Paul has just used the word-picture of a building to mean Godís people. So we might think that he continues that description here. But actually, Paul means what he says.
God is living in the hearts and lives of his people. So they really are his temple now. Once, Godís temple meant the sacred building that was his house in Jerusalem. But now Godís people are his temple, because his Holy Spirit lives in them (John 14:16-17).
And for that reason, Godís people are holy. God has separated them for himself. They belong to him, and he carefully defends them. He is like the owner of a house who acts to protect his own property.
When Godís temple was a building, God was present there in a special way (1 Kings 8:10-11). Even then, God sometimes acted to defend the honour of his house or its contents (2 Samuel 6:6-7; 2 Chronicles 26:16-21). And Jesus did the same (Mark 11:15-17).
God defends his own work. But it is a very terrible thing when people decide, on purpose, to oppose his work (Hebrews 10:26-31). And it is very wrong when a church leader tries to use his authority in the church for his own advantage (1 Timothy 6:3-5). There have always been church leaders who want people to follow them instead of Christ (2 Peter 2:1-3).
Peter too taught that Godís people are holy (1 Peter 2:9). Paul taught that the Holy Spirit lives in each Christian (Romans 8:9). So, Christians have a duty to give honour to God by the way that they live. Now they belong to God (6:19-20).
Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 450 page course book.
© 2014, Keith Simons.