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2 Corinthians 6:18-20

Personal Purity

Temple worship in Israel was an awesome prospect, especially when the glory of God’s presence filled the most holy place! Imagine your fear, your sense of frailty, your concern for personal purity, if you were called to serve inside the Temple of God. As the law prescribed, the priest who entered the holy place was to make offering for his own sins before standing before God to offer sacrifice for the people’s sins. And sins committed outside the Temple would have to be covered before worship could take place. Imagine then the calamity that would occur if a worshiper actually committed sin inside the Temple. It would be an atrocity of the worst kind. To commit sin in the Temple would be unthinkable—and possibly fatal! With this picture in mind, Paul addressed believers who were immersed in the immoral and sexually-oriented culture of Corinth. To them the picture of committing immorality inside a place of worship would hit home, since temple prostitution was common in Corinth’s pagan religions.

What must have had the greatest impact on Paul’s readers, though, was not simply the distasteful idea of a person sinning inside a place of worship. Is was the fact that their very bodies were now the temple of the Holy Spirit! This meant that for a believer, to commit any kind of immorality would be the same as a worshiper committing sin in the most solemn place of worship. The rationale is clear: if our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, then we must not profane that temple with any sort of sexual immorality. The alternative is to “honor God with your body,” in the same way that a place of worship would be put to its proper use.

Today in the Word, June 28, 1989