anatomy that He does not possess. Anthropopathisms ascribe to God human feelings, emotions and thoughts that He does not possess. This language of accommodation gives insight to God’s divine character, function, decisions, actions and policies by means of analogy. By using this method, God gives the human mind a frame of reference for understanding Him.
This language of accommodation is used for each member of the Trinity. The term “Father,” for example, is an understandable term for human beings. Father describes the relationship between the first person and the second person (Jesus Christ) of the Trinity and also defines the believer’s family relationship with God. Likewise, “the Son” and “the Holy Spirit” describe the roles of the second and third members of the Trinity. (Galatians 4:6-7)
The Bible always designates the father as the head of the household. In the same manner, God the Father is the ultimate in fatherhood and is supreme over all things. The title “Father” demonstrates to us that the first person of the Trinity possesses absolute authority and was the designer of the plan for humanity. (I Corinthians 8:6, 11:3; John 14:24; Ephesians 1:1-14, 4:6)
In eternity past God the Father planned and designed all that exists. He planned the creation of the universe and the creation of man. He set the boundaries of the seas and set man over His creation. His plan called for mankind to be treated in grace and He planned the salvation solution for fallen man. As the author and planner the Father still remained coequal with the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not greater in degree or quality than the other members of the Godhead.
One title that clearly points out the use of the language of accommodation is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (II Corinthians 1:3, 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 1:3; I Peter 1:3) This title indicates the relationship between Christ and the Father. This relationship has existed from eternity past as a divine decree. (John 17:5,24) The Son is not only the focal point of the Father’s plan; He is the revelation of the Father. (John 1:18)
We see in this relationship the differences in function of two members of the Godhead, the Father and the Son. In order to fulfill the plan of the Father, the Son became humanity and subordinated Himself to the will of the Father. This was done for our benefit, so that Christ could go to the Cross as the payment for sin. (Philippians 2:6) Phrases such as “His only begotten Son” must be understood in light of His function and mission on earth. This mission was carried out by the unique person of the universe (the God-Man), Jesus Christ. He alone was qualified to be judged for the sins of all mankind, which was accomplished at Calvary. (Hebrews 9:16,28; I John 3:5)
Before Jesus departed this earth, He said that He would pray the Father and that the Father would send the Holy Spirit. God in His role as Father functions as the ultimate authority over the Son and the Holy Spirit though they are all coequal and coeternal. It therefore makes perfect sense that the Father would give the command for the Holy Spirit to be sent to permanently indwell the believer (a divine decree). (John 14:16,17,26; 15:26; 16:7, 12-14)
When Jesus made the statement that the Holy Spirit would be sent He called Him the Comforter (actually “another Comforter”). Jesus was the Comforter while on earth. This is an interesting word in Greek – “parakletos” - and literally means, “to call to one’s side or called to one’s aid”. Its common use in Greek was in a courtroom to denote the counsel for the defense or an advocate. The Holy Spirit was therefore sent by God the Father to perform the same role as Christ for the believer. Even the word “another Comforter” (“allos” in Greek) means another of the same kind, signifying that the Son and the Spirit are one.
All believers of all time are related to God the Father, the author of our salvation. (Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:5, 3:14-15, 4:6) God is not the Father of all mankind. (John 8:42,44) God becomes our Father by our simple act of faith in Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:26)
Once again, this relationship shows the function of God the Father towards His children. As believers we can call God our Father (daddy) and like loving human fathers, our heavenly Father provides what is best for His family. (Matthew 7:11: Romans 8:15) Our blessings on earth and in the eternal state are because of the family relationship with our Father. No family relationship with the Father means no eternal life, and the accompanying blessings. (I Peter 1:4)
Everything that we possess as believers is provided by the Father through the agency of His Son, Jesus Christ. As a guarantee to us of the Father’s eternal provision, God the Father indwells every believer. The Father is with us constantly to grant blessings beyond compare and above our imagination. He constantly pours out divine blessings to His children and bestows gifts of grace without measure. These blessings include such things as salvation, promises, doctrine, family, friends, and even physical needs. The Father is indwelling us in order to watch over and protect us, as any good father would do. (James 1:17-18)
The Father is with us to assure us of His love and care. As a loving Father, He is concerned with our welfare and continually shows His love for us by guiding and directing our paths through life. Like a good Father, He occasionally has to discipline His children in order to help them stay within His will. The Father’s correction is always for our good. (John 14:21; 15:8-10; 17:26; Hebrews 12:5-11)
The Father indwells the believer to guard him from the world system and to glorify Jesus Christ in his life. This was Christ’s prayer for you and me. Christ did not pray that the believer would be taken out of this world, but that the Father would safe-guard him while he was in the world. (John 17)
Jesus also prayed that He would be glorified through the believer and that the believer would share His joy. It is the Father that provides all of this for the believer through experiential sanctification. Jesus prayed that the believer would be sanctified through the truth, which is Bible doctrine.
And finally, Jesus prayed that the believers would be one as the Father and the Son are one. Unity of the believers is accomplished in only one way - truth. It is the truth of the Word of God that brings us together as Christians. False doctrine divides but truth unites.