“Do you not know that your body is a temple…?” I know most people have probably heard this idea thrown around. I also know that most of the time it is casually tossed about without context and, therefore, has little impact.
I write this post because of the sadness I felt while writing the last, “Scriptural Eating Disorders.” Obviously, that post could not be written or read without thinking about those who suffer with the actual physical disorders. While thinking about them my mind went back to “Stop Struggling… Choose God” and all those suffering in other “struggles.” I felt compelled to spell out the opportunity for healing that Christ offers all of them. I wish to add the all-important context to “We Are a Temple.”
To have the conversation, we must understand two things: “Temple” and “Image.”
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16,17
Matthew Henry on these:
“It may be understood of the church of Corinth collectively, or of every single believer among them; Christian churches are temples of God. He dwells among them by his Holy Spirit. They are built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit, Eph. 2:22. Every Christian is a living temple of the living God. God dwelt in the Jewish temple, took possession of it, and resided in it, by that glorious cloud that was the token of his presence with that people. So Christ by his Spirit dwells in all true believers. The temple was devoted and consecrated to God, and set apart from every common to a holy use, to the immediate service of God. So all Christians are separated from common uses, and set apart for God and his service. They are sacred to him—a very good argument this against all fleshly lusts, and all doctrines that give countenance to them. If we are the temples of God, we must do nothing that shall alienate ourselves from him, or corrupt and pollute ourselves, and thereby unfit ourselves for his use; and we must hearken to no doctrine nor doctor that would seduce us to any such practices. Note, Christians are holy by profession, and should be pure and clean both in heart and conversation. We should heartily abhor, and carefully avoid, what will defile God’s temple, and prostitute what ought to be sacred to him.”
Ephesians 2:19-22 “Therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens of the saints and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. In Him the whole building is fitted together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together into a dwelling place for God in His Spirit.”
So, there we have the “Temple;” let’s look at the “Image,” and then we will talk about the two together and apply them to the issue at hand.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our Image, after Our likeness…” Genesis 1:26
Image: “tselem, tseh’-lem, resemblance; hence a representative figure” (Strong’s)
“And God looked upon all that He had made, and indeed, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31
And in between…
“Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, where He placed the man He had formed… The LORD God also said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make for him a suitable helper.’ And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and He brought them to the man to see what he would name each one. And whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name…But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he slept, He took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the area with flesh. And from the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man, He made a woman” Genesis 2:7,8,18-22
The “two Adams:”
1 Corinthians 15:45-49 “So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being;” the last Adam a life-giving spirit. The spiritual, however, was not first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so also are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the likeness of the heavenly man.”
2 Corinthians 3:17,18 “the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory…”
At the root of many of the issues we discussed in the mentioned posts is a diminished view of ourselves. A disturbing “Image” in the mirror. A failure to understand the design of the “Temple.” To rectify this, please bear with me as we work to tie the Manual’s references on these issues together.
First, if you believe God “created” the human race from two prototypes, Adam and Eve, and as a Christian you must, we will start there. Knowing this to be true, it is reasonable to believe that their design is our design. Before God started He said, “Let Us make man in Our Image.” This “Image” is defined as “a representative figure” or, as is later described, “a reflection” of God. With this in mind, God reached down into the “dust of the earth” and through His mighty power He transformed that soil into flesh and blood. Once transformed, God Himself “breathed” His life into the man and “he became a living being.” Having done this, God looked at the man He had created and He Loved him so much that He created a perfect garden for him and placed him there to live. From that same Love God did not want man to live alone, so He created every living thing to be his helper. Seeing that none could provide an adequate companion for Adam, He created Eve from his side and “breathed” His life into her. When He was finished, God looked at the two He had created to be His Reflection and of them He said they were “very good.”
There is something else in the history of man’s design that we just reviewed that is usually left out. Mankind was designed to be immortal. Yes, God so Loved His creations, His “Temples,” that they were given the opportunity to live forever. Need to make my case?… OK. We all know these words:
“You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16,17
But what about these?
“Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil. And now, lest he reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…” Therefore the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. So He drove out the man and stationed cherubim on the east side of the Garden of Eden, along with a whirling sword of flame to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:22-24
Remember, as we just read, Adam and Eve were “free to eat from every tree” except the one. This included the “tree of life,” which God Himself describes as causing mankind to live forever.
Before stupidly choosing to eat from the wrong tree, Moses recorded that “the man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed.” Before eating of the “tree,” they only knew the beauty of their “temple.” The magnificence of what God had created. But then they did eat from that tree. They did what Paul would warn us about many generations later; they “used their freedom as an excuse for doing evil.” Having done so, they damaged the “temple;” they tarnished their reflection of the “image” of God. Because God knew they would use their freedom to these ends, and because He Loved us so much, He planned on a way to restore the “image” and the “temple” from which it shown.
So, let’s take a look at that restoration plan, that “Salvation” plan, if you will:
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.” “Jesus was speaking about the temple of His body.” John 2:19,21
Here Christ informs the people of God’s plan to restore the “temple.” As we showed in our reference above, this plan includes us; “just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the likeness of the heavenly man.”
