1 Corinthians 6b
1 Corinthians 6:12-14… All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food; but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.
The main theme of Paul’s argument in 6:12-20 is sex. It was being perverted through the false philosophy that “all things are lawful.” When the apostle said, “All things are lawful” he was quoting a popular saying of the day. The Christians at Corinth loved to quote this to justify their sinful behavior. The Corinthians believed that since they were saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, they could indulge their every whim because the penalty of the Mosaic Law no longer applied to them. Now in Christ all things are lawful, and Christians are not under the Mosaic Law as found in the Ten Commandments. What this means is that the penalty for failing to keep that Law has been paid by Jesus Christ himself. However, those laws still reflect God’s perfect character, and as such they should be continually upheld by Christians. Thus, Paul says that though all things are indeed lawful, “all things are not profitable.” Things that are lawful for Christians have to do with foods, drinks, holiday observances, etc. All of these are lawful, but what remains unlawful for both believers and unbelievers is unethical behavior. In the above scenario it is perverted sex (all sex outside of a monogamous marriage). Contrary to the twisted Corinthian belief system, sexual freedom was abhorrent as a professed follower of Jesus Christ.
Though Paul believed in his own Christian freedom, he also knew that the freedom he enjoyed was not always profitable, for no sin is ever profitable. He also resolved not to ever be “mastered by anything.” This was contrary to the Corinthians who, while professing perfect freedom in Christ, had become slaves to sexual misgivings. The very freedom they boasted about had enslaved them through their perverted understanding of Christian liberty.
The first phrase of v. 13 also reflects a popular saying of the day. What they were doing was separating the connectedness of the human body with their eternal spirit. They viewed the stomach as being for food and food for the stomach in the same way they viewed sex. Sex was just a bodily function much like eating, and God was going to do away with both. With this in mind they felt secure in their freedom to seek out sexual relations with prostitutes and the like.
But Paul rebukes this evil attitude in the latter part of v. 13. He says that the human body was never meant for “immorality” (porneia); it is meant for the Lord. In Paul’s mind the body and the spirit were one, and both were to be used to glorify God, not our own lustful appetites. Furthermore, in v. 14 the apostle makes it clear that in the same way God raised Jesus from the dead with a new body, He will also raise His children up following their deaths. Each will be raised with a new body by the power of the Lord – a new body connected to the eternal spirit.
Food for Thought
Freedom in Christ means that we are free NOT to sin. This doctrine, if misunderstood, either becomes a license to sin or turns into legalism (making our own laws). Christians are free (to drink, gamble, etc.). However, our freedoms are not always profitable; they must never enslave us. If your freedom has become a license to sin, take careful note of your sinful state, and ask yourself, “Can I give this up?” Recall 1 Cor. 6:9-10 which clearly teaches “the unrighteous will not inherit God’s Kingdom.” And remember, as a believer in Jesus Christ, you are now free NOT to sin! Prior to coming to Christ the only freedom you possessed was the will TO sin.
1 Corinthians 6:15-17… Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, "The two will become one flesh." 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
Notice Paul’s sarcastic and angry tone in verse 15 when he says, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” In other words, “Have you forgotten who you are?” “You are co-heirs with the Creator and Sustainer of the world. What in the heck are you doing acting like sex-crazed pagans!” The question then becomes, “Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!” The “members” Paul speaks of are people since people make up the body of Christ. One person in the analogy may act like an arm, one a leg, and one an ear, but each one comes together to form the body of Christ – the church. Those who profess faith in Christ are part of Christ’s body – they are “members,” and the apostle asks how then can one take the members of Christ’s body and unite them with a prostitute? In Paul’s way of thinking this was unthinkable – “Never!” Whereas the Corinthians believed the physical body to be wasting away unto death – to be used however they pleased – Paul viewed it as Christ’s body. To take Christ’s body and unite it with a prostitute was enough to make his skin crawl. Hence, the harsh rebuke and sarcastic demeanor with this wayward group of believers.
In verse 16 Paul continues further by teaching what actually happens when a man has sexual relations with a prostitute… He becomes “one body” with her and joins himself to her. In so doing he takes the body of Christ, his own physical body, and unites it with a prostitute (loose, sexually permissive women). The “two become one flesh.” This is a quote from Genesis 2:24 where Adam and Eve come together in the first sexual union – in the first marriage. It is clear from Genesis that marriage was meant for one man and one woman for life. Any sexual relations outside of that union are sinful, though the specific immorality here is called prostitution.
