1 Corinthians 3:9-23
Friday, 28 July 2023
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” -1 Corinthians 3:16
Paul’s pertinent question as stated in the key verse was more like saying: you surely know that you are the temple of God! Writing to the church at Corinth, he had already stated that they are God’s building and God’s field (1Cor.3:9). He used all of these images to drive home the point that they had a foundation laid on Christ and that they were being cultivated, nurtured so that ultimately all the work the apostles did in planting, establishing them would bring glory and honour to God.
Though Paul relates the church to the temple of God, later in 1 Cor.6:19, he brings the idea of the body of a believer being the temple of God. When a person becomes saved, the Spirit of God takes residence in him/her. Each of us becomes the dwelling place of God! When in the Old Testament times, the Temple was considered the meeting place of God, we are privileged today, both in the church and in the believer—His Spirit dwell among us and in us, so that we can commune with God anytime!
However, the temple conjures in our mind a few thoughts:
· It is sacred- a place of worship: Regarded as the sacred place of worship, the worshipper was to meet certain requirements of coming to worship- primarily the sacrifice to be offered to be acceptable before God. Jesus Christ being the Ultimate Sacrifice once for all (Heb. 10:10) paved the way for us to be acceptable before God! Romans12: 1[NLT] exhorts us thus: “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” When we offer ourselves wholly to the Lord, our worship becomes pleasing to Him.
· It is to be kept holy: The sanctity of the Temple is important. Hence to believers Paul says, “…dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.” (2 Cor.7:1). Every sin that defiles the body which is the temple of God is to be forsaken so that it can be kept clean—this applies to the body of Christ and the believer. Words can defile us-Jesus spoke thus: “But the words that come out of your mouth come from your heart. And they are what make you unfit to worship God. Out of your heart come evil thoughts, murder, unfaithfulness in marriage, vulgar deeds, stealing, telling lies, and insulting others.” (Matt.15:18,19 CEV). Our heart from which the issues of life proceed (Prov.4:23) is to be kept clean! Hence we need to examine ourselves from time to time to root out anything that defiles and be cleansed by the blood of Jesus (cf.1 John 1:9).
· It is a place of prayer: Jesus when clearing the Temple spoke thus: “It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations.’ But you have turned it into a hideout for thieves!” (Mark 11:17 GNT). We the temple of God are called to be a house of prayer- not a place of activity where our time and resources are robbed by other wasteful activities that will take our focus off God.
Have we given the Living God the rightful place in our hearts, in our churches? If we have defiled the temple of God which is rightfully you, would you truly ask for His forgiveness and His precious blood to make us clean again? When each believer and the body of Christ does so, we can offer up meaningful worship to the LORD.
Can we pray thus: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:10,11)
Listen: 'Create in me '