Through your “freedom,” “you too must count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin control your mortal body so that you obey its desires. Do not present the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and present the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:11-14
Paul sums up the restoration plan for your “temple;”
“Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him, in keeping with the truth that is in Jesus, to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:21-24
So you see, the case has been made clear by the Designer, the Builder, the Originator of mankind Himself. You were created beautiful. You were created to be a “reflection” of God. You were created to be His “image.” More than that, even after mankind damaged this design, God Loves you so much that He offers to re-create you into His Temple through His Son, Jesus Christ. God holds you in such esteem that He asks you to embrace your design and be the “temple” for Him, for The Holy Spirit.
As I said earlier, the root of many of the issues we discussed in the mentioned posts is a diminished view of ourselves. If you have been told and come to believe that you are not a beautiful creature… Deny the Lie! If life in the Serpent’s world has made you believe you have no value… Deny the Lie! If seclusion has taught you that you are meant to be alone… Deny the Lie! If you think it is too late for you, your temple is too damaged… Deny the Lie!
If you stand in front of a mirror and see ugliness and you refuse to eat… Deny the Lie! Or if that same person in the mirror sends you to the bathroom to give back the nutrients you just took in… Deny the Lie! If, on the other hand, life has so damaged your worth that you tell yourself it’s OK not to stop eating when you should… Deny the Lie!
That person in the mirror was designed to be the “image,” the reflection of God Himself and no one, not even we ourselves, has the authority to say different. That person in the mirror has been given a personal invitation to rebuild their original design and become a “temple” in which the Holy Spirit will reside. No one can take that invitation away. You are so valuable that, just like Adam and Eve, God breathed His own breath of life into you. How can you not see the immeasurable value in that?
If the image of yourself you have adopted is just too hard to bear and you stick a needle in your arm so you don’t have to look at it… Deny the Lie! You are designed by God. You are given life by God. God says that if you will become His “temple” you will be re-created in the “image” of His Son. He will make you a reflection of Himself and, when He does, He will say… “what can man do to (you)?”
In the posts mentioned we reference a number of ways mankind damage their temples because of a diminished view of their creation. They fail to see the beauty in their design and lose their resemblance to God. Today I see many more ways man is displaying a lack of appreciation and understanding of the marvelous thing God has built. From this position they deface, degrade and even destroy His temple.
The point I have tried to make clear is this: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment… but from the inner disposition of your heart, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3,4) What you see in the mirror is simply the “outward” manifestation of the Spiritual “Image” and “Temple” God designed. A Spirit that is in alignment with God’s design will see the beauty in His creation. A person who respects the Creator and the Gift of life that He has given will reflect His “Image” both in Spirit and in Body. This person is “One with God;” this person is His “Temple.”
Too often the “Churches,” which are also to be His “Temple”, have also denied the Truth of their creation and the requirement of the restoration plan. As a result, they too are out of “Alignment” with God’s design. Because they do not reflect this clear “Image” of God, they hold up the same tarnished mirror in their feeble efforts to help these lost souls. In so doing they leave them in a physical “Struggle” they can’t win because it can only be defeated with Christ’s “Image” and in God’s “Temple,” on the Spiritual battleground.
Whatever darkness has damaged your view of your temple… Deny the Lie! Remember you were designed, not only as the “image” or reflection of God, but as a home, a “temple” for the Holy Spirit to reside.
Once again, Paul tells you how…
“I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to escalating wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” Romans 6:19
And Christ Himself describes the “temple” and the light, the “image” that comes from it…
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a cellar or under a basket. Instead, he sets it on a lampstand, so those who enter can see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your vision is clear, your whole body also is full of light. But when it is poor, your body is full of darkness. Be careful, then, that the light within you is not darkness. So if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, you will be radiant, as though a lamp were shining on you.” Luke 11:33-36
“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was unaware that his face had become radiant from speaking with the LORD. Aaron and all the Israelites looked at Moses, and behold, his face was radiant.” (Exodus 34:29,30)
A couple more things. Not only does God want to rebuild your “temple,” you and I stand before the very same trees as did Adam and Eve and we are offered the same choice. That’s right, thanks to Christ’s sacrifice, “you can choose Truth for yourself.” We do not have to live with the choice they made. We can repeat their mistake or we can pick from the “tree of life” and take God up on His offer to live forever. You heard me right. Not only will God send the Holy Spirit to teach you to rebuild your “temple” to the reflective magnificence it was designed to be, He also provides a “Lifetime Guarantee,” and that Lifetime is Eternal.
Finally, to you who would consider total destruction of your “temple,” don’t! I have known way too many people who have taken this drastic action to destroy what God had given them, to cast their “temple” into the darkness. I can’t even imagine the screams and whispers they must have heard that would drive them to such a rejection of God. If you are hearing anything that would have you consider such a thing… Deny the Lies! The Serpent and the world he has corrupted may have pummeled your “temple,” but you too can choose Truth for yourself. You can choose to be the glorious “temple” you were designed to be. Whatever you have been told, you have been lied to. Your life has meaning! You were designed and built for the Glorious purpose of reflecting God to the world, to show others who are being told the same lies as you that they too have a Glorious purpose. You, through the embracing of Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in your “Temple” and a “resemblance” to God’s “Image” can show those deceived souls how to Deny the Lies! and Live!
© Scott A Caughel 9/26/2019