Verse 17 is in contrast to the one who sleeps with prostitutes. The one who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord joins himself/herself with Him and is one in spirit with Him. This is why it is essential that God’s children marry other Christians (if they so choose to marry at all) and why it is essential that they keep their marriage bed undefiled. They are one with Christ in spirit, and sexual intercourse between two people makes them into “one flesh.” This proves that the Genesis 2:24 passage deals with sex, and it proves that sexual unions are far more than fleshly delights. There is a spiritual dimension to the sexual act between men and women. Paul says that this sexual act must be exclusive to husbands and wives who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Food for Thought
Sexual sin is arguably the most enticing of sins, and there are more ramifications for it than any other sin under the sun. How can any Christian believe otherwise unless he/she is enslaved to it? It tears apart far more marriages and is associated with more diseases and miseries than drugs and alcohol combined. It breeds lying, cheating, even murder – not to mention bitterness, rage, and unforgiveness among spouses who have been sinned against. It promises satisfaction and joy, yet it leads only to disappointment, hurt, and death. No matter who you are or what you do, you’re in danger of falling into the ambush that has ensnared so many whether you know it or not. Preachers, priests, presidents and many others have all fallen into its trap. Pray for God’s protection today, and keep yourself from temptation by steering clear of questionable movies, television shows, magazines, and the like. All the devil needs is a foothold!
1 Corinthians 6:18-20… Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 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? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Through the years I’ve heard many inquire as to the location in the Bible where sex outside of marriage is wrong. Other than “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18) and all the many other passages that show how terribly sex can be perverted, 1 Cor. 6:18 couldn’t be more clear. The Greek verb form of “flee” is a present imperative. The imperative is a command, and the present tense signifies an ongoing flight from the sin of “immorality.” Once again that term comes from the Greek “porneia” – a general term for all sexual sin to include adultery (extramarital sex), homosexuality, lust, and rank pictures and movies that often lead to rape, sexual misconduct, and other unmentionable sins. They were to take flight away from the sexual temptations that surrounded them the way Joseph did in Genesis 39:12. It is interesting to note that the temple of Aphrodite (Roman Venus) was the local whorehouse attracting thousands of sexually perverted worshippers daily – no doubt to include some in the Corinthian church.
Paul continues with the explanation of why sexual sin is so dangerous. He separates sexual sin with “all other sins” because it distinctively affects the sinner’s own body. This statement is not meant to separate sexual sin as the worst kind but to show its uniqueness among other sins. Sexual sin takes the most intimate of acts between two people, forms an eternal bond between them, and unites the sin with Christ’s body. Furthermore, sexual sin works to create diseases associated with the practice that can lead to a lifetime of sickness and even death. This can be said of no other sin. They too have their consequences, but none affects the body likewise. The immoral man sins against his own body – both his physical and spiritual body.
Verse 19 is the reminder that the Christian’s physical body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. The third member of the Trinity – God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit – resides in the actual physical body of the believer. In saying this Paul was correcting the false idea that the biological body was simply a vessel wasting away with little to no importance. He equated it with the Temple in Jerusalem which housed the Ark of the Covenant – the presence of God.
Verse 20 has the slave trade in view. To be “bought” with a “price” speaks of the rampant slave trade in Rome at that time. Paul shows that the Corinthian believers were like slaves on the trading block until Jesus Christ freed them from their bondage to sin through his death. After all, it was Christ’s death that paid the penalty of the Law – the very Law the Corinthians no longer feared. However, Christ bought their freedom with His death not so they could become slaves once again to the sins of the flesh and mind – but to bring glory to God in their physical bodies.
Food for Thought
God purchased us with his own life. He didn’t do it with money, He did it with the death of His Son. As such, we are free from the condemnation of sin as a result, but shall we use our freedom, a freedom paid for with Christ’s blood, to behave in ways that dishonor Him? Never! No matter how often sexual sins are advertised and condoned, and no matter what lengths our society will go to justify them, they are an abomination to God, and they unite the Christian body with prostitutes. The church (the body of Christ) must not tolerate this behavior any more so than the Apostle Paul did. If we as members of Christ’s body tolerate any pre- and extramarital sexual escapades in Christ’s church let us be condemned for mocking God and His warnings to be holy.
Sermon Title: Christian Living: Its Freedoms and Limitations
The Greeks did not love their physical bodies. They saw them as evil. The popular proverb of the day was “The body is a tomb.” Epictetus said, “I am a poor soul shackled to a corpse.” The believed in the importance of the eternal soul, not the temporary human body which housed it. The implications of this were that they had little regard for the body. They indulged their fleshly desires through food and promiscuous sex. This was the philosophical “wisdom” of the day, and it’s what the Corinthians had slipped into. They had added the worldly wisdom to their freedom in Christ. Freedom in Christ, however, is not a freedom to do as one pleases. It’s not a freedom to sin; it’s a freedom to not sin. A Christian is not to be interested in his/her “rights” but in his/her debt. His life does not belong to him, for he/she was bought with the blood of Jesus Christ.
- Sexual sin harms (6:12a)
- Sexual sin controls (6:12b)
- Sexual sin perverts (6:13-14)
The Christian Body…
- The Christian body is a member of Christ (6:15-18)
· Christ is the head (Eph. 5:23)
· Christians are the body parts (1 Cor. 12:12-31)
· Jesus didn’t indulge his fleshly desires; neither should we
- The Christian body is a Temple of the HS (6:19-20)
· In the OT God dwelt in the tabernacle/Temple in Jerusalem
· God’s HS now calls the Christian His place of residence
From the Message… 12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. 13 You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body! 14 God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power. 15 Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body. You wouldn’t take the Master’s body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not. 16 There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” 17 Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” 18 There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. 19 Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. 20 God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.