Your Body A Temple
“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.” —1 Cor. 6:19-20.
When king Solomon attained to the throne of all Israel, he began the construction of that very beautiful and ornate building, which he wished to be known as the house of God. Between that Old Testament temple and your redeemed body, dear young believer, I want you to notice some points of comparison, as these are suggested by our text from Corinthians.
The Price Paid
The temple was erected on that spot, known as the threshing floor of Araunah, Ornan the Jebusite. It was there that the plague was stayed and David paid the price to purchase the site. How significant are the words of David, “I will surely buy it of thee for a price” (2 Sam. 24:24). He refused to offer unto the Lord that which cost him nothing.
We only could become the temple of the Holy Spirit after the purchase price had been paid and that price was very great, even the death of our Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary. Thus we learn that we are not our own, for we are bought with a price; we cannot do as we like, for we belong to another, even to the Lord Himself.
The Place Prepared
The construction of the edifice from the materials that had been prepared followed the purchase of the site. What a marvellous temple when it was completed, with its ornamentation and its architectural beauty!
Even so, God has prepared for us a body of remarkable design. With intellectual faculties, and with all the other capabilities of the body working in harmony, we can truly say that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God, by the Spirit, in like manner, is seeking to mould and fashion the inner man, so that he may become like Christ. The adorning should not be outward, as the wearing of gold, or the putting on of apparel (1 Pet. 3:3), but rather the hidden man of the heart, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, and those other graces that reflect the likeness to the Son of God, which are in the sight of God of great price.
The Priest Presiding
In the tabernacle in the wilderness, Aaron was the High Priest who entered through the veil. His sons, in turn, followed him; and his seed was given the honour of this privileged office throughout the service of the temple. On the great day of atonement the High Priest entered the inner sanctuary. Similarly, the Holy Spirit of God has come to dwell within our bodies as the priest of this temple for the Lord. He desires to enter the sanctuary of the heart and to dwell in the affections, thus taking complete possession and control of the believer in thought, word, and deed, so that nothing is held in reserve.
How grieving for the Spirit of God to find that some have another priest resident within! In third John we read of Diotrophes, who loved to have the pre-eminence. His priest within his heart was self. Let us never speak carelessly of some elder brother in the assembly as being a Diotrophes; rather, let us guard against falling under the sway of such an arrogant influence as self-centredness.
The Apostle Paul says, “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Tim. 4:10). Demas did not necessarily go back into open ungodliness or into the evil of his former sinful life. He may have decided that “being in the ministry” did not pay sufficient dividends to offer security, so he returned to Thessalonica in search of more gainful employment. One thing is apparent, the world became the possessor of his heart, and the Holy Spirit was grieved. Young people today need constantly to be warned against the evils of this age hidden within the many worldly inducements offered them. “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (Jas. 4:4).
In contrast, we have the precept of Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The Praise Presented
The purpose of the temple was to offer worship unto the Almighty. Likewise, the primary objective of our being saved is that “We should be to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:12). “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:15).
The Lord Jesus Christ was ever to God the odour of a sweet smell. When the Spirit, ungrieved within us, has full access to the inner chamber of our hearts, He is able to produce those graces and virtues which are Christ-like. Thus our lives, too, are fragrant unto the Lord.
The Purity Preserved
The ancient sanctuary was carefully guarded by the priests and the Levites, so that nothing defiling might mar the holiness of the place where God Himself dwelt. Even so, the young believer is enjoined in Scripture to flee youthful lusts, and to keep himself pure.
Instruction is given relative to the purity of the Assembly, as a holy temple of the Lord in First Corinthians chapter five. The chapter which follows deals with the need for purity in the individual. Such is the context of the Scripture that forms the basis of this article, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?”
We are living in a period when moral standards are being lowered. The Bible teaches and illustrates, however, that Divine standards are high and holy. The Lord would not allow a degrading of His standards of holiness on the part of Nadab and Abihu, even although they were the sons of Aaron, possessing the right to enter the sanctuary and offer incense (Lev. 10:1-2).
Similarly, the Lord drove out of the sanctuary good king Uzziah, emphatically stating, “It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the Lord, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast transgressed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the Lord God” (2 Chron. 26:18).
Because of their lowering of the Divine standards, Nadab and Abihu came to a tragic end when the fire of God consumed them, while Uzziah was smitten with leprosy and spent the rest of his days in lonely isolation as an outcast.
Seeing we are bought with a price to become the temple of the Holy Spirit, let us refrain from every evil temptation, and yield ourselves continually to the One Who indwells us. By this means we shall be able to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits which are His.