To say that something is holy simply means that it is set apart. We read in 1 Corinthians 3:17 that “God’s temple is holy.” Knowing the definition of holy, that verse makes sense. You do not have to have an expansive knowledge or understanding of God’s temple to see that there is a direct correlation between the holiness of God and the holiness of the place where He would choose to dwell. The temple has represented so much to the people of God but primarily the deep desire of the Almighty God to be in relationship with His people. It was the holy God dwelling with an unholy people, and the place He chose to dwell was in the temple. It was made for God to dwell.
But there is a little anomaly with this verse in 1 Corinthians that has big implications for us today. You see, the temple was a thing of the past, and the physical temple that was built to connect God and His people was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The destruction of the temple was not just another event in history, it was devastating because it meant that God would no longer dwell with His people. This was a tragedy that cannot be described in words. The temple and the relationship with God that came with it were destroyed. So why in 1 Corinthians 3:17 does it say that God’s temple is holy, if the temple no longer exists? We have to look to the rest of the verse for the answer. The rest of verse 17 says, “and you are that temple.” Huh? Wait a second, isn’t a temple a structure? A building? An inanimate locale that is constructed for God? It was originally, but then Jesus changed all that.
One of the graceful repercussions of Jesus’s death on the cross and resurrection after His death was the promise that He would send us His Holy Spirit to dwell in us. But in order for the “holy” to dwell somewhere, the dwelling place first needs to be holy. This is precisely what the blood of sinless Jesus did for us. It made us a holy dwelling place for the very Spirit of God. This changes things a bit for us, right? This changes the very condition of our bodies. First, they no longer belong to us to do whatever we want with them because they were “bought with a price,” and the cost was Jesus’s body on the cross. This may seem like a loss, but the truth is we are actually being taken back to how we were originally designed. We were designed with purpose, and the purpose was to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Surrendering to this role of being the temple where the Spirit dwells can produce a life that expresses that very existence. The original physical temple was not only a place where God’s Spirit dwelled, it was a place where He was worshipped, honored, and revered. It was a place that was devoted to the service of God.
Your body is no different. You are designed to “glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Therefore, it matters to God what you do with your body. It matters to Him what is inside your heart, and what your mind is filled with. It matters to Him how you use your words and how you use your body to serve others. These are not things that come naturally to us, but another promise of the indwelling Spirit of God is to help us live a life that does glorify Him. Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing”
(John 15:5), at least nothing that glorifies God as we should. Let me remind you that God’s love is not dependent upon your ability to be the perfect temple for Him. His love is steadfast but His desire is for you to always be set apart for His glory and your enjoyment of Him. This comes by being the holy temple of God.