Chapter 2—The Body the Temple

The Christian's Responsibility—“Know ye not,” Paul asks, “that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” Man is God's workmanship, His masterpiece, created for a high and holy purpose; and on every part of the human tabernacle God desires to write His law. Every nerve and muscle, every mental and physical endowment, is to be kept pure. Te 142.1

God designs that the body shall be a temple for His Spirit. How solemn then is the responsibility resting on every soul.... How many there are, blessed with reason and intelligence, talents which should be used to the glory of God, who willfully degrade soul and body. Their lives are a continual round of excitement. Cricket and football matches and horse racing absorb the attention. The liquor curse, with its world of woe, is defiling the temple of God.... By the use of liquor and tobacco men are debasing the life given them for high and holy purposes. Their practices are represented by wood, hay, and stubble. Their God-given powers are perverted, their senses degraded, to minister to the desires of the carnal mind. Te 142.2

The drunkard sells himself for a cup of poison. Satan takes control of his reason, his affections, his conscience. Such a man is destroying the temple of God. Tea drinking helps to do this work. Yet how many there are who place destroying agencies on their tables. Te 142.3

No Right to Cripple One Organ of Mind or Body—No man or woman has any right to form habits which lessen the healthful action of one organ of mind or body. He who perverts his powers is defiling the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Lord will not work a miracle to restore to soundness those who continue to use drugs which so degrade soul, mind, and body that sacred things are not appreciated. Those who give themselves up to the use of tobacco and liquor do not appreciate their intellect. They do not realize the value of the faculties God has given them. They allow their powers to wither and decay. Te 142.4

God desires all who believe in Him to feel the necessity of improvement. Every intrusted faculty is to be improved. Not one is to be neglected. As God's husbandry and building, man is under His supervision in every sense of the word; and the better he becomes acquainted with his Maker, the more sacred will his life become in his estimation.... Te 143.1

God asks His children to live a pure, holy life. He has given His Son that we may reach this standard. He has made every provision necessary to enable man to live, not for animal satisfaction, like the beasts that perish, but for God and heaven.... Te 143.2

God Keeps an Account—The physical penalty of disregarding the laws of nature will appear in the form of sickness, ruined constitutions, and even death itself. But a settlement is also to be made, by and by, with God. He keeps an account of every work, whether it is good or evil, and in the day of judgment every man will receive according to his work. Every transgression of the laws of physical life is a transgression of the laws of God; and punishment must and will follow every such transgression. Te 143.3

The human house, God's building, requires close, watchful guardianship.... The physical life is to be carefully educated, cultivated, and developed, that through men and women the divine nature may be revealed in its fullness. God expects men to use the intellect He has given them. He expects them to use every reasoning power for Him. They are to give the conscience the place of supremacy that has been assigned to it. The mental and physical powers, with the affections, are to be so cultivated that they can reach the highest efficiency.—The Review and Herald, November 6, 1900. Te 143.4

When Guided by an Enlightened Conscience—The apostle Paul writes: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”—The Signs of the Times, October 2, 1907. Te 144.1

The apostle Paul here mentions the foot races, with which the Corinthians were familiar. The contestants in these races were subjected to the most severe discipline in order to fit them for the trial of their strength. Their diet was simple. Luxurious food and wine were prohibited. Their food was carefully selected. They studied to know what was best adapted to render them healthful and active, and to impart physical vigor and endurance, that they might put as heavy a tax as possible upon their strength. Every indulgence that would tend to weaken the physical powers was forbidden.—The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1909. Te 144.2

If heathen men, who were not controlled by enlightened conscience, who had not the fear of God before them, would submit to deprivation and the discipline of training, denying themselves of every weakening indulgence merely for a wreath of perishable substance and the applause of the multitude, how much more should they who are running the Christian race in the hope of immortality and the approval of High Heaven be willing to deny themselves unhealthful stimulants and indulgences, which degrade the morals, enfeeble the intellect, and bring the higher powers into subjection to the animal appetites and passions. Te 144.3

Multitudes in the world are witnessing this game of life, the Christian warfare. And this is not all. The Monarch of the universe and the myriads of heavenly angels are spectators of this race; they are anxiously watching to see who will be successful overcomers, and win the crown of glory that fadeth not away. With intense interest God and heavenly angels mark the self-denial, the self-sacrifice, and the agonizing efforts of those who engage to run the Christian race. The reward given to every man will be in accordance with the persevering energy and faithful earnestness with which he performs his part in the great contest. Te 144.4

In the games referred to, but one was sure of the prize. In the Christian race, says the apostle, “I so run not as uncertainly.” We are not to be disappointed at the end of the race. To all those who fully comply with the conditions in God's word, and have a sense of their responsibility to preserve physical vigor and activity of body, that they may have well-balanced minds and healthy morals, the race is not uncertain. They all may gain the prize, and win and wear the crown of immortal glory that fadeth not away.... Te 145.1

Promises to the Overcomer—The world should be no criterion for us. It is fashionable to indulge the appetite in luxurious food and unnatural stimulants, thus strengthening the animal propensities and crippling the growth and development of the moral faculties. There is no encouragement given to any of the sons or daughters of Adam that they may become victorious overcomers in the Christian warfare unless they decide to practice temperance in all things. If they do this, they will not fight as one that beateth the air. Te 145.2

If Christians will keep the body in subjection, and bring all their appetites and passions under the control of enlightened conscience, feeling it a duty that they owe to God and to their neighbors to obey the laws which govern health and life, they will have the blessing of physical and mental vigor. They will have moral power to engage in the warfare against Satan; and in the name of Him who conquered appetite in their behalf, they may be more than conquerors on their own account. This warfare is open to all who will engage in it.—The Signs of the Times, October 2, 1907. Te 145.3