The Temple of the Holy Spirit
It’s easy to lose sight of reverence for the Lord in today’s world. I’ve seen church after church putting cafés in their buildings; people bring food and drinks into the sanctuary. I’ve seen several churches install seats with cup-holders, I’ve even been in churches that no longer call the sanctuary a sanctuary—it is merely an auditorium. The next step is to have vendors walking up and down the aisles announcing snacks and grape juice! When our sanctuaries look no different than our sporting arenas, it’s easy to lose reverence for the one you are worshipping.
Exodus 26-30 details all of the instructions God gave to Moses for how the tabernacle was to be built, how the alters were to be made, detailed instructions for the sacrifices, dedication of the priests, what the priests should wear, what the pieces were to be made of—very, very specific and detailed instructions. Through the tedious details, God was showing His people how important He is and what an incredible honor it is for them to have Him live among them. In the same way a king in today’s world would require that proper procedures are followed to respect his honor, the many procedures in constructing and offering sacrifices and wearing the proper clothing in the tabernacle serve to remind the people to have an honor-giving and obedient spirit, a reverence for our Lord God.
Skipping ahead several hundred years, we find that David desired to build a temple for the Lord, not a temporary or mobile tabernacle.
2 Samuel 7:5-7
“Are you the one to build a house for me to live in? I have never lived in a house, from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until this very day. I have always moved from one place to another with a tent and a Tabernacle as my dwelling. Yet no matter where I have gone with the Israelites, I have never once complained to Israel’s tribal leaders, the shepherds of my people Israel. I have never asked them, 'Why haven’t you built me a beautiful cedar house?'"
We find out that God did not intend for David to build the temple but, instead, it was to be his son, Solomon, whose mother was Bathsheba. In 1 Kings 6, we again find a great amount of description, and again we find the same takeaway: this is the Lord, and He is to be revered and honored.
Skipping ahead several thousand years, we find another mention of the temple, but after God has destroyed the temple and has torn the veil separating the Most High Place from everyone else. In Jesus coming to earth and reconciling us to the God through His sacrifice, we no longer have to go through a priest or offer a physical sacrifice to the Lord for the forgiveness of our sins. The apostles’ mission is to now set up God’s church and spread the word of Christ, establishing churches all throughout the land. The temple is mentioned again when Paul is referring to our bodies. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, He sent down the Holy Spirit to live within those who believe. Paul points out that this then makes our bodies temples of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
If our bodies are now temples because God is gracious enough to send us His spirit to live in us, should we not take care of these temples with as much reverence and dedication as God’s people did for the physical temple in the past? If my body is God’s temple, if I do not belong to myself because God purchased me with the blood of His Son, then what right do I have to let my body get out of shape or be lazy and sluggish? What right do I have to put bad things into my body? I have no right; it’s not my body anymore, I’ve been purchased, it’s now a temple for the Holy Spirit. What an incredible honor! I need to treat my body as what it is: a temple in which the Holy Spirit lives.
It serves to point out that in 1 Corinthians 6, when Paul is writing about our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit that he is specifically writing about avoiding sexual sin.
1 Corinthians 6:12-18
Avoiding Sexual Sin
“You say, 'I am allowed to do anything'—but not everything is good for you. And even though 'I am allowed to do anything,' I must not become a slave to anything. You say, 'Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.' (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead. Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, 'The two are united into one.' But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.”
Let us not sin against our own bodies, against the temple of the Holy Spirit, against God’s purchase. Let us not make excuses for the work that it is going to take to do so. Let us honor Him with our bodies and take care of God’s temple.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.