Amplified: Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
ASV: Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;
Berkley: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you do not belong to yourselves?
BBE: Or are you not conscious that your body is a house for the Holy Spirit which is in you, and which has been given to you by God? and you are not the owners of yourselves;
ESV: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, (ESV)
GWT: Don't you know that your body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you. You don't belong to yourselves.
ISV: You know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God, don't you? You do not belong to yourselves,
KJV: 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?
Moffatt: Do you not know your body is the temple of the holy Spirit within you—the Spirit you have received from God?
Montgomery: Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is within you, the Spirit whom you have from God?
NLT: Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Have you forgotten that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you, and that you are not the owner of your own body? (Phillips: Touchstone)
TLB: Haven’t you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you.
Wuest: Or do you not know that your body is an inner sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
Young's Literal: Have ye not known that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own,
OR DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO IS IN YOU, WHOM YOU HAVE FROM GOD: e ouk oidate (2PRAI) hoti to soma humon naos tou en humin hagiou pneumatos estin, (3SPAI) ou echete (2PPAI) apo theou:
- 1Co 6:15,16
- 1Co 3:16; 2Co 6:16; Ephesians 2:21,22-note; 1Peter 2:5-note
- 1 Corinthians 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
- 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Christian Liberty and Sexual Freedom - John MacArthur
- 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Christian Liberty and Sexual Freedom - Study Guide - John MacArthur
SEE ALSO BLOG POST - OUR BODY, HIS TEMPLE
A SOBERING TRUTH WE
MUST TRULY KNOW!
DO YOU NOT KNOW?
Corinth was well known for it's sexual immorality, for the popular "religion" of the day was to "worship" by visiting the Temple of Aphrodite which had up to 2000 "priestesses," aka, "religious prostitutes!" We shrink back from this fact in judgmental disgust and yet we find ourselves living in a "Corinthianized Culture" in America, a culture in which morality has been discarded and replaced with an open minded, politically correct, anything goes attitude. Sites and sounds on television today would have resulted in a show in the 1950's being removed from the airwaves and possibly even subjected to criminal charges. While the internet has many good aspects, it is also a veritable sewer of unspeakable devilish evil, a sewer easily accessible even by children! Make no mistake, believers are at war with the fallen world (James 4:4, 1Jn 2:15-17). Therefore in this section Paul is giving all disciples of Christ strategic instructions that will enable us to navigate the increasingly murky immoral waters of our post-Christian society. And beloved, unless you are living in a corner somewhere, you are not immune to these noxious, defiling influences. As Jesus prayed (Jn 17:17), we need daily to be sanctified by the truth of His Word, yea, even by the washing of the water of His Word (cp Eph 5:26, Jn 13:10). Enabled by Truth and the indwelling Spirit we need to practice "pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father" and "keep ourselves unstained by the world." (James 1:27). "Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves (OUR "TEMPLES" inhabited by God!) from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2Cor 7:1) "If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth." (1Pet 1:17)
Do you not know (1Cor 3:16; 5:6; 6:2-3, 9, 15-16, 19; 9:13, 24) - This question expects an affirmative answer. This is truth they should already be aware of, but this recitation serves as an urgent reminder.
Lenski - "Does this fact seem new and strange, perhaps questionable, to you Corinthians? Then do you not know?" The Corinthians do know what Paul is about to state, but, as in the case of so many things that we indeed know, we fail to apply them to our lives. We let them lie unused in the lumber room of our intellects. Regarding our body it is the great fact that was already touched upon in 1Cor 6:13, etc., but is now stated fully: Or do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have from God? We now see fully what Paul meant when he wrote a moment ago: "The body for the Lord, and the Lord for the body." (Lenski New Testament Commentary)
John MacArthur interprets Paul's question as a indication that the saints at Corinth had spiritual stupor - "Paul’s main emphasis is that the Corinthians were not alert to spiritual things. That is a deadly problem for a Christian. The problem with the Corinthians was that they didn’t know. You can’t be alert if you don’t know anything. They were in a spiritual stupor. That’s why 1Corinthians 8:9 and 1Cor 10:12 say, “Take heed.” 1Cor 12:1 says, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” But they were ignorant. They weren’t alert. The result was that their lives were messed up. (The Believer’s Armor)
Your body is a temple - This is true of every believer the instant they are saved by grace through faith. There are no "have's" and "have not's" in Christianity in regard to the Holy Spirit. Simply put, if He is not indwelling a person, that person is not saved! (cp Ro 8:9) If someone teaches that you have to do something else (besides belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ) to receive the Holy Spirit, they are not teaching sound (hugies = "hygienic", healthy) doctrine (Ro 8:9-note could not be any more clear!), and you would be well advised to play the part of a "Berean" (Acts 17:11-note, He 5:14-note, 1Th 5:21, 22-note) in regard to the other "doctrines" they teach (cp Eph 4:14, 15-note, Acts 20:30,31 Ro 16:17,18-note, 2Co 11:3,4 Ga 1:6,7, 3:1. Col 2:4, 5, 6, 7-note, Col 2:8-note 1Ti4:1, 6, 7; 2Ti2:15-note, 2Ti 2:16, 17-note, 2Ti 2:18-note, 2Ti 3:6, 7, 8, 9-note, 2Ti 4:3, 4-note Heb13:9-note 2Pe2:1, 2, 3-note 1Jn 2:19, 26).
William Barclay explains that in the ancient Greek culture “There was one special way in which a Greek slave could obtain his freedom. He could scrape and save, perhaps for years, such little sums as he was able to earn; and, as he saved the money, he deposited it little by little in the temple of some god. When he had laboriously amassed his complete purchase price, he took his master to the temple where the money was deposited. There the priest paid over to the master the purchase price of freedom, and the man who had been a slave became the property of the god and therefore ‘free of all men’.” Beloved, if pagans would give themselves to a god which is really no god at all, how much more should we who are bought with the price of the precious blood of Christ, give our bodies wholly to Him Who is our rightful Owner and is very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father!
Harry Ironside - See how the Holy Spirit links us again with Christ. When He was here on earth, He said to the Jews of His day, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19), and they, misunderstanding, looked at the great temple on Mount Moriah and said, "Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt Thou rear it up in three days?" But we are told, "He spake of the temple of His body." (Jn 2:20) He, the Holy One, had a real human body, and that body was the sanctuary of deity. Now He has gone back to heaven, He has saved our souls, and He claims our bodies and has sent His Holy Spirit down to dwell in the body of the believer. He says, "Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost." Do we think as much of this as we should? Would you allow many things about which you are careless if that were constantly before your mind? You think of a church building as a sanctuary set apart for the work of the Lord. You step in from the outside, and immediately your hat comes off, for you realize that you are in the sanctuary. We teach our boys and girls not to be boisterous or frivolous in the church building for it is the house where we meet with God, and we realize that reverent behavior should characterize us. But think of this, your body is the sanctuary, it is temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells. How careful you and I ought to be that we grieve not that blessed One who dwells within, that we do not bring dishonor upon the name of the Savior who has sent His Spirit to live in our body. Say the words over and over again to yourself until they get such a grip on you that you will never forget them: "My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. God dwells in me." It will give you to realize the dignity of the body and the responsibility that attaches to it. (Ironside's Notes on 1Cor 6)
Recommended Resource - See Dr John Walvoord's practical discussions dealing with the believer and the indwelling Holy Spirit: (1) Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (The Presence of the Spirit) (2) Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Yieldedness to the Spirit, Vital Fellowship with the Spirit, The Ministry of the Spirit) For example, Walvoord said "The blessed fact that God has made the earthly bodies of Christians His present earthly temple renders to life and service a power and significance which is at the heart of all Christian experience."
Earlier Paul had asked…
Do you not know that you are a temple (sanctuary) of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1Co 3:16)
Comment: "You" is plural and thus Paul is referring to the church composed of individual believers each of whom is indwelt by the Spirit. Together they form a composite temple of the Spirit. This reference to their being a temple is not just for information but to motivate transformation. The Temple was a holy, set apart place which God would jealously guard, so that it must live up to its designation. The word for Temple as discussed below in more detail is naos which refers to the inner temple complex, including the holy place and the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies could be entered into only once per year on the Day of Atonement and only then by the high priest. Anyone else who dared to enter the Holy of Holies would be struck dead. NT believers would do well to ponder the privilege they now have to enter the Holy of Holies collectively on Sundays and individually any time and any place. Such truth should transform our walk in the midst of a perverted pagan society motivating us to glorify God in our bodies!
Temple (3485) (naos) in the Greek culture denoted the "abode of the gods" and was used to refer to a literal structure or building associated with, dedicated to and set apart to be a dwelling place for a deity. either pagan gods (Acts 17:24) or the true God (Mt 23:16). Naos describes the place where a deity was worshipped (cp Zacharias ministering to God in Lk 1:9).
Hieron (2413) means holy, hallowed, consecrated and is derived from hieros  which is an adjective meaning sacred, consecrated or belonging to or connected with the gods. The word Hieros or Hieron is distinct from Naos because the former words refer to the complex which is set apart and dedicated to the worship and service of Yahweh. In other words hieron designates the entire sacred enclosure, with its porticos, courts, and other subordinate buildings. Note that Hieron is closely related to hieros (2413) which is the word the NAS translates "Temple."
Naos referred to the temple proper, including the inner sanctuary, composed of the outer room, the Holy of Holies and the innermost Holy Place. When our Lord taught in the temple, He taught in the hieron, in one of the temple porches. He expelled the money-changers from the hieron, the court of the Gentiles. When the veil of the temple was rent at the time of the death of our Lord (Mt 27:52), it was the veil of the naos, the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. When Zacharias entered the temple to burn incense (Lk 1:9), he entered the naos, the Holy Place where the altar of incense stood while the multitude were in prayer outside he people were “without,” in the hieron (Lk 1:10).
Jesus used naos in a figurative to refer to His body as a temple (Jn 2:19, 20, 21). Paul extends this meaning to the individual believer's body as the dwelling place or inner sanctuary of the Holy Spirit (1Co 6:19), the inner sanctuary of the Holy Spirit.
Hieron - 72x in 67v - NAS = sacred (1), temple (70).
Mt 4:5; 12:5-6; 21:12, 14f, 23; 24:1; 26:55; Mark 11:11, 15-16, 27; 12:35; 13:1, 3; 14:49; Luke 2:27, 37, 46; 4:9; 18:10; 19:45, 47; 20:1; 21:5, 37f; 22:52f; 24:53; John 2:14-15; 5:14; 7:14, 28; 8:2, 20, 59; 10:23; 11:56; 18:20; Acts 2:46; 3:1, 2, 3, 8, 10; 4:1; 5:20, 21, 24, 25, 42; 19:27; 21:26ff; 22:17; 24:6, 12, 18; 25:8; 26:21.
Hieron - 5x in the Septuagint (LXX) -1Chr 9:27, 29:4, 2Chr 6:13, Ezek 28:18, 45:19.
Naos - 45x in 39v - NAS = shrines(1), temple(42), temple sanctuary(1), temples(1).
Mt 23:16, 17, 21, 35; 26:61; 27:5, 40, 51; Mk 14:58; 15:29, 38; Lk 1:9, 21, 22; 23:45; Jn 2:19, 20, 21; Acts 17:24; 19:24; 1Cor 3:16, 17; 6:19; 2Cor 6:16; Ep 2:21; 2Th 2:4; Re 3:12; 7:15; 11:1, 2, 19; 14:15, 17; 15:5, 6, 8; 16:1, 17; 21:22.
