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What the Bible says about Body as Temple of God's Holy Spirit
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Ezekiel 16:8

The young woman is involved in a marriage. Within the context, she begins as a type of Jerusalem and gradually expands into a type of all Israel. Within the fullness of the Bible, the symbolism can apply all the way to include the church and the New Covenant. Verse 8 clearly states, "You became Mine."

The statement, "I spread My wing over you," is a symbol of caring protection. It can also imply what Boaz did in accepting Ruth when, at Naomi's bold suggestion, she came to him at night and slept at his feet. Ruth was willing to pay the price of possibly losing her reputation by being perceived as a prostitute because the community could have interpreted what she did as brazenly throwing herself at Boaz. But Boaz, being a just man (also a type of Christ), took the hint properly and redeemed Ruth to be his wife. "I spread My wing over you" suggests both as a companion in marriage and as a possession.

The Old Covenant was a marriage covenant, and it prefigures the New Covenant, which is also a marriage covenant. Several verses confirm that the church as Christ's Bride is a purchased possession. The apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:19-20: "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (see also I Corinthians 7:22-23; II Peter 2:1). These verses are especially clear regarding the legal realities involved in this relationship. The price of our redemption from slavery to Satan and this world has been paid by Christ when He shed His blood. We legally belong to Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part Two)

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Suppose you lived during the time that the Temple in Jerusalem was in operation. As a faithful Levite, you were given stewardship to maintain the Temple and its grounds. How would you take care of that responsibility, knowing it was God's earthly dwelling place? Would you approach it in an irreverent, slap-dash, careless, lackadaisical, "I am too busy with other things" manner? Or would you be highly respectful and orderly and do whatever your hand found to do with all your might?

Spiritually, God has already given us this responsibility. In fact, it is a double-edged responsibility, both personal and corporate. In I Corinthians 3:16-17, Paul uses "temple" as a synonym for "church," referring to the whole body of believers. This is clearly an extension of his earlier use of the building metaphor. By it, he illustrates that each person, as part of the building, has some effect on the quality of the whole building by how he conducts his life. This metaphor ties all of us together as a team with the specific responsibility of doing all we can to build up and strengthen the church. Undoubtedly, the ministry bears the greater burden, but every member is involved.

Paul begins in verse 6 by giving himself and Apollos as examples. The King James Version makes the first part of verse 8 unclear: "Now he who plants [Paul] and he who waters [Apollos] are one." The Revised Standard Version clarifies this: "He who plants and he who waters are equal." They are not one as if they are identical or bound together like a set of Siamese twins. He means that they are equally important to the result.

Paul frequently emphasizes the team aspect. He writes in verse 9, "We are God's fellow workers." In verses 10-15, 17, he refers to "each one" and "anyone" frequently. No one has any room to think that it does not matter what he or she does or fails to do to make the body spiritually healthy. A great, dominant theme of Paul's teaching is the individual's personal responsibility for his life and that—somehow, somewhere, sometime—each will have to give account to God for what he has done.

How can Paul say the various parts of the body bear equal responsibility? This thought hearkens back to the Parable of the Talents. The master does not expect his three servants to produce the same quantity, but he expects each to be equally faithful in what he entrusted to their stewardship.

In verse 17, Paul uses "destroy" twice (see margin). It is a strong warning to those committing the sins named in other parts of the epistle—advocating false doctrine, strife, jealousy, sexual immorality, and other permissive compromises—that God would hold them responsible despite how matters appeared at the time. He would destroy them because the church is holy because it belongs to God, and He has separated it from the world. Through their false doctrines or sinful conduct, whether they were aware or not, they were seeking or being used to destroy the spiritual health of the church. Each member bears responsibility for keeping himself holy and therefore spiritually healthy.

To understand this, perhaps we need nothing more than a deeper awareness that, despite the way things may presently look on the surface, our worldview—how we look at life and all its jumble of events—is quite narrow compared to God's. Once we see things from His perspective, we can see we bear a major responsibility to the body of Christ because God has included us in His great purpose.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part One)

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

The basis for our obligation to Christ could not be stated any clearer. He gives three reasons:

1. Verses 9-11 show what put us into indebtedness to make redemption necessary.

2. Verse 19 says that our body is now the temple of the Holy Spirit.

3. Verse 20 states that, because of redemption, we now belong to the One who redeemed us, and we must glorify Him in body and spirit.

Concerning our bodies being "the temple of the Holy Spirit," it is good to reflect on the Old Testament symbolism that God abode in the Holy of Holies within the Temple. Paul reminds us that God now lives in us (John 14:17, 23), and we are obligated to live with the utmost circumspection so that He in no way is defiled by our conduct. So it is with Christ: We are obligated to consider His demands in every area of life all the time and under every circumstance. What an honor!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Four): Obligation

Revelation 11:1

"The temple of God" is simply a common symbol of the church. However, it is interesting that, here, it is not the Temple in its general sense. Christ uses an interesting word for it: naon. The naon is not the whole Temple but just the holy place, also called the sanctuary, where the priests are allowed to enter and offer incense on the incense altar, where they brought the shewbread to place the table, where the menorah was lit before God. This is the specific place that Jesus points out to measure—the sanctuary of the Temple. It excludes the courts that are outside. In verse 2, Jesus specifically says to leave them out.

Thus, He is speaking of the inner sanctuary—not the Most Holy Place, where God's throne, represented by the Ark of the Covenant, is, but the room just outside the veil—where the priests are allowed to come in and do their work. This room represents the true church, the wheat (as opposed to the tares), the elect. Christ is directing our eyes away from any hangers-on, mixed multitudes, tares, or anyone else among the church. He is speaking of the inner core—those who are truly called and converted. In addition, He is speaking generally, not individually. He means the whole true church, as in "the body of Christ."

Paul uses this same term, calling it "the holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:19-22) rather than "the temple of God"—but it is the same idea. Paul calls us "the temple of the living God" in II Corinthians 6:16.

The Two Witnesses are told here to measure the church (the called, the elect) in general—the entire true church, the body of Christ.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 2)


 




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