Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Becoming Fools for Christ

16 Do you not know that you [2] 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.
 18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's. (1 Corinthians 3:16-23 (ESV)
“For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
One of the problems in translating to English is the lack of a unique plural you in modern English. English speakers have to grapple with this problem themselves. Some compensate with “you all” or even “all you all.” Here the you is plural. The temple Paul speaks about is the church of God as a whole. There are other places where Paul talks of an individual’s body being a temple also, but it is never that unto itself. We as individuals are the temple of God only in so far as we are also incorporated into the temple of God that is the church. Here there is correlation to how the word church is used in Paul. Church can mean congregation or the whole church of God and one is not used without reference to the other.
So what ruins the temple of God isn’t failure to go to the gym, an extra cheeseburger on Saturday afternoon, or filling it with the fine incense of a Cuban cigar. I’m all for healthy living in so much as it makes life more enjoyable. But the truth is, even in reference to your personal body as a temple of God, death itself can’t destroy it. What destroys the temple of God is false doctrine that leads the church and individuals in the church astray from Christ and tries to build on a different foundation.

So Paul turns to attacking the wisdom of the world that won’t accept the gospel as it is, the wisdom of the world that sees the gospel as foolishness. This doesn’t mean that people should ignore education, philosophy, science and other elements of culture. It does mean that we should trust God more than men. The gospel is always going to look foolish to the world. The wisdom of men always looks so much smarter, until thirty years later when the pendulum swings the other way. 

No comments: