For our body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise you up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members with Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one with her? For as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (I Corinthians 6:13b-20)
Sexual immorality has been a prevailing sin since the Fall. It is clear that God created man and woman and put them in a monogamous relationship which He declared as good. And in this relationship God says that the two become one flesh. Now clearly this oneness is multifaceted. The souls of the two, in marriage, are knitted together. Two distinct individuals come together to form a third being called marriage. Both individuals are devoted to growing and maturing the new being — they become one and form this new being called marriage. And God clearly also defines the oneness in this relationship as “one flesh” — that is a sexual union which is good and holy within the bounds of the marriage. Marriage is sacred to God because it is a picture of the gospel (see: Ephesians 5 and Revelation 21).
But like most things God created holy and good, sin has defrauded and corrupted. So the beauty of the sexual union in marriage has now been broken, abused and abased.
Paul in I Corinthians 6 is addressing the sin of sexual immorality which was found in the church at Corinth and continues with unbridled corruption until this day.
First, Paul affirms that the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord (v. 13b). Throughout the years of church history, some have believed and taught that the physical is evil and only the things that are of the spirit, the immaterial, are good. The early expression of this heretical notion was gnosticism. But here Paul makes it clear that the body is holy; it is made ultimately for the Lord. Thus, it is not designed for sexual immorality. In fact, the Scripture goes further — God’s Word declares that our bodies, in fact, are a temple of the Hoy Spirit, a dwelling place for God. God lives in us, yes, in our bodies. Thus our bodies are sacred. They are not meant for sexual immorality.
Paul takes the value of the human body even further. He says that one day God will raise our bodies from the dead, as He raised Christ’s body. When this happens our glorification will be complete. Then we live, body and soul reunited, in the new heavens and new earth where only righteousness dwells, which explains why Paul wrote:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulteress, not men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedily, nor drunkards, nor revilers,s not swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9-10)
These are very serious words. Such as these will not inherit the kingdom of God. It is impossible for them because only righteousness dwells there.
Now before we go on, less you feel defeated and hopeless, Paul adds these words of gospel truth:
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God. (I Corinthians 6:11)
“But God!” — such great words! We all can identify with the sins Paul listed. Most of us, if not all of us, have committed every sin in the list in one way or another. However, believers have been washed clean of these sins by the precious blood of Jesus. We are being sanctified and we have been justified, which means our sin and our guilt are gone. God has declared us righteous by the perfect righteousness Jesus imputed (credited) to us. No we are holy and undefiled, spotless, yes righteous!
Now back to our passage of today. Paul makes his second point: shall we then take the members (our bodies) of Christ and make them members of a prostitute or any other person besides our spouse? You see, if we join ourselves to another, we become one with that person. Our marriage has been defiled; our vows have been broken; trust has been destroyed. Paul’s answer to this question is, “Never!”
Paul makes a third point: every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but sexual sin is sin against one’s own body. Paul seems to be saying that there is something unique about this sin. Not only does it violate oneness in the marriage, but it is actually a sin against our own bodies which can have terrible physical consequences — aids and a multitude of other sexually transmitted diseases for example.
Finally, the fourth point is that our bodies are not our own — we have been bought with a price: The body and blood of the Lord Jesus — the greets price that could ever be paid. God’s Son sacrificed for us — the Sinless One for the sinful.
For these reasons Paul writes: “Flee from sexual immorality.” Flee from it, run, make no provision of it, make radical changes, cut off whatever fuses you to sin, get rid of it. Now!
And Paul’s final statement is, “So glorify God in your body. Remember that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The ultimate reason for fleeing from immorality is not the protection of our bodies and even our marriages, but that God may be glorified.
Now let’s take one more step in this discussion. One may well say with his self-righteousness, “I have never joined myself physically with another.” Well, wait a minute. Hear these words from Jesus:
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that you whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:27-30)
Now do you see that sexual sin is more than physical? It also, and ultimately whether in body or thought, is from within us — from the heart. Out of the heart flow our actions. So what does this mean practically? Lust is just as sinful as the physical act of adultery.
A huge problem today is the use of pornography. It is so easy to get, a few click on your computer and you enter a dark, sinful world of fantasies and depravity. It is addictive and terribly destructive to the individual and most certainly to the marriage.
Jesus along with Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says, “Flee from it, go through radical surgery (not physically obviously, but spiritually). Tear it out; cut it off. Do not make opportunity for it. It can destroy you.
Now let’s look at one more thing that affects us to all sinful acts and thoughts — temptation.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:13-15)
Temptation itself is not a sin. It is what we do with the temptation that can lead us to sin. God never tempts us. The sources of temptation are the world and the flesh and the devil. Careful thought needs to be given to all three sources.
The problem is that temptation lures and entices us; it seduces it; it draws us in, we think about it, live it our in our minds. Then we desire it. The unchecked desire leads to the conception of sinful thoughts and actions. These thoughts and actions then give birth to sin. The desires conceive, they impregnate our minds. Then the conception gives birth to sin. And this sin leads to death, spiritual and physical.
So, what do we do with these temptations that plague us numerous times daily? First, we must recognize them for what they are — exceedingly dangerous temptations that can lead us to death. We have to face them. We must flee from them. If they are conceived in our minds, we have to repent immediately, at the moment we realize or even think they are present. We must seek God’s power to resist them. We must claim the power of God to destroy them, to remove them from our minds. We must refuse the terrible draw to pull us into them. We must think on, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is commendable” (Philippians 4:8).
You see we must, “lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely, and run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:1b-4).
So here is the way we must deal with temptation:
1. Recognize it for what it is and the terrible consequences it can bring upon our lives.
2. Face the temptation head on.
3. Flee from it.
4. If it is conceived and gives birth to sin, repent of it.
5. Lay the sin aside and be aware of those sins that so often cling to us.
6. Run the race with endurance after we have laid aside the sin that weighs us down — go forward, do not look back.
7. Fix your eyes on Jesus — keep focused on Him — rely upon His power.
8. Remember what Jesus did for us. He endured the cross for us.
9. Remember where Jesus is — at the right hand of the throne of God where He intercedes for us — prays for us; is our Advocate with the Father; is in control of all that happens in the universe. Think heavenly; think eternally.
10. Now resist the sin fiercely — even to the shedding of blood (to speak figuratively).
Now we can and will find rest, forgiveness, peace, hope, assurance, and power to live for One greater than ourselves. We then will be free. We will renew our strength, mount up with winds like eagles; run and not grow weary, walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).
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