Wednesday: The Church as the Sanctuary
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After Christ’s ascension to heaven and His inauguration as High Priest in the sanctuary there, the temple on earth no longer had any real purpose in the plan of salvation (see Matt. 27:50-51). However, God still seeks to dwell among His people on earth, which was now possible through the Holy Spirit. The apostles use temple imagery to convey this truth.

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Read 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16; Ephesians 2:19–22. Notice the sanctuary imagery in these texts. What truth does the Bible teach us here?

Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 to the church as a corporate unity, and he presents to them the temple themes of ownership (1 Cor. 3:16) and of holiness (1 Cor. 3:17). He applies the same principles in 1 Cor. 6:19-20 to the individual believer. As a temple, the believer is holy terrain and, as such, is under divine obligation to live in holiness. Paul uses the temple imagery to emphasize his call for pure and holy living, which in this context he identifies as sexual purity over immorality (1 Cor. 6:15–18). Paul’s last reference to the church as a divine sanctuary fits in to this pattern. There is no common ground between believers and unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14–7:1), for the church is in a covenant relationship with God and thus is exclusively His (2 Cor. 6:18).

At the same time, the church is not only God’s temple but also a holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:51 Pet. 2:9). No doubt, with such a privilege as this, important responsibilities follow. How crucial that we surrender our lives in faith and obedience to the Lord who has given us so much, and who, therefore, asks much of us in return.

Of course, we are saved by Christ’s righteousness, which covers us completely. However, because of what we have been given in Christ by grace, what does God ask of us in return? And even more important, how can we best do that which He asks of us?

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Wednesday: The Church as the Sanctuary — 10 Comments

  1. As the bible says we are the temple of God and God wishes to live in his temple which is our heart. Let us permit our lord to sanctify his temple for making it holy.
    Help me for this small question: we saw that when Jesus was on earth he was compared to the sanctuary of God, if the temple is also compared to the sanctuary of God the later had 2 sanctuaries at the time of Jesus on earth?

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  2. The perfect imagery of a temple is Christ's body. Paul used a Temple which was was highly esteemed in his days for the body of a Christian. Our bodies should be without blemish
    like that of Christ.

    1. To not defile the body with drinking, smoking and poor eating habits.
    2. Sexual immorality
    3. Uniting with unbelievers in marriage. People see no problem on this one at all, but since Christian temple and idol shrine cannot be built at on place, so is a Christian and unbeliever.
    God bless we all

    Like(6)
  3. Because our body is the temple of God we have to live a good life and also we have to present our own body to God in every thing that we will do in life so that people can follow us to know God

    Like(4)
  4. As individual believers, our bodies are His holy temples, where He dwells in us (Immanuel). We are under divine obligation to surrender & submit our bodies and lives to LIVE in holiness: walk, talk, and in our actions. Our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our wills. As an individual believer, I am in an intimate covenant relationship with Him. Daily, I surrender and recommit myself to Him through talking (prayer) with Him and daily in-depth Bible study.
    We are "living stones", being built up a spiritual house. We are his priests.
    The church/sanctuary is God's temple and a holy priesthood to offer up "spiritual sacrifices". A holy nation, His own special people, Who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. The church is a corporate unity of holiness and ownership. The church is in a covenant relationship with Him.
    God gave us His only begotten Son as a perfect sacrificial gift to redeem us from our sins.

    Like(5)
    • The doctrine of the sanctuary really reminds us of God's longing and desire to dwell among us, and his patience in working to bring back that union/relationship He had with man in Eden when man did not yet sin.

      I see a pattern/picture in our lesson this week OF A MAN WHO IS CONSTANTLY RUNNING AWAY FROM GOD AND A GOD WHO IS BEHIND MAN CONSTANTLY RUNNING AFTER MAN TO EMBRACE HIM.

      When Adam and Eve sinned, that union of God and man where they can see and talk face to face was cut AND THIS CLOSENESS IS WHAT GOD IS WORKING PATIENTLY TO BRING BACK.

      That was the purpose why God commanded Moses to build a sanctuary "so that he can dwell among us".

      But the sanctuary seemed to be too far so he came down personally to dwell among us.

      When he returned to heaven he sent the Holy Spirit to accompany us and built the church to be his dwelling place.

