1 Corinthians 3:16-17. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul reviews the growth of the church. He compares it to crops growing in a field. Crops that he planted but some one else (Apollos) watered. Then he compares the church to a building. A building that he laid the foundation of and then others have added to that foundation. But at the end of the day we, the church corporately, are that building. And not just any building, the temple of God.
How is such a huge statement possible? It’s possible by our union with Christ. “To live is Christ” means that we are in Christ and Christ is in us. The Spirit is in us. The Presence of God is in us. We are his dwelling place. We are the Garden. We are the Tabernacle. We are the Temple. God’s desire to be our God and live among his people is realized in the church.
“To live is Christ” means that you can never lose the presence of God. You are never far. You are never dirty. You are holy. God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple (v.17). The presence of God is your identity. Paul may have in mind here the pagan temples. At the center of these would be a statue of the god or goddess, the temple of Apollo or the temple of Aphrodite for example. This statue gave the temple it’s identity. Christ is now at our center. He is our identity. His cross gives our life its meaning.
Sometimes as Christians we get so wrapped up in our feelings of guilt that we stop going to church because we feel like we are far from God or too dirty on the inside to be in God’s presence. But we say with our brother Paul “do you not know that you ARE God’s temple?” Are you trying to avoid God at church while God is living inside of your very spirit? Can you see how you can’t hide from God if Christ lives in you?
Do you see yourself as the dwelling place of the presence of God? Is Christ your identity? Have you believed the lie that you can be far from God or too dirty for God, rather than the truth that you are holy and God’s house? What would it look like if you started seeing all other Christians as God’s temple too?