Temples of the Holy Spirit and Living Sacrifices

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit? You are not your own; you were bought with a price; so honor God with your body.”

Just earlier, Paul was writing about how when a man is joined to a woman he is one flesh with her and that Christians are one in spirit with the Lord. He is explaining to the Corinthians why they should not commit adultery. “Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute?” It is basically the same concept as “Be holy, because I am holy,” “Come out from among them and be separate, you who bear the vessels of YHWH,” “What fellowship then is there between light and darkness? Or what fellowship is there between Christ and Belial?” We are called to holiness because our God is holy; we are being transformed by the glory of the Lord; we are being conformed to the image of Christ. We love Him because He first loved us.

The focus of these verses is NOT that you should think about how to be healthy or work at taking good care of your body or make sure you eat in the most wholesome way possible. It is true that because your body belongs to the Lord you are not free to abuse it in any way you see fit for the sake of your pleasure or convenience (or any other personal desire), but I have no idea how anyone came up with the interpretation that it means to try to eat healthy. Rather, the focus here is that Christians belong to the Lord and so they should not sin. God Himself dwells in them, and so we should live holy lives out of reverence for the Holy One whose temple we are. It is very similar to this, from Philippians, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, since it is God who works in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.” The focus is that not only does the Holy One Himself make His dwelling in us (remember John 14? “The one who loves Me and keeps My commandments, My Father will love him, and We will come to him and will make our home with him,”) but Jesus died for us. “You were not redeemed with perishable things, such as silver or gold, but with the precious of blood of Christ, who offered Himself to God, a lamb without spot or blemish.” Since the price of our salvation was the crucifixion of the Son of God, we belong to God; we are not our own. We should honor Him with our entire being, including our bodies. We should offer ourselves to Him as living sacrifices.” After all, He shed His blood to buy us from the power of sin for Himself. So, we should not abuse or damage our bodies or any other part of ourselves for our own reasons; in the same way, we should be just as ready to suffer the loss of all or of some things for Jesus Christ our Lord and in whatever way, whether it is one we think noble or not worth noting. After all, we do not own ourselves; He owns us; He made us and He redeemed us.

It is like the parable of the talents. He loans us all we have, including our bodies and our minds. Spending your whole life trying to take care of your body and eat healthy because you say to yourself, “I belong to God; I should take care of myself,” is like the servant who buried his talent and then said to his master, “Master, I knew you were a hard man, taking what you did not sow and harvesting what you did not plant. So, for fear of losing it, I buried this, your talent. Here is what belongs to you.” We may just as easily be called upon to lose it all for His sake; and, this is no loss, for it was His to begin with. He has the right to demand it back whenever He pleases, in whatever way He pleases, and in whatever portions He pleases.

I remember suddenly realizing, sometime a little before I saw the love and forgiveness of God, why or how (or whatever word is best) it was that the martyrs were willing to be tortured and dismembered and killed for Jesus: they belonged to Him! It made total sense to me.

“Honor God with your body.” Do not sin; do not live for yourself; do not live or act or choose for your own pleasure; “You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” All your functions, all your parts, are to be at His disposal. Everything you do should be an act of worship. You should use your body in a way that is worthy of your calling as saints; in a way that is worthy of the Lord Jesus.

Do not waste the time and resources, the body and the mind, that God has given you for His glory on trying to preserve and take care of it. Do not waste your life trying to live well.

We belong to Jesus, in every part of our being. God Himself lives in us. How dare we unite the very temple of God, the members of the Lord, the Lord Himself, with sin and unholiness? Because we are temples of the Holy Spirit, all sin is sacrilege – sin committed against that which is holy. (Actually, all sin is sacrilege, because it is committed against God and because God made human beings in His image and likeness; even the sin of demons is not like the sin of man. The sin of Christians is doubly sacrilegious for God Himself lives within us.)


Copyright 2018 Raina Nightingale

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