God’s Holy Temple [Part 1]

By Alan Wright — September 05, 2018

Are you ready for some good news?

You’re the temple of the Holy Spirit!

Today’s Text: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, ESV)

In recent days we have learned that all Christians are “holy” because they are set apart unto God. Further, we have learned that it is by God’s own, powerful grace that we are made holy – the redemptive work of Christ is finished on your behalf and, therefore, your holiness is fixed. Additionally, we have seen that Paul’s favorite New Testament term for you is “saint.” If you’re a Christian, whether young or old, you belong to God. That’s what it means to be holy.

Only if you can accept your holiness in Christ can you even begin to accept and enjoy a further, more mind-bending truth: you are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

When God met with Moses on Mt. Sinai, the people weren’t allowed to touch or even go near the mountain. The presence of God was accompanied by fire and smoke demonstrating His unbridled holiness. Later, God gave the Israelites a design for a mobile tabernacle, a tent of meeting. Only the priests were allowed into the holy places of the tabernacle. The nomadic Hebrew people settled down in Jerusalem under David’s leadership and the king’s son, Solomon, later built a glorious temple.

In the center of that beautiful Solomonic temple, behind a thick veil, was the holy of holies where the Ark of the Covenant resided with it’s golden cover – the mercy seat. There, once a year, the High Priest would sprinkle an innocent animal’s blood on behalf of the sins of the people and the presence of the Lord would engulf the sacrifice and the High Priest.

Everything about the temple was holy. All of its vessels and furniture were holy. Its design was precise according to the instructions of God. Only priests who followed God’s instructions precisely could visit its inner spaces.

It was, according to ancient rabbinical writings, the point of contact between heaven and earth. Two thirds of all Old Testament laws are dependent upon the existence of a physical temple in Jerusalem. One ancient rabbi called the temple’s destruction the “greatest tragedy” of the history of the Jewish people. As one rabbi has put it,  “the rebuilding of the temple will mark the ultimate, final restoration of harmony within God’s creation.”

There is simply no way to overstate the cosmic significance of the Jerusalem temple to the Jewish people. And Paul, with joy and audacity, tells us that our bodies have become the temple of God!  God has done something so glorious, so thorough and so holy in redeeming you that you have become His habitation. No temple will ever be needed in Jerusalem again because you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. And that’s the Gospel!

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