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Because your body is a temple of God, you must not violate His standards for living.
The phrase “your body is a temple” is one of the most well-known verses in the Bible. It is widely used by both Christians and non-Christians alike in a myriad of contexts. What does it mean? Why is a body being compared to a temple? Where did this phrase come from? It raises a lot of questions. Let us answer them.
What Does Your Body is a Temple Mean?
This might be the first question that pops up in people’s minds when they hear this phrase. Let us answer it by breaking it down into parts.
The Context behind “Your Body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit”
People worshipped a wide array of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. Some worshipped Egyptian gods and goddesses. Others worshipped local heroes and deities. Along with all these religious beliefs came different traditions and religious practices.
A lot of these religions practice different kinds of acts that are considered immoral. Being surrounded by this kind of culture affects you. This is what happened to the believers in Corinth.
They started participating in these immoral acts. Paul reminded them of the things that they should be doing. Some of these issues Paul addressed are settling law disputes outside the church and sexual immorality like incest.
But why did Paul say that the bodies of believers are temples?
What is the temple of the Holy Spirit?
This is a lot to take in so let us address it in two parts. First, let us see what a temple is. In the Old Testament, the temple is the holiest place. It is where God dwells as it is where people met with God. It is where they make sacrifices and ask for forgiveness for their sins.
A temple is vital to a believer’s faith. It is the center. The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit. God was known in three ways: The Father, The Son, and the Spirit. We can see the Father in the Old Testament guiding and working in the lives of the Israelites.
The Son came to Earth to bring salvation to us from our sins. When Jesus’ crucifixion was drawing near, He began teaching the disciples about the Spirit (John 14:16, John 16:13). The Spirit is promised to “guide you into all the truth.”
On the day of the Pentecost (Acts 2), the disciples received the promised Spirit and they were able to do things they never thought possible. The Spirit is promised to us too. So, we can say that the temple of the Holy Spirit is the holy place where the Spirit of God dwells.
God created our bodies as we can see in Psalms 139. He took special care in creating us. Jesus saved us from sin and certain death by dying in our place. Now, the Holy Spirit dwells in us. Our bodies as temples have been created by God, cleansed by Jesus, and resided in by the Holy Spirit.
What does being God’s temple mean
Now that we have made clear what a temple of the Spirit is, what does it mean to be God’s temple? One thing has been true throughout history – the temple must be kept holy. Being God’s temple, we must keep our bodies holy.
Yes, bodies, not only our minds or our hearts but all of us. When Jesus died for our sins, He bought us for the price of His blood. We are His. This is the reason why the Spirit of God can dwell in us. This is also why keeping ourselves holy should be an utmost priority.
Paul would most likely have used the word “home” instead of “temple” if God only wanted a dwelling place for the Spirit. We can live in a messy house. We can survive not cleaning for some time, but being called a temple means that we should never slack off.
By being temples of God, we are considered a sacred place where God is worshipped, adored, and honored. We take special care of our churches today. Of course, we want them to always be clean, and conducive for worship. We should give our bodies the same care.
The Bible talks about taking care of our bodies
The context behind 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is about keeping ourselves pure and holy. To never engage in sexual immorality or any kind of immorality. We must follow God’s commandments and submit ourselves to Him.
Colossians 3:5 tells us to “put to death” sexual immorality, impurity, evil desire, that which are of the earth. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are masterpieces made by God. We have been created for good things.
Psalm 119:73 is a prayer asking God for understanding to listen to the laws. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:26 that birds do not work and yet God has always provided for them. So we should not worry about material things because God said in Hebrew 13:5 that He will never leave us and He will never forsake us.
5 Bible Verses About Your Body is a Temple
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!”
Aside from our bodies being God’s temple, we are also part of the Body of Christ. The church has been compared to a body where every part is important, and every part has a role. Paul reminds them that being a part of this body, we must be careful of the things that we do.
“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.”
These verses talk about how the Spirit of God came to the faithful disciples on the day of the Pentecost like tongues of fire and touched them. The Spirit not only resides in us but also helps us to do the work of God.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Once we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become new. Whoever we are before is gone and what remains is us living as God’s temple. We have been renewed and should live our lives as new beings created by God.
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
Paul said that physical exercise is beneficial but we should never neglect our spiritual exercises which include praying, reading the Bible, and attending worship. The state of our spiritual bodies is not always seen but this does not mean that we should neglect it.
“So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.”
Why is it Important to Know That Our Body is a Temple
We have a proverb telling us that not because we do not know the law means that we should be excused from it. It is important to know that we are God’s temple so we would not do anything that would defile ourselves. Knowing this would make us consciously avoid temptation and actively seek the will of God.
