Stephen said: “The Most High does not live in houses made by men.” Paul said: God “does not live in temples built by hands.” Naturally you will ask, “Then where does God dwell?”
Paul answers that question: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” He again said: “We are the temple of the living God.” This calls for a honoring of God with our body and also for separation from sinful alliances with the world.
Therefore Paul said that offering your body as living sacrifices is your spiritual act of worship. That is something holy and pleasing to God.
Another important thing that Peter points out is that Jesus is the living Stone rejected by men but chosen by God. He is the cornerstone of the spiritual house of God and you also, like living stones are being built into it.
As we look at the past, you find the tabernacle of God in the desert as well as the temple of God in Jerusalem. All the elements in both these structures pointed to Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. They were built as copies and shadows of realities in heaven. These were sprinkled by the blood of bulls and goats but Christ entered heaven itself through His precious blood.
It was a once for all sacrifice. No more sacrifices are needed because all of them were fulfilled in Jesus Christ when He shed His precious blood on the cross. Therefore John at the end of the Book of Revelation (during the early part he sees the temple in heaven opened) does not see a temple in the heavenly city of Jerusalem because the Lord Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
Jesus had high regard for the purpose for which the temple was built rather than for the building as such. He knew that the building would be destroyed without one stone remaining on another. But Jesus highly esteemed the spiritual principles for which the temple stood for.
As a twelve year old boy at the temple, He asked his frantic mother, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” And on another occasion he rebuked the people who were selling things in the temple saying: “It is written, My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it `a den of robbers.’ ”
The Psalmist described the temple thus: “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Here the longing for God is so passionately and intimately expressed.
The Psalmist continued: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Those who have known God’s presence in places of worship would say the same thing.
David said: I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.” And when at one time the Psalmist was downcast in his soul, he remembered how he used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. This puts hope in God back and he expresses confidence that he will yet praise God.