The prevailing attitude in the city of Corinth, notorious for its moral permissiveness and tolerance had infiltrated into church life and given rise to an ugly situation which necessitated Paul to reiterate the basic Christian moral prescription: “flee from sexual immorality” (6:18).
This twisted view of Christian liberty was contrary to the true meaning of grace and the exhortation to pursue holiness and purity in the fear of God.
The Corinthians seemed to think that what they did in their body did not affect their spiritual state, when in fact their overindulgence and sexual sins contradicted their union with Christ.
Not only had some church members begun to indulge in immoral practices by misusing their bodies (leading to gluttony and sex outside marriage), they were claiming justification for their actions in the name of Christian liberty (6:12: the first part of each sentence is in quotation marks, cited from the Corinthians’ letter to Paul). The apostle responds with a crystal-clear statement of Christian ethics and with some principles that are as relevant today as when he first expressed them.
One of the catastrophic consequences of the fall of man is that we have become totally poisoned with self. Self love, and the pursuit of self-satisfaction, self-indulgence and excess of luxury are normal.
Most people only associate Sodom and Gomorrah with sexual perversion. But listen to what God says brought down His wrath upon them.
Ezekiel 16.49,50 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good
Beloved, the kingdom of God is not meat or drink or materialism. God did not make us to live for ourselves. He made us to have fellowship with Him and to live for His glory and bless others in His Name.
The gospel of the grace of God teaches us that all of life is now to be lived for the glory of The One Who has redeemed us and given us life.
Romans 11.36 For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Isaiah 43.7 Even every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for My glory,
I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
6.12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient (profitable): all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
All things are lawful unto me. Paul cites this slogan twice in this verse and twice in 10:23. Some suggest that this may have been a popular saying in liberal Corinth that was being used to excuse immoral behavior.
There were people in Corinth who were using this secular quotation to twist the true meaning of Christian liberty into license for sin, particularly in matters of a sexual nature. They false teachers interpreted Christian liberty as meaning that they had the right to do whatever they wished.
Liberal churches today have taken this saying out of it’s context to mean that now that we are under grace, we are free to indulge and live however we want.
Keep in mind that Paul has just given a list of sinful behavior that if a person is doing them he will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Paul tells us here that Christian liberty is limited by (1) the moral law of God, and also (2) by what is profitable (expedient) and to the edification of others.
I will not be brought under the power of anything. The implication here is that sin does possess a power. But it is a power that enslaves and binds. Christian liberty is deliverance from sins power and bondage. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been set free from being the slaves of any and all inordinate physical pleasure.
1 Corinthians 9.24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway
6.13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
The libertines in Corinth—as some do today—argued that illicit sex (adultery and fornication) is as natural and necessary for the body as eating, and thus has no real bearing on ones spiritual life.
While it was normal and even acceptable for Corinthian men to have sex with the prostitutes of Aphrodite both inside and outside of the temple, Paul argued that this should no longer be the practice of the followers of Christ.
Among the things that Paul exhorted the Gentiles was to abstain from formication (Acts 15.20).
The body is not for fornication but for The Lord and The Lord for the body. Paul responds by saying that the body belongs to God, and The Lord is for the body, thus, everything done with the body is relevant to the spiritual life. Therefore, dealing with sin means controlling our bodily appetites, affections and lusts.
The whole person, including the body, is meant to honor God. And Paul states here that this is particularly true in relation to sex, which God gave as a beautiful and loving gift when exercised according to his plan in a heterosexual relationship between a man and a woman in the sacred covenant of marriage.
Hebrews 13.4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
My precious brothers and sisters in Christ, write this Scripture on the hard drive of your heart and mind. The body is for the Lord! Your body has been given to you for one reason: and every single part of your body is to be yielded unto God as an instrument for glorifying Christ.
6.14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power.
Because of God’s resurrection designs for the body, an indispensable identity exists between the present physical body and the future glorified body.
Now we see why a proper understanding of the doctrine of the bodily resurrection is so practical. The body is not just going to be destroyed; it is going to be raised. The body is not morally indifferent. It is for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 15.42-44 It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
6.15 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.
Both the authority of the Seventh Commandment and the apostle’s appeal to the Christian’s sacredness as a member of the body of Christ forbid unequivocally immorality of every kind. C.I. Scofield
The doctrine of the believer’s union with Christ is one of the most fundamental teachings of the apostle. What is significant about this verse is that it represents our union with Christ as an act of surrender of the whole person, not only the body.