It is also important to know that we are God’s temple because then we would realize that through us, God has a physical manifestation in our world today. We know that so many people long to experience God directly. Through us, through our words and actions, we can help people reach God.
Knowing that we are God’s temple also helps us have a glimpse of how God sees us. He does not consider us worthless. He does not see us as failures. We are enough in His eyes. We are holy, we are special.
Being temples of God gives us a purpose in this world. We have a role and we are not taken for granted. Also, we are on a special mission! We are important.
Living as a Temple of the Holy Spirit
Now that we know our role, what it means, and what is expected of us, we need a clear path or direction to know where to go. We need some concrete examples. The best source of that is the Bible itself. So let us look at what the Bible tells us to do as God’s temples.
Avoid Temptations (Ephesians 4:27)
Temptations are ever-present in our lives. We are not just talking about temptations to give up your diet. We are talking about temptations that would greatly affect your life.
Someone once asked a pastor how to know if something is a trial from God or a temptation? The pastor replied, “Trials come from God and temptations come from the enemy. If you know that something will help you become a better person in the long run, then that is a trial from God. If you know that something will make you worse in the long run, then that is most likely a temptation from the enemy.”
It is not a perfect filter or determining factor but it helps a lot in discerning things. Anyone who has ever been tempted knows that overcoming it is hard. The Bible gives us guidelines on how to be successful. Ephesians 4:27 teaches us not to give the Devil a foothold because once the enemy finds something to hold on to, he will not let go until he has dragged us down with him.
We should not entertain sinful thoughts. Apostle Paul also taught Timothy (2 Timothy 2:22) that he should flee from temptations. We are not strong all the time. When we are most vulnerable, that is when the enemy will tempt us even more. We can flee the temptations and engage in spiritual exercises to overcome them.
Honor God and Meditate (Exodus 20:8-11)
In the Old Testament time, the temple served as a reminder to people that God is with them. The Temple connected the people to God. As God’s temple, we also connect God to people. Yet, we should always be mindful of our connection to God.
Take Care of your Body ( 1 Corinthians 6:20)
Apostle Paul preached to the Corinthians that we have been bought for a price. We are not our own anymore. God lives within us. Although Paul’s main focus in this passage is the sexual purity of believers, he also makes a good point in reminding us that we do not own ourselves anymore.
Every choice that we make should be made with God’s will in our minds. Taking care of our bodies is a way to honor God too.
See your Body as a Gift (Psalm 139:14)
There are times when loving ourselves, our bodies, and the way we look is hard. It is hard to convince ourselves that we are beautiful, that we are priceless, and that we are enough. This is probably because society has set unrealistic standards of beauty.
We might not like the way our nose looks. Sometimes, we may have had more than our fair share of bad hair days. We may think that we are not enough but none of this is true because we are beautiful. We have been chosen by God to be His temple.
No matter what people say, we are chosen for a special purpose. Love your body. Appreciate it. Take your time to find things you are thankful for in your body. It is a gift from God. Treat it as such.
Feed your Body Right (1 Corinthians 10:31)
The Bible talks about food. I am not a dietician and this is not a calorie-count lecture. Yet, it is always good to have a healthy knowledge and relationship with food. God gave us food. We need it to survive. At times, it even brings pleasure to our lives.
We should also be mindful of the thought behind eating. Eating does not sound like a big deal, but as Paul said, whatever we do, even in drinking and eating, we should give glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31). In 1 Corinthians 11:21, Paul rebuked the believers in Corinth for how they performed the Lord’s Supper. They had different practices in those days when it comes to the Lord’s Supper.
Some believers would bring food but would refuse to give any to their brothers and sisters who were not capable of bringing food mostly because of financial reasons. Some believers went hungry and thirsty, while others grew hungry and thirsty. This does not please the Lord.
How “Your Body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit” Bible Verse Matters Today?
As the people in the early church were chosen to be God’s temples, so we are today. The circumstances and the expectations remain the same. We should abide by them. We know full well that they are far from being perfect.
God chooses us not for our perfection but for our willingness. We will make mistakes. We might not be able to please God at all times even when we aspire to do so. Relax. We can find a promise in 1 John 3:22 stating that we will receive what we ask from Him because we follow Him.
God is with us every step of the way and He will provide everything we need, even the will to keep going. We just have to obey.
We have been chosen by God to be sacred and holy. We know what we should do – what is expected of us. And this might seem overwhelming at first glance. It is a lot to take in. Remember that God is always there and He is ready to help.
It might sound like God is asking for way too much but anything would seem impossible if we do not try it. So try it. Commit to God and ask for His help. Being God’s temple might sound daunting but as 1 Corinthians 10:13b says, “God will never give us anything more than we can handle and He will be with us strengthening us and providing for us.”
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