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Briercrest Chapel: We Are the Temple of the Living God

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope everything is running smoothly and that you are enjoying your classes now that our online education is up and running.

I’m settling into this new format for chapel, and I hope you are all enjoying the content. Shoot me an email at jwendel@briercrest.ca or a message on Facebook if you have any feedback, prayer requests, testimonies, or just want to say hi. I love and miss you guys!

Before we dig into the word, I just want to remind you that the Kingdom of God isn’t only breaking in here at school. 

Our time at Briercrest is a retreat (in fact, AJ Crocker, our Director of Youth Quake, just wrote a blog on this topic): a time to pull away from normal life to be formed specially for service. Now we are being sent out to seek the Kingdom in the world. Let’s commit ourselves to doing that in these last few weeks of the school year and throughout the summer!

Before we go any further, make sure you're caught up on last week's chapel content—you can find it all here.

Live video from BriercrestLife's Instagram launching week 2 of Briercrest Chapel online

The presence of God

This week I want to take some time to think about what it means that we are the temple of the living God. 

Early in the year I told the broad-view story of how God dwells among His people. 

The immediate consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin was that they hid from God—they were separated from Him. This separation was entrenched further when God sent them out from the garden.

And one of the threads of the grand story in the Old Testament is this idea of God restoring His presence to men: God chooses a special people, Israel, and He dwells among them in the tabernacle and eventually in the Temple of Solomon.

But after seemingly endless cycles of sin, God’s presence leaves the temple. (You can hear me tell this story again on our chapel podcast here.) Once again, people are separated from God.

There is a promise, however, that one day God will come and dwell among His people again—that they will not be separated from him forever. And this promise is fulfilled in the New Testament. After Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension, the Holy Spirit is poured out on all believers.

Finally, God dwells among His people again, in an even more close, intimate, and powerful way than He dwelled among the Israelites.

Today’s passage: 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1

This is why Paul can say in 2 Corinthians 6:16 that “we are the temple of the living God.” We are the people in whom God dwells. We are the temple!

But for Paul, this amazing, beautiful reality means that we must be careful to separate ourselves from evil ways of the world. If we are to be the temple for our holy God to live in, then we must be a holy people. 

That’s why he quotes scripture about coming out from the world and not touching unclean things in verse 17-18. It’s all about being a holy temple for God.

Then Paul finishes his thought at the beginning of chapter 7, saying, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and of spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.” 

What does Paul mean here? Can we really ‘cleanse’ ourselves? I thought Christ did that!? Those are some of the thoughts that pop into my mind when I read this passage.

Of course, it is by Christ’s atoning blood that we are saved. 

Much like the physical temple in the Old Testament, which needed to be sanctified before God’s presence would enter, as God’s living Temple, we needed Christ to purify us before God’s presence would enter us. But because of Christ’s atoning work, we are cleansed from our sin so that God’s Spirit may enter us.

This doesn’t mean, however, that we have no role to play. Paul is calling us to put off defilements of body and spirit, because choosing to live in sin threatens God’s presence and work in our lives. 

We need to hear this call to be a holy temple for the presence of the Holy Spirit. If we want to experience God’s presence and see his work, we need to throw off sin which can so easily entangles us and to live as holy people—a people cleansed by Christ’s blood.

Where do we start?

I think the place to start is repentance. I’m going to harp on this a little more in tomorrow’s podcast, but the Christian community looks like a people living in continual repentance. 

Right after calling the believers a temple, Paul goes on to tell a story about how he rejoices at the Corinthian’s repentance. Repenting and turning away from sin is a huge part of what Paul calls us to when he says we need to cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit.

Sometimes repentance takes place between us and the LORD. I recommend you make daily repentance a part of your devotional routine. Ask God to reveal ways that you are falling short, and then repent of those things and ask for his strength to walk in holiness.

Another thing we need, however, is the support of Christian community. Remember what I said last week, the Kingdom of God is among us; it’s not an individual thing! 

Especially now that we are all spread out and at home, it is important to find someone we trust to walk through repentance with. Confess your mistakes with a person or small group and pray through repentance: pray that God would make you clean and give you the power of his Spirit to live in righteousness.

Don’t try to walk with Christ alone. Seek out the people of God. We are the ones among whom God’s presence dwells!

This week's podcasts:

Please note that we’re experiencing podcast looping issues in Safari and we’ve confirmed that this is an iOS issue. We recommend that iOS users open podcast links in a different browser, or download podcast audio directly to their devices.

"Let's Talk Theology" Vol. 2 video:

Zoom video recording of Let's Talk Theology Vol. 2: Atonement
  • Some scripture for us to read and pray about together this week:

  • Acts 2
  • 2 Corinthians 6–7
  • 1 Kings 8
  • Ezekiel 10-11

This week’s prayer requests:

  • Prayers for the vulnerable communities across the world. The elderly, children, sick, poor. — Bryton Codd
  • I’ll be driving to Toronto for 2 days and then in quarantine. I won’t see my fam for 2 weeks. — Rebecca Smith
  • My sister’s friend’s baby is very sick from COVID-19 cause of a doctor. She might lose her son Emmett. — Regan Winsley
  • Former student! I feel God calling me somewhere, and I desperately need His provisions to go. — Nikki
  • Just to finish school honestly. And for motivation, cause I have none. — Daelynn Meier
  • For all students and staff who may feel lonely during this time. Especially the ones who may be living alone and may feel even more isolated. — Travis Molzan
  • That we would continue to actively seek to make disciples of all the nations. This is such a beautiful opportunity to spread the gospel to people confused and hurt it would be robbery to not take advantage of it all!!! — Will Dmytrow
  • That Jesus would bring renewal throughout the earth! — Caleb Brown
  • The many summer camps wrestling with what they will do if [COVID-19] continues! — Adam McNeil
  • For the students coming next year to be ready and willing to serve and learn. — Emily Thomas
  • When the Church suffers, giving is lessened and missionaries seriously struggle. — Faith Fink

A simple way to serve this season:

  • Our Student Government Outreach Coordinator, Will Dmytrow, created a template for offering help to people who are self-isolating and in need of some assistance. This is a great opportunity to take part in the Kingdom among us by serving the weaker. You can download the template here. 

Keep watching the blog for more videos, podcasts, and devotionals.

Go in peace to love and serve the LORD!

Jason Wendel

Jason Wendel is the Chaplain at Briercrest College. He recently graduated from Briercrest Seminary with a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Languages and Exegesis. Jason is a thoroughbred Briercrester, having completed his high school, college, and seminary education there. He and his wife, Julie, continue to enjoy life in Caronport as they work for the school.

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