What is Defiling the Temple?

My Christian Friends…I want your feedback.
In I Corinthians 3:16-18 we hear Paul saying that if you ‘destroy the temple, God will destroy you’.
In I Corinthians 6:19, after Paul commands us to flee sexual immorality, he declares that our Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
In II Corinthians 6:16 again Paul references this ‘temple’ as either our body, or ‘the body of Christ’, in that we are the ‘temple of the living God’.
I have heard it taught often that then defiling your body is sin and will bring the judgement of God upon your life. So what then is Defiling the Temple?

How to define Defiling the Temple

In many Christian beliefs today, my previous affiliation (Oneness Pentecost) included, this list included a lot of external modifiers, such as, but not limited to;
  • Drinking Alcohol (Not just getting drunk, but any consumption [Pentecostal])
  • Tobacco Products (Smoke, Chew)
  • Tattoo’s – body marking
  • Piercings of any kind
  • Makeup
  • Sexual Immorality (Fornication, Adultery, Masturbation, Pornography)
And on and on the list can go. Some of which are clearly stated in Scripture as being sin, such as Fornication and Adultery. Masturbation is controversial and the Scripture is silent on the subject but there is a good argument for when masturbation is wrong.
In most commentaries, such as Adam Clarke, Geneva, Matthew Henry, etc., it is clear that the ‘body’ is in general a reference to the Body of Believers, the Church. Furthermore, the commentaries primarily focus on defilement of that ‘Body’ by way of the teachings of false doctrine. But there is an argument to be had, especially in light of I Corinthians 6:19 that was taught before, fornication defiles the body wholly, both physically and spiritually. In v18 of chapter 6 Paul declared fornication is a sin against ones own body.
My experience under Pentecostal preaching is that any defilement of your physical body is a sin against the Holy Ghost. God wants to dwell in a clean house, a clean heart. This is a true saying. One thing has always perplexed me however, and it can be a little controversial as well.
“How can a very obese preacher stand up and tell me that if I drink wine with my supper, I’m going to burn in hell for defiling the temple?”
Now this isn’t an argument for drinking! I don’t drink at all, not a sip, not a cup or a can. It’s just an attempt to clear up what I find to be completely hypocritical.
Let’s think about this – if the premise is that our physical form is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (we know it is) and we must do everything in our power to keep the body and heart clean, (Psalm 51:10) healthy and a light of Him who is on the inside, how then is being obese, unhealthy, unfit, decrepit and a drain on the financial well being of society due to medical problems any less a defilement of the temple?

What say you?

In light of this, I would like to reference Matthew 15:11
That which enters into the mouth doesn’t defile the man; but that which proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.

3 thoughts on “What is Defiling the Temple?

  1. It seems to me that Clarke, Henry, etc. are on the right track with this being the body of believers, from Paul’s use of “ye”, and “you” in the KJV. These are 2nd person plural pronouns, while “thee” and “thou” are singular. In other words, it is a group of people, i.e., their local body. It is about defiling the local assembly with this behavior that is unbecoming of the temple of the Holy Spirit. With that said, it cannot be happening in the body if the individual members of the body are not practicing these things. That is when we go to Philippians 4:8-9, Colossians 3:17, etc. Does what I do glorify the Lord? That is the question.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Charles, thank you very much for the feedback and God bless your efforts in spreading the Gospel. I can only agree with your sentiments. My follow up question has always been, where do we draw the line on ‘what does glorify the Lord’? sitting around watching a movie doesn’t glorify God, but certainly watching Cinderella isn’t defiling the temple. Yet my previous denomination declared that it did. I know some Christian men who drink a beer and study the Bible, and certainly drinking a beer doesn’t glorify God, but is it defiling the temple? There must be a common sense principle that dictates this.

      By way of example, Acts 15 was the tail end of the great debate of legalism as it pertained to asking Gentiles to obey Mosaic law. Acts 15:28,29 seems to say nothing greater than the Gospel + these three things should be required of believers to be right before the Lord and not defile the individual body.

      “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”

      I’m interested in your feedback towards this thought as well!

      God Bless.

      Like

      1. As regarding our walk, we walk in the Spirit, or the new man. Galatians 5 comes to mind in this as it begins with standing fast in liberty, and ends with walking in the Spirit. So that tells me that a walk in the Spirit and standing in liberty are not mutually exclusive, but are actually in tune with each other. Colossians 3:1-4 is a “principle” way to think as well, it is the thought of crowding out the worldly with the heavenly.
        I remember too that in Romans 6 Paul talks about not being dominated by sin and not sinning because we are under grace. The legalist says that if I don’t bind you by the law you will do nothing but sin, but the grace of God teaches us how to rightly live. The legalist claims to not sin because he is following the law, but the law excites us to think about nothing but sin and how much can we get away with before it is called sin.
        Grace gives us a new Master who we serve because of His love for us. We do not continue in sin because we are not under the law.

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