One of the most important and pressing questions in the study of the bible is this very question. It has been such a misunderstood and misused term for so long, that it is time to let the bible shine its light on the issue and expose the lies that have been used to hide the truth for so long.
Paul speaks about the truth on this issue in the book of Ephesians. But before examining this truth, there is a principle that must be understood. Many have been rejected from organizations claiming to be the “true church” and sadly they come out with a bitter and angry spirit. God has given His people victory over this. So when discussing this issue let us put forth the following principle.
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
Let us “speak the truth in love” when speaking about what the church is. Earlier in the chapter we read:
Ephesians 4:3-6 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Here we read that there is “One body” and that Christ “is the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (Eph 1:22, 23) So therefore, in order to be the body of Christ then we must understand that God the Father is “above all, and through all and in you all” (Eph 4:6) The church is “the fullness of him that filleth all in all”.
If He is not in you, then you are not part of the church. Many call the building that we gather at every week “the church”. I went to one of those buildings recently, and read the verse that tells us that the body and church is “the fullness of him that filleth all” (Eph 1:22, 23) and I said “Some of us have a church membership, but not all of us have the fullness of Him. So let me ask, if the church is the fullness of Him that filleth all, then is everyone in this building today part of the church?” The answer was a resounding “NO”. Obviously not, if we were to use the biblical definition. But only a few will accept the word of God on this matter, some because they are building their own kingdom. (See Gen 11:1-9)
When speaking of the church Paul would say:
Colossians 4:15 “ and the church which is in his house.”
Philemon 1:2 “, and to the church in thy house:”
1 Corinthians 16:19 “ the church that is in their house.”
Romans 16:5 “ the church that is in their house.”
If “the church is in the house” then the house is not “the church”. When we go over to the local building, we need to understand that we are not going to “the church” of the bible, when using the term “the church” in the biblical way, we need to know that we are going over to the building or house to meet “the church”. The church is the people that are in the house.
The Foundation of the Church
The first time the term “church” is used in the bible is in the book of Matthew. Jesus explains that knowing his identity is the key to seeing and knowing the foundation of the building.
Matthew 16:13-16 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
The bible does speak about the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah” in the Old Testament which we will consider. God’s covenant is with His house, His church, and we will examine that. But consider carefully that the foundation of the church has to do with the identity of Christ as the Son of God. Jesus in response to Peter’s understanding of who Christ was said “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:18)
The truth that Christ is the Son of God is the base doctrine of all church teachings. This foundation stone was rejected by the chief priests of Jesus day. (Matt 27:40)
Which one is the true church?
Which one is the true church?
Acts 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
In the book of Acts it is written that not only did they reject the foundation stone, but they rejected the builder. Christ told us that he was the builder, he said “I will build my church”. And so why is it written “you builders” (Acts 4:11) These builders stepped away from the foundation stone and left the building or church that was organized by Christ. They rejected the Son of God and they chose to set up their own new organization, building on sand, rather than the rock.
God Doesn’t Dwell in Buildings Made with Hands
We find in Acts chapter 6 that a man named Stephen is accused of speaking against the temple that is made with hands.
Acts 6:13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
In the next chapter Stephen explains the history of the church, and then he finally talks about the temple made with hands. And here is what he said:
Acts 7:47-51 But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
They rejected the Holy Spirit. They rejected the fullness of Him that filleth all in all, (Eph 1:22, 23) and therefore they rejected the truth about God’s building. Peter said:
1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Here we have found the building of God. But how can we see it? In order to see the kingdom of God we must be born again. (John 3:3, 5) Spiritual things are only seen with spiritual eyes. (1 Cor 2:11-14) The body of Christ cannot be seen unless we have the Holy Spirit. (John 14:17-19) You cannot say to one without spiritual eyes “Here is the church” because they could not see it.
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
The only way by which we can become a member of the body of Christ is by being born of spirit according to the bible. The only people that are members of the church are those who have been saved.
Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Notice that, it is not a bunch of men that come together and form an organization that they call “the church”. But rather it is “the Lord” that adds to the church. He is not adding to the church the lost, or those working at trying to be saved. When you become a member of the church, you are saved. The church only consists of those who are “saved”.
Can we judge who is saved and who is not? No, that is not our job. Therefore we cannot add or cast out of the church. Jesus himself said “I will in no wise cast out”. (John 6:37) That is not our duty. If we try to do that job, then we end up like the “man of sin” sitting “in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”(2 Thess 2:4) Let us leave the judgment to God as to who are the members of the church.
The biblical church is far different than what man has tried to make it. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man” (Pro 14:12)
The Bride of Christ and the Covenant
Revelation 21:2-3 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
God speaks of the bride of Christ as His church. And when becoming members of the church we are to enter into a marriage covenant union with Him. When that covenant is made we are told that He will dwell in them and they shall be His people.
