In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul had told them they were the building of God. Paul had introduced them to Jesus Christ, thereby laying the only true foundation. There is great variation in how men build on this foundation, and Paul gave us a warning to build with eternally durable materials– metaphorically described as gold, silver, and precious stones. The temporal materials of this life– metaphorically described as wood, hay, and stubble– will not survive the coming judgment by fire. Those who use them will suffer great loss, even though they themselves will be saved.And then, Paul asks them this question; “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
Solomon once built the temple of God. Hundreds of thousands of men it took, and seven years to complete. Its construction included unbelievable amounts of wealth– the plunder and tribute from decades of victorious conquest and subsequent rule. At its completion and dedication, the glory of God appeared, and filled it.
But God left that temple, when His people repeatedly refused to obey Him. And after the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, God no longer took pleasure in the animal sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem. He had made it possible for God Himself to dwell among us. As souls put their faith in Jesus Christ, He comes to dwell in their hearts; and as they gather together in His Name, He is there in their midst.