Agonizomai: 1Cor 3:16-17 - Reverence My Sanctuary

Friday, March 28, 2008

1Cor 3:16-17 - Reverence My Sanctuary




16-17 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.


This is not the context for proof texting that idea that we should eat right and exercise. This is the context for making certain that we imbibe the right spiritual food and do not put the poison of heresy into our minds and souls. Look at the context. It is all about having the right doctrinal foundations and building only upon them; having a right understanding of the gospel, and not tolerating any other teaching but that which we first received.

The church is God’s temple and all of the members of the church are parts of the temple. The temple is the dwelling place of God and the place where His glory is displayed. The glory of the Lord fills the temple. The temple is a place set apart - sanctified and holy. It is utterly "other". It is unique, pure, dedicated. The purity of the temple was prefigured in the tabernacle laws given to Israel in the Pentateuch.

So Paul is finishing out his whole train of thought here by giving the reason why doctrine should be kept pure; it should be kept pure because it is how God dwells in the hearts of His people - through the truth made alive by the Spirit. The Spirit dwells in us all and the pure word of God is taken by the Spirit and used to make us holy - to keep us set apart. False doctrine erodes and destroys this vital living process. As a man thinks, so is he. Out of the heart comes either what defiles a man, or what evidences the life of God within him. And the heart, the mind, the essence, the inner man is nourished and grown in grace through right teaching, right understanding - by assimilating and then living the truth.

To believe false things about God is bad enough, but to teach them is even worse. This is why pastors have the higher burden. Paul speaks here of false teaching as "destroying God’s temple". And he gives a dire warning to those who either believe or propagate false doctrine. To believe any other gospel is to miss salvation and be destroyed. To propagate any other gospel is to destroy not only yourself, but others also.

So Paul has been at great pains to explain to this chaotic and confused congregation the essential nature of right doctrine for proper Christian living, and the severe consequences of believing wrong doctrine. Put that in your liberal or your postmodern pipe and smoke it.


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