• johned@aibi.ph

Our Bodies Are Temples Of
The Holy Spirit

God loves your physical body and it is very precious to Him. Jesus showed God's love for our bodies when He healed so many people. God states His care and love for our body in Psalm 139 where he says we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and that our physical bodies are amongst the concern of His thoughts. Finally God has made a future for our bodies when He will resurrect them from the dead. God dwells in our physical bodies and calls them His temple. Our bodies, like temples, are sacred sites where God dwells. Other people should be able to go to us as temples of the living God and meet God there! What an amazing thought! This article will look into the analogy of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit and attempt a start on a Christian attitude to our physical bodies.

(Psalms 139:13-18 NIV) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. {14} I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. {15} My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, {16} your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. {17} How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! {18} Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

1. We are continually told that our physical bodies are the almost meaningless products of time, chance, genetics, radiation, chemicals and our mother's moods in pregnancy.

Here David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit speaks about how God knows all things about him. The first statement he makes is that "you knit me together in my mothers womb". This is not a statement of ignorance. This is not "the God of the gaps" filling in because David did not understand genetics. This is a faith statement that God is personally involved as our Creator in making our bodies. And, yes, this does apply to those born with disabilities as the following incident from the gospels shows...

(John 9:1-5 NRSV) As He (Jesus)walked along, He saw a man blind from birth. {2} His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" {3} Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. {4} We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. {5} As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Jesus went on to heal him. In this case both the disability and the healing were from God. In my own case I was born a moderately severe epileptic which resulted in some very painful years. Over the past five years I have seen an enormous improvement as the direct result of prayer. I believe that again both the disability and the healing were of God...We need to adopt a Christian perspective that sees our bodies through the eyes of faith. By faith David saw that we are deliberately formed and fearfully and wonderfully made. By faith Jesus took away the blame for disabilities. By faith we are healed and by faith we know that God is involved with and deeply loves our physical bodies.

2. Psalm 139:16 "Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

God has a plan and purpose for your life that involves your physical body and which commenced from when you were within the womb. God is better than ultrasound - He sees your unformed body in the womb with the eyes of love. God does not behold us with impersonal detachment or scientific curiosity.(Psalm 33:18) God's beholding is a beholding of the lover gazing, the father yearning, the heart following the eyes to the object of love. There is no such thing as "just a foetus" to God; the child in the womb is a person He loves in progress towards plans He has made. No matter what the circumstances of your birth were, whether you were wanted or unwanted, planned or unplanned, loved or abandoned or rejected there is One who was watching all of this and yearning for you. There is One who loves you even God, and He has a plan for your life.

3. Psalm 139:14" I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

David looks on his body with the eyes of faith and says "I am fearfully and wonderfully made". This is something I struggle with. I look on my skinny frame and distinct lack of biceps and feel that I have missed out in the handsomeness stakes. It was only as I did some reading about artificial intelligence and computer programming that I began to realize that my arm is a marvel that no robot arm can match, my eyes are wonders no camera can ever come close to. My ability to walk over all kinds of terrain , ride bicycles, climb cliffs and swim through water is not matched by any vehicle that man has made despite billions of dollars of research. And with my nervous system I got a free multi-media super-computer with self-programming capacity! At birth! For free ! Unearned ! My first degree was in chemistry and the ability of the liver to synthesize complex macromolecules out of last nights dinner is mind-boggling. No chemist could go anywhere near it.

A Japanese company apparently attempted the commercial replication of the "simple" transformation of glucose into glycogen, a reaction fundamental to life which the liver performs every day. Before they gave up they had built a factory occupying a square mile and costing a vast sum of money (some billions of dollars ). This is just one of the countless molecular miracles that happen as your fish and chips and cup of tea become muscles , bone and brain cells. As skinny as I may be it is by faith and in truth and with much love that I can say "I am fearfully and wonderfully made".

