Corinth was a city of sin. The temple of Aphrodite was there, a temple dedicated to this goddess of fertility. Over one-thousand consecrated temple prostitutes plied their trade among the inhabitants and visitors of Corinth and it was here that the Lord placed one of His churches to shine a light in the midst of the darkness. To shine their light, this church must not conform to the world. Worldly wisdom had permeated their ranks and there were those who were advocating that it really did not matter how a person lived, how they used their bodies. Fornication was the chief sin of Corinth, people living together outside the bonds of sacred matrimony, husbands and wives unfaithful to one another and sexual misconduct in the grosses terns. Such would be expected from the world but not from professing Christians, so Paul writes this letter to them and brings before them a truth, a theological perspective that they needed to know. He brought it before them in the form of a question: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" Aphrodite is not God's temple, you are!
Here we find a Christian perspective, a world view that may only be experienced through the light of a spiritual mind: A person who is born of the spirit of God is not an isle unto themselves, God dwells within them, their body is God's temple. The Lord is vitally concerned with what goes on with His temple. This truth should be contemplated by every Christian every day, every moment. I am sure that it would become a safeguard to our spirit and a guide for our carnal appetites. Paul taught this truth to most, if not all of the churches with language like: "Christ I you, the hope of glory"(Col. 1:27); "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin"(Rom. 8:10); "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure"(Phil. 2:13); "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people(II Cor. 6:16)." If we are a child of God, our body has been purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ. As Paul said again, "You are not your own, you are bought with a price". What happens to and with the body is God's business.
This perspective of our bodies is interesting for our body is that thing that we think the most about; spend the most time on; worry the most about; the thing we fix up; repair; primp; pluck; paint; build; feed; entertain; the thing we want to look better than anything else in the world: our bodies. What a difference it would make if we spent as much time contemplating the fact that our body is God's temple as we do fixing it up. Sure, we should strive to keep it healthy, clean and commendable but that should not be the primary focus of the body. Paul wanted the brethren to know that their body was God's temple, that the Lord dwelt within them, that they carried the Lord with them wherever they went and that they should be cognizant of His divine presence at all times.
How contemporary this book is to our present day. Professing Christians who do the same should "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"-2 Cor 13:5. Perhaps you have never been saved and you have deceived yourself and those around you. The message is so strong that Paul writes, "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy". Though Hollywood never writes it into their scripts, misusing God's temple has consequences. Much depression and anxiety of heart comes from abusing God's temple. Paul would have them purge their conscience from dead works to serve the living God by prayer and repentance for if we are honest, we would have to say that our greatest pain has come from the misuse of God's temple. I find the happiest people in the world are those who live with this knowledge: "Your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost."
Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church. Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00.
By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.