“If Any Man Defile”

1 Corinthians 3:16-17



“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?” — The Holy Spirit tells us that every assembly of God’s saints is “the temple of God.” That makes the gathering of God’s elect as his house for public worship tremendously important. It is the most important and most beneficial assembly of men on earth. To rob yourself and your family of the benefit of this assembly is to court reprobation and seek the everlasting destruction of your own household (Heb. 10:25-26).


            “The Spirit of God dwelleth in you.” — God the Holy Spirit dwells in this temple. There is something profoundly mysterious and wonderful about the gathering of God’s saints to worship him. When we come together in the name of Christ to worship our God, no matter how many or how few, the Son of God assembles with us (Matt. 18:20), and the Spirit of God abides in our midst! The presence of God is promised in no other place on earth; but it is promised to the gathered church of God. Here, and here alone, the eternal God has promised to meet and commune with mortal men (Ex. 25:22). It is in this assembly, and only in this assembly that God promises to give out his Word (Ex. 25:22; Rom. 10:17).


            “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.” — The words “defile” and “destroy” are translated from the same word. They are translated differently because both translations are needed to convey what is here stated. The word from which these two words are translated means, “to waste, wither, corrupt, destroy, and spoil.” Paul is declaring that every man (preachers in particular) who wastes and withers, corrupts and destroys a local church, taking the spoils of God’s temple for himself, as “Nebuchadnezzar carried the vessels of the house of the Lord to Babylon,” shall be wasted, withered, corrupted, destroyed, and spoiled by God.


            The temple of God is “defiled” by those men who, rather than preaching Christ crucified, preach the wisdom of this world and, by philosophy and vain deceit, corrupt the minds of men from “the simplicity that is in Christ.” By the enticing words of man’s wisdom,” they divide the temple and tear down its walls; and they do so with the most self-serving, malicious designs of spoiling it, taking from it whatever they can for themselves, seeking their own things. — “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory


            It is written of all such men, “him shall God destroy.” By their own mouths, they shall be damned. God is the avenger of all false doctrine, false worship, and of everything that is contrary to the gospel. “For the temple of God is holy.” The house and worship of God, the people of God and the gospel of Christ are holy things, never to be used and abused by men for vain purposes. “Which temple ye are.” Notice that the word “temple” here was added by the translators. In reality, the Holy Spirit is saying, “which you are.” That is to say, you can be sure that God will avenge his own elect. Because we are his holy people, sanctified to him and for him, he will destroy those who seek to destroy us.