Sin is like a mold on us, like a rotting, black skin disease. If only we could see it on us, we'd be disgusted and repulsed! Zombies are popular on TV etc. right now, think of the grossness of those images and realise that when we sin and keep sinning, that's what we end up looking like before God!
We are living stones, together building up the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 2:5; 1 Cor 6:19). Think about that for a moment. Think of the splendor of Solomon's temple when it was built (re-read it again if you can’t remember: 1 Kings 6:14-36). We are that and SO much more! But now imagine it with mold and mildew and all that horrible black damp growing and spreading across the walls. Totally unbefitting of a holy temple for the Lord! You'd clean it up straight away if that happened in your home, but for some reason we just let it fester in the temple of God like it's no big deal.
But what happens if it's left? It can destroy the wall with rot and become poisonous causing sickness. These days we can just buy some spray to squirt on the walls and wipe clean, but how did God command his people to deal with mold and mildew in the Old Testament?
He shall have the house torn down, its stones and timber and all the plaster of the house, and taken outside the city to an unclean place.
Pretty drastic, right? But it's a serious thing! And sin is an even more serious thing to God, much more than mold in a house, but if WE are that house and WE have that mold then how much more serious will God take that? How much more will God tear down our bodies in order to save us from the disease festering in our lives?
Look at what Paul told the Corinthian church to do with a man living in sin:
1 Corinthians 5:5
you are to hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Did you catch that? They were to hand this person over to Satan! How? By putting them out of the church— excommunication, basically, so that the "rotten" one wouldn't infect the rest.
1 Corinthians 5:13
God will judge those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”
So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
God takes sin amongst his own people very seriously, as you can see from the verses above. And he will deal with us as he sees fit so that he can form and shape us into the image of his Son, Christ Jesus. That is the aim and purpose of our salvation (cf. Phil 2:5; Rom 12:2).
As Irenaeus (and Athanasius) said: Jesus became what we are so that we might become what He is! In other words, we are to be renewed and transformed into the image of Christ so that, as Peter wrote, we “may become participants of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).
Remember, judgement begins with the house of God! (1 Peter 4:17). We aren't spared from God's judgement simply by being Christians; no, if anything we will be judged more! We represent Christ on earth (2 Cor 5:20), we should be doing good works in the power and name of Jesus for the glory of the Father. God will judge those works and our lives as Christians (Matt 5:16; Eph 2:10; Rom 2:13), which is a different kind of judgement to non-believers.
Consider the following verses; God will judge and destroy any of those who destroy his temple! Are we exempt from that judgement simply by being that temple if we are still partaking in that destruction through our sin?
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
We can have hope though, if we are judged, because the Lord doesn't judge us without purpose or just to punish for the sake of it, but he does it for our own good and salvation; so that we are disciplined in order not to be condemned with the world (1 Cor 11:32; cf. Rev 3:4-6) — sometimes that judgement includes sickness and death (1 Cor 11:30)! Sin is a serious business that we often take such a lackadaisical attitude towards, to our own destruction.
This is a topic that could be laboured more, but I’m going to close here with the same appeal to you as Paul gives to the Roman church, and the reminder Peter gives to us about ourselves before God, and our relation to him. Really read and meditate on these verses and let them sink in as the Holy Spirit speaks to you and brings a deeper revelation of God to you through this reality and what he expects of us as his children:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
1 Peter 1:15-16
Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
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