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The Necessity Of Gaining An Occupancy Permit

In order for someone to gain access into a building, whether it be for commercial or residential usage, one must procure what is called a “certificate of occupancy.” In an article entitled “Certificate of Occupancy Explained for Construction,” by Dave Brown and James Hamilton, the following definition is given;


“A certificate of occupancy (CO) is a legal document that certifies a building is safe and ready to be used, by verifying the structure complies with local building codes, usage regulations, and safety requirements… Local building authorities — usually government agencies or building departments — issue certificates of occupancy. A certificate of occupancy is usually required anytime a property is newly constructed, has been converted to a different usage classification, has had major renovations, or is changing ownership. Requirements vary based on where the building is and how it’s going to be used.”


In a spiritual sense, there is something very similar that must occur before occupancy occurs in God’s house. He too has building requirements that must be met before His (eternal) habitation is permitted.


In order to be saved, Noah built per God’s instructions. We read in Genesis 6:22, “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” Once completed, he and his family entered in and were saved from the judgment that engulfed the entire earth. In fact, they would not be able to enter in until it was finished.


What if, because of apathy, he had skipped some details, in particular the pitch “inside and out” of the ark (Genesis 6:14)? Obviously, they too would have been destroyed. As with Noah, negligence in regards to the Lord’s requirements for being saved, after the foundation in Christ through repentance is laid, will destroy His place of habitation within us.


In his first letter to the Corinthian Christians, Paul spoke of the Lord’s building project within us, and the consequences of not building per His codes;


“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light [i.e. the day of the Lord’s judgment on all wickedness]. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”

(1 Corinthians 3:10-17/NIV)


Some in the church believe doctrines that say once a person has turned to Christ, which means the foundation has been laid, that it makes no difference how you and I build in regards to His gaining occupancy. Either way, they declare, occupancy will be granted even though you didn’t work together with the Holy Spirit, bringing to completion your faith building project. Scripture says otherwise.


Jesus Himself taught us the importance of “counting the cost” before building. He said;


“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation [Christ] and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’”

(Luke 14:28-30/NIV)


An unfinished building is uninhabitable. This is why Paul rebuked the “foolish Galatians.” He said to them, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal [“to complete, to bring to an end”] by human effort?” Their question is ours as well.


In his book, James refers to a “useless faith,” one that does nothing after turning to Christ. It is void of any works, which goes against the majority of understanding within the church;


“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder. You foolish man [i.e. a “foolish virgin”], do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”

(James 2:17-24/NIV)


I understand Ephesians 2:8-9, but not many continue with verse 10 which says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


The doctrines of demons have gone too far in regards to our works, after receiving Christ. From the preceding verses it becomes clear that they do affect our salvation. I will be called a heretic by many for that statement, but they totally ignore that it was Jesus who taught in the above passage in Luke, and others, His way of salvation.


James says that Abraham’s “faith was made complete by what he did.” That is works. The difference, though, are works led by the Spirit, not by our flesh. The Bible refers to them as works of faith. (See my book Works And Salvation for a much clearer explanation of the difference between works of faith that are led by the Holy Spirit and bring our faith to completion, and works of law that are led by the flesh. Works of faith are those which bring our faith to completion in Christ, finishing His building project.) These types of works, as we have clearly seen, ARE necessary for bringing to completion, by faith, the habitation of the Lord within His people. Let the Word of God, per His building codes, declare the truth that will allow the occupancy permit for the Lord to legally, by the decree of heaven, inhabit His body.


May our eyes be opened to the necessity of working together with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 6:1), rather than against Him (i.e. the spirit of antichrist), thereby bringing to completion His habitation within us.

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