The Word “Love”
Love is more than a warm, gushy, fuzzy feeling. It can mean that you care enough for someone to confront them in a gentle, loving way. For parents, love may compel us to periodically administer discipline. Whatever the setting or context, love implies that we have another person’s best interests at heart. We intend to be supportive, helpful, and encouraging.
The Temple of God
One passage of scripture that I find somewhat troubling seems to convey that God is so concerned about His temple (the bodies He has given us) that He will destroy us if we do anything to deface or ruin them.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are ” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, NKJV).
John 3:16 reveals that God loves the world so much that He gave his Son, Jesus, to die for it. The goal was, and is, redemption, reclamation from a misinformed, rebellious trajectory.
However, 1 Corinthians 3 suggests that God loves our bodies so much, that if we do anything to deface or destroy them, He will kill us. The initial understanding seems harsh and vindictive. Yet, everything God does has a redemptive purpose. He is not at odds with Himself or His mission to save humanity. So, what is His redemptive purpose in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17? Why is He telling us this?
His Redemptive Purpose
First of all, the passage strongly states that our bodies don’t belong to us. At birth, the flesh we are given is on loan from God. In the King James language, our bodies are referred to as “tents.”
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1-4, NKJV).
God is not obsessed with our mortal bodies. He created them and can completely restore them when they are ravaged by death and decay! Yet, one thing God cannot do is dwell in human hearts that resonate with sin—which results in separation from God. God is down on sin because it is opposed to life. It is anti-life! Sin always leads to death!
In a sense, when God “destroys” people who refuse to be separated from sin, He acts from a position of life and accelerates the dying to shorten the misery. Thus, the destruction of the wicked is an act of mercy. He is giving the wicked what they have chosen, only He accelerates the process. He destroys to bring closure.
His Love Is Patient
Some view God as all talk and no action, and they say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created” (2 Peter 3:3-4, NLT). Yet, we need to keep in mind that “The Lord isn’t being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9, NLT).
It is a merciful thing that God has waited as long as He has to bring about closure with our sin problem. It eventually will happen, but presently the offer still exists to receive God’s love and for us to find healing and life.
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Rich DuBose writes from Northern California© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.