Monday, February 23, 2009

In Search Of Truth, 1st Corinthians 6:12-20


Paul uses the phrase "All things are lawful for me", acknowledging the popular thinking of the Corinthian culture. He then counters it with the phrases "but not all things are profitable" and "I will not be mastered by anything". Another popular slogan of the day, used metaphorically about sexual activity, was "Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food." This was a way of saying, "Sex and pleasure are natural parts of life and have nothing to do with my spirituality."

Paul responds by pointing out that "God will do away with both of them". What does this mean and what is Paul's point, here? Later in 1st Corinthians, we see indications that we will have resurrected bodies like Christ's body, post-resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:20,23) We also get a sense of what these bodies will be like. (1 Cor.15:42-58) Paul is indicating here that our current bodies and their need for food, will be destroyed to make way for something different. By referring to the future, eternal state of believers, Paul aims to keep their minds from focusing only on their immediate desires.

The second point of his argument is that "the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body." The Greek word for "immorality" here is specifically connected to sexual immorality. And the Greek word used for "Lord" here means "supreme master". In other words, our bodies are meant to serve God, and God's place is to be the supreme authority over our bodies.

Paul continues to offer an "eternal perspective" on the issue. As believers, our spiritual connection to Christ is so strong and complete that believers are referred to as part of Christ's body! And in Genesis 2:24, we're told that when a man and woman have sex, they become "one flesh". The are unified in the most intimate way humanly possible. His point is that someone who has been made pure and perfect in the eyes of God, sharing intense closeness with him, should never turn around the next minute and experience intense unity in an adulterous relationship.

Again, Paul points out in verse 18 that sexual immorality is against our own bodies, and this is wrong because our bodies, as believers, are now a place that God lives! Our bodies function as "temples" for the Holy Spirit. They do not belong to us. The Holy Spirit lives inside them and they are dedicated to serving him.

Verses 19 and 20 imply that we owe all that we are to God. He created us and all we enjoy. But he also bought us "with a price". We can't imagine what Jesus truly suffered on our behalf. Our justification, resulting in rescue from hell and entrance to heaven, is a free gift to us. But it wasn't free for God. He paid a terrible price. Paul says that our response to that should be to use our bodies and our lives to give God all the credit he is due. (Or to "glorify" him.)

The Bible does not support the idea that what we do with our bodies is our right. God designed our bodies and our sexuality with specific plans in mind that he wants us to enjoy. But using our bodies in a way that lies outside of God's intentions stands in defiance of God. There really is no such thing as a victimless crime. When we sin, we are always working against at least two people. First and foremost, God. Secondly, ourselves.

Next Week- Sex and Marriage!

Coffee House Question

Why do you think God wants us to be sexually involved with only one person in our lives?

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