The Temple of God

Rev. J Kortering

 T'was an awesome sight.

The temple.

Its dazzling beauty; gold shimmering in heavenly light.

Its majestic pillars, standing with divine authority.

Its somber courts, enhanced with smoke from the altar.

It was God's house.

And Israel came to dwell with God.

They bowed in reverence; the fear of Jehovah was in this place.

But, wait!

"Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's," I Cor. 6:19-20.

Somber thought; our body is the temple of God.

Perhaps this thought raises a question in your mind. How can the inspired Apostle Paul compare our body to the temple? What a difference! Everything about the temple reflected the God of glory Who dwelt there. Our bodies seem the opposite. They are earthen vessels, sown in weakness, beset with all kinds of frailties. How can our bodies be called the temple of God?

Good question. The Bible deals with it.

Listen carefully: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up," John 2:19. Jesus had just driven out the buyers and sellers from the temple. In anger they asked Him by what authority He did this. His answer was, destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. Christ identified the temple of Herod with His own body. His body was THE temple of God. He was truly Immanuel, God with us! In His flesh the infinite and eternal God was joined, for He Himself was God. The wicked destroyed that temple; they nailed Him to the cross. Even then, it was not the end of the covenant. Rather it was the realization of the perfect covenant, for through blood all the members of the covenant are made perfect. Wicked men would destroy His body. Yet, by that very act, He, the Mediator of the covenant, would establish the covenant in perfect righteousness. He raised it up! God raised Him up, and that for our justification.   In Christ, flesh and blood are able to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Not as flesh and blood, for the old temple must needs pass away. The veil of the temple was rent. The earthly must be changed into the heavenly. He arose in glory and power. The sign of His authority to cleanse the temple is the resurrection from the dead.

Through Christ our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

God no longer dwells in a beautiful earthly house of gold.

He dwells in earthen vessels, made beautiful by the Holy Spirit. He dwells in our hearts which are changed by His presence. By His work of regeneration and conversion, our stony hearts are made hearts of flesh. Instead of hating, we love. Spiritually, we are changed from death to life.

Our bodies make up the temple.

When we think of this, we must recognize how important our bodies really are. Indeed, they are temporary. Clearly the Bible speaks of corruption, weakness, mortality, with which we are all too familiar. Yet, they are the temple of God Himself. He dwells in our bodies. They are His temple. We may not say, the flesh is not important. We may not act as the ascetics of old, trying to sanctify the spirit by torturing the flesh. We are saved in Christ. We say with our forefathers, "In body and soul, both in life and death, I am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ."

Rather than trying to destroy our bodies, we recognize the need for health. A healthy body makes a healthy temple for our soul. There is such a close relationship between body and soul that we cannot begin to draw a line of separation. By caring for our bodies, we recognize that as a temple it too is for the glory of God. As the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we use our health and strength in the service of God. We cannot do this if we sin with our bodies, as for example, by fornication, see I Cor. 6:18.  

Because they are the temples of God, they must be used in the service of God.

We are to glorify God in our health.

We are also to glorify God in our sickness. When we are reminded that this temple is temporary, is beset with weakness, this does not mean that it ceases to be the temple of God. God continues to dwell in us in our sicknesses as well. Then, too, our hearts must glow with the presence of God. When it pleases God to break down the earthly house of this tabernacle, we must look more and more to that building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, II Cor. 5:1.

Through the resurrection, the temple of God shall be made perfect and we shall enjoy the everlasting covenant.

Take care of your body.

It is the temple of God.

From the Standard Bearer, Vol. 54, p. 347

Last modified: 27-Nov-2001