Your body is a temple.
Have you ever heard that? What does it mean? If you google it, you’ll find lots of images of people exercising. When people say, “your body is a temple,” they are often referring to health and wellness. So to treat your body right, you should exercise, eat healthy, and sleep well. They are not wrong in saying that. We absolutely should care for our bodies.
But the idea that our bodies are temples is an old one, and it’s ancient meaning is very different from how it is commonly used today. As we continue this third week of our Identity series, you might have noticed that the previous two posts this week have the subtitle: “Temple of the Holy Spirit.” That is the ancient meaning, that humans who are true followers of Jesus, in their bodies, are temples of God’s Spirit. In the previous two weeks in our Identity series, we’ve seen how our identity must be rooted in the truth that we are children of God, adopted into his family, and how we are made new, alive in Christ. So after seeing our identity in the first two persons of the Trinity, this week we are looking at our identity in the Spirit. In 1st Corinthians chapter 6, verses 12-20, Paul teaches the amazing truth that the Spirit of God lives in us, and thus our bodies are his temple.
Paul’s image hearkens back to the Old Testament, where in 2 Chronicles 7:1-3 we read that Solomon dedicated the temple and the glory of God filled the temple. Paul takes this image and appropriates it for us. No longer does God dwell in a building, but we are temples that carry the Spirit of God with us.
What do we do, though, if we don’t feel like temples of the Spirit? How many of us feel very little or nothing of the Holy Spirit in our lives day to day?
We need to trust that the Spirit is at work in you, and we need to pursue the filling of the Spirit, which we’ll talk more about in the next post. For the remainder of this post, we’ll look at some ways the Bible tells us that the Spirit works in us, even if we don’t feel like anything is happening.
First, the Spirit illuminates, or shines light. How? In John 16:13-16, we read that He illuminates truth and brings glory to Christ, like sports stadium lights illuminate the field. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:12, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”
Second, the Spirit convicts of sin. Jesus said in John 16:8, “When he comes, the Spirit will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment”
Third, the Spirit also helps us in prayer. In Romans 8:26-27, Paul writes, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
These are just three of the many ways the Spirit is of God is hard at work in our lives. But what if we don’t know it, or realize it, or feel it? That would be a bummer, right? The God of the universe is living in us, at work in us, and yet sometimes we can barely realize it. That’s a problem. What we see in Scripture is that just because we are indwelt with the Spirit at the moment of placing our faith in Christ, that doesn’t mean we are filled with the Spirit. There is a difference between being indwelt and filled.
Check back in to the next post as we’ll look at what the New Testament writers had to say about the filling of the Spirit.