Sunday after Sunday men are called on to pray and they utter some form of the phrase, “Thank You for letting us come out to God’s house” or “May we leave here saying it has been good to have been in the house of the Lord.”
While, I understand exactly what they are saying, I contend that they are Scripturally wrong, harming their own Christian walk and hindering the generations behind them.
Each verse that is used to defend referring to the church building as “God’s house” is from the Old Testatment, except in one instance where Jesus uses the terminology to refer to the temple in Jerusalem.
What separates each of those usages from the New Testament church is that the Holy Spirit has not yet been given to believers. But after Jesus’ resurrection, specifically after Pentecost, Scripture consistently refrains from referring to a building as “God’s house”
Paul seems adamant in 1 Corinthians. In 3:16, he says: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” In 6:19 he continues: “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 man?”
1 John 4:12, 16 both say that “God abides” in those who are Christians. Romans 8:11 speaks of “His Spirit who dwells in you.”
I understand that they view the church house as a special place that should be cared for and respected. I have no problem with that, but theologically it is wrong to call it “God’s house.” What of the New Testament (and current) churches that meet in homes?
The main reason I find this so troubling is the impact that it has own our spiritual lives. If we speak of the church building being “God’s house” then that perpetuates the notion that we can leave God at the church building since that is His house.
Too many of us live dual lives. We come to church services on Sunday and act one way, but we act totally different in our everyday live. Have you ever heard kids arguing with one another and heard one say, “Ohh, you said a bad word in God’s house.” or “You’re not supposed to lie in the church!” They view it as somewhat worse to do something that displeases God within the four walls of the building. Is it not wrong to use foul language at school? Is it okay to lie at home?
Children pick up on our words. They hear us refer to the church building as “God’s house.” It leads them and us to regard sins there as worse, which makes sins somewhere else better.
Remember as Christians you are “God’s house.” No mere man-made building can contain the Creator; only something He has personally fashioned can be called His house – You, as a believer.