Christian faith, holiness… yeah.
I know with a title like that, you may have already decided NOT to read this blog post.
I was a little scared myself when I saw that phrase in scripture.
In our Christian faith, the phrase perfecting holiness. What does that mean?
I’ll write more about that in a minute…
My girls listened to a Doughnut Man cassette tape in our van (yes, we had a cassette tape player in our van!) when they were little and one of the songs on the tape is called, “My Body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit”. It is a cute song and my girls love to sing it. The verses of the song talk about keeping the temple clean and pure and the song ends with “My body is the temple and Jesus lives within it, My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.”
While I’ve been preparing for this blog, this children’s song has been running through my mind. What does it mean in my Christian faith that my body is the temple? Isn’t the church the temple? How can Jesus really live in me?
Ephesians 2 and 3 both talk about us as the dwelling place for God.
Ephesians 2:22 says, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” and Ephesians 3 says it so beautifully in verses 14-21, “…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts…”
As I began to research the body as the temple more in my Bible, I realized that this is a deep subject.
To really be a dwelling place for God we must be clean, obedient and set apart.
Also, there are 2 kinds of temples: one is the corporate body of Christ and the second is you personally.
I want to talk about us, in our Christian faith, as the dwelling place for Christ.
In Corinthians, Paul was talking to a church that was built right in the center of a corrupt society. He was admonishing them to not be a part of the evil around them but to reject all forms of ungodly and immoral behaviors. He says in I Corinthians 3:16-17, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you… God’s temple is sacred and you are that temple.” Then, in chapter 6 verse 19 he asks the same question followed by “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”
Basically, he was telling them to live and care for their bodies in such a way as to honor and please God.
Then, in II Corinthians 6:16-7:1 it says, “For we are the temple of the living God… therefore come out from them and be separate…let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
It is that last phrase that caught my attention.
I’m going to be very vulnerable and tell you that this call to holiness is changing my life. I can no longer justify sin… I still sin every day and make mistakes but I’m talking about the things I choose to hear, read and watch. Things I willingly allow into my life that are unpleasing to God. It is like the analogy of drawing a line in cement rather than sand.
That is what I’ve begun to do. I want my line against sin drawn in cement. Sand gives away too easily.
To perfect holiness, I must be in the practice of it every day.
Every moment I must be conscious of the condition of my temple.
Is my heart a place God would want to be? Is my home a place He can dwell?
Then, comes the question of why? Why do we have to keep growing and cleaning out our hearts? Isn’t saying the prayer enough?
Paul says it the best… “out of reverence for God… you were bought at a price.”
I will continue to perfect holiness in my life out of reverence for my God who paid a dear price in blood for my freedom from sin.
Christian Faith and Perfecting Holiness
I will no longer allow my temple to be defiled by chosen sin. If you read earlier in Acts 17, you know Paul is telling them this because they have allowed idols to be set up in the temple of God. They were practicing idol worship in the same place they worshiped the one and only true God. They were allowing evil to have a place in the temple.
When we choose to defile our body or our minds with sin, we are allowing idols to be set up in the temple of God. Those idols take up a place where God should be. That is why we are called out to be separate from the things around us that are unpleasing to God.
I could keep going and going on this… there is so much in the Bible about being the temple of God.
But rather than me going on about holiness, I want you to take it from here.
What does it mean in your personal Christian faith to be the temple of the living God?
I want to end with this – Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, who were dealing with the same things as the Corinthian church.