In Monday’s article, we looked at the event in Joshua’s life when he was asked to remove his sandals from his feet because he stood on holy ground. Here are three observations we made Monday:
- God is holy.
- Wherever God’s presence dwells is to be regarded as holy.
- Changes must be made to recognize and honor the holiness of God.
Today we are going to take those concepts and apply it to how we view our relationship to the church.
In 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul used the “temple” analogy and applied it both to individuals (1 Corinthians 6:18-20), and to the congregation here in chapter 3. As a Christian, you are holy and set apart because you are God’s dwelling place, and as a congregation the same is true.
For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 3:9-11)
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
(1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
In this section of Scripture we learn that the congregation is God’s building/temple, Jesus is the foundation (see also Ephesians 2:19-22 and 1 Peter 2:4-9). God’s Spirit dwells among us, and God will “destroy” anyone who causes harm to His holy temple.
God’s church is holy ground. He is holy, and His presence dwells within the congregation. So, knowing that, how do I “remove my sandals” to recognize the holy presence of God?
Seek truth and unity. How we worship God matters because He is holy. The way we handle God’s word is vital because God is holy. The way we treat each other within God’s church also matters because of the holy presence of God. Jesus wants us to restore relationships before we worship because it affects how we worship (Matthew 5:23-24).
Seek pure relationships. Paul told Timothy to treat the young women in the church as sisters “with all purity” (1 Timothy 5:1-2). The church is holy, so our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ must also be holy. There were clearly men who took advantage of others and used the church as an opportunity for fulfilling their desires (2 Peter 2:13-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; 2 Timothy 3:6). When we see the church, when we look at our brothers and sisters, we must look with holy eyes, see and treat others as God sees them. God takes it seriously, and God’s people take it seriously, too.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
(1 Peter 2:9)