Naos - 60x in the Septuagint (LXX)-
1Sa 1:9; 3:3; 2Sa 22:7; 1Kgs 6:3, 5, 17, 33, 36; 7:21, 50; 2Kgs 18:16; 23:4; 24:13; 1Chr 28:11; 2Chr 3:17; 4:7-8, 22; 8:12; 15:8; 26:16, 19; 27:2; 29:7, 17; 36:7; Ezra 5:14; 6:5; Ps 5:7; 11:4; 18:6; 27:4; 28:2; 29:9; 45:15; 48:9; 65:4; 68:29; 79:1; 138:2; 144:12; Isa 66:6; Jer 7:4; 24:1; 30:18; Ezek 8:16 (Then He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house. And behold, at the entrance to the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, [were] about twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east; and they were prostrating themselves eastward toward the sun.); Ezek 41:1, 4, 15, 21, 23, 25; Da 4:29; 5:2, 3; Joel 3:5; Amos 8:3; Jonah 2:4, 7; Hab 2:20 (“But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.”); Hag 2:9, 15, 18; Zech 8:9; Mal 3:1
Lenski - Our humble, earthly body is nothing less than "a sanctuary of the Spirit," and Paul writes "Holy Spirit," for because of its very name "a sanctuary" is holy. He uses naos, the inner sanctuary itself, not hieron, which may mean only the outer temple courts. The genitive "of the Holy Spirit" denotes possession but not in the sense that one may merely own a building without dwelling in it, for Paul adds two modifiers. First the phrase "in you," which is placed attributively after the Greek article. Only as being "within us," dwelling in us, does the Holy Spirit own our body as his sanctuary. Paul writes "in you" and not "in your bodies" and thus abides by the fact. For the Spirit dwells in us as persons and makes us "one spirit with the Lord," v. 17, and in this profound way takes possession also of our body so that this body actually becomes his sanctuary. (The Interpretation of St. Paul's First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians)
Guzik - A temple is a place sacred to God, and pure from immorality. If it is true we are filled with (Ed: What fills you controls, either wine or the Spirit in Eph 5:18-note) the Spirit, it must influence our sexual behavior. And if we commit sexual immorality as Christians, we are polluting God’s temple. Earlier, in 1Corinthians 3:16, Paul had said the church as a whole was the temple of the Holy Spirit. Now, he says the same is true, in a spiritual sense, of individual Christians.
Clarke - What an astonishing saying is this! As truly as the living God dwelt in the Mosaic tabernacle, and in the temple of Solomon, so truly does the Holy Ghost dwell in the souls of genuine Christians; and as the temple and all its utensils were holy, separated from all common and profane uses, and dedicated alone to the service of God, so the bodies of genuine Christians are holy, and all their members should be employed in the service of God alone.
Hodge - There are two things characteristic of a temple. First, it is sacred as a dwelling-place of God, and therefore cannot be profaned with impunity. Second, the proprietorship of a temple is not in man, but in God. Both these things are true of the believer's body. It is a temple because the Holy Ghost dwells in it; and because it is not his own. It belongs to God. As it is a temple of the Holy Ghost, it cannot be profaned without incurring great and peculiar guilt. And as it belongs in a peculiar sense to God, it is not at our own disposal. It can only be used for the purposes for which he designed it.(1 Corinthians Commentary)
A T Robertson comments that - Our spirits dwell in our bodies and the Holy Spirit dwells in our spirits. Some of the Gnostics split hairs between the sins of the body and fellowship with God in the spirit. Paul will have none of this subterfuge. One’s body is the very shrine for the Holy Spirit. In Corinth was the temple to Aphrodite in which fornication was regarded as consecration instead of desecration. Prostitutes were there as "priestesses" of Aphrodite, to help men "worship" the goddess by fornication!
Utley - Christianity replaces the physical temple of the Jews with the spiritual temple of Christ’s physical body (cf. Jn 2:21) as His corporate body, the church (cf. 1Co 10:16, 17; 11:29; 12:12–27). (Paul's Letters to a Troubled Church: I and II Corinthians)
Barclay - because God's Spirit dwells in us we have become a temple of God; and so our very bodies are sacred. And more--Christ died to save not a bit of a man, but the whole man, body and soul. Christ gave his life to give a man a redeemed soul and a pure body. Because of that a man's body is not his own to do with as he likes; it is Christ's and he must use it, not for the satisfaction of his own lusts, but for the glory of Christ. (1 Corinthians - Daily Study Bible)
Oswald Chambers - The Temple of the Holy Spirit - I am accountable to God for the way I control my body under His authority. Paul said he did not “set aside the grace of God”— make it ineffective (Galatians 2:21). The grace of God is absolute and limitless, and the work of salvation through Jesus is complete and finished forever. I am not being saved— I am saved. Salvation is as eternal as God’s throne, but I must put to work or use what God has placed within me. To “work out [my] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) means that I am responsible for using what He has given me. It also means that I must exhibit in my own body the life of the Lord Jesus, not mysteriously or secretly, but openly and boldly. “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection … ” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Every Christian can have his body under absolute control for God. God has given us the responsibility to rule over all “the temple of the Holy Spirit,” including our thoughts and desires (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are responsible for these, and we must never give way to improper ones. But most of us are much more severe in our judgment of others than we are in judging ourselves. We make excuses for things in ourselves, while we condemn things in the lives of others simply because we are not naturally inclined to do them. Paul said, “I beseech you … that you present your bodies a living sacrifice … ” (Romans 12:1). What I must decide is whether or not I will agree with my Lord and Master that my body will indeed be His temple. Once I agree, all the rules, regulations, and requirements of the law concerning the body are summed up for me in this revealed truth-my body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit.”
Imagery of the Temple - Since sacred concepts of boundaries, holiness and God’s presence undergird the identity of the people of God, the temple often symbolizes God’s people. (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery: InterVarsity Press)
The Temple of God in the OT was a place wholly dedicated to God and His glory and nothing defiled was allowed to come within. Nadab and Abihu the sons of Eleazar offered strange fire before the Lord and He took their life killed them (Lev 10:1,2, 3). Ryrie comments that…
Nadab and Abihu apparently used coals of fire that were not taken from the bronze altar as prescribed (see Lv 6:12, 13; 16:12). It seems, too, that they offered incense other than at the morning or evening sacrifice (cf. Ex 30:7, 8). Some feel that they were drunk because a prohibition against drinking immediately follows their punishment (Lev 10:9).
The temple of the Holy Spirit must be kept holy (Lev 11:44, 1Pe 1:14-note, 1Pe 1:15, 16-note, 1Pe 1:17-note). In a sense when believers indulge in immoral behavior they are "offering strange fire", and it is only because of the mercy of God they are not consumed like Nadab and Abihu! Our bodies must be kept as His whose they are, that we might be always ready for His use. Paul conveys a similar thought to young Timothy writing that…
Therefore, if a man (or woman) cleanses himself (herself) from these things, (Note: "Things" = Italicized = added by the translators. In context "things" appears to refer to false teachers and false teachings. This passage thus parallels 1Cor 6:18-20 in calling for separation from that which is defiling, profaning, degrading, etc. [cp "Flee immorality!"] Why? Paul goes on to explain… ) he will be a vessel (Think of your body, God's Temple, also as God's "vessel" or instrument - see Ro 6:12, 13-note) for honor (of worth or merit), sanctified (set apart), useful (easy to make use of) to the Master, prepared (perfect tense = has been made ready and is still in a condition of readiness like the Minute Men militia - farmers who were ready to engage in active combat with the enemy in a "minute's" notice! Are you "ever ready" to glorify God?) for every good work (Good works are "God works", Spirit initiated and Spirit enabled, so that only One can properly receive the glory!). (2Ti 2:21-note)
Beloved, if you repeatedly fail to cleanse yourself and to flee from the abomination of fornication, do not be surprised if the Lord does not use you (Think - "useful to the Master") for His glory! As D L Moody once said "A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine."
Spurgeon - “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” Does this not make a man outstanding? Have you never stood in awe of your own self? Have you thought enough about how this poor body is sanctified, dedicated, and elevated into a sacred condition by being set apart as a temple of the Holy Ghost?… God Himself then dwells in you. The Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead is in you. You life is hidden with Christ in God and the Spirit seals you, anoints you, and abides in you. By the Spirit, we have access to the Father. By the Spirit, we perceive our adoption and learn to cry, “Abba, Father.” By the Spirit, we are made partakers of the divine nature and have communion with the threefold, holy Lord.
Zodhiates - We see emphasis placed on the fact that the Holy Spirit in a very special way indwells the believer's body. Why? Because the body tends to obey the soul or psuche—man's instinctive tendencies—rather than to obey man's spirit that has been regenerated by the Spirit of God. Man's physical nature needs spiritual guidance. The absence of such guidance would be catastrophic, reducing him to the level of the animal… It is in the believers that God is localized as to His personal revelation. If people cannot see or find God manifesting Himself anywhere else, they ought to be able to see Him revealed in us. But do they? The second purpose served by a temple was as a place for the worship of God. "I will worship toward thy holy temple," declared David in Psalm 138:2. Today we see Muslims worshipping with their faces turned toward their chief temple in Mecca. In the Old Testament we read of Daniel opening his windows and praying toward Jerusalem. And Deuteronomy 12:11 says, "There shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you."… A temple was something detached, cut off, separated, taken out of the common, secular, corrupt world, and marked out for other and higher uses. It was not to be employed for any service that was low, vulgar, profane, but only for what was pure and divine. It was to be kept holy, undefiled, and perfumed with the incense of sweet thoughts and prayers. Is your body, are you, thus consecrated, set apart, as the temple of God was? Think what our lives would be like if we could do all things with the consciousness that God is within us, over us, and all about us (1 Corinthians Commentary)
L M Grant - The Spirit of God dwells within our body in order to display in us the precious reality of His character in our practical lives. Notice that it is not said that our spirits or souls are His temple, but our bodies.
Dwelling Places of God - In the Garden of Eden, God walked with Adam and Eve (cp Ge 3:8) and then man (Enoch, Noah) walked with God (Ge 5:22, 24; 6:9). Then God desired to dwell with him (Ex 25:8, 29:45, cp 1Ki 6:12, 13). His glory came to the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34), but when Israel sinned, the glory departed (1Sa 4:21, 22). The glory dwelt in the temple (1Ki 8:10,11), but then departed again because of the sins of the people (Ezek 11:22,23 - see related study on the Glory of the LORD: Past, Present, Future). God's promise to Israel was that He would dwell in their midst (Zech 2:10 partially fulfilled in Jn 1:14, but the complete fulfillment including Zec 2:11, 12 awaiting His glorious return to take His throne in Jerusalem, Mt 25:31, Rev 20:4-note, Zech 8:21, 14:16, 17, Isa 2:3-note). The glory came in the person of Jesus Christ (Jn 1:14) but His own rejected Him (Jn 1:11). Today He dwells in believers individually (1Co 6:19, 20-note) and the church collectively (1Co 3:16, Ep 2:20, 21, 22-note). In the Millennium Jehovah will reveal Himself as Jehovah Shammah - The LORD is There (Ezek 48:35) taking His throne in the earthly city of Jerusalem. And finally one wonderful day God’s glory will be revealed in the New Heaven and the New Earth and the perfect city, a heavenly Jerusalem, where His people will dwell forever (Rev. 21:3-note, Re 21:22-note).
Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God - This Scripture has no caveats, asterisks or exception clauses and thus makes it indubitably clear that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer.
