The Body Box

"The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods. But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him" –2 Chronicles 2:5, 6, NIV.

Despite having the very best materials and all the resources in the world to create the most beautiful, sumptuous house for God, Solomon realizes that even his best efforts would pale in comparison with the greatness of God.

As I read these verses my mind immediately turned to the new "temple" in which God now dwells. The New Testament contains several references to the believer as God's temple. "Don't you know" writes Paul in 1 Corinthians 16, NIV, "that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" Just a few chapters later Paul says it again: "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" –1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV. In his next letter to the Corinthian church, he reminds them again: "...we are the temple of the living God" –2 Corinthians 6:16, NIV.

Further study of the context in which these verses are found reveals Paul's concern for the purity of the temple in which God dwells. Going back to 1 Corinthians 3:16 we read: "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple." Then in chapter 6, verse 19, 20, referring to sexual sins: "You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." In the second letter, Paul addresses the issue of our intimate relationships with unbelievers by saying: "What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God...Therefore come out from them and be separate...Touch no unclean thing..." –2 Corinthians 6:15-18, NIV.

Solomon understood three things. He realized that containing God was impossible. He knew that despite his power and magnificence, he was the lesser of the partners in this spiritual relationship. He also concluded that what he produced for God needed to be a place of sacrifice: a place of continual confession, purification and commitment.

In looking at ourselves as God's dwelling place the same truths apply. God is not contained in that box called our body. He is bigger than we are and we can't shelve him when we choose or control him to suit our needs as though he were some bodily function. We need to remember that we are the lesser of the partners–far, far less. And we need to recognize that the body in which God dwells needs to be a place of confession, purification, and continually commitment.

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