Romans 12.1,2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
1 Thessalonians 5.23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Corinthians were wrong in thinking that sexual union with a temple prostitute did not affect their relationship with Christ.
6.16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
The scriptures place sexuality as a supreme physical expression of relational oneness. That is why it is to be reserved for the unique oneness that God has ordained in a marriage bond. Here Paul uses Genesis 2:24 to support his case.
6.17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
He who us joined unto The Lord– No words, could more powerfully express the closeness and intimacy of the union that exists between Jesus Christ and His faithful disciples.
Union with Christ makes the Christian’s body a sacred object, destined for resurrection and glory, as we will see in 1 Corinthians 15, Lord willing.
6.18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
Flee is in the present tense and it indicates that the Christian must deliberately and repeatedly avoid situations that might tempt him or her to defy God in this way.
Flee: do not stop to reason about it or think of it. It means to turn from it with detestation, and occupy your mind with things that are right and good.
The good biblical example of fleeing is Joseph running away from the advances of Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:12). He gained everything that he lost.
The bad example of not fleeing is David lusting after Bathsheba and pursuing her. He lost everything that he gained. Need I say more?
Romans 13.14 Make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.
1 Peter 2.11 Abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul.
6.19 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?
When God bought us, He bought us to be dwellings of His Holy Spirit. He redeemed us to fill our lives with Him! Filled with all the fullness of God as the apostle Paul says (Ephesians 3:19).
6.20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
You are bought with a price (Mt 20:28; Ac 20:28; Ga 3:13; Heb 9:12; 1Pe 1:18, 19; 2Pe 2:1; Re 5:9).
1 Peter 1:18, 19 Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot.
As a redeemed sinner, my body is no longer to be self- governing or self- sustaining, because it now belongs to the Lord and is to be used for His purposes and honor.
The body of the Christian man or woman, regardless of how young or old they are, married or single belongs to Jesus Christ.
My sexual organs belong to The Lord, my eyes belong to The Lord, my ears belong to The Lord, my mouth belongs to The Lord, my mind belongs to The Lord, my hands belong to The Lord, my feet belong to The Lord. Get the idea? The purpose of our bodies is to bring glory to God.
1 Corinthians 10.31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Romans 14.7-9 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
We t redeemed to live for Christ and the glory of The Father. God’s glory, not selfishness and self pleasure is to be the chief aim of our lives today saints.
There is a sense of urgency and concern in this epistle, isn’t there? Paul’s heart and mind are broken and deeply concerned about the spiritual condition and validity of conversion of some of the people here at Corinth.
I see Paul weeping over Corinth in the same way that Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem.
In spite of their professed faith in Jesus Christ, instead of pursuing holiness and purity in the fear of God, they were driven by their fleshly and bodily lusts and desires.
Instead of feeding their inner with the word of God and prayer, they were feeding their bodily lusts and sensual desires and in the process, quenching and starving The Spirit of God. They were living like the deceived Israelites to whom Jesus wrote:
Jeremiah 2.13,14 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Note that The Lord calls the forsaking of Him in favor of the pursuit of something else evil and broken. Paul was concerned because he saw them living in the vice grips and death throes of self centered living. They certainly were not living according to the words of Paul, for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Like Corinth, the church today is living in the midst of a very self indulgent and promiscuous society. Have you adopted the fallen mores of society instead of the Holy Word of God?
Do you think you are beyond the possibility of making shipwreck of your faith? Are you in that shipwreck process this morning? How much leaven leavens the entire lump? How much laziness causes spiritual erosion?
Where do you think backsliders and apostates come from? They come from people who, little by little, ignored the voice of God in their own conscience, and in doing so, became hardened in their heart to both to the danger and deceitfulness of sin.
Are you in the race to win the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? If you said yes, then it is important that you do not get hindered or overloaded with anything that would impede your progress toward the goal. If you were in the hundred-meter dash in the Olympics, you would not line up in the blocks with a heavy pair of hiking boots and a backpack on, would you?
Hebrews 12.1,2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Beloved, each one of us have a race to run. We should therefore strip ourselves of everything that may hinder us. Please note here that there is a distinction made between weights and sin. This means that there are some things which, though not sins, we as Christians should avoid, since they are hindrances to our growing in Christ and the knowledge of Him.
Have you received the grace of God in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ?
John 1.10-13 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own (the Jews), and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
When we receive Jesus Christ as Savior, we do not make Him Lord, we receive Him as Lord. Will you receive Him as your Lord this morning?