Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Paul enters the final phase of his argument about division and fragmentation in the church with these words, which are actually a transition. Even so, they are compelling not only for the members of the church in Corinth, but for us today, for they ring true through the mist of time as warning for each of us to avoid creating or becoming involved with factions in the church.
Church is not a human institution, and it must not be treated as such. Church is not a cult of personality, and it must not be allowed to become as such. Church is the entire body of believers in whom the Holy Spirit dwells.
Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about human leaders! 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 of Christ, and Christ is of God.
1 Corinthians 3:18-22
As the chapter comes to its close, Paul again brings back his comparison and contrast of wisdom and foolishness, bringing all of the preceding points together. If we think we are wise by the standards of this world, we need to become “fools” for Christ, for the wisdom of this world counts for nothing where eternity is concerned. Does this line of thinking remind you of Ecclesiastes?
It does for me; I can hear Solomon’s words ringing in my mind as I read this: “Useless, useless!”
Everything we need, we have in Christ. If we have everything we need in Christ, then what is it that we need outside of Christ? The approval and admiration of society? To be associated with a great church leader?
For heaven’s sake! We have association with the King of kings and the Lord of lords− it doesn’t get any better than that!
We who are followers of Jesus – all of us together – we are one in Him, and He is in us. To bring something of this world into the mix is to break the fellowship of the Body, and to wreck our relationship with Him.
Talk about foolish!
It seems to me that Paul has just taken the Corinthians out to the woodshed; what do you think?
Oh wait, I almost forgot! Did Paul ever get around to telling us what that mystery was, the mystery of God?