Summary: The key to God’s temple is our faith. It keeps us close to God because the Holy Spirit will live in us just like God lived in the temple in ancient Israel. The Holy Spirit assures us that in our relationship with Jesus we can do what he did.
The passage from 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23 is a continuation of Paul’s discussion with the church at Corinth, but the focus is now on the necessity of unity among believers. When Paul refers to the body as a temple, he was referring to the Corinthian church as a whole, and as the temple of God the Holy Spirit rested on each and every member.
There is a parallel in our lives. We are also God’s temple in that we are to be God’s agents in our world. In order for us to do that work, we need the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. When it does, we will have a happy and fulfilling life provided that we follow God’s instructions. As one small child told his father, the word Bible stands for “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.”
Before we can build that temple in our lives, we need to build a firm foundation. That foundation is faith in Jesus. Next, we have to use only good building material. This material is our testimonies-not only in speaking to others, but also in how we live our lives. If we build our lives out of the good things we will be better able to lead others to Christ. Our faith must be built on the solid foundation of God’s Word. God is our refuge and strength, especially in times of trouble. He gives us wisdom, especially when we don’t expect to receive it. His love keeps our hearts alive. God lives in our hearts and minds.
When God lives in us, we know who we are. The Holy Spirit gives us a sense of identity. He will be with us all the time and in every situation. He guides and comforts us. We belong to him. We know who we are. In order for God to live in us, we are called to the radical life called discipleship. It is just beyond our grasp and yet it is powerful enough to pull us away from our earthly, contented life.
We are called to build a life of faith that is based on the foundation we have in Jesus Christ. If we do, we will be rewarded with a good life-a life that God will give us. The benefits of this life will be a church and a world that live up to the highest purposes. We will also be able to withstand life’s challenges. If a crisis takes something from us, it can still work for our salvation. It will show us what is important in our lives. As the old saying goes, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”.
The foundation of the temple is to be united. Christ is not to be divided, and neither is his church. The foundation is not built around individual leaders. We need to work together. After all, if we can’t get along with each other, how can we draw people to Christ? We need to build bridges so we can preach the Gospel not only with our words but with our deeds. We need to build bridges within our own culture and community. We need to work together and use our individual gifts to build up the church. We must use God’s gifts, but not hoard them. We are to embrace them and share them. When we work together, we can hold each other accountable for our actions, and we can also work miracles. Human wisdom is foolish because it divides the church. God’s wisdom unites the church’s foundation. If we follow God’s wisdom, we will be foolish in the eyes of the world, but we will be wise in the eyes of God.
The building of God’s temple within ourselves is an ongoing process. God is the builder. As part of the process, we must remember that we are still children of God. We have to do our part in the building process by doing things such as praying and attending Bible study and worship. We also need to work with other members of the body of Christ. We can’t do it alone. We must also continue making moral and ethical decisions in light of our Christian faith. These decisions can never be separated from our spiritual life. We need to keep on doing what is right even though we are still “under construction.” We need to look forward to the experiences and full life that God will give us.
The Holy Spirit can’t enter us unless we see ourselves as sinners and God as a God who saves. He wants people who say “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner” and who believe that He is merciful because of Christ’s death and resurrection. God needs people who know that they need him and who are willing to share him. God’s house of faith is built when we follow God’s plan by serving others.