The Church as the Temple of God

When one thinks of the Temple of God, most will go back in the Old Testament to the beautiful and valuable temple built by Solomon after his accession to the kingdom. Beginning in 1 Kings 6 we have the description of that temple. It was valuable because the furniture and even the walls being overlaid with Gold. The finest and most expensive materials were used in it, and it was truly one of the great wonders of the world. However, the value of the temple is not calculated by dollars and cents. The great value was that it represented the dwelling place of God on earth! Behind the veil in the most holy place was the Ark of the Covenant with the mercy seat where the high priest went just once annually to make atonement for the people. When Jesus died, a significant event occurred. The veil tore from top to bottom by itself, signifying that access to God was no longer through the Old Testament Law and temple, (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). At that time Jesus took away the Law of Moses, (Colossians 2:14-16; Galatians 3:19-25), and access to God was no longer just through the nation of Israel, and the temple of the Old Testament, but through Jesus our Lord (Hebrews 1:1-3) and the new temple of God, the church!

 In the New Testament, the church is described as the temple of God, where God dwells. Notice, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Many people today do not understand the value and importance of the church. Some will say, "Jesus yes, the church no! Those who do so are clueless as to the real value of the church. "Jesus died to purchase and save the church (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:3-25) or temple of God. Anything that cost such a high price as the blood of Jesus must be the most valuable thing one could imagine. Since the church of God is holy, and He dwells in it, it behooves each of us to do all that we can to keep it holy. Occasionally we read about people breaking into church buildings and vandalizing them. Most folks feel badly when that sort of mischief occurs, but do not think anything about their own life style that may bring shame and embarrassment to those who know that they may be members of some religious group. The vengeance of God will deal with them as the text above says that those who defile "the temple of God [the church] him shall God destroy." Obviously, the apostle is not describing the physical building where the church meets, but rather the spiritual organization itself made up of redeemed people, or Christians.

 The church then as the temple of God is important and valuable! First, because of the price that purchased it, the blood of Jesus. Secondly because it is made up of those who have obeyed the gospel and are doing their best to live and follow the example of Jesus (1 Peter 2:21). Thirdly, living a Christian life is hard at best, and being with other like-minded Christians helps one to get over the very difficult parts of life. Most importantly, though is because the church or temple of God is the dwelling place of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

 Ed Rodgers, Forney TX