Lenski - We are the Spirit's, and he is ours, a blessed mutuality but one that is "from God," a most gracious gift to us. The moment we hold this fact beside the other that fornication desecrates our body as does no other sinful act, the true character of this vicious sin becomes clear to us. (The Interpretation of St. Paul's First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians)
A W Tozer put it this way "I do not believe in a repetition of Pentecost, but I do believe in a perpetuation of Pentecost—and there is a vast difference between the two."
Jesus speaking to His disciples gave them this promise concerning the Holy Spirit…
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (parakletos = "The Comforter", literally "Called Alongside"), that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, Whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. (Jn 14:16, 17)
The Greek word for Helper is parakletos which means consoler, comforter, helper, legal assistant, pleader, advocate, one who pleads another's cause, pleader, proxy, one who comes forward behalf of and representative of another, one called alongside to help. In this passage our Lord was promising that the Holy Spirit would take up permanent, uninterrupted residence within His disciples. It was not only that the Spirit would be present with them but the even greater truth was that He would be resident within them permanently. This truth of the permanently indwelling Spirit is one of the wonderful New Covenant realities (originally this promise was given to Judah and Israel in Jer 31:31 but applicable to the church 1Co 3:16). Through the prophet Ezekiel God promised…
I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life. (Ezek 37:14, cp Ezek 11:19, 20, 37:26,27, 39:29. The final fulfillment of this promise will take place at the Second Coming when Christ will pour out His Spirit upon Israel - Zech 12:10 and "all" Israel [all that compose "the remnant"] will be saved - see Ro 11:26, 27-note)
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was often present with believers, but He did not indwell them. Moreover, His presence seemed to be conditional which is the grounds for David's prayer "Do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me." (Ps. 51:11-note).
In the New Testament believers now have a permanent present Paraclete, not with or among, but within. The indwelling presence of the Spirit is one of the proofs of salvation:
You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him (Ro 8:9-note, cp 1Cor 12:13)
And so Jesus’ promise in John 14 that the Holy Spirit would reside within them was not limited to the eleven apostles who were present that night. In fact the Holy Spirit indwells every Christian. In John 14:17 Jesus promised that "the Spirit of truth… abides with you and will be in you." In John 14:23, Jesus said "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him."
And so in this passage Paul affirms that "the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God." (1Cor 6:19)
In his second letter there is a similar passage, where Paul asks the Corinthians…
Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. 17 "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. 18 "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty. 7:1 Therefore, having these promises (Truth revealed always calls for a personal response! Scripture is not given to make us smarter sinners, but more like the Savior!), beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2Co 6:16, 17, 18, 7:1-note)
As D L Moody rightly said - "I think it is clearly taught in the Scripture that every believer has the Holy Ghost dwelling in him. He may be quenching the Spirit of God, and he may not glorify God as he should, but if he is a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost dwells in him. But I want to call your attention to another fact. I believe today, that though Christian men and women have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, yet He is not dwelling within them in power; in other words, God has a great many sons and daughters without power." (D. L. Moody: Secret Power - ONLINE)
John Calvin - As the soul does not live idly in the body, but gives motion and vigour to every member and part, so the Spirit of God cannot dwell in us without manifesting Himself by the outward effects.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones - That is why fornication should be unthinkable in a Christian. God is in us, in the Holy Spirit: not an influence, not a power, but a person whom we can grieve.
F B Meyer…
MAKING A FRESH START
"Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."--Eph. 4:22-note, Ep 4:23, 24-note.
"Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ."--Ro 13:14-note.
WE CAN all start afresh! However far we have ascended, there is something higher; and however far we have fallen, it is always possible to make a fresh start. We need to take our place in the School of Christ and be taught by Him (Eph. 4:20, 21-note).
"The old man" which we must "put off" is clearly our former manner of life. If we have not put it entirely away, let us do so now by an immediate act of faith in the living Spirit. It does not take long for a beggar to put off his rags and take instead a new suit of clothes, and it need not take a moment longer to put away habits and thoughts, ways of speech and life which are unworthy of the children of God. Do it now, and look up to the Holy Spirit to keep renewing you in the spirit of your mind.
But more than this, let us "put on the new man," which is the life of Jesus Christ, that ideal which is in the likeness of God, and which the Lord created for us by His blessed life and death and resurrection.
But to enable us to live this life we need the daily help of the Holy Spirit. He entered our hearts at the moment of regeneration, and has been with us ever since. We may not have realized His entry, but we believe it because of the assurance of 1Co 6:19; Ro 8:9-note; Ep 3:16-note. For my part, I like to begin every day, before lifting my head from the pillow, by saying, "Thou art within, O Spirit of Christ, though I feel Thee not."
If the Holy Spirit be ungrieved He will witness to our sonship; He will enthrone Christ as King of our life; will keep the self-life in the place of death; will give us a hunger for the things of God; He will give power in witness-bearing.
In order to have a strong and blessed Christian experience, the one thing is to see that we do not grieve the Spirit. I do not think that we can grieve Him away, but we may greatly limit and restrain His gracious work by insincerity of speech, the nursing of an unforgiving spirit, any kind of over-reaching or fraudulent dealing, impurity of speech, or failure in love. We may be bound, so as not to be able to move our arms, by a number of cotton threads, quite as tightly as by a strong rope-thong. Let us take care not to grieve Him by such inconsistencies.
PRAYER - Fulfill in me, O God, those desires of goodness which Thou hast created in my heart, and perfect the work of faith, that Jesus Christ may be glorified in me. AMEN.
Andrew Murray - The Holy Spirit is the power of God for the salvation of men. He only works as He dwells in the Church. He is given to enable believers to live wholly as God would have them live, in the full experience and witness of Him Who saves completely. Pray God that every one of His people may know the Holy Spirit! -- That He, in all His fullness, is given to them! (Ed: Don't misunderstand. Every believer has the indwelling Spirit, so Murray is referring here to one's experience of His power in His fullness, as for example in Paul's prayer Eph 3:16). That they cannot expect to live as their Father would have, without having Him in His fullness, without being filled with Him! (Ep 5:18). Pray that all God's people, even away in churches gathered out of heathendom, may learn to say "I believe in the Holy Ghost." (Andrew Murray. The Ministry of Intercession)
AND THAT YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN: kai ouk este (2PPAI) heauton?:
- 2Co 5:15; Rev 1:6; 5:10, Dt 7:6; 14:2 Isa 43:7, 21; Mal 3:17, 1Ki 20:4; 1Chr 29:14; Ps 12:4; 100:3; Ro 14:7, 8, 9; 2Cor 5:15; Titus 2:14
- 1 Corinthians 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
- 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Christian Liberty and Sexual Freedom - John MacArthur
- 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Christian Liberty and Sexual Freedom - Study Guide - John MacArthur
In 1Co 6:18a Paul had closed that statement with a reference to the believer's body as "his own". In that sentence Paul was emphasizing the deadly effect of sin upon the person himself. Now in 1Cor 6:19 Paul emphasizes that there is a new relationship between Christ and the believer and now his body is not considered his own but the property of the one Who paid the purchase price.
You are not your own - "Not" is the the Greek particle (ouk) signifying absolute negation. "You are absolutely not your own" (no exceptions to this statement for believers).
Spurgeon - It is a great privilege not to be one’s own. Does any man think it would be a pleasure to be his own? Let me assure him that there is no ruler so tyrannical as self. He that is his own master has a fool and a tyrant to be his lord. God has a right to do whatever he wills with you. If we must suffer week after week bedridden with pain, he has a right to lay us there and chasten us in every limb. If the Lord says, “Go into your room and cough all the winter through, and then melt away,” we must bow before his decree, remembering these words, “Ye are not your own.” Or if he says, “Come down from your position of comfort into hard work and poverty,” again you must remember, “Ye are not your own.” Or if he says, “Migrate across the seas. Go to a new country. Cut every tie and break the fondest connections,” you must cheerfully obey, for “ye are not your own.”
Cambridge Bible - Nothing can be more effectual than the thought of such an inhabitation, as being the result of our Christian calling, to restrain us from the sin here mentioned.
The fact that our bodies "are not our own" means we cannot do with them whatever enters our mind. That's the way we used to act when we were non-believers but now we need to allow God to renew our minds in this area (cp Ro 12:2-note, 2Co 3:18, 4:16, Ep 4:23-note, Col 3:10-note). Dear believer, don't be discouraged if you are experiencing a struggle in this area, for Paul says that such internal warfare is to be expected writing…
But I say, walk (present imperative = not a suggestion for an elite few, but a command to all believers, one we need to seek to obey every moment of every day, even the obedience being enabled by God - Php 2:13NLT-note, Ezek 36:27) by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire (epithumia) of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition (antikeimai is in the present tense = continually lining up face to face against) to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (thelo = desire that comes from one's emotions, an active decision of one's will). (Gal 5:16-note, Ga 5:17-note)
Note that (1) the fallen flesh in believers still has strong ungodly desires, drives, and passions ("desire of the flesh"); (2) the flesh continually sets its ungodly desires against the godly desires of the Spirit; and (3) because of these fleshly desires you will still desire to do what you want to do ("the things that you please"). The truths in 1Cor 6:18-20 are given to transform our mind and renew our thinking, so that now we might be motivated by the truth that we actually are a holy sanctuary (think "Holy of Holies"!) inhabited by the Holy Spirit wherever we go and that this same Holy Spirit is in us to enable a holy walk. As we learn to surrender our wills to His perfect will (in so called progressive sanctification, walking "step by step", not with the idea of an arrival but of a life long process, learning how to walk spiritually even as a child learns how to take one step after another) He empowers us so that we will not carry out the desire of the old sinful fallen flesh (Gal 5:16).
Witherington - Paul thus reminds the Corinthians that they do not have the Spirit because of something they inherently are, or because of something they have accomplished. It is a gift from God. They are not their own persons. (Conflict and Community in Corinth : A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians. Page 169. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans)
Paul taught a similar idea in Romans 14 writing that…
if we (as believers) live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Ro 14:8, 9-note)
In his epistle to Titus Paul reminds his young protégée that Christ…
gave Himself for (huper = substitution = in our place, on our behalf) us, that He might redeem (lutroo - word study) us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession (Wuest = "his own private possession"! Amplified = "a people to be peculiarly His own"), zealous for good deeds (BBE = "on fire with good works"). (Titus 2:14-note)
Peter also spoke of believers as no longer their own stating…
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession (Young's Literal = "a people acquired", Wesley = "a purchased people", Wycliffe = "God’s own purchased, special people"), (Why? What is the church's purpose in these last days?) so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of (spiritual) darkness (we were "blind" 2Co 4:4) into His marvelous light (cp Jn 8:12); (1Pe 2:9-note)
All to Thee is yielded,
I am not my own;
Blissful, glad surrender,
I am Thine alone.
(The Quiet Hour)
Writing to the believers at Ephesus who were primarily Gentiles and who had been captive to pagan idolatry, Paul taught them that the Holy Spirit was…
given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Eph 1:14-note)
Comment: "Possession" in both 1Pe 2:9-note and Ep 1:14-note is the noun peripoiesis [word study] from peripoieo = to acquire or purchase and thus describes an acquiring, an obtaining or a purchasing. Peripoiesis means that which is acquired by purchase with the corresponding idea of preservation of that which is purchased.
If we truly understand that we are no longer our own, then we will begin to experientially live in the liberating truth that Christ…
died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves (they are no longer their own!), but for Him Who died and rose again on their behalf. (2Co 5:15, cp 2Co 5:14)
MacDonald comments: The Savior did not die for us so that we might go on living our own petty, selfish lives the way we want to live them. Rather He died for us so that we might henceforth turn over our lives to Him in willing, glad devotion. Denney explains "In dying our death, Christ has done for us something so immense in love, that we ought to be His, and only His for ever. To make us His is the very object of His death."
