The church is the temple of the God

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My ESV Bible open to Ephesians

Notice the metaphor Paul uses in Ephesians 2 to describe the church:

You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

In other words, we are bricks in God’s temple. Peter describes believers as living stones built up as a spiritual house (1Pe 2:5).

Let’s not confuse this analogy by thinking of the church as a physical location. The church is not a building. The people who make up the church, however, are like bricks in a building. God places us together to create a dwelling place for his Spirit. The church is the people.

In fact, Paul speaks of individual members of the church as temples of God. He tells the Corinthians, Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1Co 6:19-20). So let’s not carry the temple metaphor further than Paul intended.

Also notice the layers of this temple. First, we have the foundation along with its cornerstone. Second, we have the building of the temple. Third, we have the purpose of the temple. If you prefer, Paul describes the foundation, the formation, and the function of God’s temple.