Who Is Holy (Part One)

What is another way to describe the church?

The previous post explained the church is not a building made of mortar, brick, wood, carpet, pews, chairs, etc. but is composed of living stones. So what about these living stones? living stones compose His templeIn 1Corinthians 3:16-17, Paul explains these living stones are the temple or sanctuary of God. Huh? I thought the sanctuary was basically the holy or special place where His people gathered, sat in chairs or pews, worshiped, prayed, listened to a sermon on God’s holy word, and took the offering?

Actually this word temple, in the Greek, is naós (from naiō, “to dwell”) which means a sanctuary (divine dwelling-place); a temple (sacred abode), the place of divine manifestation. So together, we form His dwelling place, His place of divine manifestation. Sometimes people say ‘God showed up’ in the sanctuary or church building made by man.  But these times of His tangible presence is actually Him manifesting Himself in and through us, His living stones. He loves it when His people get together as His temple!

Paul goes on to say this temple or sanctuary, composed of believers, has a most amazing attribute. Ready for truth? This temple or sanctuary is HOLY! That means corporately we are holy! No way! Gosh, a lot of times we don’t get along. We have issues with each other. Isn’t only God holy and maybe a few special men or women of God?

I used to think of holy as spotless, pure, undefiled, untouchable, perfect. Years ago someone added to that concept of  ‘holy’ when they told me, ‘not even a speck of dust or lint is on God’. Wow! But now I see that kind of understanding of holy puts Him out of reach and something to be feared. This is not to say some of those words might help describe Him but they do not give the right meaning of ‘holy’ in the New Testament.

The Greek word for holy is hagios which means – different, distinguished, distinct, unlike, other (otherness), implies ‘set apart’. Obviously we think of God as unlike, distinct, other, set apart. But for goodness sakes we are that too, as His temple, as His church building?!

The holiness we are graced with as His temple makes us totally unlike any other so called temple, sanctuary, or church made by human hands. On top of that, we are an eternal temple, forever other, forever unlike, forever distinct, forever distinguished. Talk about corporate significance!

Why do we put so much of our identification in a building or a denomination that the building represents? We, His living stones, are so much bigger and better than those lesser things. Again, it is not bad to go to a church building but realize the true sanctuary is so beyond our traditional understanding and expectations.

Try to grasp this  – if ‘holy us’ are unlike anything else, if we are other than anything else, if we are distinct from anything else – then there is nothing to compare us with! Even as God cannot be compared with anything else. In fact, only He is so beyond and above peerless! Yet He imparts to us a measure of His holy nature. Incredible!!!

If something is other than anything else, doesn’t  that give it a an incomparable value and worth? No one can compare it with anything else because there is nothing like it! Wouldn’t we be amazed to see something like that?! Wouldn’t we be naturally intrigued to explore and discover why this is so?

So who is holy?  God of course, and us as His holy temple. Both – incomparable, worth really knowing and exploring. In fact both are meant to be known and explored now and through all eternity! To clarify – wouldn’t we explore His glorious holy temple forever because part of the unsearchable riches of Him is His oneness with us?

Oh to know this beautiful holy God and His multi-splendored holy sanctuary of living stones.multi-splendored sanctuary of living stones Talk about growing in fullness!

Dig In

  • May we truly grasp the dynamic of living stones defining His temple, His sanctuary.
  • May God help us to begin to see the holy inherent value of each other together – unlike, other than, distinct, unique, and distinguished.
  • Because we are His holy temple where He resides, truly we should expect more of His manifest presence when we gather together!

2 responses to “Who Is Holy (Part One)

  1. I have been fortunate enough to know for a while that church is not, nor will it ever be, a building. Our pastor instilled this truth in us from the very beginning, and continued to do so, lest we forget. And somewhat ironically this made it easier to leave that church when God was calling us elsewhere. Had church been a building — specifically that one — I imagine that decision would have been more difficult. We went through a season where God was found in us and around us, but we did not seek Him in corporate worship. Knowing I had just as much as of Him sitting on my porch as I did before a pew, was a comforting assurance.

    Thanks, Nancy. May we will remember where He dwells.

    ~ Cara

    • Cara, how wonderful to have the living stones truth deposited in you! Isn’t it something how quickly we forget that He dwells within us, that we are ‘one’ with Him. No wonder He says so forcefully in Heb. 13:5 ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ What assurance, what fullness! Thanks for sharing your living stone church story.

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