the house of God, the body of Christ

Growing up in the Christian church, the daughter of a Pentecostal pastor, I heard the scripture ‘I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord!’ countless times. Preachers and members of the congregation would belt it out quickly to get a reaction from the crowd. And trust me, it was like hitting the “Turn Up” button because the entire room would shout and smile and sometimes dance. They were instantly happy with the thought of going into the “house of the Lord”. I do not believe that any of them realized that they were the house of the Lord. Or, shall I say, they should be the house of the Lord.

Let’s take a look at the backstory for that “turn up” scripture. It is found in Psalms 122. Written by King David, this text was part of a song that the children of Israel sang as they journeyed to Jerusalem for a holy feast. It was called songs of ascension because the children of Israel were going up to Jerusalem for this holy holiday. This was one of the many requirements for Israel. Clearly, it is not required today. We live by the grace of God through our faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ.

We do not go to the house of the Lord. God does not dwell in a temple or any particular building or piece of earth. Before Christ, Israel had no way to get to God except through the priests. They would go to the temple to make sacrifices to God, to pray and worship. In this temple was a veil and behind it was the dwelling place of God (Hebrews 9). Only the priests were allowed behind that veil to atone for Israel’s sins.

But now…

The death of Jesus Christ atoned for all sin. The veil was literally torn open and the temple was destroyed. God left the temple and now dwells in the hearts of the believer (Acts 17:24). Those of us who believe that Jesus Christ atoned for all sin through his sacrifice and resurrection, we are the house of the Lord, the body of Christ. We go to God and directly to Him through that sacrifice Jesus made for us all.

Beloved, as believers we are the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit dwells in us now. We are the church and without us, there is no body.

 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Romans 8:9-11

Now, I realize a lot of organizations use the phrasing House of God etc. in their titles. But, that is all it is—a title. Do not let anyone tell you that you are standing on holy ground when you walk into a building or a piece of land. Do not let anyone trick you into believing that one building is more holy than the other. It is simply not true. In fact, you and I, the believers of the resurrected Christ are the holy ones. I’ll say it again, it is because the Holy Spirit lives in us. How blessed are we to have found this truth and live in it daily! No one needs a priest. Save your time for going to confession for something else, like reading the Bible perhaps (start in Ephesians). You can skip the ritualistic prayer line where everyone lays hands on you and you beg for forgiveness.

No, my love, you are already forgiven. You have to atone for nothing. Trust in that perfect sacrifice Jesus made for you. Yes you, the body of Jesus Christ, the house of the Lord.

Grace and peace,

Blessings and love.

“…we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before. This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them. And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Hebrews 10:9-20