November 27, 2012

Commentary on First Corinthians
By: Tom Lowe
Topic # 5.0: The Problem of the Proper Use of the Body, 1 Corinthians 6.12-6.20



Lesson 5.0: The Problem of the Proper Use of the Body
 Scripture: 1 Corinthians 6.12-6.20

1 Cor 6.12-20 (KJV)
Section 5.0-A: We Have Been Changed

12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Section 5.0-B: We Belong To the Lord

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.
14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
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.
16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
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?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.


The Corinthian believers were ignorant of some basic truths of the Christian life.

Section 5.0-A

We Have Been Changed (12). We are not what we once were, so why should we live as we once lived? It is a matter not of “What is lawful?” but of “What is helpful?”

Section 5.0-B

We Belong To the Lord (13–20). He made the human body, He dwells in believers by His Spirit, and He purchased us at the Cross. The believer’s body belongs to God and must be used to glorify Him.



Section 5.0-A: We Have Been Changed

12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

All things are lawful unto me,
Paul is not referring to things that are sinful and ungodly. There are many things which believers could do which would not harm them individually and would not be contrary to the laws of God and of spiritually; but for the sake of other believers and those who are not Christians, we do not dare to do those things.

I am not suggesting that our feeling some things are not wrong will make them right; but there are places where an individual believer could go which would have no ill effects on him—yet if another believer having a different temperament, and perhaps saved from a different background would attend or visit the same place, it could bring to mind old sins and cause temptation that could be the cause of the weaker brother’s stumbling.

The thirteenth verse seems to relate to that early dispute among Christians over making a distinction between meats, and to Paul’s warning against fornication. The connection seems plain enough if we listen to the famous determination of the apostles (See Acts 15:19-29), where the prohibition of certain foods was joined with that of fornication. Now some among the Corinthians seem to have imagined that they were as much at liberty to practice fornication as they were to eat all kinds of meats, especially because it was not a sin condemned by the laws of their country. They were ready to say, even in the case of fornication, All things are lawful for me. Paul opposes this destructive behavior: he tells them that many things that are lawful in themselves were not at all appropriate at certain times, and under particular circumstances; and Christians should not only consider what they can legally do, but what is appropriate and proper for them to do, considering their profession of faith, character, relations, and hopes. Furthermore, they should be very careful not to carry this maxim too far, where they would be brought into bondage, either to a crafty deceiver or a carnal inclination.

It is likely that some of the Corinthians had argued that the offence of the man, who had his father's wife, as well as the eating the things offered to idols and attending idol feasts, was not contrary to the law, as it then stood. To this the apostle answers: Though such a thing is lawful, yet the case of fornication, mentioned 1 Corinthians 5:1, it is not expedient—it is not agreeable to modesty, decency, order, and purity. It is contrary to the social norms of the best and most enlightened nations, and should not be tolerated in the Church of Christ.

They might have made this argument in favor of their eating things offered to idols, and attending idol feasts:--an idol was nothing in the world; and since food was provided by the bounty of God, a man might partake of it anywhere without defiling his conscience, or committing sin against the Creator.

In both 1 Corinthians 5 (in the section dealing with the sexual immorality of a certain member of the Corinthian church) and in 1 Corinthians 6 (in the section where certain sinners are described), Paul has brought up the issue of the sexual conduct of Christians. Now, he will address some of the questions and problems the Corinthian Christians had in regard to understanding and doing what God wanted them to do in regard to sex. “All things are lawful for me” was probably a phrase Paul had used when teaching the Corinthian Christians about Christian liberty. We could just hear Paul telling the Corinthians exactly what he told the Colossians in Colossians 2:16-17: that when it comes to what we eat or drink or on what day we worship the Lord, all things are lawful for me. I am at liberty, and I should not let anyone put me under bondage, and legalists are prone to do just that.

but all things are not expedient:
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient.” What the apostle is saying here is “I am a bond slave of Jesus Christ and I refuse to be brought under the power of anything except the grace of God and the power of the Gospel of grace. In this verse (as in chapter 10 verse 23 of this epistle) Paul is speaking about himself—and the subject is food: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” I may lawfully eat all kinds of food, but it would not be appropriate for me to eat some, because I could by this offend and grieve many weak minds. (1 Cor 10:23; KJV) The Corinthian Christians were taking the idea that all things are lawful and applying it to areas Paul, or the Lord, never intended. They were using their "liberty" as a license to sin. This can be seen specifically, from the reference to the harlot in 1 Corinthians 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.” The point seems to be that the Corinthian Christians thought they had the liberty to use the services of prostitutes. This would have been culturally accepted in the city of Corinth, and it would have been accepted in the religious community among the religious pagans—who saw nothing wrong in a "religious" person using prostitutes.

