A Voice in the
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1Cor3:16-17)
Jesus prayed to the Father, "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are yours. ..I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world... Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth..that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us...I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one.."(~Jn17:9-23)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2Cor5:17)
Years ago I visited a church, which, at the end of the service the pastor spent a good 10 minutes pumping people up to "feel holy." This was accompanied by moans and sighs in the voice, as the attempt was made to make everybody "swoon" with these "feelings" of piety. I could almost see the imagined halos above everybody's head as they left the building that morning.
However, WHAT IS HOLINESS? Literally == "set-apartness, separate- ness." Holiness has nothing to do with "feelings." But, rather, is a "positional" matter.
What is the Position? The Christian is IN CHRIST. The Holy Spirit has been sent to dwell IN THE CHRISTIAN as Christ's representa- tive.(Jn16:14-15,Col1:27) While we may be on this earth, we are NOT OF this world. We are "citizens" of heaven. (Phil 3:20)
What is the difference between living as a worldling or as Christ? As we were of the world we "once walked...according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others."(Eph 2:3)
We were "dead," but now as Believers, we have been made "alive." God, "even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:5-6)
So now, "we are ambassadors for Christ."(2Cor5:20) We have a "higher standard" to live by.
However, the church at Corinth had some problems. Their problems were the same ones we have today. Some man was taking liberties with his father's wife.(1Cor5:1) Today the "church" is rocked by scandals of all sorts. Locally it's been a child-sex ring. Nationally we regularly hear of un-Christ-like behavior. And at the more "private" level people are carried away by their lusts on a regular basis.
On a periodic basis people will write to me about various things, and part of the equation is an "unequal yoke." Remembering back to my 15-year unequally yoked marriage, and how it started, I have to wonder about many of these relationships that are claimed to be, simply, "friendships."
After all...look at our society. Every time we turn around we are bombarded with sexually explicit enticements. Hardly anything is sold anymore without some sort of sexual allurement. Christians even bring it into "church entertainment." As Paul writes, "Your glorying is not good." (1Cor5:6)
Paul wrote to "put it away!" He did not say that we leave the world. We are in the world, not of it, and the world is characterized by immorality. But we are a cut above that. He writes, "Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ our Passover, was sacrificed for us."(vs6-7)
He further writes, "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? CERTAINLY NOT! Or do you not know [realize] that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For 'the two' He says, 'shall become one flesh.' But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." (1Cor6:15-17)
Flee immorality! You may say, "Well, I haven't been sleeping around!" But Jesus put things this way, "Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Mt5:28) What is this saying? Is God's beautiful creation bad? No. He created man and woman and looked at His creation and called it "very good."(Gen1:31) But, what is in the heart? That is the question.
Paul zeros in on sexual immorality in relationship to the "body" being the "temple" for the Holy Spirit. But the church at Corinth was plagued by many problems which defiled them. He said God would "destroy" such a person. Do we have any examples of this?
He writes, "For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep [have died]." (1Cor11:30) In this case, abuses regarding the Lord's Supper.
God will bring sickness, and even death to the body of a disobe- dient child. It is His chastening upon those who do not exercise self- discipline.(vs31) Such a person does not lose his salvation (vs32), but is disciplined, nonetheless. This is one illustration of last month's article of the building materials that got "burned up." The person is saved, "yet so as by fire."(1Cor3:15)
"God is not mocked;" We might go about "turning the grace of our God into lewdness."(Jude4) But if we do, we can expect His chastisement. "for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.(Gal6:7-8)
God has called us to purity. "if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things."(Phil4:8) Paul writes to Timothy to "be an example...in purity."(1Tim4:12) And regarding interpersonal relationships, to "exhort...younger [women] as sisters, with all purity."(1Tim5:2)
How do we go about being pure? Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them with Your truth...Your Word is Truth."(Jn17:17) If we are meditating on God's Word, we cannot simultaneously be impure. (Ps119:9,11)
As we feast on God's Word, we learn and become more like Christ. We "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make NO Provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." (Rom13:14)
This is the command, "as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, for it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy'."(1Pet1:14-16)