A collection of thoughts on the subject of the House of God.

 Joshua P. Stewart
 April 2010
Vestal, NY


God illustrates the truth with pictures that we can well understand (i.e. Bride of Christ, Body of Christ, House of God, etc.). These figures are perfectly chosen, not like the failing and feeble human examples you or I might come up with. The term ‘Bride of Christ’ brings to mind thoughts of affection and relationship. The term ‘Body of Christ’ brings to mind thoughts of closeness to Christ and each other, interconnectedness, and activity. The term ‘House of God’ brings to mind thoughts of testimony and administration. It is with this last picture that we will be mainly occupied with in this paper.

In Scripture

The House of God has to do with the Testimony of God in this world. The House is His dwelling place. The House of God is looked at in scripture in two main aspects, the universal and local aspects. The universal aspect is further broken down into to spheres: one of reality, the other of profession. Since the House of God in reality is the Church of God per I Timothy 3:15, and the Body of Christ is the Church of God per Colossians 1:18, then we can categorically say that the House of God in reality refers to the same company as does the Body of Christ. the House of God in reality can be further broken down into two aspects with respect to time: an eternal aspect – in which the House contains all believers from Pentecost to the rapture, including those that are alive and remain, and those asleep in Jesus – and, a present aspect, which is a snapshot of believers at the present time.

The Figure of a “House”

The term “House” is divinely fitting for a least two reasons that come to mind. When you look at a house, you see chiefly two things: (1) the external physical framework and appearance, and (2) the internal social framework called a household. Both of these thoughts contribute to the testimony of the house. In any estate, these two components are requisite to honor in the community. On one hand, I may have a well-behaved, well-mannered household, yet if my property is a dump, dishonor is upon me. On the other hand, I may have a pristine chateau in the finest city of Europe, yet if scandal plagues my household, dishonor is upon me. We will now look at these two aspects serially.

External Sense

This aspect is the way a physical house looks form the outside.

Internal Sense

In this second sense, the House of God is simply the aspect of Christianity in which we are all children in a household. The authority and patriarchal figure in the House is God himself in the Person of Christ. There are rules in the house of God, just as there are in any household. Just as the order and atmosphere of a man’s household reflect on his character, we, as the house of God, are a display of God’s character to this world. When the house of God is in order, it is a display of the wisdom of God to this world; however, when it is in disorder it renders an equal and opposite testimony to His character and His Name.

The rules and guidelines for God’s House are outlined in His word. There was pattern for the physical House of God in Moses’ day, in David and Solomon’s day, and there will be for the temple in a millennial day. The pattern of Gods House is implemented through His Administration. The administration in God’s House flows from God, by the authority of Christ through the oversight in a local assembly to you and me. Rebelliousness in the House (against God’s Word or against the elders in the assembly) will result in discipline.

If the local administration fails to discipline an unruly child, it yields a poor reflection on God Himself as The Chief Administrator. Disciplinary measures may include a reduction of privileges in the house of God. After a child has been disciplined and comes to repentance, they are restored to full privileges in the house of God. If all discipline fails the child is actively refusing to conform to the rule of Gods house, and is face with a decision: “Either submit to the discipline, or be removed from the household.” If a child displays such behavior that manifests that they are not truly a child of God, the must likewise leave the household.

When an individual is removed from the household via excommunication [1], they relinquish all privileges that they enjoyed (or did not enjoy) as a part of the House. The fellowship of the household should be interrupted. If they are truly a child of God they will almost immediately be back at the door of the house, expressing repentance both audibly and through their actions. If they are deemed to be a true child, the household would welcome them back (at the direction of the Head of the House); however, if they return, they must submit themselves to the discipline and administration of the House of God once again.

Aspects of the House in Scripture

A view of this this dichotomy in outline format with examples of scriptural references to “house”, “habitation”, “building”, or “temple” will help with understanding these differences.

The Universal Aspect

  • The House in Profession – made up of all those that profess ChristII Timothy 2:20 – The House in Disorder, a “Great House”
  • I Corinthians 3:9 – Christ the foundation, Man responsible to build.
  • The House in Reality – made up of real believers in whom the Spirit of God dwells.

The Eternal Aspect – God’s Responsibility

  • Ephesians 2:21 – a Holy Temple in the Lord (work ongoing)
  • I Peter 2:5 – A Spiritual House, to offer up praises
  • Matthew 16:18 – the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it
  • The Present Aspect – Man’s Responsibility
  • Ephesians 2:22 – the Habitation of God through the Spirit
  • I Timothy 3:15 – the pillar and ground of the truth
  • Hebrews 3:6 – hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope
  • I Peter 4:17 – the place where judgment will begin
  • The Local Aspect
  • I Corinthians 3:16 – The Temple of God, the Dwelling Place of the Spirit of God
  • II Corinthians 6:16 – The temple of the living God, separate from evil

[1] Note: A father would not discipline his child by removing them from the household. If a person is out of the house, they are no longer under the discipline of the House.