1 Corinthians 3:16-23

In 1 Corinthians 3:16-23 Paul reminds us that the church is God’s temple and the Holy Spirit dwells in it. The Greek points to the sanctuary or worship area as the place God dwells, and we need to recognize that He fills the church with His presence. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” God takes it seriously and His house of worship is holy. We need to treat it as such. God’s punishment if we don’t respect it is severe. “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” The church is God’s temple.

Paul warns us not to be prideful. This hit the Corinthian church right where they were. They felt they were wise in this age. That was one of their problems, their love of worldly wisdom. “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.” Solomon teaches us that wisdom doesn’t come from within. It comes only from God. If we believe we can be wise based on our own effort we are definitely incorrect. God alone provides wisdom. Any other thought is foolish and will lead us to fall on our own efforts.

Paul asks them to renounce all worldly wisdom, all humanism (man centered philosophy), even if it means being called a fool. If one is not willing to be considered a fool by those who value only human wisdom, they will never be able to truly become wise. “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” God has evaluated the wisdom of this world, and He considers it foolishness, craftiness, and futile. Will we agree with God’s evaluation, or not? Whether we agree or not is not really important because wisdom is God’s alone.

Paul reminds us that we are quick to take credit and boast about what we do. We are more excited about being with the influential and famous of this world than about being with God. We value the gifts and honors of men more than the gifts and honors God gives. “So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future – all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” To say I am of Paul or I am of Apollos is to have a view that is too narrow, too constricted. The whole universe is yours in Christ. Our identity is in Jesus and ultimately in God. What a reality and promise!

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