A PEOPLE AS
GOD'S POSSESSION -
NOT A NEW TEACHING
This concept of a group of people who are set apart (holy) and are the possession of the Holy God did not originate in the New Testament but has its roots in the Old Testament. For example, in the book of Exodus following His redemption of Israel (Ex 6:6, 15:13, Dt 7:8) from Egyptian bondage, Jehovah announced to them through Moses that…
You yourselves (Israel as a nation) have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings (YouTube - On Eagle's Wings) and brought you to Myself (A beautiful metaphor which in essence describes God's redemption of Israel at the Passover, an event which foreshadowed and was fulfilled in the sacrifice [crucifixion] of the sinless Lamb of God [Jn 1:29] where Christ became every believer's Passover [1Co 5:7] so that we too would escape eternal death - see Passover Lamb). Now therefore, if (identifies this as a conditional statement - God will, if Israel will) you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant (Referring to the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant), you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is Mine (Speaks of His sovereignty); and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” (Ex 19:5, 6, 7)
Comment: Thus we see that in the Old Testament God declared that Israel would be His "treasured possession" (and a kingdom of priests and a holy nation), on the condition they obey His covenant stipulations. They did not obey and suffered the consequences of disruption of the nation and exile of the 10 northern tribes into Assyria (722BC) and then exile of the 2 southern tribes into Babylon (586BC).
Today, under the unconditional New Covenant of grace (where obedience is still called for but is provided for by God Who gives us a new heart and new power to obey - Ezekiel 36:26, 27) all believers are now God's own treasured possession. It therefore behooves all of us who have been bought with such a costly price to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of our high calling as "God’s own purchased, special people" (as Wycliffe renders 1Pe 2:9)
The tragedy is that the "Chosen People" rebelled against God's covenant (the Old Covenant of Law) and ran after other so called "gods", proving themselves to be an unfaithful "wife" (Read Ezekiel 6:9 to see what this did to God's heart!). If Israel's story had terminated there, it would have been a miserable end indeed. We would hardly be able to say "and they lived happily ever after"! But God (A great phrase "but God" - see Ro 5:8-note, Ep 2:4-note) was not (and is not) finished with Israel. The prophets help us understand God's promised plan for Israel, speaking of a time yet future when Israel will be wholly His possession, which is always what God has desired.
In the context of Isaiah 43, God foretells of His redemption of Israel…
But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel (God is clearly making this promise to the nation of Israel, not to the Church), “Do not fear, for I have redeemed (Ga'al/Goel - word study; Lxx = lutroo - word study = pay ransom payment to release someone held captive) you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! (Is 43:1)
Comment: Motyer writes that "With marvelous dramatic sense we are moved from considering the people under the fire of the Lord (Is 42:25), and justly so, to the Lord promising that the fire will not burn them (Is 43:2)."
Note that this prophecy was only partially fulfilled with Israel's return from Babylonian captivity (Ed: Think of the concept of redemption as paying a price to set the captives free, cp Lk 4:18), but awaits a final future fulfillment. John MacArthur agrees writing that "God’s redemption of His people from exile is not to be complete until His Servant returns to reign over the faithful remnant in the land of Israel who have believed on Jesus Christ (cp the events that will take place at the Second Coming = Zech 12:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, Zech 13:1 = "that day" correlates with day described in Romans 11 = Ro 11:25, 26, 27-note). The limited return from Babylon only typified the final return." (MacArthur, J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word or Logos)
Isaiah goes on to describe the Lord's regathering of the believing Jewish remnant to the land of Israel (God is keeping His "forever" promise which He graciously gave to Abraham - Ge 13:15) ending their worldwide dispersion and He accomplishes this great deliverance at His Second Advent and just preceding the inauguration of His earthly reign as King of kings at the beginning of the Millennium).
I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth, Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made."
Comment: God gives multiple promises of national restoration in the Old Testament -- Isaiah 11:11,12, 27:13, 49:12, 60:4, Dt 30:3, 4, 5, 6, Jer 30:10, 11, to name a few.
Constable makes the excellent observation that "Return from Babylonian captivity would not be from the four compass points and so does not qualify as the complete fulfillment. He will do this when Jesus Christ returns to the earth (cf. Is 5:26; Mt. 24:31)." (Isaiah)
MacArthur commenting on Isa 43:6 writes that "The Lord will regather to the land of Israel the faithful remnant of His people from their worldwide dispersion in conjunction with the institution of the Messiah’s kingdom on earth (cf. Is 11:12). (MacArthur, J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word or Logos)
Morris commenting on Isa 43:7 notes that "Although this affirmation was especially applied to Israel (cp Dt 28:10), the principle is universal, answering the great question as to God's purpose in creation. It was "for my glory" (Re 4:11)." (Morris, Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)
This future regathering will transpire when the Redeemer returns to remove ungodliness from Israel and take away their sins (Ro 11:26, 27-note) at the end of the time of Jacob's distress (Je 30:6), which is synonymous with the the 3.5 year period of the Great Tribulation which occurs in the second half of Daniel's Seventieth Week. It is at this time that the people of Israel will be wholly His possession, even as Isaiah prophesies…
I have made Israel for Myself, and they will someday honor Me before the whole world (Isa 43:21 NAS = The people whom I formed for Myself Will declare My praise.)
Comment: MacArthur writes that "In the messianic age (the Millennium), Israel will finally give the Lord the credit that is due Him (contrast Je 13:11).
In the prophecy of Malachi Jehovah reiterates His promise they Israel will be His possession declaring
And they will be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "on the day (What day? The day when the Great Tribulation is abruptly terminated at the Second Coming by the triumphant return of the Deliverer - Ro 11:25, 26, 27-note) that I prepare My own possession (Jewels in KJV = Mal 3:17KJV, Other translations = My special property, My special treasure - This Hebrew word segullah is used 8x and 6 refer to Israel as God's possession - Ex 19:5; Dt 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps 135:4; Mal 3:17), and I will spare them (speaking of a believing Jewish remnant) as a man spares his own son who serves him." (Malachi 3:17, compare KJV - Mal 3:17KJV)
Comment: MacArthur agrees adding that this passage "The godly remnant will belong to Him and will be His special treasure. In the midst of judgment, He will spare them (cf. Ps 103:13) (Ed: "in wrath remember mercy" Hab 3:2).
Robertson - Ye do not belong to yourselves, even if you could commit fornication without personal contamination or self-violation. Christianity makes unchastity dishonor in both sexes. There is no double standard of morality. Paul’s plea here is primarily to men to be clean as members of Christ’s body.
Neighbour - In the old days there was but one inhabitant in our bodies, and that was our sinful self. Now that we are born again, we have not only a new man begotten in Christ Jesus, who dwells in our body, but we have that new man enforced by the indwelling Spirit.
J. Waite - The heathen have had their ideas of Divine "possession;" but their possession has been exceptional, transitory, fictitious, the device of priestcraft, the wild dream of mystic superstition. Here the Divine possession is real, reasonable, permanent, fruitful of blessed issues. If we could only realize it more, not with anything like the wildness of a dangerous fanaticism, but with the calm quiet dignity of a spirit that is consciously walking in the light of God, what strength and beauty it would give to our life! Imagine the awful sanctity with which the temple of old must have been invested to the view of the worshipping people as soon as the heaven kindled fire came down, and "the glory of the Lord had filled the house." With what higher sanctity still should we clothe the being of a man in whom the Holy Spirit dwells! Shall not "Holiness unto the Lord" be the acknowledged, manifest, and all pervading law of his life? (Divine Ownership)
R. Tuck - Before conversion he may have so thought of himself. The essence of conversion is a voluntary surrender of will and life to Christ… Therefore in all the Christian is, in all the Christian has, and in all the Christian can be, he is under solemn obligation to glorify God, who is his Lord. And the Lord whom he serves, and who holds sole right in him and his, he is permitted to apprehend and recognize as his gracious Master, the glorified "Man Christ Jesus," whose service is perfect freedom and holiest joy. (The Christian Has No Personal Rights)
John Piper - The ultimate question is not who you are but whose you are. In his book Don't Waste Your Life Piper writes
The Bible says, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1Cor 6:19, 20). I have written this book to help you taste those words as sweet instead of bitter or boring.
You are in one of two groups: Either you are a Christian, or God is now calling you to be one. You would not have picked up this book if God were not at work in your life.
If you are a Christian, you are not your own. Christ has bought you at the price of his own death (cp Titus 2:14-note). You now belong doubly to God: He made you, and he bought you. That means your life is not your own. It is God’s. Therefore, the Bible says, “Glorify God in your body.” God made you for this (Isa 43:7). He bought you for this (1Pe 1:18-note, 1Pe 2:24, 25-note, 1Pe 2:21-note). This is the meaning of your life.
If you are not yet a Christian, that is what Jesus Christ offers: doubly belonging to God, and being able to do what you were made for. That may not sound exciting. Glorifying God may mean nothing to you. That’s why I tell my story in the first two chapters, called “Created for Joy.” It was not always plain to me that pursuing God’s glory would be virtually the same as pursing my joy. Now I see that millions of people waste their lives because they think these paths are two and not one.
There is a warning. The path of God-exalting joy will cost you your life. Jesus said, “Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mk 8:35, context Mk 8:34, 35, 36, 37, 38 cp Lk 9:23, 24, 25, 26, 27) In other words,
it is better to lose your life
than to waste it.
If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full. This is not a book about how to avoid a wounded life, but how to avoid a wasted life. Some of you will die in the service of Christ. That will not be a tragedy. Treasuring life above Christ is a tragedy.
Please know that I am praying for you, whether you are a student dreaming something radical for your life, or whether you are retired and hoping not to waste the final years. If you wonder what I am praying, read Chapter 10. That is my prayer.
For now, I thank God for you. My joy grows with every soul that seeks the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Remember, you have one life. That’s all. You were made for God. Don’t waste it. (Download and read John Piper's challenging book - Don't Waste Your Life)
Dave Guzik has an interesting comment on Isaiah 43:7 noting that "Whom I have created for My glory means that God not only has created us, but that He has created us for a purpose. If we have no Creator, then we are purposeless; but God has created us and He did it for a purpose, creating us for His glory. This means that when we are glorifying God, we are fulfilling the purpose we were created for, and will therefore be the most happy and fulfilled. (Ref)
Harry Ironside - "Ye are not your own." Does your heart respond to that? "Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price." And what price? The precious blood of God's dear Son (1Pe 1:18, 19) Yonder at Calvary He purchased us to be His own. An old Puritan writer said, "Calvary was the marketplace where the Savior bought us with His blood, but He never got His money's worth." We have been such poor servants, we have responded so poorly to His love. We used to sing years ago:
"Not my own, but saved by Jesus,
Who redeemed me by His blood,
Gladly I accept the message,
I belong to Christ the Lord.
"Not my own, to Christ my Saviour
I believing trust my soul,
Everything to Him committed,
While eternal ages roll.
"Not my own, my time, my talents.
Freely all to Christ I bring,
To be used in joyful service
For the glory of my King.
"Not my own, the Lord accepts me,
One among the ransomed throng
Who in heaven shall see His glory,
And to Jesus Christ belong."
It will be wonderful to be His own up there. I would not want to miss it then, but it is a greater privilege to be His own as we walk the streets of this world than it will be when we walk the streets of gold, for this is the world in which we have the privilege of glorifying Him in our bodies.
We are God's very own, being redeemed by Him. Every Christian therefore should wear a sign in his heart, "Not for sale!"
