The Christian’s Body
By Curtis Kittrell
1 Corinthians 6:19
There was something amazingly wonderful and special about the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. What was it? Did it radiate with light as He walked among men? Could it be in two places at one time? Did a halo hover over His head? No, it was none of these things.
Was it different from the bodies of other men? Not really. Just like our bodies, it was “fearfully and wonderfully made.” His body had two feet, two hands, two ears, a nose, a mouth and one heart.
Yet it was different.
What was special about the body of the Lord Jesus Christ? It was special because the Son of God assumed it to dwell among men. It was through a body indwelt by the Holy Spirit and dedicated to the will of God that Jesus carried on His ministry. The body of our Lord was also special inasmuch as it was not tainted by sin. There was no sin in Him, neither was there guile found in His mouth. At the time of His birth the power of the highest overshadowed Mary and the infant Jesus was born sinless.
In similar fashion, every Christian’s body is special too. No, we were not conceived without sin. Neither do our bodies glow in the dark. They cannot last very long without food and water. They cannot Jump 10 feet into the air or skip 30 feet. Neither can they pass through closed doors or be in two places at the same time. But, they are special. Apart from being fearfully and wonderfully made, our bodies belong to the Lord. This is what makes them special.
Jesus has bought us with a price, the shedding of His own precious blood. When you became a Christian by trusting in the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the Cross, the Holy Spirit entered into your body. At that moment your body became the temple of God. So your body is sacred. That is what makes it special.
What does Paul say about our bodies? How are we to use them? How can we best glorify God in them? Can we use them or abuse them, as the case may be, as we please? In our text, Paul answers these questions for us:
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Paul’s words suggest four things:
FIRST PAUL’S WORDS SERVE AS A REMINDER
“What? know ye not?” This expression is used by Paul eight times in this first letter to the Corinthians. Again and again he had to say to them, “Didn’t anyone ever tell you about these things? Haven’t you been informed? Don’t you know it’s wrong to pit one preacher against another, wrong to organize yourselves into cliques and be constantly at war with each other? Don’t you know that such spirits are disrupting the harmony of the church and creating deep feelings of hostility? Don’t you know that drunkards, fornicators, adulterers, and sex perverts shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t you know that your body was purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, that you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and that God wants to use it for His Glory?”
Could it be that the Christians at Corinth did not know better and had to be informed? After all, they had been saved from gross heathenism, dreadful superstition, and loose moral living. Perhaps they really didn’t know how to behave as Christians.
Or it could have been that the Corinthians were ignoring certain information given them. They knew what was expected of them but they were doing nothing about it. They were not living up to their potential in Christ. They were not growing because they were not obeying Christ. I am convinced this was their problem. They were living too close to the world. They were being attracted by its allurements. Their separation was not complete. The world, the flesh, and the devil still had a hold on them.
Sometime ago I read of a woman who was 45 years of age and had the body and voice of a child. Spiritually speaking, the Corinthians were like that. Their souls had not kept pace with their age. They had been Christians for years, but they had been stifled in their growth. Paul wanted to feed them with the meat of God’s Word, but he had to feed them baby food instead. They had not grown up as Christians. They refused nourishment. Consequently, they were underdeveloped as believers in Christ.
So Paul had to remind them that their bodies were special and were to be sacred unto God. Since the Holy Spirit had been deposited into their lives, all their faculties were meant to be holy unto the Lord. They were to be submissive to Him. They were to be set apart for His glory and honor.
SECOND, PAUL EMPHASIZES THAT WE ARE A RETAINER.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?” One commentator says, “A temple is a house or dwelling of God, a building erected and set apart for the worship of the true God.”
In the Old Testament God instructed Moses to build the tabernacle in the wilderness. He was to carefully follow the blueprint of God. Nothing was to be left out. There was something about the tabernacle which would distinguish Judaism from all other religions of that day. What was it? There was a supernatural occupant in the tabernacle. Other religions merely had man-made counterfeits; Judaism had the real thing. The presence of God actually indwelt the tabernacle. This is what made it a temple, a special place of worship.
The Temple of Solomon superseded the tabernacle. After its completion, Solomon dedicated it in these words, “Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee, how much less this house that I have builded” (1 Kings 8:27). Solomon wisely realized that his beautiful edifice had limitations. He knew that God was bigger than anything he could make. Nevertheless, the Temple was dedicated to God and in a very special way it became His dwelling place. At its dedication the Shekinah Glory filled the house. God was there! Both of these structures “housed” the presence of God.
So Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians that their bodies were temples of God. They understood him. Their heathen city had many shrines which housed man-made gods. Here was a new conception of life, the body as a shrine of God. It was no longer a sacred building, it was a sacred body. They were carrying around in their bodies the presence of the Holy Spirit. No matter where they went or what they were doing, consciously or unconsciously, they took God with them.
