In Exodus we see God command His people to build a tabernacle. This tabernacle was not to be just any building, but a grand portable piece of architecture. God was very specific about how He wanted it built and what He wanted it built with. Just to name a few of the items contained within it and around it: the tent which covered the wooden skeletal structure (Ex. 26:26-30), the bronze basin and its stand (Ex. 30:17-21), the surrounding fence of fine linens hanging from 60 wooden pillars (Ex. 27:9-19), the entrance gate (Ex. 38:18-20), the bronze altar of burnt offering (Ex. 27:1-8), the veil separating the holy of holies from all else (Ex. 26:36-37), the table (Ex. 25:-23-30), the lampstand (Ex. 25:31-40), the altar of incense (Ex. 30:1-5), and the ark of the covenant (Ex. 25:10-22) were to be made exactly how God wanted them to be made. God commanded that His tabernacle would be treated with the utmost of reverence. Why did He go to all this detail? Because God is holy, and He will be treated as holy by all who enter into His presence.
When we move over into the New Testament Paul makes an astounding claim in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” Do you feel the magnitude that Paul is laying out before us here? Just as the tabernacle was the place of the presence of God in the Old Testament, so too, the believer’s physical body is the place where the presence of Almighty God dwells in the New Testament Christian. In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul uses this truth to urge Christians out of sexual immorality, but the application seems endless when you think about it doesn’t it?
We saw earlier how meticulous the building of the tabernacle had to be, there’s more. God not only commanded a meticulous build, but commanded a meticulous behavior (in Leviticus) by all who would worship within the tabernacle. Think about how this applies to your own physical body. Your body is the temple of God! That should massively affect how you treat it. I realize I’m about to say something that will make some of you angry, but I think it’s 100% true. Because your body is the temple of God, you cannot do whatever you like with it. You are not free to do whatever you want with your body. You must take meticulous care of your body, eating well, exercising, and keeping it in strong condition. Think about the holy attitude all Israel had toward the tabernacle. Do you have the same attitude for your body now? You ought to. Why? Because your body is the temple of God, and where God dwells, holiness reigns.
When one sees the holiness commanded by God in Exodus and Leviticus in regard to the tabernacle, one cannot ignore Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 6. Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 6:12 apply to this as well, “Everything is permissible for me” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” – but I will not be mastered by anything.” Because the Christian’s physical body is the temple of God the Christian is commanded by Scripture to responsibly steward their bodies. This affects the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the amount of exercise you do, what you use your body for, and what you decorate your body with.
Application question: If you’re a Christian and you do whatever you want with your body without caring about what God thinks about your body, you’re in sin, and you need to repent. Do you need to?