In the Old Testament, the presence of God was found in the temple. King David writes that there was one thing that he has asked of God and that was to dwell in the Lord’s house not just one day, but everyday of his life. David’s desire was to be in God’s holy temple where he could be in God’s presence, meditating on God and gazing on His beauty (Psalm 27:4). Our desire as believers should be like David’s. We should seek to be in the presence of God. But, we don’t have to spend our days in the temple to do so.
The temple, God’s dwelling place, is no longer a building made of stone. It is a building made of flesh. Because of Jesus’ sacrificial death, which removed the veil of sin that separated us from God, we have become the temple of God. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul tells us that we are the temple of God and God dwells in us. This means that we are each, individually, temples in which God’s Spirit dwells. Corporately, we make up the church, built together into a dwelling place for the Spirit of God, the temple of the Lord (Ephesians 2:21-22). But, the church is not a building. It is the body of Christ, the people who share in the belief that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for us and rose again, and that He is our Lord and Savior.
Because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are not are own. Jesus paid the price for us and, when we accept Him as Lord and Savior, we are his. For this reason, we must be sure that our bodies glorify God (2 Corinthians 6:19-20). We must take care of our bodies and not defile them. We must keep our bodies pure, not giving in to drunkenness or sexual immorality. Our eyes should be kept from things that are immoral. We must keep idolatry from taking root in our hearts, not allowing the things of the world to take up residence in the place that should only be for the Lord.
Since the church, the body of Christ, is also the temple of God, we must be sure not to destroy that temple through division. Jesus seeks unity in His church, not division. His desire is that we should all be one, just as He and the Father are one (John 17:21-22). When we allow arguments or differences of opinion to divide us, we are essentially destroying the temple of God, which will only serve to bring God’s anger on us (1 Corinthians 3:17). When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, having heard about divisions among them, he stressed the need for unity in the church, asking them, “Is Christ divided?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).
As the temple of the Spirit of God, both individually and corporately, we must live our lives in such a way as to honor the Lord so that He will always be glorified.