House or Tabernacle?

Spiritual growth in Christ is vitally essential. When spiritual growth ceases in a Christian, spiritual deadness begins taking its place. It begins with a slight numbness that increases until a cloud of darkness settles over his spirit. Spiritually, he becomes without form and void, and darkness upon the face of the deep (Genesis 1:2). It is a subtle thing that takes place gradually. Because of the subtle change the Christian is usually unaware of his condition. A cloud of deception hovers over his spirit, and he does not realize what he has become. Such a condition before God is wickedness.

It doesn’t mean that he is committing sinful acts. He may still attend church and do all the things he had been doing. To the natural eye he seems to be the same. Outwardly there is no change, but inwardly the life is missing. The problem: spiritual growth ceased! And he became a whited sepulcher, the wickedness of the Pharisees. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Matthew 23:27-28.

When you stop growing spiritually, you start becoming a Pharisee. It’s unavoidable! Spiritual growth is vital. The writer of the Book of Hebrews said: How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection. Hebrews 2:3; 6:1. The apostle Peter said: As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby. I Peter 2:2. Again, Peter said: Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. II Peter 3:18. There are literally hundreds of such scriptures in the Bible. Growth should never stop! Isaiah prophesied: Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end. Isaiah 9:7. The Kingdom of our Lord is continually increasing and so should our salvation. God is expecting the Body of Christ to increase …till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children. Ephesians 4:13. That you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19.

Proverbs 14:11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.

The key to this verse is the contrast between a house and a tabernacle. The difference of the two is that a house is a stationary dwelling and a tabernacle is a movable tent. The phrase “house of the wicked” speaks of those who have settled on a certain level; having become stationary they have ceased to move on in God. The “tabernacle of the upright,” on the other hand, are those who have refused to become stationary in their spiritual growth. Their spiritual dwelling is a tabernacle, because they intend to pull up stakes and move on in God.

Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Abraham received the land of Canaan as an inheritance. God gave it to him and his descendants. But instead of building a house and settling down he sojourned in the land as though it wasn’t really his. He considered himself an alien in a strange land, because he wanted something more from God than a piece of real estate. Abraham was contending for a city that only God could build. And dwelling in tabernacles indicated that he was contending for a higher realm in God. He, like the apostle Paul, was pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

How far do you want to go in God? Some people receive Christ as their Savior and immediately build their house; they don’t go any farther. Consequently, they remain immature Christians. There are many dwelling places in the realm of Spirit (John 14:2). And many have stopped on various levels and built their houses. They become satisfied and cease their journey to the fulness of God, or perhaps their religious organization doesn’t make provisions for further progress. Regardless of how far a Christian goes, though, once he ceases to progress spiritually he has built his house. He has traded his tabernacle for a stationary dwelling. At that point it becomes “the house of the wicked.”

The upright live in tabernacles. They cease not in their journey. Of the increase of their salvation, there shall be no end. Do you think it strange that God would count it wickedness just because you weren’t growing spiritually? Recall the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). One servant was given five talents, and to another was given two talents, and to another was given one talent. At the return of the master the one who had five talents had gained five more, and the one who had two also doubled his, but the one who was given the one talent did nothing to bring forth an increase. He, therefore, was called wicked and lazy because he made no increase. You wicked and slothful servant, You knew that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: you ought therefore to have put My money to the exchangers, and then at My coming I should have received Mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which has ten talents. For unto everyone that has shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that has not shall be taken away even that which he has. And cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:26-30.

Spiritual growth in Christ is vitally essential. Are you dwelling in the “house of the wicked” or the “tabernacle of the upright”? Christians are the inhabitants of both. The ones in the “house of the wicked” at some time in their walk with God ceased to grow spiritually. The ones in the “tabernacle of the upright” are continually moving to higher planes in the Lord. They are being raised up together…in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). Your spiritual dwelling is a house or a tabernacle; the choice is yours.

Copyright © 1998 by Henry DuBose