“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” You may roll your eyes by now at 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. You have heard it your whole life, especially in regards to dressing modestly and sexual purity. You think, “Okay, I get it. Let’s move on.” I’m not going to give you a list of rules or a line to not cross with a guy or girl. I want to refocus on the basic meaning of this verse.
The holiness of God is a theme throughout the entire Bible. Men could not see His face or touch His glory without dying. “The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top…and said to him. ‘Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish’” (Exodus 19:12, 17-22). When the temple was built in Jerusalem, “the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled His temple” (1 Kings 8:10-11). God is, by nature, so holy and glorious that mankind could not bear to be in His presence. The high priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people. Jews began to fear the presence of God so much that they tied a rope to the high priest so that in case he died in the Holy of Holies, others could pull him out without entering the divine presence.
The God of the New Testament and today is just as holy as He was in Moses’ and Solomon’s time. We still could not bear to be in His presence if it weren’t for the redeeming work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus, the Son of God, the Creator of the universe, became the Lamb of God and Great High Priest for us: “For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence…and by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 9:24, 10:10).
If I had the power and decided to make a Play-Doh world, with Play-Doh people, and those people came to life and rebelled against me, their creator, there is no way I would humble myself and become Play-Doh to intercede and make a way of salvation for them. But that’s exactly what God did through His Son Jesus Christ.
Modern day Jews in Jerusalem are not permitted to enter where the Holy of Holies is thought to be. Instead, they pray at the Western Wall, the closest they can get to the temple, for God to bring the Messiah. Most Jews dare not turn their back on the Holy of Holies; they back away from it hundreds of feet before they turn around. They still believe that the presence of God dwells where the Holy of Holies was.
In the ancient world, every civilization built beautiful, elaborate temples where they believed their gods dwelled. How completely radical that God made it possible for Him to dwell inside us through the Holy Spirit. The Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, humbled Himself to become like us and reconcile us to Himself. Jesus interceded for us in front of the Holy God so that His holiness can dwell in us. God does not see our sin when He looks at us; He sees Jesus Christ. We can now stand to be in the presence of God. No other god of no other religion has ever done that.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” Honor the presence of God inside you with your purity, and wait for the guy or girl who also honors your body as a temple of the Living God. May you never forget what it means to be a temple of God, and may you live every day in honor of that.