Rob Morgan has the following illustration - I read the other day about a young man in Indonesia who married his girlfriend, but he had lots of problems and troubles in his marriage. He was a businessman, but he developed a severe addiction to gambling, and it ruined his life. He finally lost so much money that he decided to commit suicide. He hanged himself just before Christmas, but his brother-in-law found him hanging and cut the rope. When his body fell to the floor, he began to breathe again. His family was so frightened they called a policeman, and the young man was placed in custody. They took from him his belt and shoestrings, and placed him in a protective cell. But he had managed to hide a razor blade in the pocket of his trousers. That night, he took out the razor blade and put his left wrist on the table. He was just about to cut the vein when, at that very moment, his attention was drawn to a small book on the table. It was a Gideon New Testament. Out of curiosity, he opened it and his eyes fell on the verse in 1 Corinthians 6 that says, "Know ye not that you are the temple of God?" The young man began shaking uncontrollably, and he fell down on his knees and cried, "Oh, God, forgive me! Have mercy on me!" He kept saying those words over and over, until the police called for a minister who led him to faith in Jesus Christ. His life was permanently changed. The next year he entered a Bible College in East Java, and he went on to become an evangelical pastor in Indonesia.
Octavius Winslow - Devotional on 1Corinthians 6:19, 20 - AS a temple of the Holy Spirit, yield yourself to His divine and gracious power. Bend your ear to His softest whisper—your will to His gentlest sway—your heart to His holy and benign influence. In not hearkening to His voice, and in not yielding to His promptings, we have been great losers. Often has He incited to communion with God, and because the time was not seasonable, or the place not convenient, you stifled His persuasive voice, resisted His proffered aid, and, thus slighted and grieved, He has retired. And lo! when you have risen to pray, God has covered Himself as with a cloud that your prayer could not pass through. Oh, seek to have an ear attuned to His softest accents, and a heart constrained to an instant compliance with His mildest dictates. The greatest blessing we possess is the possession of the Spirit.
And oh, to be Christ’s—to be His gift, His purchase, His called saint, His lowly disciple—what an inestimable privilege! But how may we be quite sure that this privilege is ours? If we have the Spirit of Christ, we are in very deed Christians. It is the superscription of the King, the mark of the Shepherd, the Lord’s impress of Himself upon the heart. And how sanctifying this privilege! “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts.” “Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” And if we are Christ’s now, we shall be Christ’s to all eternity. It is a union that cannot be dissolved. Every believer in Jesus is “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance.” And as we have the earnest of the inheritance, we shall as assuredly possess the inheritance itself. The Spirit of Christ is an active, benevolent Spirit. It bore the Savior, when He was in the flesh, from country to country, from city to city, from house to house, preaching His own gospel to lost man. “He went about doing good.” If we have the Spirit of Christ, we shall be prompted to a like Christian love and activity on behalf of those who possess not the gospel, or who, possessing it, slight and reject the mercy. The Spirit of Christ is essentially a missionary Spirit. It commenced its labor of love at Jerusalem, and from that its center, worked its way with augmenting sympathy and widening sphere until it embraced the world as the field of its labor. Ah! that we manifest so little of this Spirit, ought to lead us to deep searchings of heart, and stir us up to earnest prayer: “Lord, make me more earnest for the salvation of souls, for the advancement of Your kingdom. Grant me this evidence of being Your—the possession of Your Spirit, constraining me to a more simple and unreserved consecration of my talents, my substance, my rank, my influence, my time, myself, to the establishment of Your truth, the advancement of Your cause, and thus to the wider diffusion of Your glory in the earth.” (Octavius Winslow. Daily Walking with God)
J C Philpot - "You are not your own." –1 Corinthians 6:19
There is a blessed sense in these words, "You are not your own." Remember you must be someone's. If God is not your master, the devil will be; if grace does not rule, sin will reign; if Christ is not your all in all, the world will be. It is not as though we could roam abroad in perfect liberty. Someone will have us. We must have a master of one kind or another; and which is best, a bounteous benevolent Benefactor such as God has ever shown himself to be; a merciful, loving, and tender Parent; a kind, forgiving Father and Friend; and a tender-hearted, compassionate Redeemer, able to save us to the uttermost; or a cruel devil, a miserable world, and a wicked, vile, abominable heart?
Which is better, to live under the sweet constraints of the dying love of a dear Redeemer; under gospel influences, gospel principles, gospel promises, and gospel encouragements; or to walk in imagined liberty, with sin in our heart, exercising dominion and mastery there; and binding us in iron chains to the judgment of the great day?
Even taking the present life, there is more real pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness in half an hour with God, in sweet union and communion with the Lord of life and glory, in reading his Word with a believing heart, in finding access to his sacred presence, in knowing something of the droppings in of his favor and mercy--there is more solid happiness in half an hour thus spent in the real service of God, than in all the delights of sin, all the lusts of the flesh, all the pride of life, and all the amusements that the world has ever devised to kill time and cheat self, thinking, by a death-bed repentance, at last to cheat the devil.
J. C. Philpot -You are not your own!
Your eyes are not your own—that you may feed your lusts, that you may go about gaping, and gazing, and looking into every shop window to see the fashions of the day—learn the prevailing pride of life—and thus lay up food for your vain mind—either in coveting what must be unfitting to your profession—or applying your money to an improper use—or being disappointed because you cannot afford to buy it.
Your ears are not your own—that you may listen to every foolish tale—drink in every political, worldly, or carnal report which may fall upon them—and thus feed that natural desire for news, gossip, and even slander —which is the very element of the carnal mind.
Your tongue is not your own—that you may speak what you please, and blurt out whatever passes in the chambers of your heart, without check or fear.
Your hands are not your own—that you may use them as implements of evil—or employ them in any other way than to earn with them an honest livelihood. Our hands were not given us for sin—but for godly uses.
Your feet are not your own—that you may walk in the ways of the world—or that they should carry you to haunts where all around you are engaged upon errands of vanity and sin.
All must be held according to the disposal of God, and under a sense of our obligations to Him.
But perhaps you will say, in the rebellion of your carnal mind, "What restraint all this lays upon us. Cannot we look with our eyes as we like—hear with our ears as we please—and speak with our tongues as we choose? Will you so narrow our path that we are to have nothing of our own—not even our time or money, our body or soul? Surely we may have a little enjoyment now and then—a
little recreation, a little holiday sometimes, a little relaxation from being always so strict and so religious—a little feeding of our carnal mind which cannot bear all this restraint?"
Well, but what will you bring upon yourself by … the roving eye, the foolish tongue, the loose hand, the straying foot? Darkness, bondage, guilt, misery, death!
"But," you say, "we are not to be tied up so tightly as all this! We have gospel liberty, but you will not allow us even that!"
Yes, blessed be God, there is gospel liberty, for there is no real happiness in religion without it; but not liberty to sin—not liberty to gratify the lusts of the flesh—not liberty to act contrary to the gospel we profess, and the precepts of God's Word—for this is not liberty but licentiousness.
"You are not your own! For you are bought witha price—therefore glorify God in your body, and in
your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19
J C Philpot - Remember that you must belong to someone. If God is not your master—the devil will be. If grace does not rule—sin will reign. If Christ is not your all in all—the world will be. We must have a master of one kind or another. Which is better—a bounteous benevolent Benefactor—a merciful, loving, and tender Parent—a kind, forgiving Father and Friend—a tender-hearted, compassionate Redeemer? or a cruel devil, a miserable world, and a wicked, vile, abominable heart? Which is better—to live under the sweet constraints of the dying love of a dear Redeemer—under gospel influences—gospel principles—gospel promises—and gospel encouragements? or to live with sin in our heart, binding us in iron chains to the judgment of the great day?
Even taking the 'present life'—there is more real pleasure, satisfaction, and solid happiness in half an hour with God—in reading his Word with a believing heart, in finding access to His sacred presence, in knowing something of His favor and mercy—than in all the delights of sin, all the lusts of the flesh, all the pride of life, and all the amusements that the world has ever devised to kill time and cheat self—thinking, by a deathbed repentance, at last to cheat the devil. J. C. Philpot. RICHES
F. B. Meyer. Our Daily Homily
KNOW YE NOT THAT YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GHOST WHICH IS IN YOU? 1 Cor. 6:19
THIS is a sentence which should be deeply pondered; every clause is significant. We evidently should know its deep and solemn meaning. Apparently it is one of the commonplaces of our holy religion. This knowledge, however, should not be merely that of the intellect, but born out of the deep musing of the heart.
The holy temple.--Built up of the dust of the earth, our bodies are rarer than the most glorious structures that ever the sun shone on, because they are meant to be the shrine and home of God. Jesus spoke of the Temple of His Body; and if He was so zealous for His Father's House that He drove out the unholy traffickers, and refused to allow a vessel to be carried through the courts, should we not be equally careful? We are the custodians of the Divine residence; let us be very careful that there be nothing to offend or trouble the celestial Inmate.
The Divine Inmate.--Too often He is grieved, and driven to occupy the most secret shrine, concealed and hidden beneath the heavy veil of our inconsistency and unbelief. He is not driven out by our sins, but driven in. Whenever, on the contrary, we put away our sin, and walk in the light as He is in the light; whenever the veil is rent and the whole heart thrown open to Him --He comes in power to occupy every part of our being, so that there is no part dark, and the very body becomes transfigured.
The great Price.--Bought as any slave standing in the marketplace for sale! Ransomed from the direst slave master to the dearest Lord! The price --not corruptible things, as silver and gold--but precious blood! Our life is henceforth not our own, but His.
Honoring God with Your Body - You’re acquainted with house sitters. Not wanting to leave your house vacant, you ask someone to stay in your home until you return. Let me describe two nightmares.
The first house sitter redecorates your house, changing white paint to pink, Berber carpet to shag. His justification? “The house didn’t express me. I needed a house that communicated who I am.”
Your response? “It’s not yours! My residence doesn’t exist to reflect you! I asked you to take care of the house, not take over the house!”
You might choose him, however, over nightmare number two. She didn’t redecorate; she neglected. Never washed a dish, made a bed, or took out the trash. “My time here was temporary. I knew you wouldn’t mind.”
Of course you’d mind! Both house sitters made the same mistake: They acted as if they owned the dwelling. How could they? But how could we? When it comes to our bodies, the Bible declares that we don’t own them. (Max Lucado)
A NEWSPAPER carried an article entitled "Victimless Crimes Get Second Look." The writer stated that practices such as prostitution and gambling are being reevaluated by state and federal authorities. Because laws governing these activities are hard to enforce, some think they should be legalized. Some states no longer consider drunkenness a crime. And a few have no laws against illicit sexual acts between consenting adults. It's claimed that such behavior is victimless because no one gets hurt.
We must not be fooled by this faulty reasoning. Sin always hurts people, the one committing it as well as others. No person lives in isolation, and a society is only as strong as the individuals in it.
Pressing even deeper, we see that sin offends a holy God who made us in His image and who tells us what's right and wrong. His commands are always for our good. To disobey them is to miss knowing His best for us.
As Christians, we do not belong to ourselves—we are the possession of Another. To violate body, mind, and soul through indulging the lusts of the flesh, therefore, is to strike out at God who made us and indwells us by His Spirit.
We may think some things are harmless. But even when no one else is directly affected, we hurt ourselves and grieve the One who created us. —D J De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
A Man Named "Large" (Read: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20) Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. --1Corinthians 6:13
A man dubbed the King of Franks downed 20 hot dogs in 12 minutes of Coney Island competition. The man, whose nickname is "Large," devoured his competition in the process, and then boasted that he was off to a barbecue. His nearest challenger consumed only 15 dogs.
