2Co 6:14-18 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (15) What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (16) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
We could say very accurately that the master theme of the Bible is God dwelling with His people. That fellowship was, of course, broken by Adam’s sin. God no longer came and walked with man. But in His great mercy, He set out to provide a way by which we could once again be restored to Eden. A way that would once again effect God dwelling with His people. That way of course, is Christ.
Where God dwells is his temple. As you go through the Bible you will find this theme of the temple advancing to fullness until, in the new creation the entire universe will be His temple. Perfect fellowship between God and His people. Paul writes about this subject quite often, reminding us that in Christ WE are God’s temple:
1Co 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (17) If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1Co 6:18-19 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (19) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
I particularly want us to consider the passage quoted at the beginning of this article – 2 Cor 6 –
2Co 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
Now of course this verse is quoted over and over in regard to a Christian marrying only a Christian. It is applied chiefly in other words, to marriage. And there is application there. I have written before however about how this principle is regularly twisted and misused in the churches today (link here). But what I want to talk about in this article is what is actually the overall and chief subject Paul is getting at. Look at it again:
2Co 6:16-17 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,
The Corinthians apparently lived in (and had come out of) a culture infested with idolatry. It permeated their society. Paul saw it at Athens, you remember – idol images on every street corner. If you broke with these systems, you would pay a price – economically, socially, and in many other ways. You could probably kiss your career goodbye in some cases. Family could ostracize you. It would be similar to being, let’s say, a professor in a university nowadays and being a genuine Christian.
When it comes to following Christ, to being the temple of the living God by His Spirit in us, there are some serious considerations to think about. And one chief one is this: Therefore, go out from their midst and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you….”. Most of the time when these words are addressed in sermons and other church settings, they are applied to the Christian separating from the world. And that is true. We are to be holy and to live in light of the fact that God dwells in us. There are many activities and occupations for instance that a Christian just cannot participate in.
But I want to suggest to you that Paul is dealing fundamentally here with false religion. And that brings us right back around to the subject I always return to – abuse in the churches. I can say without flinching that most local churches have become idol temples. They worship a false god. They preach a false gospel. They present “another Jesus” as Paul puts it (see Gal 1). Their god is one who loves everyone and who is quite non-judgmental. They oppress the oppressed because…well, because to effect justice for the oppressed would require confronting evil. It would require a radical re-examination of their theology that insists like a gyroscope always returning to a level no matter how it is tipped – that God loves everyone, including the oppressor/abuser and that the oppressed are sinners just like the oppressor. You’ve all hear that same old record playing over and over and over, right?
This is idolatry. It is a false church filled with false saints, led by false shepherds looking out for their own little kingdomes. And what the Apostle Paul is telling us here is get out of those places! Separate from them. You are God’s temple. You have nothing in common with idolaters. Nothing.
Paul’s question put to us is rhetorical (a statement in question form that is answered with “duh!”) – What agreement has the temple of God with idols? The answer is, none. None! There is a separation at the very starting line – with who God is. Everything else will flow from how that question is answered. That means that the false churches of our day, because they worship a false god disguised as the God of the Bible, are in fact idol temples. Maybe at one time in their history they were true churches, but then along came the wolf and destroyed them so that Christ departed from them. Paul’s pronounces such wolves damned by God (Galatians 1) because they destroy the temple of God.
So, what agreement has the temple of God (YOU) with idols? None. And Paul goes on to tell us to depart from such a place. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, He says. Understand? So many real Christians are looking for Christ in all the wrong places. He is to be found outside the camp:
Heb 13:12-13 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. (13) Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.
When Jesus healed the blind man (John 9) this is what happened after-
Joh 9:34-35 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. (35) Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
See it? The man was put out of the temple, but outside the camp he found the real Temple. Or rather, was found by Him.
And that is how it is today. We are to depart from the idol temple/false churches that make up a large portion (most?) of the visible church now and guess what God’s promise is to us when we do? It is this:
2Co 6:17-18 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
THAT is a wonderful promise and it is the truth. Think about it very carefully. The thing is ironic and soooo opposed to what we have been told for so long. Going out is when you find Christ. Staying in the false church is to continue to look and look and be lied to and abused and used.
This is the chief reason we started our online church outreach. Not to be trendy. Not to cater to people who just want to be lazy. But to provide real fellowship in Christ to the many genuine Christians all around the world who increasingly have no true church available to them.
2 thoughts on “You Are God’s Temple – Guard Yourself”
Excellent post! Thank you, Pastor Crippen.
My heart goes out to children, like myself, who were born into darkness. Born into a false “Christian” family who were actually idol worshippers of a false Jesus, a false church and false teachers and leaders.
How does a child separate from their family of origin and relatives who are ALL either abusers or abuse enablers? How does he/she even expose them when the threat of real violence is always present? Because there already IS violence being done to the child. Where would he/she go after resisting and/or exposing the abuse and the abusers’ and their allies’ false Christianity? All the rest of “family” or “friends” already know about the physical and other abuses of children by both parents and the DV between parents-also very violent. Terror is within the child all the time. With nowhere to turn. At a young age, all the child knows of God is a false God. False “Christian leaders” have been of no help or solace. The utter aloneness a child in this situation feels can’t be overemphasized. As for myself, I often felt so hopeless and helpless I prayed to die. Only the hand of God on my life kept me from suicide. He knew I’d later seek and find the REAL JESUS. But it took decades of running away from God because evil people “destroyed my temple” and my knowledge of who God is. I didn’t understand such evil at a young age. It was normalized. I knew they were liars and pretenders and I rejected “their (false) God”. I hated going to church-sitting side by side with my abusers and their allies who always put on a big show of being the most saintly of saints. It made me sick. I never rejected Jesus as Savior-I said the Sinner’s Prayer as a child. Nothing changed. How could it when my “Christian teachers” within my clan were false teachers and false Christians!
How could I know the love of my Heavenly Father when my earthly father (and mother) were hateful and evil?
But God NEVER let go of me. He knew EVERYTHING I went through and all the WHYS for my running from Him. He wooed me gently as an adult. And I sincerely sought to know the REAL JESUS. Apart from all I’d been falsely thought. Alot of untwisting. Some that I’m still doing. But I have matured. I can discern good from evil at least as far as all my former clan is concerned. I am in No Contact with all involved in any way. And I pray to discern good from evil across the board at all times. I’m healing thanks to Jesus!
But my heart breaks for any child who CAN’T separate from this kind of evil they were innocently born into and can’t get out of for many years. They don’t even have blogs like this to enlighten them and guide them to safety. Are there even any safe places for them?
And the damage that is done in those 18 or more years that they have to stay in the abuse during their brain’s formative years of development can take a lifetime to undo. May our merciful God comfort and guide these children to some sort of safety, somehow. That is a fervent prayer of mine, born of personal agony. It took me well past middle age and a very violent criminal attack to go No Contact. The false teachings by other false Christians of blanket forgiveness, being a peacemaker, honor your parents, love your enemies and those who persecute you, 7 X 70… messed me up as an adult churchgoer. And I face years now of trying to heal. There’s got to be a better outcome for other children of abuse.