The Temple of God
Sometimes I read the Old Testament and am mesmerized by what I read. Can you imagine seeing the Shekinah glory of God descending on the temple before your very eyes? You are in the very presence of God. What would that be like? The Creator of the universe descending like fire for you to see. The nation of Israel got that privilege on many occasions and it just became something ordinary in their eyes.
Now skip to the New Testament. Jesus was God in the flesh and entered into humanity. People were seeing God in the flesh living among them. Yet, that too became quite ordinary. In fact, it was more of a pain for many of them. He became the enemy. They plotted and planned how to dispose of this man who claimed to be God. They missed what it meant to have God in their very presence. But don't be too quick to make judgment against them.
Did you know that God is in our very presence today? And we have something even more unique than God appearing as fire descending upon the temple, or God walking and living in our midst. Are you ready for this?
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says, "Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are."
Uh oh, I'm having one of those Isaiah moments, "Then I said, 'Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts'" (Isaiah 6:5). I am not just looking at a distance at God. I am not just living in the presence of Jesus, God in the flesh. No, this verse says that I am the very temple of God and it is holy and God is dwelling inside of me. Whoa! That is scary and extremely humbling. You can't get much closer to God than that!!!
What are the implications of being God's temple and having God live within me? First, I find that extremely humbling. Why would God want to dwell in me? It reminds me of His extreme love for me. Why would God want to love me when I am such a depraved sinner? And to make me be a dwelling of God's Holy Spirit is extremely humbling.
Second, to be the temple of the living God calls me to holiness and a separate lifestyle. Peter writes, "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY'" (1 Peter 1:14-16). Holiness in lifestyle calls me to refrain from all sexual sins, impure thoughts, sinful conflicts, sinful attitudes, and the list goes on and on. Temples are to be pure. A temple with the indwelling Holy Spirit demands holiness.
Third, to be the temple of the living God requires offering up acceptable sacrifices to God. Peter writes, "And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:4-5). Spiritual sacrifices? Yes, continually doing all things for God's glory through the strength of Jesus Christ. That affects my money, my time, my spiritual gifts, my everything. God first, me second. That's hard! That's why we need the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to make it reality.
There's a whole lot more to this Holy Spirit living within me. However, if we can get started with these things, we will be further along than we were! What a blessing to be the temple of God!