Our bodies ought to be yielded up to God and set apart for His use and possessed, occupied, and inhabited by the Holy Spirit.
THIRD, PAUL MENTIONS THAT WE ARE RECEIVERS.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?” The body of every believer becomes, at the moment of regeneration, the temple of the Holy Spirit. He comes to indwell us and make of our bodies sacred habitations.
Christ gave His life for our salvation, that all who receive Him should be saved. And when we believe He claims us as His own-what a glorious moment!
And the secret of it is He places His Holy Spirit within us, making us new creatures-with new desires, new motives, and new interests. Indeed, old things have passed away and all things become new. The Spirit of God now resides within us.
As recipients of His Spirit we are under His control. We are no longer slaves to the flesh. We have the power to overcome the intrusions of the adversary. We refuse to yield to his distractions, lest we grieve the Holy Spirit.
It is so easy to allow habits, practices, and ways of life to control and master us; but the Spirit we have received provides the strength to master them. We are no longer enslaved to the appetite of the flesh, our instincts, or desires. We now yield ourselves to the One who can do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond what we can even begin to imagine or think.
True enough, there are those who will insist that purity is a sign of weakness and suggest that we are inferior in terms of our manhood. But, remember, you are the temple of the Holy Spirit and must not grieve Him.
Some time ago I was reading of an aged saint who was being borne to his burial. He had been very poor, and with great haste they were moving his coffin to the grave, when suddenly the old minister said, “Tread softly. You are carrying a temple of the Holy Ghost.”
The Holy Spirit abides in us to glorify Christ, our Savior. He takes the things of Christ and makes them meaningful to us. He leads us in our daily living that we may grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord. And as we yield our lives completely to Him, He fills us with His glory.
FOURTH, PAUL SPEAKS OF US AS REVEALERS.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body.”
Here we have the purpose for which we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are special because they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit; they have been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus, and they are meant to glorify Him.
Paul had to remind the Corinthians that their bodies were sacred because they were using them in immoral ways; prostitution, fornication, adultery and even that which is contrary to nature. Venus was the principal deity worshiped in the city of Corinth. She was a goddess of love, of licentious passion. The people of the city were devoted to her.
One can imagine the results. Her shrine appeared above those of the other gods; and it was a law that one thousand beautiful girls should officiate as public prostitutes before the altar of the goddess of evil. Even Christians were being influenced by the wickedness of the city. They too were guilty of sex abuses.
Paul is saying, “Glorify God with your body.” The Greeks, however, looked down on the body. Among them was the proverbial saying, “The body is a tomb.” To them, the important thing was the soul, the spirit of man; the body was a thing that did not matter. Being of this persuasion meant you could do as you pleased with the body.
If the soul is all that matters then what a person does with the body is of no significance, they argued. After all, if a Christian is the freest of all people, then is he not free to do what he likes? In other words, if the body is filled with certain instincts, why not yield to them? It is made for the sexual act, and the sexual act is made for the body; therefore, let the desires of the body have their way just as you do when you feed the stomach in response to hunger.
Paul makes it clear their concept is totally wrong. Man as a whole will not pass away. He is made for union with Christ in this world and a still closer union hereafter. This being the case, a body which belongs to Christ has been literally prostituted to the one to whom the sex sin has been committed. He proclaims that, of all sins, fornication is the one that affects a person’s body and insults it.
So, Paul is pleading to save the Corinthians in body and in soul. Sex sin contaminates the temple of God, that body which is destined to union with Christ. Our Christian bodies are sacred, because God’s spirit dwells in us. It is the temple of the Lord and must not be used to satisfy its own lust, but is to be set aside for the glory of Christ. This means we must keep it clean and pure. We must practice holy living.
Remember, your body belongs to God. “Present your body a living sacrifice unto God.”
The feet that led you in sin should now be directed in the paths of righteousness, to the house of God and the place of prayer. The eyes that once looked upon things which violated the law of God should now be directed to the Savior. The ears that once listened to impure things should now be eager to hear the Word of Life. The hands that once were swift to shed innocent blood should now be engaged in the service of the Lord. The tongue that once talked so loosely and glibly should now be singing His praises and telling others of His great love. The heart that was set upon earthly things should now be embracing the things of Christ, and sharing His love to men everywhere.
Christ Himself has exhorted us to let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.
“Oh that a man would arise in me, that the man I am would cease to be.”
Yes, we are the temple of the Lord, may we conduct ourselves in such fashion that others will know that His Spirit resides within.
To God be the glory, honor, and praise, now and forever more!