19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
You’ve probably heard the old weight-gain joke, “My body is a temple. I’m adding a parking lot.” But the directive to treat our bodies as a temple is no laughing matter.
A temple is a place of worship. As Christians, the Holy Spirit lives within us and with these bodies we offer praise to God.
There’s an old expression that comes to mind. “Don’t drag me into it.” That’s said when somebody invites you to take part in a discussion, argument, or controversy. It also aptly describes what happens when we sin. Since the Holy Spirit dwells within, we drag God into it.
The context of our focus text has to do with sexual sin. I commend 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 to you for a better understanding of this important topic.
As Paul leads up to his declaration that the body is a temple, he argues, “The body… is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord.” (v13) “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!” (v15)
When you go to work or on a business trip, you leave your family behind. There is a natural feeling of separation. Hopefully, your behavior doesn’t change when you are absent from them. But the separation is real. You are alone and may feel freedom you don’t experience when you are in their presence. But that freedom doesn’t give you license to betray their trust in you.
You may have similar feelings in your relationship to God when you are not in church, in prayer, or in bible study. Alone. Absent from the Lord. Free to engage in activity unbecoming a Christian. But guess what? Unlike your earthly relationships, you are NEVER absent from the Lord.
Remember God’s promise: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) Jesus said, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:23) Then in verse 26, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit, “… to help you and be with you forever.”
The godhead; Father, Son, and Spirit continually abides with every Christian. We are never alone.
To be sure, it’s a comforting thought to know God is always with us. But having the Lord “onboard” requires responsibility, respect, and reverence.
Worship in our bodily temple doesn’t end at 12:00 on Sunday or after our daily quiet time. It can and should continue throughout our daily routine. In Romans 12:1, Paul teaches, “… offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
Offering our bodies as a living sacrifice means that we refrain from sinful sexual behavior and thus maintain holiness that is pleasing to God.
Sexual impropriety was prevalent in Paul’s day as in ours. However, there are now more ways than ever to pursue deviant behavior. Easily accessible sexual temptation is only a few keystrokes away. But the Biblical instruction hasn’t changed. We’re to “Flee from sexual immorality…” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
Paul concludes his argument, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Your body belongs to Christ, bought and paid for with the precious blood of Jesus. Treat your body so as to honor God.
Now, the context of Paul’s teaching focuses exclusively on sexual immorality. In a broader sense, when we consider the body as a temple where God resides, we can conclude that the way we care for our bodies is also important. Just as we’re to be good stewards of all that God provides, we should properly maintain and care for the temple.
Your body is a temple and intended for holy conduct that honors God. And like I said earlier, when you engage in sin, you drag Him with you. Is that really what you want or should do?
For more on this topic, check out this article: With Christian Freedom Comes Responsibility
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.