1 Corinthians 6:14-16 (NIV): Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Many people are positively shocked when they read the history of king Josiah. When he began his reforms after being struck to the heart by God’s word (2 Kings 22:11-13), he cleaned up the temple and its grounds from everything contaminating thing that had been brought into it: items made to worship Baal and Asherah, including an Asherah pole; altars erected to worship the sun, moon, stars, & planets; quarters for male shrine prostitutes and for women who did weaving for Asherah; several pagan altars; and the horses and chariots dedicated to the worship of the sun. (2 Kings 23:4-12) There was more nasty stuff surrounding the city and around the country that he destroyed as well, but these things were actually in the temple and its grounds!
The response is often disbelief: They should never have been put there! The temple is holy ground – God’s dwelling place! How could they possibly think that putting that kind of stuff in there would be okay with God!?
But the New Testament model is different, as Paul points out. God’s presence no longer inhabits a temple made of wood and stone; He lives in the midst of His people, inhabiting our hearts. WE are the temple of God, individually and corporately. And what kinds of detestable things have we allowed into God’s temple these days? If we were to look at our hearts as God sees them, what contaminating influences and footholds for the devil would He see? Are there idols there – things that compete with God for first place in our hearts and minds? Things that we think about and meditate on more than we do the God whose bought our souls at the price of Jesus’ blood? What is our thought life like? Do we constantly keep our minds and hearts focused on God and His will, or do we ponder things that would make us ashamed if others knew? What kind of supplies are we furnishing the temple of our hearts and minds with? Are we continually meditating on God’s word, filling ourselves with light and life? Or do we immerse ourselves in popular music, literature, and movies, romance novels and pornography, bringing into our temple adornments of foul language, worldly philosophies, and sexualized images?
Like Josiah, it is time for God’s people to see that we have befouled God’s temple, become convicted, and clean house. Not just a nice tidying of the edges, hiding things in closets so that it looks nicer (but the smell of the world still remains!). All that contaminates the heart must be removed so that God’s temple, His people, are pure, holy, and separate from the world and its contamination (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).
Father, open our eyes so that we can truly see our hearts as You see them. Help us to clearly see everything that is contaminating Your holy temple, so that we can completely get rid of it – so that we can tear out every defiling thing and cast it into the garbage heap, just like Josiah. Then we will all be a fitting place for Your glory to dwell. Amen.