Jeremiah 31:31-33 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
In Galatians chapter 4 we are told of the “two covenants”, the “the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage,” (Gal 4:24) and we are told of the second covenant which is symbolized by the bride of Christ, the church. We read:
Galatians 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
The only way by which we become children of this mother is to be born of the Holy Spirit. The new birth. In verse 19 we read: “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,” It is interesting to note that in order for birth to take place, Christ must be formed first within. The woman travails in birth, and then the seed or offspring is born. Speaking of the “mother of us all” we read in Revelation 12 of a woman “travailing in birth”:
Revelation 12:1-2 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
The process by which we become part of her seed is by “birth” or being “born again”. “By one spirit are we baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13) The bible tells us that Esau rejected the birthright, (Heb 12:16, 17) and that “Israel is my firstborn, even my son”. (Exo 4:22) Esau rejected the covenant of Abraham, yet professed to be Abraham’s seed. In very similar circumstances today we have many organizations professing the name of Christ, and professing to be his church, Abraham’s seed, Israel, Jews, but yet not one of them can truly be except in name only.
Israel the Firstborn
Hebrews 12:22-24 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Several things we can take note of here:
1. It is Jerusalem above the Mother of us all.
2. We are the church of the firstborn, the process of becoming members is by birth.
3. We are written in a book in heaven, no man can place or take your name off the church books because:
4. God is the judge of all who are in the church, man does not decide who the members are.
5. When we come to the city and church of God, we accept the new covenant.
Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
We were foreigners, but now are we no longer foreigners of Israel, and strangers from the covenant. Paul continues.
Ephesians 2:18-22 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
God has been trying to teach us that we are no longer foreigners of Israel, Jerusalem, or the Kingdom of God. But we are all built up a spiritual house, God dwelling in His building by His Spirit. We are the house of Israel, the house of Judah, but the only way by which you become part of this house, is to enter the marriage covenant with your husband accepting the promises given from Him.
The Temple and Building of God
1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.What is the church and temple of God
And what is in us when we are the building or house of God?
1Corinthians 3:16, 17 Know ye not 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.
I pray that the picture is becoming clearer. We’ve been told lies. We should be “speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:15, 16)
We are that body. And that body is “fitly framed” (Eph 2:22) “fitly joined” (Eph 4:16) The biblical body of Christ is spoken of over and over again as only those who are born again, saved and added to the church only by Christ when they receive the Holy Spirit.
What about being part of the body of Christ and attached to a manmade organization that has taken the title “church” and applied it to their manmade organization?
1 Corinthians 6:15-20 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
God’s covenant calls us to be free from church’s that are guilty of harlotry. It is a violation of the marriage covenant. “The two shall be one flesh” (Gen 2:24)
Can you imagine the human body totally broken and in many pieces, and a counsel of men coming together and trying to put that body together and making it live? Could it ever happen? No. It’s impossible. But yet men today have continued to try to put together the body of Christ and continually take the title “church” and place it on their organizations.
There is nothing wrong with organization, but the organization if it is manmade is never the church. Organizations can be used by or for the church. But never is the organization the church itself, or the church of the bible. God’s church is only built by Him. The only way that the body of a man can live is by God breathing his spirit into the man. (Gen 2:7) The only way by which the body of Christ can be built, is by accepting that God’s Spirit is what builds it. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the fullness of Him.
The Children of God
For many thousands of years men have thought that the children of God were those who were of the fleshly seed of Abraham. But the bible makes it clear that this was never the case, and that it was always the spiritual seed, the born again, that were the children of God.
Romans 8:14-17 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
In the next chapter, Paul clarifies as to who this spiritual adoption and the covenants pertain to. He talks about the children of Abraham, the Israelites, Isaac, and Ishmael and brings out the principle that it has always been the spiritual seed.
There is a belief commonly known as dispensationalism that teaches that it was the fleshly seed that were the children of God up until the time of the cross, then in the dispensation of time after the cross, Israel is the spiritual seed. But Paul plainly clarifies that the fleshly seed have never been the children of God, or the house of Israel.
Romans 9:4-8 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
The spiritual seed were the children of God, and the fleshly seed were not the children of God, even in the days of Abraham.
The Elijah Message – The True Israel
Paul goes on to give a further example in chapter 11 where he speaks of Elijah. If we understand who Paul is talking to in the context, that Paul is no longer associated with the national establishment, we can understand that Paul is calling the gentiles in Rome to be true Israelites.(Rom 11:13-27)
Romans 11:1-5 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
The remnant of Israel was those who had accepted the covenant of grace, the seven thousand men who had not bowed at the altar of God. The others were not the children of God, but rather were only professing the name. And God did call them to recognize their true identity, but yet many professed it without having the Spirit.
In Elijah’s day most of national Israel was worshipping BAAL, guilty of worshipping other gods. Elijah had a message regarding the true Israel. We read that Elijah was not associated with the “house of Ahab”. And further that he was not eating at the table of Jezebel or going to Jezebel’s “house”. (1Kings 18:18, 19) Elijah recognized that he was not to be attached to the harlot and her false system of worship even though the entire nation who had professed to be Israel, or God’s people were bowing at the altars of BAAL.