(1 Corinthians 6:12-20 NRSV) "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. {13} "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food," and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. {14} And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. {15} Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! {16} Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, "The two shall be one flesh." {17} But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. {18} Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. {19} Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? {20} For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

4. 1 Corinthians 6:12 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are beneficial. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything"

Our bodies are meant to be under our control. The Corinthians had latched onto grace but not onto discipline and constructive living. Culturally Corinth was sophisticated, debauched and "liberated" it was renowned throughout the Roman Empire for "broad-minded promiscuity" and the use of prostitutes in pagan religious worship was very common. The new converts to Christianity came from backgrounds that naturally turned grace into licence and used slogans such as "all things are lawful for me...". Knowing human nature it would be remarkable indeed if they made a smooth transition to a godly and disciplined lifestyle. So Paul lays down some very basic principles for them concerning our bodies. The first of these is that we are to be masters of our bodies and dedicate them to good godly purposes. Therefore life-dominating addictions to alcohol, sex, drugs, binge eating or physical "adrenaline highs" are major problems for the Christian life. This leads to the second of Paul's principles.

5. 1 Corinthians 6:13 "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food," and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body."

The body is meant for the Lord and the Lord for the body. The purpose of our bodies is found in God - not in sexual pleasure or the indulgence of appetites as the Corinthian slogan "food is for the stomach and the stomach for food.." implied. God is greater than our earthly appetites which will pass away. Our bodies have an eternal value which is found in the Lord. Thus we need to take a radical "counter-cultural" view and see our bodies are temples - not amusement parks. The Lord is " for the body". He is "for" your body, not against it! Here we have to make a distinction between "the flesh" (Greek "sarx") which God opposes and the "body" (Greek "soma") which He love sand will raise from the dead. "The flesh" (sarx) is the spiritual principle of self-centeredness and disobedience to God that has been biologically worked into our present bodies through habit, training and memory. "The body" (soma) is God's vehicle for self-expression in a material world. It is with our bodies, given to God, that we speak words of truth and love , touch, comfort, heal others, express practical care and love and worship Him. God love sour bodies as they glorify and serve Him. We will see that He has an eternal plan for them too!

6. 1 Corinthians 6:14 "And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.".

The destiny of our bodies is in heaven. Just as Jesus physical body was raised from the dead so that the scars still showed and He could eat fish so our bodies will be raised. There will be a continuation between this present body and the body we receive in heaven , as well as some very significant differences! God will not leave us to rot. He will not just make new bodies for us out of nothing. He will raise our bodies from the grave and then work a transforming miracle on them. Our present bodies are in some way the starting point for our eternal bodies. Later on in Paul's epistle to the Corinthians he answers the question "How then are the dead raised..." lets look at what he wrote.

(1 Corinthians 15:35-55 NKJV) But someone will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?" {36} Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. {37} And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain; perhaps wheat or some other grain. {38} But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.

We see the principle that our present bodies are connected to our eternal bodies just as a seed is connected to the plant that comes after the seed dies. It is the life within the seed that continues on and God gives it a body that he has appointed. Yet the seed is not unimportant, in fact it is vitally necessary and to be prized. We are not to despise our mortal bodies any more than a farmer would despise his seeds.

{39} All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. {40} There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. {41} There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. {42} So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. {43} It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. {44} It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

Though there is a continuity between our present mortal bodies and our glorious resurrection bodies there is also a discontinuity. There will be a great variety of resurrection bodies and each shall receive the body that the Lord has prepared for him or her. These bodies will all be incorruptible, glorious, powerful and spiritual. They will perfectly express our love of God and perfectly receive the knowledge of God. However they will differ in glory - presumably as a result of the different rewards that Christians will receive.

There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. {45} And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. {46} However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. {47} The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. {48} As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. {49} And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

The "last Adam" is Christ who heads up a new race of men and women. Just as Adam's descendants ended up going from ‘dust to dust" so Christ's "born-gain" race has a heavenly destiny and "bears the image (stamp) of the heavenly. When we are born again even our bodies are headed for heaven. Just as Jesus' resurrected body went into heaven on the Mount of Olives as His disciples gazed on so we will ascend into heaven and meet the returning Christ in the air in our resurrected physical bodies. Paul describes this moment as a sudden and glorious change.

