“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, ‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.’ The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:12-20)
At the market, the eyes of a child will often find another and, when they observe the parents of the other child buying them candy or any other treats, they will ask for the same. It was once said that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, but, perhaps, the one who uttered these words never knew a child who had been denied what the other children were having. How similar, indeed, is the heart of man to the heart of a child! For the Christian, it is no small task to overcome the eyes. We are instructed in one way – that is to say the way – and when we see the rest of the world living in a contrary manner, enjoying the pleasures of life which we must, even if for a time, deny ourselves we become discontented and many rationalize in such a manner as if to say, “But they get to do it!” Maybe that is the way with us all, even if for a time.
Paul presents the Corinthian church with a saying, which obviously garnered some popularity. The common belief is that the specific text here is confronting issues of eating food which had been sacrificed to idols and the connection with sexual immorality – the latter, of course, is a bit clearer in the following verses. Essentially, it appears, some within the church were suggesting that, because of the forgiveness found in Christ Jesus, they were permitted to do anything, for their sins would be forgiven. Furthermore, it speaks to the worldly legalities in relation to the Christian worldview, which is to say that, though they were permitted to act in such a manner as given by the laws of the land, they were bound to follow the commands of a holy God and live as though set apart. Certainly, they had “the right to do anything” and the unfathomable grace and mercy of the Lord granted forgiveness for their sins, but not everything was beneficial to them and one is a slave to what they obey (Rm 6:16).
Is there any greater threat to the life and growth of a Christian than sexual immorality in its countless forms? Such a greater threat, such a greater temptation, I have not seen. For as long as the church has been in existence, our lives here have not been made any easier to this end; in fact, the temptations and the ability to fulfill the temptations, to the contrary, have gotten much easier. With the arrival of the World Wide Web, pornography and other enticements can be accessed in mere seconds! In the States, two people can gather together for the sole purpose of having intercourse without any other consideration and sexual intimacy solely within the confines of marriage, between husband and wife, has become such a rarity. We are yet exhorted to flee from sexual immorality and this should immediately bring to mind the story of Joseph, who, after having been sold into slavery to the Midianites, was sold to the Egyptian, Potiphar. Joseph was placed in charge of the household and, while Potiphar was absent, his wife beckoned Joseph to go to bed with her. After refusing her advances day after day, she caught him by his cloak to indulge in her offer, after which Joseph ran from her, leaving his cloak behind (Gen 37; 39).
The example of Joseph should not be overlooked! Should one in Christ unite with a prostitute, a sexually perverse man or woman? Never. Nor should such a one lift such things in their heart, for, as Paul wrote, quoting Genesis, “‘The two will become one flesh.’” So he writes that we must flee from sexual immorality, because the sexual sin is the sin against one’s own body and the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in us.
A parent warns the child that the candy will ruin their teeth or make them unhealthy for no other reason that they love them and know what is best for them. How much more does the Father know what is best for His children? In His amazing love for us, He gave His only begotten Son to be as a ransom for our transgressions. Indeed, we have been bought at a great price; therefore, it is all the more important that we honor God with our bodies through obedience. May we, by His Holy Spirit, be strengthened to obey and commit ourselves to Him all the more, day after day, seeking Him through unceasing prayer.
Dockery, D. S. (1998). The Pauline Letters. In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman concise Bible commentary: Simple, straightforward commentary on every book of the Bible (D. S. Dockery, Ed.) (554). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Henry, M. (1996). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible : Complete and unabridged in one volume (1 Co 6:12–20). Peabody: Hendrickson.
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (1 Co 6:12). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Prime, D. (2005). Opening up 1 Corinthians (56). Leominister: Day One Publications.