In this piece, I want to share with us on what has been titled: The Signification of Our Body as the Temple of God. I believe the phrase “our body as the temple of God” is not is not something that we haven’t heard before. There had been teachings around it that we have part of and because of this, we aren’t totally in the dark. But I just want to show us something briefly because when we say our body is the temple of God, what exactly does it mean or connote? Let us start our meditation by understanding what a temple is, especially from the Old Testament.
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The very first time that the children of Israel attempted to build a temple to God was during the reign of king Solomon. The Bible made us to understand that David wanted to build a permanent temple for God because at some point, the Bible made us to understand that David felt “why will I be living in a palatia home or mansion and the ark of God does not have a place where it can be permanently situated.” And the Bible says that it crossed the mind of David to build a mighty house that would house the ark of God and as he was thinking about that, God sent prophet Nathan to him and said “see, you will not build me a house” and the reason was because David’s hands at the time was filled with blood. You know David was a man of war, and he was a man given to war.
So, the Bible says God sent Nathan to him to tell him about not building the temple but your son who would come after you will build me this temple that you have conceived in your heart to build. And the Bible made us to understand that in the time of Solomon as the king of Israel, he had peace all around and then Solomon began the building of the temple for God. But before this time, there had been an appearance of what we could call a shadow temple with the children of Israel. Don’t forget when you read the story of the children of Israel, the Bible made us to understand that for forty years, they were in the wilderness. God had rescued them from Egypt and they were on their way to the promised land, and because they were stiff-necked and stubborn people, the journey that was supposed to take them forty days became forty years for them in the wilderness. And while they were in the wilderness, God wanted to tabernacle with them and dwell with them because there was a time Moses pleaded with God and said “if your presence does not go with us, there was no way the nations around us are going to know that we are your people and that we are a nation that belong to you.” And then, in the line of Moses’ thought, God said to Him “I want my presence to be among you people, but you are just a stubborn and stiff-necked people.” And so, for God to be able to assure them that He is always with them, God instructed the children of Israel to build Him what is known as a sanctuary.
Now, in the Old Testament, the temple usually signifies what is known as a sanctuary or there a tabernacle of meeting or a tent of meeting. If you read Exodus 25:8 as we begin to build background into the discourse proper, the Bile made it clear to us by saying: “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” If you read that chapter from verse one, the Bible showed us that God asked the Israelites to bring some offerings to Him. Now, the essence of those offering was for this purpose that we read in verse 8. So, that tells us that a sanctuary talks about a place where God dwells. It also talks about a holy or sacred place that houses the presence of God. This means that from the beginning, there are occasions where God wants to tabernacle with the people. And that is why when Moses made that sanctuary, he called it the Tabernacle of meeting because if you jump to Exodus 33 from verse 7-11, there was something that God said to the children of Israel and I want to show us.
“Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting.” The word “tabernacle” talks about a place where people or someone dwells. So, when God promised Moses that His presence was going to be with them perpetually as they journeyed in the wilderness, what God told Moses was that he should erect a tabernacle so that He God can dwell in that tabernacle and be able to relate with him and the children of Israel. So, Moses erected that tabernacle and called it the tabernacle of meeting, a place where God dwells and the Bible says he erected it outside of the camp. So, the tabernacle of meeting was in a place not far from the camp of the children of Israel.
Now, the original idea of God from the beginning was to make every one of them individuals that could house Him and carry Him all about just as we will discover. But because the children of Israel were stubborn and stiff-necked, God needed to relate with them from afar. So, when the tabernacle of meeting was located somewhere far from the camp, the Bible says that is where Moses goes to meet with the Lord. If you read further, the Bible says:
And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. So, the idea behind this that readily comes to mind is like they people saying “let us go to meet Godin so and so place, this is where God is, let us go there and meet Him.” So, they had their camps, the temporary place where they live in and then they had a place as well where they go to meet the Lord. Just like people nowadays will climb to the top of the mountains and all those places all in a bid to be able to relate with God, to seek God. That was exactly what happened. And if you continue from verse 8, the Bible says:
“So, it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. 9 And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle…” So, how do the people know that God was in the camp? Each time Moses approaches the tabernacle, the bible says “a pillar of cloud” would descend and the moment they see that pillar of cloud, it is an indication that God is in the camp. And the Bible says: “and the Lord talked with Moses. 10 All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door.”
So, the practice was that the people stood in front of their tents. The tabernacle at the time was not a permanent temple, it was a portable temple, like a makeshift temple and it was the ark of God that was represented in it. So, there was no way all of them at the time could access it because it was a small place. So, only Moses and the representatives of the people could go in per time and the rest of the people would stay in their tent’s door and worship God wherever they were in the camp. Verse 11 says: 11 So the Lord spoke to Moses’ face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.”
Now, what does that tell us? In the Old Testament and throughout the journey of the children of Israel in the wilderness, the presence of God was what they carried about. And that is why sometimes if you read some other translations, they call it the tent of meeting, because a tent is a makeshift arrangement, it is not permanent. It is a temporary erection that can be dismantled at any point in time. And that is why in that dispensation, they called it a tent of meeting because that was where God meets them to relate with them. God does not relate with all of them at the time, God only speaks with Moses and the leaders of the people and they go back to relate what God has said to the children of Israel.
