The Temple of God
The Temple of God
When Israel became God’s covenant people, God had them build the tabernacle. Inside the most inner part of that ‘tent’, the glory of God was displayed. When the tabernacle was replaced by Solomon’s temple, again the glory of God came and filled the ‘Holy of Holies’. The people lived in spiritual connection with these holy structures were to themselves be holy.
With the coming of Jesus the Christ, a wonderful change took place. We not only received a new and better covenant (2 Cor. 3), but the people who are in covenant relationship with God ARE the temple. No more outward building. No more restricted location. God’s people provide the dwelling place of God to show forth the glory of God. In a combining of several Old Testament concepts the New Testament people are both the temple and the priesthood.
We should be very cognizant of two elements pertaining to such temple and priesthood. First, we MUST be holy. Peter described us as a ‘holy priesthood’ (1Pet. 2:9). He also brought forth the demand that WE be Holy even as our God is Holy (1Pet. 1:14-16). Paul demanded that as God’s people we ‘come out and be separate (holy) (2Cor. 6:17). He concluded this section saying "Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). We are God’s saints (holy ones).
Secondly, we are to show forth the very glory of God in our lives and character. This is not just a negative concept of avoiding sin so we are not condemned, but a positive concept of living in a way that God is glorified. Jesus taught that we are to "let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Paul repeated this idea saying "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
The means of accomplishing this second principle of glorifying God is by perfecting the first one - taking our holiness serious. As Moses reminded Aaron following the death of Nadab and Abihu that God had said "Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified” (Lev. 10:3). Brethren, our holiness is serious business for it is how we glorify our Father.