By D. M. PANTON, B.A.
One of the most amazing revelations
ever made is given by Paul in his word to
[* Acts 5: 32.] ** Your body, i.e., the body of each man among you: the temple, not a temple (Dean Alford).]
It is indeed an amazing revelation -
that we are a habitation of God through the Spirit
(Eph. 2: 22). We should expect the Holy Ghost to dwell in
our spirit - the part of us that contacts us with God, or our soul - our
intellect, in both of which we were made in the image of God; but that Deity
should dwell in our body, literally dwell in it, is an extraordinary
But the very immensity of the blessing
carries with it a counterbalancing truth.
The flesh lusteth
against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary
the one to the other (Gal. 5: 17). In the words of Spurgeon:- Our greatest danger is from within. All the devils in
Hell and tempters on earth could do no injury if there were no corruption in
us. Alas, our heart is our chief enemy:
Lord, save me from that evil man, myself. But the battle can be won. Choose between the
worst and the better that is within thee.
Thou hast it in thy power to become the slave of passion, the slave of
luxury, the slave of sensual power, the slave of corruption. Thou hast it also in thy power to become the
free master of thyself, to become the unfailing champion of God (Dean Stanley). No one was allowed across the threshold of
But the battle between the flesh and the Spirit can be lost as
well as won; and the Apostle suddenly flashes out a terrible red-light warning
corresponding to the enormous privilege.
Any defilement of the
[* All the sins of the flesh,
if persisted in, forfeit the Millennial Reign: of
the which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they which practise
such things shall not inherit the
So then we see what enormous powers are ours if we co-operate fully with the Holy Spirit. Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers that they might be filled unto all the fulness of God (Eph. 3: 19). The indwelling [Holy] Spirit can control our eyes, where they look; our tongue, what it says; our ears, what they hear; our hands, what they do; our feet, where they go; our brain, what it thinks. He can cure any bodily disease. He can restrain, or even annihilate, appetite: it is extraordinary how a drunkard, when converted, can lose all appetite for drink. The passage which most stresses the fearful conflict between the flesh and the Spirit reveals the victory that can be achieved. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance: such have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof (Gal. 5: 22).
The Apostle then reveals that this unique wonder is reserved
for this generation alone. Ye are not
your own; for ye were bought with a price. Not
until the price was paid, and the body was bought, could the temple be created:
therefore it is only in the Church, following
So then we arrive at the golden conclusion. Glorify God therefore in your body.* There is not a part of our frame which may not be the embodiment of spiritual things or the means of religious service. When I comb my hair, the very hairs remind me that they are all numbered. And the eyes, are they not inlets wherewith I may first take into my heart all the beautiful works of God in nature, and providence, and grace; and then by bright and loving looks spread peace and happiness? How much of Satan, and how much of Christ, there may be in the look of the eye! And the mouth: what action the mouth has for sin and self-indulgence, or self-denial and careful moderation for Christs sake. Glorify God with your mouth! And the tongue; what a curse or blessing it may be! Learn when to shut it and when to open it. And your nerves; they are very good servants, but very bad masters. Pray constantly for more calmness. And all the senses - consecrate them. They are the Lords. And all your members! Those hands - let them be busy, useful hands. And those knees: let them fulfil the great design for which God gave you knees. And the feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. And your whole body! Keep every part of it for God (J. Vaughan, M.A.).
So also Christ shall be magnified IN MY BODY, whether by life, or by death (Phil. 1: 20).
[* The added sentence and in your spirit - is omitted by all the best manuscripts, by nearly all commentators, and by the Revised Version: it is the body alone which is emphasised throughout.]