{50} Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. {51} Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; {52} in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. {53} For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. {54} So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." {55} "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"

Our present physical bodies shall come out of the grave and the Death's temporary victory will be over. Furthermore they shall take up a new immortal nature that is no longer subject to death so that death is completely and permanently defeated. Our present "seed" bodies shall suddenly "in the twinkling of an eye" be changed into the "full grown plant" which will be imperishable, incorruptible and immortal. The destiny of our body is in heaven. It is not to be despised as "the prison of the soul" or abandoned to promiscuity as if it did not matter. While flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God or the corruptible inherit incorruption it is still important. Our bodies are like a seed that dies and bears fruit within the Kingdom of God.

7.I Corinthians 6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!

Here Paul makes the statement that our bodies are "members of Christ". Now we are used to thinking of our selves as "members of the body of Christ" but this however is quite different. Paul is talking about our physical bodies being the "members", the limbs, of Christ Himself. If Jesus wants to hug someone He does not send the Holy Spirit to give a hug He sends you or I. If Jesus Christ wants to feed someone He does not generally drop a hamburger from heaven in their lap - He sends you or I to physically, practically feed them. When Jesus smiles it is through your eyes and my eyes.

We are the physical interface of Jesus with this world. We are His members, we are His physical body on earth. Have you ever had your computer monitor crash so that everything else was working but you could not see your computer screen? You feel helpless, so little can be done without that interface. That's how it is with our bodies they are like computer monitors, interfaces indicating Jesus activity in us and through us. They make Jesus accessible to others. What use is a deep spiritual life that goes completely unexpressed and is unreadable by others? Its like a super-computer with no output. Useless! As good as dead!

(James 2:26 NKJV) For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

(Proverbs 27:5 KJV) Open rebuke is better than secret love.

Our inner world should show through and be expressed so that others can see it, hear it and understand it. This is God's role for our bodies. Your body is part of Christ therefore it should never be "joined with a prostitute". Our bodies are for expressing Christ's love - not human lust.

8. 1 Corinthians 6:16, 17 Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, "The two shall be one flesh." {17} But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.

There are difficulties with this passage. It seems to indicate that even the most casual sexual act is an indissoluble "one flesh" commitment on the same level as marriage.. Certainly sex is a very intimate act with deep spiritual and emotional consequences and a "bond" is established. Sex is serious - and that is what I think Paul is trying to state here. He is saying "there is no such thing as harmless casual sex.." I am cautious about stating that, on the basis of this verse, you have to marry anyone you have sex with (as some argue). If Paul was intending that then he would have exhorted single male Corinthians to marry the prostitutes they had slept with. He made no such recommendation!

His next statement builds on the image of intimacy and unity: "But anyone united with the Lord becomes one spirit with Him".Our spirit and God's spirit are indissolubly joined, never to be separated, in eternal spiritual intimacy. Though a prostitute may temporarily satisfy a desire for carnal intimacy the Christian can experience permanent deep spiritual intimacy with God. The groundwork for our union with God was laid by Christ's death on the cross which gave us access to the Father. This union was sealed by the reception of the Holy Spirit - God's intimate, loving, indwelling Presence , at Pentecost. We are one with God even though we may not sense it. God has made us one with Him in a union that no power on heaven or on earth can separate. It takes a lifetime to fully grasp that!

How does this affect how we use our bodies? Two things:

1)The spirit animates the body. If our spirit is one with God's Spirit then that relationship is what should animate our bodies and direct the life that is within them.

2) Our desire for intimacy should be directed heavenward and find at least a very substantial part of its satisfaction in God. It is a very misdirected desire for intimacy that uses prostitutes or engages in casual sex. Thus immorality is inappropriate for someone who is joined to God..

9. (1 Corinthians 6:18 NRSV) Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. (1 Corinthians 6:18 NIV) Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

Sexual immorality is so blinding and persuasive that we cannot linger around and "play with fire". We need to take Paul's advice and flee! Though this may lead to damaged relationships, anger and recriminations from the "rejected" party God will honor us. Joseph fled sexual immorality with Potiphar's wife and was falsely accused by an angry and vindictive woman. He went to jail and really suffered for being good. It must have seemed that being pure did not pay.