Large complained that the humidity kept him from matching his record meal of 21 franks the year before, but said he relishes the chance to break his record next year.
Large was interviewed later as he took a break from cooking some of his winnings--365 hot dogs. He quipped, "I feel a little tired, but I'll probably eat something a bit later."
It seems that Large lives to eat. We too can choose to live for food, drink, or any other kind of pleasure, but overindulged appetites will consume us in the process. Our bodies were not made to be served; they were designed to serve the Lord.
Eating contests can be fun, but not when they become a way of life. Only when we realize that our bodies are temples (1Co 6:19), made to be filled and controlled by the Spirit of God, will we find what quiets the hunger within. We won't find true satisfaction until we are filled with the Lord, who made us for Himself. --M R De Haan II
God gave me a life in this body of mine
To have and to use for a specified time;
So I must be careful of life, for you see
My body does not belong to me. --Anon.
We all must eat to live,
but some just live to eat.
Garbage In The Temple - A number of years ago, a government investigation discovered that some truckers were hauling garbage in the same refrigerated trucks that were used to transport food. Part of the problem was that trucks making long trips could not afford to return empty.
According to the truckers, some considered garbage a dream commodity. They were paid to transport something that couldn't be damaged. During congressional hearings, a food science professor likened the problem to serving potato salad from a cat's litter box.
This "pollution for profit" scandal is nothing compared to the one described in Jn 2:13-22. Jesus cast out the money changers from the temple because their schemes for financial gain had desecrated His Father's house. But just as bad is polluting the temple of our bodies with thoughts and practices that don't belong there (1Cor 6:19).
In many ways, we are no better than those truckers or the temple merchants of Jesus' day. We think it would be more profitable for us to carry the garbage of this world's values in our minds. May God forgive us, cleanse us, and help us to cast out everything that defiles the temple in which He alone has the right to dwell. — Mart De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, help us love what's good and right—
O make us pure within;
And give us courage to repent
When we would choose to sin. —D. De Haan
Christians must live in the world,
but not let the world live in them.
THE LIVING THIEF - Ye are not your own. 1Corinthians 6:19 - A minister of the Gospel was trying to impress upon a certain man his obligation to convince him of his responsibility to be obedient to the Word of God. When asked if he had ever been baptized, the man replied, "No sir, I haven't! But why should I? The dying thief was never baptized and he went to Heaven!" When the preacher urged him to be more faithful in church attendance, the other answered, "Why should I? The dying thief didn't go to church, and he was saved!" Finally the man's pastor spoke to him about the matter of giving and his duty to support the work of the local assembly with his financial gifts. To that the man responded, "That's not necessary. The dying thief went to Heaven, and he never gave one cent to missions or anything like that!" Turning away, the man of God said with disgust in his voice, "Mister, the only difference I can see between you and the thief on the cross is this: He was a dying thief, and you're a living one!"
"Will a man rob God?" writes the prophet Malachi. "Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, How have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me … " (Mal. 3:8, 9). Not only does a believer rob God when he fails to give financial assistance "as God hath prospered him" (1Cor. 16:2), but also when he holds back of his time, talents, love, and devotion. Therefore Paul reminds us, "… ye are not your own … ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1Co 6:19, 20). Let us then withhold nothing. Rather, as the Bible says, we should "present [our] bodies a living sacrifice … unto God" (Ro 12:1). May it be said of us, as it was of the Macedonian Christians, "They first gave themselves to the Lord," so that "the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality" (2Co 8:2, 5). (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
What do I owe? Nay, Lord—what do I not?
All that I am, all that I've got;
All that I am, and that how small a thing,
Compared with all Thy goodly fostering!
God looks not to the quantity of the gift
but to the quality of the giver!
J C Philpot - Your money is not your own. You may not spend it just as you please—without check of conscience—without restraint of godly fear—without putting to yourself any inquiry how far you are spending it aright. You should be like a miser who looks at every shilling before he parts with it. So should every shilling be looked at, carefully and narrowly, by a Christian, whether it is spent for the honor and glory of God or not. I grant that this may seem to tie us up very closely, and that is one reason, perhaps, why the people of God are kept, for the most part, so tight in hand, that they have very little loose money to spend as they like. But even if we have a competency, or perhaps more than a competency, if we are under divine influences and gospel obligations, although we may have the money, we cannot throw it here and there to please and gratify the flesh—adorning the body with costly clothing, either for ourselves or our children—and decorating the house with new and unnecessary furniture. This is not the obligation of gospel grace. Your money is not your own, if you are a Christian. You are but a steward. If you have much, the more responsible you are for the right use of it. If you have little, still you are a steward for that little.
ALL TO HIM I OWE - We are not our own, we have been redeemed. But while we sing "Jesus Paid It All" let us remember the next line, "All To Him I Owe." Certain Divine requirements grow out of our being bought with a price. Such love demands my soul, my life, my all. We are to glorify God in body and spirit—our selves—because we belong to Him (I Cor. 6:19, 20). We are to glorify Him in our service: "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men" (I Cor. 7:23). And Peter tells us that since we have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, we are to pass the time of our sojourning here in fear (I Pt. 1:17-21). Self, service, sojourning—all to Him I owe, because He paid it all. While we sing about the price that He paid, we had better check on what God expects for us, not to repay Him, but as the expression of our heart's love to Him who redeemed us. (Day by Day - Vance Havner)
All Things Are Yours (1Cor 3:21) - I am not just to enjoy all this for myself. All things are mine except myself. I am not my own, I am bought with a price; therefore I ought to glorify God in my body and in my spirit, which are God's (1Cor 6:19, 20). (Day by Day - Vance Havner)
Who owns you? When I ask myself that question, my first impulse is to dismiss it as nonsensical. With Paul, who enjoyed the rights and freedoms of a Roman citizen, I too can boast that I am free—at least politically.
Olav Olavson was a free citizen of Sweden, but he found himself hard-pressed for money. So in desperation he sold his body for medical research to the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in 1910. A year later, he inherited a fortune, so he tried to buy himself back. But the Institute refused to sell him his rights to his own body, and in a lawsuit they retained possession of it. The Institute even collected damages from him because he had two teeth extracted without permission.
All of us are slaves to sin and spiritually dead—unless we have been born again. We can be set free from the penalty and power of sin (and how I rejoice that I have been set free) by prayerfully asking Jesus Christ to become our Liberator. We experience spiritual freedom as we accept His gift of forgiveness and then offer ourselves as slaves to God (Ro 6:22-note).
What a blessed paradox! As God's slaves we enjoy a life of true freedom, peace, and hope. — Vernon C. Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
We were imprisoned by our sin,
Controlled by evil ways;
But then the Savior set us free
To serve Him all our days. —Sper
To gain true freedom,
give your life to Christ.
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee;
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee;
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise;
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
Octavius Winslow - THE HOLY SPIRIT, An Experimental and Practical View
That the religion of our adorable Immanuel is a reality- no airy fiction, as is the Mohammedan, and no "cunningly devised fable,"- many, conclusive and precious are the evidences. There is however, to the true believer, one evidence which, apart from, and superior to all others, affixes the seal of credibility; this is the conviction of its truth arising from the indwelling of the Spirit in the heart. There is in this great truth, something so palpable, so undoubted and so self-evident, that no sophistry of man, no ingenuity of Satan and no knowledge of the deep evil of our fallen nature can weaken or overthrow it. It is God Himself, as it were, taking the witness-stand and, setting aside all other testimony, challenging everything that would reduce His own work to a mere non-entity and exclaiming, "Who is he that condemns?" Clad in the armor of this evidence, the feeblest disciple of Jesus takes higher ground in vindication of the truth of the Gospel than the acutest reasoner who is destitute of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is true that the conviction arising from this source of evidence is the strongest and most convincing to his own mind; yet there is, in the simplicity, the honesty and the boldness with which his belief is declared, that which carries a powerful conviction to the minds of others. He may be challenged by the skeptic, there may be objections which he cannot meet, arguments which he cannot answer, difficulties which he cannot explain and sophisms which he cannot unravel; and yet the "witness within himself" shall throw such vigor into his reasoning and tenderness into his spirit, and shall invest his whole demeanor with an air of sincerity so touching that his accusers shall be compelled to pay him the tribute once awarded to his Lord, "he speaks as one having authority." He believes and has experienced what he declares, and thus God has given him a "mouth and wisdom, which all his adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist."
But let it not be supposed that we regard the indwelling of the Spirit in the believer as presenting merely, or even mainly, an evidence in favor of the truth of the Gospel. This undoubtedly demands a distinct and grateful recognition. But we must not rest here. We are to take a more enlarged view of the glory of God, as unfolded in this most holy and blessed doctrine- His glory as secured to Him in the comfort, holiness and filial walk of the believer who is conscious that he is a temple of the Holy Spirit. We feel the subject to be one of great and solemn importance. Its vastness is almost overpowering. The bare thought that the "high and lofty One, inhabiting eternity, whose name is Holy," should dwell with man, yes, in him- that He should take out of the fallen race of His creatures a people whose hearts should be so renewed and sanctified as to form a dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit- that this heavenly visitant should take up His abode there in all His regenerating, sanctifying, sealing and comforting influences- the bare thought of this seems almost too illimitable and glorious for a poor finite mind to grasp! And yet, reader, the consolation flowing from this subject is so great, and the motives to holiness drawn from it so persuasive, and God so glorified by it, that we feel constrained to place it in the foreground of this treatise. May He Himself draw near, unfold His own truth to our minds, and sanctify us through its holy influence!
The first thought that presents itself to the mind as we look into this great subject is that suggested by the passage placed at the head of this chapter: "Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you?" The great idea here conveyed is that
THE BELIEVER IS A TEMPLE,
THE RESIDENT OF THAT TEMPLE
BEING GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT.
With the converted Corinthians, to whom these words were addressed, the figure would be at once striking and significant; the magnificent city in which they dwelt abounded with gorgeous temples erected to the honor of supposed deities, at whose idolatrous and superstitious rites they had frequently attended in the days of their ignorance. Drawing their minds away from the service of idols (while at the same time using the concept of a heathen temple as an illustration of his fine idea) the apostle, by an easy and a beautiful transition of thought, leads them to consider themselves as temples in an eminent and holy sense- formed, consecrated and adorned for the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit. There is a depth of important and spiritual truth in this idea which we desire to unfold, as the Divine Teacher shall Himself "anoint us with that anointing which teaches us of all things."
In contemplating the believer as a temple of the Holy Spirit, it is natural and proper to consider the condition of the soul previous to the entrance of the Spirit of God. Man, in his original constitution, was a glorious temple. Two facts will prove it. First, he was like God in his moral image; and second, God dwelt in him. He was in every respect worthy of such a resident. He was the holy temple of a holy God. Not a flaw was there. The entire man was holy. There was perfect knowledge in the judgment, perfect holiness in the will, and perfect love in the heart. "Holiness to the Lord," was the inscription written on every window and every door, yes, on every part of this temple. A beautiful structure was man in his original state! Well did the mighty Architect, as He gazed upon His work, pronounce it "very good"!