This was the arrangement until they got into their promised land and then God established the children of Israel as a nation and until the time of Solomon was now able to build a real temple for God. But that is not exactly where we are going in this piece. Where we are going is to examine the significance of our body being the temple of God. Now let us go to 1 Corinthians 6:12-13. That Old Testament account was just to build a background so that we can have an idea of what a temple is and how God related with the children of Israel via the temple in the Old Testament. 1 Corinthians 6:12-13, 18-20.
The Bible says:
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” Here, Paul was showing us that even though we have been made free in Christ Jesus and therefore, we are at liberty to do certain things we feel like doing. But it is not all the things that we feel like doing that we must do. So, Paul was showing us a caution or restraints, that even though you have been made free, and then God resides in you, it is not all the things that comes to you that you are at liberty to do. And there is a reason Paul said this, if you read further, it says:
13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” 18-20 “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
What does that mean, especially verse 20? It says you should glorify God in your body which are God’s, meaning that God possesses your body. Now, let me show us a couple of things in these verses of the Bible that would form part of what I am trying to share with us in this piece. Number one, Paul said: Your body belongs to God and you are expected to glorify God with your body. Contrary to this popular opinion that many people have that they own their body and therefore, they can do whatever they like with it. It is a lie from the pit of hell. Actually, and in the true sense of it, you don’t own your body, God owns your body and there are two grounds upon which I am going to prove to you that God is the owner of your body.
Ground number one, if you read Genesis 2:7, the Bible says: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” This tells us that our body is God’s creation. Your body is God’s property. When you create a thing, the onus of ownership is upon you who created it. So, you cannot say you own your body and therefore you can do whatever you like with it. It is a wrong notion from the pit of hell. You don’t own your body, God owns your body, and that is why Paul said glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s. did we see that? You don’t own that body upon the ground that God created it, God formed it. The property belongs to God.
Now, also, by virtue of the fact that the Bible says you have been purchased by the precious blood of Christ. If you read that 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, it says: Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” meaning that what brought you into the kingdom of God was not free of charge, it was with a prize. When you buy something at a prize, the ownership of that thing automatically goes to you. Okay, let me give us an example that would help us to understand that.
There used to be this controversy between two contemporary men of God in time past. One of the men of God wrote a book, and the other man of God purchased the book to read. After reading the book, the one who purchased the book openly tore the book because of some doctrinal inconsistencies. On getting to know it, the one who wrote the book said “Man of God, you tore my book openly.” The one who tore the book said “I didn’t tear your book; I tore my own book. You wrote the book, I bought the book with my money, and I tore my own book.” Now to some degree, nothing is wrong with that. Now, if you buy a Toyota car in a Toyota company, after you have paid and they have given you all the necessary documents, then you decided to set the Toyota car ablaze. Please, is it Toyota that you set ablaze? It was your car you set ablaze. So, on that ground, Toyota does not have any ground to sue you or get you arrested. But it you take petrol and you set the organization, Toyota on fire, then you have broken a law.
Now, look at what I am trying to say. Paul said that your body has been purchased with a prize. So, that makes your body belonging to whoever that purchased it. So, on that ground, Paul said you do not have any right over your body because it does not belong to you, it belonged to the one who created it and who bought it. Did we see that? Paul was now saying that there is a way to use this body to the glory of the one who created it and to the glory of the one who purchased it. Now, one of the things that Paul said was that we should flee sexual immorality. It is not only sexual immorality that defiles a man’s body because if you read that Scripture in context, Paul was addressing what was happening at the time with the people of Corinth. It was as if there was this sexual perversion among the Corinthians and Paul needed to address that matter.
There was even a time that Paul said it has been reported among the Corinthians that there was a grievous level of sexual perversion among them that even a man will choose to have his father’s wife. It was that serious. Paul was explaining and teaching the people of Corinthians on the things that defiles a man’s body being the temple of God. But it is not only sexual immorality that defiles a man’s body. There are other things that a man can do to his or her body that can defile it as the temple of God.
So, on the basis of that Paul said things that would defile your body as the temple of God you should stay away from them because this your body is now the temple that God dwells. God does not dwell in tabernacles made with hands; we are now the temple of God. Don’t forget that in the Old Testament that we were coming from, the children of Israel had a tabernacle of meeting that they carry about. So, I perceive in my spirit that God making man’s body His temple is so that you can carry God all about. We being the temple of God is so that wherever we go, whatever we do, the glory of God can be showcased. God is not a man or a spirit that you can cage somewhere and that you go to worship. That will amount to idolatry. But God wanted to show us that He is much more than an idol, He is living and powerful, God wants us to carry Him about. Even though there was a replica in the Old Testament, the Bible made us see that in the New Covenant, we are that temple that houses God. We are that tabernacle that God dwells. And Paul was saying that because God owns us and that God is holy, he said we cannot afford to do with our bodies whatever we like to do with it. Because as much as the children of Israel try so much to preserve the temple in the Old Testament, we must also preserve ourselves having the understanding that we are the temple of God.
