Christ himself is the builder of his spiritual temple, and he has built it on the mountains of his unchangeable affection, his omnipotent grace, and his infallible truthfulness. But as it was in Solomon’s temple, so in this; the materials need making ready.
Christ builds the temple himself. There stand the cedars of Lebanon that the Lord hath planted but they are not ready for the building; they are not cut down, nor shaped nor made into those planks of cedar, whose [odoriferous] beauty shall make glad the courts of the Lord in Paradise. No; Jesus Christ must cut them down with the axe of conviction; he must cut them up with the great saw of his law, he must plane and polish them with his holy gospel. And when he hath made them fit to be pillars in the house of the Lord, then they shall be carried across the sea to heaven; then shall they be placed in his temple for ever.
When we reach heaven, there will be no sanctifying us there, no squaring us with affliction, no planing us with suffering. No, we must be made meet here—all that Christ will do beforehand; and when he has done it, we shall be ferried by a loving hand across the stream of death, and brought to the heavenly Jerusalem, to abide as eternal pillars in the temple of our Lord.
There are also the rough stones still in the quarry, they must be hewn thence, and squared. All this is Christ’s own work. Each individual believer is being prepared, and polished, and made ready for his place in the temple; but Christ’s own hand performs the preparation-work. Afflictions cannot sanctify, except[ing] as they are used by him to this end. Our prayers and efforts cannot make us ready for heaven, apart from the hand of Jesus, who fashion[s] our hearts aright.
From C.H. Spurgeon (here and here)