What’s in Your Temple?

When describing His holiness, God provided pictures like the one in Isaiah 6:1 – “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.”  Because “the train of his robe filled the temple,” there is no room in the temple for anything that isn’t holy.  Or in Revelation 15:8, which says: “and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.”  Until God’s judgment was complete – both on the unrepentant and on the cross for His people – there would continue to be no room in the sanctuary for anyone but the Lord.

How do these pictures apply to us?  Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 – “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”  Therefore, we ask ourselves: does the train of the Lord’s robe fill our temples?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

A transformative moment came in my Christian life when I understood sin in contrast to holiness, rather than as a list of “don’ts.”  It’s possible (perhaps even easy) to convince ourselves we are not sinners in need of grace by defining sin as things we don’t do.  However, much of the time, the word “sin” in the New Testament is a translation of the Greek word hamartia, which means “to miss the mark.”[1]  The word has athletic connotations, such as if an archer couldn’t hit the bullseye, they wouldn’t win the competition and the prize.  As we all know, archers are supposed to be accurate, and if they aren’t, they’ve “missed the mark.”

Therefore, when Paul writes in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” he is not saying everybody failed to follow a list of dos and don’ts, but that we have not fully lived the life God intended us to live.  Romans 3:23 declares that while we wouldn’t set up idols in our church building, all of us tolerate some idols in our soul, which is where the Holy Spirit of God chooses to dwell.  The train of His robe does not fill our inner temple, and we too often trod on it with dirty feet.  We’ve “missed the mark” any time there’s other stuff in our temple, directing our thoughts and actions.  However, by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we have both a hope of living with God and a future where His metaphorical robe does fill us.

In Paradise, God’s people will – individually and collectively – “hit the mark” perfectly for eternity.  His perfect temple will be completed in Paradise, with the living stones of all His people.

Paul returns to holiness again in 2 Corinthians 6:16 to 7:1, quoting several Old Testament passages, since holiness of His people has been the plan from the beginning –

What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
             ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
                        and I will be their God,
                        and they shall be my people.
            Therefore go out from their midst,
                        and be separate from them, says the Lord,
            and touch no unclean thing;
                        then I will welcome you,
            and I will be a father to you,
                        and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
            says the Lord Almighty.’

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.


[1] Greek Strong’s Dictionary

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