Now, a temple is not a place that you want to desecrate, a temple is a holy place. What does that tell us? It then means that your body is holy. Your body that houses the Spirit of God is a holy body and therefore Paul said one of the things that defiles that temple of God being your body is sexual immorality and not only that, every other thing and any other thing that may bring about the desecration of that your body, Paul said you must flee from them. And so, if you begin to list them, there are a couple of other things apart from sexual immorality that can defile a man’s body. Anything that would not bring glory to God bring about the defilement of your body which is the temple of God. So, your body belong to God and you are expected to glorify God in your body. Your body is supposed to be a pointer to God’s glory and therefore anything that will not glorify God in that body, Paul says we should stay away from it.
Now, let me show us another thing. It says in that Scripture that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Now, what does that tell us? It means that the Holy Spirit indwells our body. The permanent abode of the Holy Spirit on the face of the earth is our body. If you read 2 Corinthians 6:16, see what the Bible says. It says: “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? Did you see that? That shows us something that it is not only sexual immorality that defiles a man’s body. It says idol worship also defiles a man’s body. In other words, at no point in time should you turn your body into idolatry. Let me show us something. You know there are many ways which people’s body could become their idols? You see, it is not until you go to an herbalist’s place and bow down to a graven image that you are worshipping an idol. If you give undue attention and reference to your body, or you glorify your body more than necessary, that body could become an idol. Even though you don’t bend down to worship your own body, but by the things you do with it, you could make that body a temple for idols.
If you see all manner of things that people do to their body, for example, you see people piecing their bodies, people doing all manner of tattoos on their bodies, that is like an idol worship. Now, I know you have seen a couple of tattoos before now, you can see all manner of images that people do on their bodies all in the name of fashion, then you are over doing it. If you over glorify your body, then that body has become an idol. Now, you know that people can spend a fortune just to be able to transform their body, doing surgeries, transforming their shapes an all of that. Now, see what Paul is saying that what agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? That is not talking about until you go to bow somewhere to a graven image, even your own body, when you don’t accord it the necessary glory and the sacredness that would make it the house of God, it would become an idol in your hand. So, don’t pay undue attention to your body more than the glory of God. What would make your body glorious is that God inhabits it, not what you try to make of it.
Whatever you make your body look like to look good to the world is to the glory of the devil. David said: “We are fearfully and we are wonderfully made.” Your present body as it is God is satisfied with it if you are going to accord it the sacred status that would make it the house of God, the temple of God. It says: For we are the temple of the living God.” Now he is saying it again the second time; “As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Now, what does this connote? It means you cannot afford to do anyhow with your body. How do we know that our body is important to God when it comes to hallowing it as the house of God? If you look at the description of the tabernacle in the old covenant, you can examine the number of precisions, the number of wisdom and understanding that goes into the construction of the temple. God will not spend so much time if the temple where He will dwell will not be made suitable for His presence or His accommodation. One of the things we do is if we are expecting a visitor, we try as much as possible to make the place where they will dwell accommodating.
Isn’t that what we do? We go the extra mile to put every necessary thing that is required to making such a place a beautiful abode. And that was exactly what God did when it comes to giving them the precision as to how the tabernacle is. In fact, God needed to anoint people with wisdom and understanding and craftmanship to be able to do exactly what He wants the temple to look like. Now, if God could be that diligent and precise as to what the physical temple must look like, how much more do you think God cherish your body as His abode? So, God is saying you cannot afford to submit that body to idol worship; He says “you will hallow me in your body. I want to dwell in you, making your body my abode.” The implication of this is that you cannot afford to do anything or anyhow to your body.
Let me show us the third thing about the significance of your body as the temple of God. You are expected to take care of your body so that it can fulfill the purpose of God. Your body must nor be neglected, it must be taken proper care of. without your body, you cannot fulfill the purpose of God. When you look at it from the Genesis point of view, when God made man and then gave him an assignment to do on earth, God did not want Adam to function as a spirit-being, even though he was created as spirit. God wanted him to find expression physically, and so, God gave him a body. And so, if you don’t take care of your body, you will not be able to fulfill the purpose of God for your life. So, there is a link between you taking care of your body and fulfilling God’s purpose. If you misuse your body, it means you will not be able to carry out your assignment for your life and it also means that the purpose of God concerning you will not come into fruition.
What is expected of us, just as we pay so much attention in taking care of the physical temple, you are expected to care of your body. You don’t wait for your body to break down before you know that you must take care of it. That is why Paul even said that “bodily exercise profits a little.” You are expected to take care of your body, stay fit for the purpose of God. You don’t allow your body to decay simply because you assume God is only interested in your spirit and soul alone, no. You take care of your body; you ‘hallow’ it to the degree where you know that it is the dwelling place of God.
I pray that God will help us in Jesus’ name. Amen!
[Centre for New Dimension Leadership]