Tuesday, January 24, 2017

God's Temple

Article:  God’s Temple

"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything." (Acts 17:24).

God does not live in temples made with human hands.  This is a surprising and profound statement when you consider that so much of the world has always believed and functioned as though the only way to be close to God or to hear from Him was to meet him in some holy place.  All over the world, and throughout history, humanity has sought to reach out to God and hear from him in churches, temples, high-mountain caverns, desert shrines, and all manner of sacred spaces.  The Bible, however, draws a distinct line in the sand when it regards the habitation of the Most High.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, the apostle Paul writes concerning a gift that God has given humanity- namely their physical bodies.  He writes to assure them of the sacred importance God places on the stewardship of our bodies.  This stewardship is primarily an act of worship to God.  He writes, “…do you not know that you body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.”  God did not only desire to dwell among men, He also desired to dwell within them in a relation of intimacy and fellowship.  That close relationship came at a high price, though.

You see, humanity is separated from God because of the sinful nature of our hearts.  There really is nothing we can do to bridge the gap between ourselves and God because our efforts fall short.  But God was able to reach down to mankind when He took on flesh and died to pay the penalty for our sins.  That’s what scripture means when it says we were bought with a price…that price was the life of Jesus Christ.  It is with an attitude of gratefulness and devotion that we respond to him in devotion for all that He has done.

Romans 12:1 instructs us to present our bodies to God as a “living sacrifice”, which is our reasonable act of worship.  When we devote our time and talents to the work of God, we are worshiping Him with the "living sacrifice" of our lives.  When we intentionally combat sinful habits and attitudes in our lives, we are worshiping Him with a “living sacrifice”.  When we simply acknowledge God and His lordship over our every day, we worship God with a “living sacrifice”.  We are invited by God to be transformed by His Spirit and made clean from the stains of sin and past brokenness.

God does not need anything from humankind.  He is God.  And yet, He has chosen to make His dwelling place, not just in some distant heaven, but here on earth within the hearts of His people.  He does this to reveal Himself to His people, and to show the amazing love He has for us.  Thanks be to God for this unspeakable gift!

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