Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cleansed Temples

Yesterday the focus was on God being everywhere present all the time regardless of man’s position in relation to Him. We touched on the relational closeness we have with Him when we have placed our trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, for our salvation. Today is a little closer look at this relational closeness, and in doing this the focus is on our personal closeness as individuals and our corporate closeness as the church. Foremost in my mind are a couple of verses in 1 Corinthians that refer to being God’s temple—a place where His Spirit abides and is powerful.

“Do you not know that you [the recipients of his letter or collective group of believers] are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17, NASB95)

“Or do you not know that your body [individual of all believers] is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, NASB95)

This does not have to be an issue of either/or, but is one of both. Remember that our God is an everywhere-all-the-time present God. He can and does abide fully everywhere, in every believer, in every group of believers, and in all believers. The temple historically has been a place of worship, a place of gathering, and a place where at its holiest core God could be approached. As Christians we have been declared holy by God. In many translations we see believers referred to as saints. The actual Greek word used in the New Testament is ‘hagios,’ literally meaning ‘sacred’ or ‘holy’ and is used to describe us as His holy ones. This holiness is nothing of our own doing, but rather is something imputed (put on or credited) to us by Jesus Christ.

Yesterday I left off with Abraham having righteousness credited to him because of faith. Paul continues later in chapter 4 with, “Now not for his [Abraham’s] sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” (Romans 4:23–25, NASB95) The same righteousness imputed to Abraham is credited to all who believe in Him [God]. A little further on Paul adds, “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18–19, NASB95)

Our response to live differently, reading in Romans 6:13-14, “and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:13–14, NASB95) And our reason for living differently is simply because we are now different, now serving a new master and having now the enablement to live changed by the Spirit of God in us.

“However, 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. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:9–11, NASB95)

Romans chapter 8 is an incredible chapter declaring our position in Christ and the victory which He gives us in life through the indwelling enablement of His Spirit. Where people may have thought they had to go to a certain location to seek God and His favor and to request someone of a certain position to intercede or even pray, we have been given, as a gracious and loving gift from our God, the very presence of God dwelling in us as individuals and as corporate believers where we build into and encourage one another, serving Him side-by-side with others in His church which is even called the body of Christ and His bride.

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20–23, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (8/25)

I am the eternal I AM; I always have been, and I always will be. In My Presence you experience Love and Light, Peace and Joy. I am intimately involved in all your moments, and I am training you to be aware of Me at all times. Your assignment is to collaborate with Me in this training process.

I have taken up residence within you; I am central in your innermost being. Your mind goes off in tangents from its holy Center, time after time. Do not be alarmed by your inability to remain focused on Me. Simply bring your thoughts gently back to Me each time they wander. The quickest way to redirect your mind to me is to whisper My Name.

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16

The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Psalm 25:14-15

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