I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. Revelation 21:22

There are many looking forward to the day when there is no longer a temple or an institutional church. While churches are intended to be communities of healing and restoration, they can also be places of great pain. Christians have often been accused of “shooting their own wounded.” What was God thinking in creating churches?

God created us for fellowship with himself and with one another. He wants us to grow in love and patience as we learn to share with a wide variety of people. People who we wouldn’t volunteer to spend time with, people whose perspectives are wildly different to ours, and people we may not even like. It’s still God’s intention that “(believers) be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me (Jesus)” (John 17:23).

When Jesus went to Nazareth, “on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom” (Luke 4:16). While his sermon made them furious (verse 28) there’s no indication that he tried to change the synagogue procedure. There’s no ideal church model. Jesus’ desire is to change his people so that they become “a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:27).

Larry Crabb wrote a book called, Inside Out, where he expounds the idea that God wants to change us on the inside so that, in time, our outward behaviour will change. So often our world wants to change people’s outward behaviour without addressing their internal needs.

God is in the business of changing us from the inside out until the day when there is no longer any need for a temple.