Temple Keepers (Just A Minute #121)

Andy Bonikowsky
Written by Andy Bonikowsky

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

What image would appear in a Corinthian mind when told he was a temple?

If we take into consideration the kind of city Corinth was, the answer could be interesting. Because of its strategic location, Corinth became a commercial hub and one of the most important cities of Greece. With a constant flow of foreigners, the many brands of idolatry and cultural perversions mixed together to form a truly pagan population.

For some, the word “temple” would possibly bring up thoughts of luxurious buildings where privileged priests conducted corrupt ceremonies and sanctioned fleshly feasts. Others who had some knowledge of Herod’s masterpiece now known as the “Second Temple” might think of its beauty and grandeur. Just a few of the more studious believers might have their minds drawn to what they knew of the original house of God, born in the heart of David and built by his son Solomon.

This last group would probably be the closest to understanding the concept properly.

Have you ever wondered why there are entire chapters in Chronicles dedicated to the temple musicians, gatekeepers, offerings, materials, furniture, construction, and final awesome dedication? It may be that through these passages God was preparing us to better understand the truth in this passage.

The amount of Biblical coverage concerning the temple seems to give a clear stamp of divine approval on the whole idea behind building it. The mind-boggling amount of wealth invested through actual materials and innumerable hours of human effort (there were 150,000 men working in transportation and rock quarries alone) make it one of the most expensive structures ever built.

So when Paul said, “The believer is now the temple of God”, he was not making a casual observation. This was a powerful analogy. It was a verbal sledge hammer he was swinging, and he distinctly wanted to jar his readers to attention.

Through the epistle to the Corinthians the Holy Spirit has allowed the hammer to keep swinging so that it hits even us who live in the twenty-first century!

Notice the blunt warning at the beginning of verse seventeen, and how clearly it applies to the holy building on Mount Moriah. Just under 400 years after its dedication, the prophet Jeremiah delivered a stinging sermon at one of the temple gates, assuring the people that because of their rebellious spirit, Jehovah was going to wipe out their beautiful building.

Within a few years the magnificent structure was rubble.

The message for us is no less sobering. God seriously wants us to take care of our physical temples. We are to keep them morally pure and maintain them at as high a level of efficiency as is reasonable. This is not an option. It is a divine mandate. We should care for and protect our bodies, not because they are ours . . .

but because they are not.

Dear Father, it is a daily fight to deny myself. Help me choke out the fleshly desires that in themselves can become the weapons of my own destruction. Give me wisdom to do my part in preserving my body for Your service. Amen.