But behold what sin has done! Man has lost his original resemblance to God. It is true that he still retains his spiritual, intelligent and immortal nature, these he can never lose. But as for his moral likeness to God in knowledge, purity, justice, truth and benignity, these glorious lineaments are blotted from his soul, and darkness, impurity, desolation and death reign there. With the obliteration of moral resemblance, the soul has lost all love to God. More than this; there is not only the absence of love but, as we have shown in a former chapter, there is positive enmity. "The carnal mind is enmity against God," that enmity showing itself in a thousand ways, principally in its seeking to dethrone God. From his affections he has dethroned Him. To eject Him from the throne of His moral government in the universe is the great and constant aim of the carnal mind. If this is not so, why this perpetual war against God- against His being, His law, His will, His supreme authority to govern and reign? Why this refusal to acknowledge and obey Him? "Who is the Lord God, that I should obey him?" Oh, there is no mystery in the case! Man has revolted from God and, having thrown off all allegiance to Him as his Sovereign, he seeks to be a God to himself. Self is to him what Jehovah once was- the object of supreme delight. Having cast out God, he moves in a circle of which he himself is the center- all he does is from self, and for self. From this all the lines diverge, and to this they all again return.
It needs not the argument or the illustration of a moment to show that such being the moral destitution of man, God has ceased to dwell in him. The temple polluted, defaced and destroyed, the Divine Resident has gone, and the heart, once so sweet a home of Deity, is now the dwelling-place of all sin. Another occupant has taken possession of the ruin; and, like ancient Babylon, it has become the den of every ravenous beast, a habitation of dragons and the impure abode of every foul, malignant passion. Reader, it is as impossible that God can make your heart His dwelling-place, while every thought and feeling and passion is up in arms against Him, as it would be for Christ to dwell with Belial, or light to commingle with darkness. You must be renewed in the spirit of your mind. You must be born again.
But it was God's eternal and gracious purpose to restore this temple. Satan had despoiled His work, sin had marred His image; but both usurpers He would eject, and the ruin of both He would repair. Oh, what mercy, infinite, eternal and free, was this that set Him upon a work so glorious! What could have moved Him but His own love, what could have contrived the plan but His own wisdom, and what could have executed it but His own power? In the restoration of this temple, man was no auxiliary. He could be none. His destruction was his own, his recovery was God's. He ruined himself; that ruin he could not himself repair. The work of restoration is a greater achievement of Divine power than was the work of creation. To repair the temple when ruined was more glorious than to create it. In one day He made man; He was four thousand years in redeeming man. It cost Him nothing to create a soul; it cost Him His dear Son to save it. And who can estimate that cost? He met with no opposition in creating man; in re-creating him, Satan, the world, even man himself, is against Him.
We have said that it was God's gracious and eternal purpose to restore this ruined temple. The first step which He took in accomplishing this great work was His assumption of our nature, as though He Himself would be the model from which the new temples should be formed. This was one of the profoundest acts of God's wisdom, one of the greatest demonstrations of His love. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us " (marg. tabernacled among us). His human body, the temple; his Godhead, the indwelling Deity. Was ever a temple so glorious as this? "Immanuel, God with us." "God manifest in the flesh." O awful mystery! what imagination can conceive, what mind can fathom it? We can but stand upon the shore of this vast ocean of wisdom and love, and exclaim, "O the depth!" "Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh." This was the first step towards His work of replenishing the earth with spiritual temples, to be filled now and eternally with the Divine presence and glory. The entire success and glory of His undertaking rested here. This was the foundation of the structure. He could only obey the law, as He was "made of a woman"; He could only "redeem those who were under the law," as He was God in our nature. The absolute necessity, then, of His Godhead will instantly appear. Had the basis of the great work He was about to achieve been laid in any other doctrine, anything inferior, less holy, less dignified; had the foundation been laid in mere creature excellence, however exalted that excellence might be, there could have been neither strength, permanency, nor glory in the temple. It would have fallen before the first storm of temptation, and fearful would have been its destruction. God well knew at what cost the work of redemption would be achieved. He knew what His violated law demanded, what His inflexible justice required, and through what costly channel His love must flow; therefore "He laid help upon one that was mighty" - "mighty to save." And what was the secret of His might? His absolute deity. Take a lower view than this, and you reduce the work of Christ to nothing; you tear the soul from the body, pluck the sun from the firmament, wrench the keystone from the arch and the foundation from the building. But look at His work through His Godhead, and oh, how vast, how costly, how glorious does it appear; what a basis for a poor sinner to build upon; what a resting-place for the weary soul; what faith, hope, and assurance does it inspire; how perfect the obedience, how infinitely efficacious the blood, and how prevailing the intercession- all derived from the Godhead of Jesus. Glorious temple were You, blessed Son of God!
But this temple was to be destroyed. Jesus must die! This was the second step in the accomplishment of the great work. Thus did he announce the fact to the obtuse and incredulous Jews: "Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." "He spoke of the temple of his body." His death was as necessary to the satisfaction of justice, as His life of obedience had been to the fulfilling of the law. As the Substitute of His people, He must yield up His life; as the Surety of the covenant, He must completely surrender Himself into the hands of Divine justice; as the Testator of His own will, there must of necessity be His death, otherwise the testament would have been of no force at all while He lived. There was no possible avenue for His escape, even had He sought it. He or His people must die. He must taste the bitterness of the death that was temporal, or His elect must have tasted of the bitterness of the death that was eternal. O yes, Jesus wished to die. Never for one moment did He really shrink from the combat. He well knew the conditions upon which He had entered into a covenant engagement on behalf of His people. He knew that the price of their pardon was His own blood, that His death was their life, and that His gloomy path through the grave was their bright passage to eternal glory. Knowing all this, and with the awful scene of Calvary full in view- the cross, the sufferings of the body, the deathly sorrow of the soul- He yet panted for the arrival of the moment that was to finish the work His Father had given Him to do. How ready was Jesus thus to die? Where this eagerness? It sprang from His great love to sinners. Oh, this was it! We must go down to the secret depth of His love, if we would solve the mystery of His willingness to die. "God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Thus was the "temple of His body" destroyed, that "through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." See, reader, the source of your free pardon, the ground of your humble trust, the secret of your "strong consolation." It is all involved in the death of Jesus. You cannot ask too much, you cannot expect too much, you cannot repose too much at the foot of the cross. All is mercy here- all is love - all is peace. Sin cannot condemn, Satan cannot tempt, the world cannot allure, conscience cannot accuse; "there is no condemnation" to a poor soul that shelters itself beneath the cross of Jesus. Here every dark cloud withdraws, and all is sunny; here every tear is dried, but that of joy; and every voice is hushed, but that of praise.
But a third step in the accomplishment of this stupendous design was the resurrection of Christ. This formed an essential and glorious part of His work, in preparing a way for the personal and permanent residence of the Holy Spirit. "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again." Great stress is laid upon this doctrine in the Word. And the child of God may be but imperfectly aware what an essential pillar it is to his hope, and how sanctifying and comforting the blessings are that spring from a full belief in it. The resurrection of Jesus is the great seal to the character and perfection of His work. Indeed, without this Divine attestation His work would never have effected our salvation. His perfect keeping of the law and His suffering unto death were but parts of the vast plan, and, taken separately and distinctly, were not capable of perfecting the salvation of the church. The apostle so reasons. "And if Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God, for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave, but that can't be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still under condemnation for your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ have perished!" 1Co 15:14, 15, 16, 17, 18. A moment's reflection will justify the conclusions which the apostle deduces from the supposition that Christ had not risen.
Our dear Lord endured the "curse of the law"; a part of that curse was death- death legal, death temporal, death eternal. He was "made a curse for us," and died. So long as He remained imprisoned in the grave, "death had dominion over him." We would have looked in vain to His obedience and sufferings for the proof of the all-sufficiency and acceptableness of His satisfaction, as long as the iron scepter of the king of terrors held Him in subjection. O what a momentous period were the three days that intervened between the giving up the spirit upon the cross, and the bursting of the tomb! The salvation of the whole church hung upon it. All who had already "fallen asleep" in Him, and all whom it was the purpose of God yet to call, were deeply interested in this one fact. But on the third day the destroyed temple was raised again; death had no more dominion over Him, its sting was extracted, its scepter was broken, the curse was rolled away, and the redemption of the church was complete. "He was delivered for our offences, and rose again for our justification."
Let the Christian reader fully believe this one truth, that Jesus is alive again, and it will afford to his soul greater confirmation of the veracity of God's character, of the truth of His Word, and of the perfection and all-sufficiency of Christ's work, than all other truths beside. Is Jesus alive at the right hand of God? Then the debt is paid, and justice is satisfied. Is Jesus alive at the right hand of God? Then the Father is well pleased in the work of His Son, and He "rests in His love, and rejoices over His church with singing." Is Jesus alive? Then every promise shall be fulfilled, and all the blessings of the everlasting covenant shall be freely bestowed, and I, a poor worthless sinner, yet resting upon His atoning work, shall live also. May the Holy Spirit lead you into the full belief- the belief of the heart as well as of the judgment- of this glorious truth. It is the keystone of the temple. Press it as you will, the more you lean upon it, the stronger you will find it; the more you rest upon it, the firmer will grow your hope. Only receive it in simple faith, Jesus is alive- alive for you; all you need in this valley of tears is here; all your temporal mercies are secured to you here; all your spiritual blessings are laid up for you here. Such is the great charter, such are the immense, untold blessings it contains, that, come how you will, come when you will, and "ask what you will, it shall be granted you of the Father," because Jesus is at His right hand. Well may we take up the dauntless challenge of the apostle, "Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died; yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." Your salvation is complete, your heaven secure, and all victory, happiness and glory bound up in this one great fact. Then may we not again exclaim with Peter, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
Thus have we briefly traced the successive steps which God took to prepare the way for the permanent indwelling of the Spirit in the believer. Through the incarnation, obedience, death, and resurrection of Christ, a way was opened by which God could again dwell with man, could resume His abode in the very temple that sin had destroyed, and show forth the riches and glory of His grace far more illustriously than when this temple stood in its original perfection and grandeur. Here was the foundation of every successive temple that grace was about to raise. "Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation." "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." On the dignity of His person, finished righteousness, perfect atonement, all-sufficient grace and inviolable faithfulness, believers, "as living stones, are built up a spiritual house." (1 Pet. 4. 5), for the everlasting indwelling of God the Holy Spirit.
In passing now more specifically to the consideration of the indwelling of the Spirit, we proceed to adduce the testimony He Himself has borne to the doctrine. In the following passages the truth is unfolded. Looking into the Old Testament, shadowy as the period was in which that part of the inspired Word was written, we yet find clear intimation of the doctrine before us.
Ezek 36.27: "And I will put my Spirit within you."
Ezek 37.14: " And I shall put my Spirit in you, and you shall live."
In the New Testament the doctrine opens upon our view with increasing power and brightness. Our Lord's own words are familiar.
John 14.16, 17: "And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him, for he dwells with you, and shall be in you."
Ro 8.9: "But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you."
Ro 8:11: "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you," etc.
1Co 3.16: "Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"
1Co 6.19: "What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?"
2Co 6. 6: "And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them," etc.
Ep 2.22: "In whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
We will not multiply quotations; it is sufficiently clear that the indwelling of the Spirit is a revealed doctrine of Scripture. We proceed to develop it.
When does the Holy Spirit enter a soul?
We reply, at the moment of its regeneration. This is His first gracious act. Previous to this, all is dark, desolate and dead, as we have in other places fully shown. What pen is adequate to describe the moral desolation, the fearful dilapidation of the soul of man, before the Spirit enters, bringing in His train, life, light and order? One brief sentence of Divine truth will more correctly and vividly describe it than the most elaborate human production. "Sensual, having not the Spirit." But the Spirit enters. He comes, in accordance with the eternal purpose, in harmony with the covenant of grace, borne on the wings of His own love, and traveling in the greatness of His own strength. What a triumphal entry, when He takes possession of the temple, already purchased by the Savior's blood! At His approach, darkness, enmity, pollution and death retire, and are succeeded by light, love, holiness and life. It is true that He meets with fierce opposition from within, for "the strong man armed keeps his palace," and "his goods are in peace"; but "a stronger than he comes," and puts to flight all opposition, bends the will, subdues the enmity, dissolves the heart and implants the sweet response, "Come in, blessed of the Lord, why do you stand outside? Enter, and take full possession for Yourself. Long have I closed my heart against You, too long have I resisted all Your importunities. But now You have conquered and prevailed; come in, blessed Spirit, and seal me for Your own." O blissful moment, when the Spirit enters, convincing of sin, breaking the heart with godly sorrow, laying the soul low in the dust in the spirit of self-abasement and self-condemnation before God, then leading it to the atoning blood of Jesus and speaking pardon and peace to the conscience.
