Paul has one more use of "temple" in his letters to the Corinthians. In 2 Corinthians 6:15b-16, "What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.'"
In Paul's day there were temples to false gods, dead gods, which he contrasts with the temple of the living God. The living God lives in a living temple, not in a building filled with statues of false gods, whether Roman or Greek. The living God chooses living temples, and that is who we are. Not only did God live with us and walk among us, he continues to do so in believers today.
Further we should be separate from those who worship false gods (vs 17) and purify ourselves from anything that contaminates either body or spirit (vs 18). Paul said this because he knew how difficult it was to live surrounded by non-believers. It is easy to be contaminated by unbelief, by worldly ideas, by false gods, unless we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit
For Reflection: Am I entangled with false gods or unbelievers in ways that I shouldn't be? Have I been contaminated?
Let us pray. Jesus, let me in to your decontamination unit. I want to be wholly yours.
Intermittently we are looking at our titles or designations in Scripture. Another is "Ambassador for Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:20). There are several layers of meaning to the idea of being an ambassador. An ambassador, by definition is a high-ranking diplomat sent by one country to another person or country as a representative. In the case of the U.S. the President sends an ambassador to every country with which we have diplomatic relations. That ambassador represents the President. When s/he goes to see, for example, the President of France, it is as if the President of the U.S. walked into the room. That is the type of authority that an ambassador carries.
We are Christ's ambassadors. When we walk into a room it is as if Christ himself has entered. Our behavior and words represent Christ. That is a lot of authority. Paul says the message we have been given is the message of reconciliation. Christ is reconciling the world to himself and he has chosen us to get that message across. Therefore, we are ambassadors of reconciliation, speaking to all people everywhere about being reconciled to God. It is an important message which needs to be heard by everyone.
Wherever we go we are always "on." We are always acting as Christ's ambassador. There are no days off, no after-office hours when we do not represent Christ. Having chosen to follow Jesus, we follow him at all times and in all places.
For Reflection: Do I know my stature as an ambassador? How well have I represented Christ this week?
Let us pray. Jesus, I want to represent you well as your ambassador. Help me to walk in your authority and with your love in all the places and to all the people where you send me. Keep my heart open to always sharing your message of reconciliation to the Father.
"You yourselves are our letter (of recommendation), written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts" (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
Paul could be quite the lyrical writer when offering encouragement and praise to the members of the church. So what is this idea of Christians being a "letter of recommendation?" Paul meant that when people saw the Christians of the local church who had been taught in the faith by Paul and his companions, their lives reflected on him, on the quality of his teaching and formation in the faith.
Paul was a teacher and evangelist. His students lived (and traveled) throughout the Mediterranean world. They were a reflection on the value, the thoroughness, the expertise of his teaching. There was no "standardized test" for being a Christian. Paul couldn't "teach to the test." He could only teach to their hearts and hope that his teachings were written there, on their hearts, as God has written his commandments on the stones at Mt. Sinai. And Paul is obviously satisfied that he has met that test - he has touched their hearts and they provide excellent letters of recommendation for him and his ministry.
For Reflection: There is an old saying: "Everything we do teaches." All of us teach in some way - whether we teach formally in a school setting, or at home with our children, or in the marketplace. People are always observing us. What type of letter of recommendation are we for those who taught us and, ultimately, for Jesus?
Let us pray. Jesus, I thank you for my parents, teachers and pastors and all who taught me to know you, the living and true God. I strive to be a good letter of recommendation for them and for you. May I always reflect you well in all that I do.
On Monday I mentioned thinking and making positive statements about ourselves. I wasn't thinking about making just any positive statement about ourselves. We could say for years that we are excellent car mechanics, but, if we know nothing about cars, saying it doesn't make it come true. No, the statements I envisioned are based in Scripture.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (See also Galatians 6:15.) Therefore, if we are "in Christ", if we are baptized, we are a new creation. So, let us say, "I am a new creation." We can also say, "The old me has passed away, the new me has come!"
Let us pray. Jesus, I thank you for making me a new creation through baptism. I thank you that the old me has passed away and the new has come. With you all good things are possible.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.