However, God did not forget him but remembered his godly heart and elevated Joseph to the position of Prime Minister of the only super-power in the world at that time. The pragmatic reason we are to flee sexual immorality is that it is a sin against our own bodies. The medical toll from promiscuity is high - abortion, infertility, AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract and bowel infections, emotional and psychiatric disorders plus the side-effects from various contraceptives are just part of the cost that our bodies are paying for a sexually liberated lifestyle.. Our body does not like being sinned against.

10.(1 Corinthians 6:19 NRSV) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?

A temple is a sacred site where a deity is supposed to dwell and can be accessed and experienced. Your body is a temple. It is a sacred site. It is holy. It is never to be violated or profaned. The God within the temple is not some god of thunder or wind , a monkey god or a good luck charm. The God within is the Holy Spirit. Therefore in the temple of your body dwells the God who was brooding over the waters at Creation, who is the source of wisdom, who is love on fire with holiness, the God from whom all lesser gods flee in terror, who is mighty, powerful, majestic and righteous. Defile His temple and beware! This Holy Spirit is our possession from God, our treasure.

Human beings were always meant to be Spirit-indwelt beings, indwelt with the Holy Spirit as images of God. Our bodies were part of this design. We are temples, sacred, wonderful, filled with the power and presence of God. People should be able to come to a Christian just as an idol-worshipper goes to a temple to find the god there. People should be able to come to us and find Christ in residence.They should be able to come to the Christ-indwelt bodies of Christians and sense the holiness and presence of God. People go to temples with needs -and I think they should have their needs met by Christ in us. People should be able to come to Christians for wisdom, a word from God, guidance in life, healing, encouragement etc. and we should be able to minister to them not in our own strength but out of the power of Christ who indwells us. We cannot do this if our bodies are given to immorality.

11. (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20 NKJV), and you are not your own? {20} For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

Paul goes on to ask "And whose body is it anyway?". It is God's ! He bought it and He can do what He likes with it. If I buy a car I can do what I like with that car. I can drive it or leave it in the garage or even take it on a testing rally drive. Its my car and I say what I do with it and where it goes. God bought your body on the cross. He paid a very high price for it - His own beloved Son. It is His - He can say what happens to your body, where it should go and what it should do. He has leased it back to you with strict instructions as to its use and in many cases a few improvements and healings. He has filled it with the Holy Spirit. He has a plan to raise it from the dead and give it back to you in a glorious state - but that depends to no small extent on what you choose to do with it now. God's plan for your body, which belongs to Him, is good. Most of the time He likes to heal it and see it prosper! However the plan includes holiness (Hebrews 14:12).Therefore "glorify God with your body".

12.(1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NKJV) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, {10} nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. {11} And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Now lets jump back a few verses to some tough verses of Paul's. In verse 1-8 Paul is arguing that Christians should not go to court against each other - and be judged before unbelievers. Paul points out that "the unrighteous" are not members of the Christian kingdom and therefore should not be our judges. Why don't they inherit the Kingdom of God? Because, amongst other things they practice sexual immorality and abuse their bodies. Most of the above sins involve the abuse of the body in some way. These sins disqualify people from heaven. Sure they can be forgiven if we repent. However they are meant to be left behind at conversion and never indulged in again. "Such WERE some of you" - its in the past tense.

The Corinthians had been very immoral before Christ came into their lives but now Paul says of them: But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. As we have just seen the Corinthians were in grave danger of being overwhelmed by their immorality once more and some were still visiting the temple prostitutes. Paul takes their doctrine of liberty and cautions them "Do not be deceived", evidently they were being deceived and were playing fast and loose with the holiness and judgment of God using a false doctrine of "grace" to justify licence. This is not innovative theology - it is deception (at least that is what Paul calls it). We cannot play with sexual sin. We have to get rid of it and accept the washing, cleansing, and sanctification that are from God.

This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.