The Spirit dwells in the believer as a manifestation of the Divine glory. The temple that Solomon built was one of great magnificence and splendor. But it was an earthly glory; and although He who "dwells not in temples made with hands" condescended to reveal Himself in it, yet it possessed no glory in comparison with the glory that was to exist in the new spiritual temple which the Holy Spirit was to erect and inhabit. Speaking of the legal dispensation, with which the temple prepared by David and built by Solomon was designed to harmonize, the apostle argues that it possessed no glory in comparison with the Gospel economy. And why? Because there was less of the Spirit in the former than in the present dispensation. It was the enlarged manifestation of the Spirit, especially His indwelling of the saints, which constituted the peculiar and far-surpassing glory of the new economy. "How shall not (says he) the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more does the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excels."
The superior glory of the new dispensation then is that it is more spiritual; there is a more enlarged and rich effusion of the quickening, sanctifying and sealing influences of the Holy Spirit; there is more of Christ, more of the holy liberty of adoption, a more simple, spiritual and child-like approach to God. But especially does the indwelling of the Spirit in the saints form a distinguished feature of the new economy. Here is an especial manifestation of the Divine glory. That the Spirit should, on the broad basis of Immanuel's finished atoning work, call a poor sinner by grace, regenerate, sanctify and then take possession of him forever, dwell in him, witness in him, work in him and make him fit for the inheritance of the saints in light- this is a marvellous display of the Divine glory. The electing love, infinite wisdom and omnipotent power of God are glorified; the atoning work, all-sufficient grace and unspeakable compassion of Jesus are glorified, the irresistible power, infinite patience and efficacious work of the Spirit are glorified in the soul that becomes "a habitation of God through the Spirit." We even dare assert that the conversion of a soul, the sustaining of the work wrought in that soul, the keeping of the believer through a long life of holy, upright and close walk with God, and the bringing of him safe to eternal happiness, are greater displays of the mighty power of God and more glorify Him than the creation of ten thousand worlds like ours.
The Spirit dwells in the believer as the ever-living Spirit of all grace and comfort. All that is really holy and gracious in a child of God is found in the work of the indwelling Spirit. All the holy breathings and desires of the soul, all the longings for God and for conformity to His will and image, all that is lovely and like Jesus in the saint, are the result of this gracious act of the eternal Spirit. The Lord Jesus Himself would direct us to this truth. John 4.14: "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." That this well of water is the indwelling of the Spirit, seems clear from the loth verse: "Jesus answered and said unto her, If you knew the gift of God," etc.; that "gift of God" was the Holy Spirit, alluded to again still more emphatically in ch. 7. 38, 39: "He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which those who believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.")
Here is a gracious truth. The Spirit in every believer is a deep and living well of all spiritual blessings. He dwells in the soul "not like a stagnant pool, but like an ever-living fountain that flows at all seasons of the year, in heat and cold, and in all external circumstances of weather, whether foul or fair, wet or dry." Nature could not produce that which the indwelling Spirit accomplishes in the saints of God. The hungering and the thirsting for righteousness, the rising of the heart in filial love to God, the sweet submission to His sovereign will, the longing for more knowledge of Christ, the constant struggling with the law of sin, the mourning over the indwelling principle of sin; all this is above and far beyond nature. It is the fruit, the precious fruit, of the indwelling spirit.
It may be, reader, that your heart is often anxious to know in what way you may distinguish between nature and grace, how you may clearly discern between that which is legal and that which is spiritual, between that which is the work of man, and that which is the work of God. In this way you may trace the vast difference- that which at first came from God, returns to God again. It rises to the source where it descended. Divine grace in a sinner's heart is a springing well- "a well of water springing up into eternal life." Did nature ever teach a soul the plague of its own heart? Never! Did nature ever lay the soul in the dust before God, mourning and weeping over sin? Never! Did nature ever inspire the soul with pantings for God and thirstings for holiness? Never! And did it ever endear the throne of grace, and make precious to the soul the atoning blood, the justifying righteousness of Jesus? Never! never! All this as much transcends the power of nature as the creating of a world. Is this your real state, reader? O look up! "Flesh and blood" did not reveal it to you- but the eternal God has revealed it and that by the indwelling of His own blessed Spirit in your heart.
We must not overlook His indwelling as a Spirit of holiness. This is His great and crowning work in a believer. It is in vain that we look for Him as a Witness, or as a Spirit of comfort, if we slight Him as a Sanctifier. Although we have assigned a distinct chapter to the subject of the sanctification of the Spirit, we would yet briefly allude to it in connection with His indwelling of the saints. The work of holiness forms a great and glorious part of His operation as the Indweller of His people. He has come to restore, not only order, but purity to the temple. He has come to restore the reign of holiness, to set up the law of God in the soul, to unfold its precepts, and to write them upon the heart, and, shedding abroad the love of Christ, under its gentle but powerful constraint to lead the believer to "run the way of God's commandments." He is pre-eminently a "Spirit of holiness" in the believer. For a more full unfolding of the manner in which the Spirit carries forward the work of holiness in the soul, the reader is referred to the chapter on that subject.
Nor must it be forgotten that He dwells in the believer as an abiding Spirit. It is a permanent indwelling. Our dear Lord laid especial stress upon this feature. When on the eve of leaving His disciples to return to His throne, He promised them "another Comforter," whose spiritual presence should more than make up for the loss of His bodily presence. And lest there should be any painful apprehensions as to the time of His dwelling with them, He assures those who the Spirit should abide with them forever. "And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever." Do not overlook this truth. Let no spiritual darkness, no workings of unbelief, no sense of indwelling sin, rob you of the comfort and consolation which a believing view of it will impart. There may be periods when you are not sensible of the indwelling of the Spirit. Clouds and darkness may be around this doctrine; there may be severe trials, gloomy providences, foreboding fears, the way rough and intricate, the sky dark and wintry, faith small, unbelief powerful, and your soul, from its low depths, led to exclaim, "All these things are against me. Will the Lord cast off forever? and will he be favorable no more? Is his mercy clean gone forever? does his promise fail for evermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? has he in anger shut up his tender mercies?" Oh do not forget that even then, dejected saint of God, then when all is dark within and all is desolate without, then the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier and the Comforter and the Glorifier of Jesus, dwells in you, and shall be with you forever. True, you may be assailed by powerful corruptions, the "consolations of God few and small" with you, and your prayer like David's, "Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me"; yet He, the blessed Indweller, is there, and His still, small and soothing voice shall soon be heard amid the roaring of the tempest, hushing it to a peaceful calm. He shall "abide with you forever." No wanderings, no neglect, no unkindness, no unworthiness, no unfaithfulness shall ever force Him from your bosom. He may withdraw His sensible presence; He may withhold His comforting influence; He may be so grieved by a careless walk as to suspend for a while His witnessing and sanctifying power, permitting indwelling corruptions for a moment to triumph; but He restores the soul; He brings it back again; He breaks the heart, then binds it up; wounds, then heals it, fills it with godly grief, then tunes it with thanksgiving and the voice of melody. "For a small moment have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather you." "He restores my soul."
I can present, in this chapter, a mere outline of the remaining operations of the Spirit as the Indweller of the saints. I regret this the less because some of those parts of His work are more fully discussed in the chapters especially assigned to them in this treatise.
As a Spirit of adoption He dwells in the believer.
Gal 4.6 "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
As a Witness He is there.
Ro 8.16: "The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
As an earnest and pledge of future glory He is there.
Ep 1.13, 14: "In whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance," etc.
As a Teacher He is there.
John 14.26: "The Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things." "He shall guide you into all truth."
As a Remembrancer He is there.
Jn 14:26: "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance."
As a Glorifier of Jesus He is there.
John 16:14: "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you."
All these gracious operations works that one and self-same Spirit, dwelling in the hearts of all believers.
In reviewing this subject, the following important reflections suggest themselves to us.
How amazing the grace of God that makes the heart of a poor sinner His dwelling-place! O what grace is this! How it prostrates all high thoughts of self, how it brings down the lofty look, and lays the soul where it should ever lie, "low in a low place." "Will God in very deed dwell with man?" "I will dwell in them," says God, "and will walk in them."
Let us not forget that it is the humble broken heart that forms the true temple of the Holy Spirit. He only dwells here. And here He does dwell. It may be a temple despised by man, but God prepares and chooses it for His abode. The proud and haughty spirit of self-righteous man may overlook it as valueless; the tear that falls in silence, the sigh that is breathed in secret, the heart that mourns over sin may be thought little of by the passer by, but with God it is of "great price." He has a bottle for that tear, a record for that sigh, and that mourning is music in His ear. "The high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: "I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts." Isaiah 57:15. Perhaps your cry is, "Come, blessed and eternal Spirit, into my heart; make it a temple, now and forever, for Your abode worthless though the offering be, yet it is all I have to present You; enter, with all Your humbling, sanctifying, sealing and comforting influences, and take full possession for Yourself."
O blessed cry! O sweet fruit of that loving, faithful Spirit, who already has entered (unknown and unsuspected, it may be, by you) and has planted there this desire, the sure and certain pledge of future glory! Be assured, precious soul, that this cry, feeble as it is, is an evidence of the indwelling of the Spirit. It is the first gentle springing up of the living fountain within you, and it shall continue to spring up even unto eternal life. Cherish it as you would your greatest blessing. Pray that it may be increased and strengthened more and more, and closely watch against the slightest thing which would tend to enfeeble it.
How holy should the temple of the Spirit be!
Reader, are you a temple of God the Holy Spirit? Then dedicate yourself unreservedly to God. You are not your own. Your body, your spirit, your family, substance, time, talents, influence, all, all belong to God. He dwells in you - lives in you- rules in you, and calls you His dwelling-place. "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" Then what a separation should there be between you and the world that lies in wickedness! How should you guard against every unnecessary entanglement with it; how cautious and prayerful, lest, by contracting an unholy alliance with it in any form or degree, you should defile the temple of God, "whose temple you are!" Oh, what heavenly wisdom, holy circumspection and ceaseless prayer do you need that you may walk with unspotted garments - that no rival should enter your heart- that no lofty views of self, no spirit of worldly conformity, no temporising policy, no known sin, no creature idolatry should enter there - that, like the heavenly temple, nothing that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, should be cherished or entertained in the abode and in the presence of the Holy Spirit; for "what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (2Cor 6:16-18)
Reader, whose temple are you?
Solemn question! Does God or Satan dwell in you? Christ or Belial? Light or darkness? Either the one or the other has, at this moment, possession of you. You cannot serve two contrary masters; you cannot entertain two opposite guests. You are living either for God or for Satan. You are traveling either to heaven or to hell. Which? On your bended knees before God, decide; and may the Lord the Spirit renew you by His grace, and if renewed, make you "a vessel unto honor, sanctified and fit for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work." (This is the chapter entitled The Believer a Temple from Octavius Winslow's book entitled THE HOLY SPIRIT - click here for index to all 8 chapters)