      And lastly, he made our very bodies his temple so that he can dwell in each one of us. This last act of God on earth made man more than too close to his God.

      We are awaiting for God's last act in heaven when God will bring his people to his home wherein he himself is the temple, the closest relationship man and God ever will have.

      Sad to see that most people choose not to let God come in their hearts. God wants to stay in us. The only requirement for him to remain in us is to maintain this body undefiled because God does not stay in "unclean" souls. God is always knocking at the door. To open the door means make ourselves "clean" so that God can dwell in our hearts.

      Like(8)
  5. It seems to me that, in this lesson, the author is emphasizing the concept of the church as the body of Christ. (For more on that concept, see (See Col. 1:24; 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 3:6; Eph. 4:12; Eph. 4:15;) That is, the body of believers is Christ's body on this earth. That goes beyond our individual bodies being "temples" of the Holy Spirit.

    It means that Christ wants to live in and be revealed in the body of believers. And that means that He wants and needs us to act towards each other and towards the world in such a way as to reveal His character. When we are unkind to each other, we defile the "temple of God" even more than when we consume something unhealthful (Mark 7:15).

    In His intercessory prayer, Christ prayed that we might demonstrate His character through the way we relate to each other. (John 17:9-23) That's what He wants of us right now. Ellen White put it this way:

    Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. ( Christ's Object Lessons, p. 69. Also read the context)

    In light of this, perhaps we need to consider what is meant by "the character of Christ." It might just change our focus.

    Like(6)
  6. I appreciate the way the SS Quarterlies are structured, starting with a solid foundation/base, and building layer upon layer per day, each layer being interconnected and interlocked with cohesiveness. Adding more light/truth to the previous day, adding more awareness and dimension, making us think and reason. Thank you to the General Conference.

    Yes, Inge, I agree with that the author is emphasizing the concept of the church as the body of Christ.
    Christ is the church, the body of the church, and as true believers we compose/embody the church.
    His Law, the 10 Commandments, is the foundation of His Kingdom and is His character. The first 4 Commandments is our relationship to Him; the last 6 Commandments is our interrelationships to and with each other. His Law is the Law of Love! LIVE in holiness: walk, talk, and in our actions. Our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our wills. Only with Him and the Holy Spirit can we do this. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," Philippians 4:13 (NKJV). All in honor, praise, and glory to our Lord, Jesus Christ. There is so much to learn about Him.

    Like(7)
    • Hi Linda,

      I think you meant to say that Christ is the Head of the church, and as true believers, we are the body. We are to take our direction from Christ, doing nothing without Him, just as our physical bodies can do nothing without our heads. The body can't even live without the head!

      So it is with the spiritual body. Without Christ truly being the Head, the church in nothing.

      What an apt illustration!

      Like(6)
  7. I believe that the whole concept of the church being the body of Christ is far more important than we generally think. When we get to the transporting of the blood of the sacrifice into the tent and the whole idea of the cleansing of the sanctuary and realize that the sins of the congregation are being deposited in the church as much as on Jesus because we are His body, the temple of God and living stone in it, and think of Jesus as part of it all then the significance of the entire body being involved in judgment gives us a new level of understanding. It isn’t just the church that is being justified in the sanctuary but also Jesus who is the head of the church. It isn’t just a matter of Jesus simply wanting to be with us but more that Jesus and His church are one body, that both are being judged in this controversy.

    Satan raised questions concerning the character of God and he has constantly maligned those who have joined themselves to Christ, who desire to be one with Him. In a very real sense both Jesus and His church are in this together and both will be judged together and both will come out on the other side justified and victorious. The sanctuary is as much about the church as it is about Jesus.

    The sanctuary, therefore, symbolizes the church as much as it does its head and commander in chief. The ministry of the church is the same as the ministry of Christ in many, many ways and the sanctuary teaches us what that is.

    Like(4)
  8. My current research is on the topic of patterns, that of the tabernacles/temple and the Church We all know and see in part... We know that the New typifies the Old... So can we say that there is a true Spiritual pattern of the Church that is the typified of all tabernacles and temple and if so what does it look like ? Is there a prophetic imagey that we ought to know about concerning the Church, for example the way services, ordiances should be conducted, the pillars as the five fold ministry ? The items... I believe the truer tabernacle is Christ in us... What are your convictions.... ?

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