Elijah called all the prophets of BAAL up to Mount Carmel and challenged them to recognize who the true God was and what they had done to all of God’s altars and who the true Israel was. The nation had broken down the altars of God. The message of Elijah was to call people away from the altar of BAAL, and away from the prophets that were eating at the harlots table, and to separate themselves unto true worship of the true God.
1 Kings 18:18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.
1 Kings 18:30-31 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:
Elijah called them to take a closer look at the altar they had broken down. He said “come near unto me”. The altar was a symbol of the sacrifice of the Son of God. It was the cross of the Old Testament. And Elijah was calling them to behold the cross and live. (John 3:14-16) To “come near” and take a look at what they had done to the Son of God. They had broken down the very thing that was a symbol of His love to them, the altar.
He also said regarding this altar that “Israel shall be thy name”. Interestingly that altar was made out of twelve stones. God told us that we are “spiritual stones” (1 Pet 2:5, Eph 2:22) and that we are “Israel”. (Eph 2:12, 18) So the altar really was a symbol of God’s true Israel, those that were his spiritual children.
It is written that John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah. (Luke 1:17) Jesus told us that John was Elijah as spoken of in the prophecies if we would receive it. (Matt 11:14) What special message did John have for the self-appointed church authorities of that time?
Matthew 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
The message of John was that God was raising up children of God from stones. Israel is the name of His children, so similar to Elijah, the message of John was that God could raise up children to God that were truly living stones, spiritual stones, built up a spiritual house. (1 Pet 2:5) He told the religious leaders of his time not to profess to be the children of Abraham. And today, a very similar message is to be proclaimed to the religious leaders of all of these professed organizations and churches. The message is to “say not within yourselves, we are the children of God, we are the church of God, we are Christians, we are the true church”.
Come away From the Altar of BAAL
These men of God were calling men away from the religious altars, houses, and churches of their day. They were calling God’s children to break down the altars of BAAL rather than as they had already done in breaking down the altars of God.
Deuteronomy 7:2-8 … thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: … ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. .. the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
God has redeemed us from the “house of bondmen”. Why is it important not to go back to that house? The bible says because they will cause our sons and daughters to turn away from following Him. We are not to bow at their altars, even if they profess to be the children of God, the house of Israel, the church of God.
There were however a group of Pharisee’s that were following Jesus around that were not yet freed from the “house of bondage”, yet they were professing to be children of the mother of us all, Jerusalem above, which is free. (Gal 4:26)
John 8:31-44 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
These leaders had not experienced the new birth. They were not yet children of the Father of all, who is to be in all. They surely had yet to become covenant children of Abraham and children of the Mother of us all.
Who is a Jew?
The term Jew is derived from Judah, the son of Jacob or Israel. A Jew is an Israelite. God’s covenant was with the house of Israel and Judah. But the bible tells us that there are many who professed the name Judah but yet were only Jew’s in name, nominal Jew’s. In the book of Malachi we are told of a people called Judah who instead of being in covenant with believers in the true God, had made a covenant with the daughter of a strange god.
Malachi 2:10-11 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers? Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
The daughter symbolizes a church. The strange god is obviously not the only true God, the Father.(John 17:3, 1 Cor 8:6, Eph 4:6, John 20:17, Mark 12:29-34) When we accept the covenant, He becomes a Father unto us. (2 Cor 6:16-18) If we fail to accept the covenant, we are not truly the church.
Romans 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
The true Jew or Judah is not one in the flesh, but one in the spirit. Again this principle has been true since the beginning. (1 John 3:8-12) The same principle is true with every professed Christian today; no matter what denomination they profess to be. Say not within yourselves you are truly Latter day saints, Jehovah’s witnesses, Church of God, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, for God is able of these stones to raise up spiritual ones, a true living temple with the spirit of God dwelling in them.
Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
There are so many churches today professing to be the true church of God, professing to be Jews, Christians, etc. But are nothing less than the synagogue or church of Satan. May God give us discernment. There is an entire system called Babylon. Many have thought that this was the Holy City.
Revelation 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
The Lord adds to the church!! Not this man.
Jerusalem is the mother of the children of God, but Babylon is the mother of all the churches professing to be the church of God, a mother to her harlot daughters. Our God has called us out of these organizations to recognizing our true identity as the building of God.
Revelation 18:1-4 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Our Father has told us that these organizations are filled with demons and to separate ourselves from them. The doctrines being taught in them has made the people drunk so they might not see clearly and fall off the path. Many have went into her gates and drunk at the harlot’s tables only to end up suffering the same fate as her.
God has called us to freedom, to recognizing the covenant with his bride, and not to be unequally yoked with these women, defiled by them. (Rev 14:4). What is it that “defiles”? Touching things that are “unclean”. (Lev 11:43) Babylon is filled with “unclean” birds.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
The covenant is given here. He will dwell in us, ye are the temple, don’t touch the unclean thing, don’t be unequally yoked with the harlots of Babylon. Come out from among them, be separate. Then He will be a Father to you. Paul continues:
2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
God wants to cleanse His temple, his sanctuary of all the unclean spirits that have defiled it. And by accepting the blood of Jesus which cleanses us of all unrighteousness, he will have a pure, holy and undefiled bride to present to the Father.