055. The Body As A Temple Of The Holy Spirit. 1Corinthians 6:19-20

“Don’t tell me what to do! It’s my life and I can do whatever I want to do with it.” Words such as these may be heard outside many homes in our world as parents try to correct a child’s inappropriate behaviour. Or the words overheard might be, “It’s my body and I can do whatever I want with my body.” Inside a home a mother may be questioning her daughter about her choice of clothing (or lack of it) as she prepares to go out for yet another night on the town. Or it might be the expression of a young woman who discovers she is pregnant. She is planning to have an abortion and her best friend asks whether she has considered options apart from abortion.

Both of these statements are understandable, but they carry no weight in the sight of God. He says in His word that we are responsible and accountable to live in the way He wants us to live. We are accountable to use our bodies in the way He has planned for us to use them. Paul used very strong language to show that believers are responsible to live their lives God’s way and not theirs. 1Co 6:19  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own… . What does it mean that our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit”? We look back into the Old Testament to see what the temple meant for the people of that day.

1).        The Temple Was Seen As Housing The Presence Of The Lord.  We see that on the day that King Solomon dedicated the Temple.  2Chronicles 7:1  As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2Ch 7:2  And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. 2Ch 7:3  When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” The glory of the Lord, the presence of the Lord filled the Temple.  The Temple represented the presence of God among His people.

2).        Jesus Saw His Body As A Temple. The Dwelling Place Of God. We read in John 2:14-16  how Jesus cleansed the temple. The Jews present asked Him to declare by what authority He had done that dramatic action.  His answer confused them, 19  Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” They thought that He was talking about the temple building.  20  The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But as John explained, 21  But he was speaking about the temple of his body. He saw His body as a temple of God, as housing the presence of God within Him.

The writer to the Hebrews in Chapter 10 wrote of Jesus’ attitude to His body. Jesus saw His body as God’s gift to Him. Heb 10:5  “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6  in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7  Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'” Jesus was saying that His incarnation, His becoming a human, meant accepting the human body that was God’s gift to Him. He determined to live in His body in such a way that God’s will was always done for every moment of His life, in and through His body.

3).        The  Bodies Of Believers House The Presence Of God By His Spirit. The passage goes on, 1Co 6:19  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, 1Co 6:20  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.  What does that mean for us?

It means that we belong to God, body, mind and spirit.  In 2 ways. We are His

a.  By right of creation. He made the universe and everything in it. your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God. You are not your own. We belong to Him, lock, stock and barrel. AND

b.  By right of redemption. 1Co 6:20  for you were bought with a price. Before Jesus came humans were in slavery to sin and to Satan. They were under the control of the powers of darkness. Jesus came to set them free. But it cost Him His life. He shed His own blood on the cross for you and me. As St Paul wrote, 2Co 5:15  and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.  You and I are people who have been died for and by none other than the Son of God Himself. We owe Him big-time. We owe Him everything. We owe Him “us”. As Paul concluded 1 Cor 6:20, So glorify God in your body.  In other words let His presence be seen in you for every moment of your life. Let His transforming power be seen in you as He keeps transforming you into the likeness of Christ by the power of His Spirit, 2 Cor 3:18.  Let His love be manifest in you for every moment of your life. Let His love be experienced through you for every moment of your life as God fills you with His own love, Rom 5:5, ... God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Theodore Monod once wrote a hymn which depicted his deep desire to glorify God in his body, to live for the One who had died for him. He wanted to have less of self and more of Christ in his life. We see the progression in the words of the hymn. At the beginning Christ meant nothing to him. However there is growth as he desires more of God in his life. In the last verse he wants Christ to be all in all in his life. The closing words of the hymn have become the prayer of many people since he wrote them:-

1,. O the bitter shame and sorrow,
That a time could ever be,
When I let the Saviour’s pity
Plead in vain, and proudly answered,
“All of self, and none of Thee!”
 2. Yet He found me; I beheld Him
Bleeding on th’accursèd tree,
Heard Him pray, “Forgive them, Father!”
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self, and some of Thee!”
3. Day by day His tender mercy,
Healing, helping, full and free,
Sweet and strong, and ah! so patient,
Brought me lower, while I whispered,
“Less of self, and more of Thee!”
4. Higher than the highest heavens,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last hath conquered:
Grant me now my supplication,
“None of self, and all of Thee!”

St Paul expressed the same sort of desire. He saw himself as dying to self so that Christ might live in and through him.  Galatians 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh,  I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  

That could be our prayer for today and every day, “Lord, work in us by the power of your Spirit so that we too can say with St Paul, ‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me’. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN”. 

Blog no. 055.    Jim Holbeck.  Posted on Thursday 19th January 2012

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
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1 Response to 055. The Body As A Temple Of The Holy Spirit. 1Corinthians 6:19-20

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