The Apostle Paul, as a “fellow worker” (2nd Corinthians 6:1) with God, in his letter to the church at Corinth, exhorts all believers to know that we are a temple of God.
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
1st Corinthians 3:16-17 [NASU]
As the whole congregation of Israel were formerly considered as the temple and habitation of God, because God dwelt among them, so is the church called the temple of God, because all who are of love and faith have the Spirit of God to dwell in them; and Yeshua has promised to always be in the midst of even two or three who are gathered together in His name. Therefore where God is, there is His temple.
God is the architect and the “Rock” of its foundation, Yeshua, the Living Word of God is its “Corner Stone,” His apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers, working together with Christ, are its builders, thus the temple of God is holy, that is, it has been cleansed by the blood of God’s Son, and is being disciplined by His word and sanctified or set apart for His dwelling place.
We continue with the Apostle writings.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
1st Corinthians 6:19-20 [NASU]
Since by the grace of God the Holy Spirit dwells in us and our bodies are His temples, we should not dishonor the gift and the giver by polluting it with evil thoughts and acts. Further, we have been redeemed from the law of sin and death through the shed blood of the precious Son of God; we belong to God; we are his and we are bound, therefore, to devote ourselves, body, soul, and spirit, as he directs, to the glory of His name, not to the gratification of the flesh.
No child of God lives to gratify fleshly inclinations or appetites. Motivated by the love for his Savior and strengthened by the Holy Spirit he sets his mind on the things above and not on the things of the world; he makes it his aim to do the will of God; to subordinate all his desires to God’s Law and gospel.
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?”
2nd Corinthians 6:14-15[NASU]
The way of the unrighteous, the peoples of the world, is to live for themselves, to make it their great object to become rich or honored, or to indulge in the worldly comforts and carnal pleasures of this life. These are the aim of all people except the sons of God; their love for their fellowman and love, devotion, faithfulness and obedience to their God sets them apart from the people of the world; they have no fellowship with the worldly.
“Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.’”
2nd Corinthians 6:16 [NASU]
The worship of an idol (false god) and the worship of the true God are wholly incompatible. An idolater never worships the true God; a true child of God never worships an idol. If one joins in idolatrous rites, it is impossible that they are a son of God.
When we think of idols we are prone to think of physical things made of stone, wood, medal and such; true enough, these can be idols and has no place in the life of the “temple of God.” Many who name themselves among the ranks of that of a Christian are deceived and are blindly worshiping other types of idols (gods) that have emerged in their life. Anything that has a person enslaved, bound in such a way that it becomes a craving, or demands his undivided attention, his total devotion, affections and faithfulness, it controls him, it has become lord of his life, it has become his idol.
But let us take a look at another idol that many may have never considered. In his letter to the Colossians the Apostle Paul writes these words.
“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
Colossians 3:5 [NASU]
Here the Apostle Paul names greed or covetousness among the most base and detestable passions; it secures the affections which properly belong to God, therefore, the Apostle brands it idolatry. Greed is a low debasing passion, like those which he had named it among. It is a self-idolizing, grasping spirit. Self and mammon are deified in the heart of the covetous instead of God (Matthew 6:24). A covetous person is both the idol and the idolater and everything he covets becomes his idol. Of all base passions, this is the one that most dethrones God from the soul.
Greed is an odious and abominable personal failing; a vice to be regarded in the same light as the grossest sin, and is to be abhorred by all who consider themselvles to be true worshipers of the one and only Living God. The covetous man, according to Paul, is to be ranked with the sensual, and with idolaters, and with those who are entirely excluded from the kingdom of God (Ephesians 5:5).
Is this the view in which the covetous or greedy person is held in modern society?
Is it the view which professing Christians take of covetousness?
Do we not feel that there is a great difference between a covetous man and a man of impure and licentious life?
Why is this?
It is because:
- It is so common in our society.
- Because it is found among those who pretend to be refined and even religious.
- And because it is not so easy to define what covetousness is, as it is to define impurity of life;
- And because the public conscience is seared, and the mind blinded to the lowly character of the sin.
Yet is not the view of the Apostle Paul the right view? Who is a covetous or greedy person? A sensual person, a person who, in the pursuit of the pleasures of the flesh and the riches of the world, neglects his soul, his intellect, and his heart; a man who, in this insatiable pursuit, disregards justice, truth, charity, love, faith, prayer, peace, comfort, usefulness, conscience and seeks to fill his bottomless pit of lust. Who shall say that there is any vice more debasing, degrading or idolatrous than this?
“For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.”
Colossians 3:6-7 [NASU]
But now, if we have come to know Christ and we consider the members of our earthly bodies as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, we have this promise from Him,
“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.”
James C Sanford