Sunday, 26 June 2022

Temple of the Holy Spirit - 1 Cor 6:12 - 20

Although today's passage talks about sexual morality, today we are focusing on Paul's assertion that our bodies are Temples of the Holy Spirit. This echoes 1 Corinthians 3:16, and also in Ephesians 2:19 - 22. Paul is arguing that a life that indulges sexual immorality is incompatible with our status as a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Before we look at Temples of the Holy Spirit in more detail, there are 3 technical points to note:

  1. In this passage fragment Paul does not define sexual immorality - we are left to infer that from elsewhere
  2. In v18 Paul asserts that 'all other sins are outside the body'. This seems strange to us - what about (for example) abuse of our bodies with alcohol or drugs? Here we find ourselves wrestling with scripture not because it seems to prohibit something we might reason to be okay, but because it appears to not cover what we reason is not okay!
  3. Of course sexual immorality is not the only incompatible behaviour we might have, but this passage does seem to teach that sexual immorality is in a kind of special category, because of the special importance of sex. Paul asserts that it is two people coming together (uniting), and the God-intended marriage context is itself a metaphor of how God intends us to be forever united with Him. Paul says that the body needs food, but this is temporary - in fact our current body is temporary. Yet sex, he argues, unites people pointing to a permanence, i.e. that God will raise us with a new body to be permanently united with Him.

Today, however, we are focusing on being Temples of the Holy Spirit. To starts with, note another technical point:

  • Paul writes that our bodies are a Temple of the Holy Spirit: not might be, not could be, or even one day will be, but are!

Nor does Paul write that your body was a Temple of the Holy Spirit until you messed up with your sin ...

Let's remember that Paul is writing to believers (in Corinth) - those who follow Jesus. His logic is simple: you believe in Jesus and follow Him, therefore you are a Temple of the Holy Spirit. So Paul is saying that they have this status, even though they are sinning/abusing their body. The sin doesn't seem to remove this reality.

But of course he is also saying it makes no sense - it is simply not compatible to be such a Temple and have this behaviour going on. None of us, if we imagined a glorious royal throne room, would expect it to have nasty graffiti scrawled on the walls, or dog's mess on the carpet, or dirty stagnant pools of water lying around - we simply wouldn't allow that situation to develop!

Yet could that be a reality in our lives? That we allow our lives to be inappropriate places for our Lord to reside by His Holy Spirit? Come now afresh to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness: He will come in, clean up, enable you to live forward with aspects of your life renewed, polished and now beaming.

But if mess of our lives is a problem, there is also another problem, perhaps even bigger. That is that we don't even realise our status as a follower of Jesus. We don't even know that our bodies are Temples of the Holy Spirit, and so we don't live accordingly. We live like a soldier who has done the basic training, has the right uniform, but when it comes to the time of battle is now living as a civilian. Or the paramedic, also trained and equipped, with the right uniform, and yet in the sight of people with injury or ailment offers no first aid.

Or us ... following Jesus with good Bible understanding yes, but without openness to the Spirit residing and at work both in us and through us.

As a follower of Jesus we become a Temple of the Holy Spirit, which means that in and around us is the Spirit ... wherever we go. So if I say to you turn to your neighbour and discuss, then as a follower of Jesus you turn to your neighbour as a Temple of the Holy Spirit. That means you can minister to one another, and you can minister to those who do not yet know Jesus. When you go to work, or give a lift to your children, etc. etc., you do so as a Temple of the Holy Spirit - and so the possibility of Spirit-filled ministry is right there.

Hence our key question:

[IN] Do I keep in mind that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?
Challenge: Honour God with your body, welcome His presence in you.

Remember in v15 Paul writes 'Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?'. You, as a follower of Jesus, physically represent Christ! So live that status, enjoy it. Live your lives accordingly and minister to others! Your body, though temporary, is to show the beauty of something permanent - united with a new resurrection body. The Spirit residing in you gives you all you need to do that, and to be helping others be restored and discover Christ.

Honour Him, and welcome His presence.

No comments:

Post a Comment