In Paul’s day animals were sacrificed to idols, and according to Jewish custom they were not to eat the meat of an animal that had been offered to an idol. Paul knew he was saved by the grace of God, and he knew his salvation depended upon the grace of God, and not upon abstaining from any meats; yet he said, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (1 Cor 8:13; KJV). The apostle is careful not to invalidate the important doctrine of Christian liberty by leading these people back under Judaistic legalism. Rather, his intention is to circumscribe its application through proper restrictions. These are expressed, first of all, in the principle of “expediency.” Not everything is beneficial. Whether a law of prohibition exists or not, it is wrong to do something to ourselves or others simply because it is beneficial (See Rom 14:15–23; I Cor 8:7–13; 10:23–33).

Paul’s statement that all things were lawful unto him had been misunderstood and abused by those who wanted to practice the habits of the old life. It was absurd for those who were lax in their moral living to think that Paul had suggested such a thing. There has never been a man who has walked on this earth who lived a more dedicated, consecrated, separated life than the apostle Paul. He preached what he lived, and he lived what he preached, and no one had any reason to think that he had suggested that Christian liberty related to food made it lawful to be lax in moral matters.

The Greek word for “expedient” is sumphero, of which the literal meaning is “to bring with, or together, to profit withal.” It signifies that which is helpful to us, or to others. Christian liberty is ours only when beneficial to our individual lives, to the lives of other believers, and when it is not a hindrance to those who are not saved. No believer has a right to do something that he may consider to be innocent, if his actions might prove to be detrimental to others. Everything about the believer’s life must be regulated; not only from an ethical point of view, but from the standpoint of whether or not it is pleasing to the Lord. Believers should never forget that our Savior also has the right to be Lord of our life, and all that we do should be done to His glory.

all things are lawful for me,
Paul repeats himself for the sake of saying what follows. It is a catch phrase which evidently had wide acceptance among the Corinthians. The liberty in Christ which made "all things lawful" was a relative, not an absolute principle; and any notion that the existence of appetites justified their gratification was not true then, or ever. "Some of them were evidently quoting this to justify their promiscuous sexual behavior; but Paul positively stated that it did not apply to that."

Paul says, All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Even in lawful things, he would not be subject to the impositions of an assumed authority: he was so far removed from the perception that in the things of God it was lawful for any power on earth to impose its own opinion. Note, There is a liberty by means of which Christ has made us free, in which we must stand fast. But surely he would never carry this liberty so far as to put himself into the power of any bodily appetite. Though all meats were supposed to be lawful, he would not become a glutton or a drunkard. And furthermore, he would not abuse the maxim of lawful liberty to put up with the sin of fornication, which, though it might be allowed by the Corinthian laws, was a trespass upon the law of nature, and utterly unbecoming a Christian.

but I will not be brought under the power of any.
This deals only with the effect on the individual himself. Paul is saying here, “All things are within my power, but I will not put myself under the power of any of them.” If the believer abuses his liberty, it will lessen his power of self-control; if this happens, then what is supposed to be liberty will become bondage. Regardless of however lawful (or at least that there is no law against them)  anything may be, if it occupies my time or energy in a way that does not bring glory to God, and the edification of others, I am in danger of allowing myself to fall into bondage to it. Only by careful watchfulness and fear of the Lord in the heart can we prevent that which is legitimate—business, amusements, dress, food, or even our family—from gaining dominion over us and enslaving us, instead of being the bondslave of Jesus Christ and a servant of our fellow believers. Paul said, “…I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil 3:8; KJV). In comparison with the immeasurable value of the knowledge of Christ, all worldly things are to be regarded as nothing at all. When he accepted Christ he gave up all the world holds dear. But he did not miss them; because he considered them filth and something to be avoided; if only he may win some for Christ.

It is somewhat difficult to know what in particular Paul has in view here, whether it has to do with what he has most recently addressed, concerning going to law before unbelievers; and his viewpoint may be, that however lawful this might be in itself, yet it was not suitable, since it was exposing them to ungodly persons, and put them under their power to judge and determine as they pleased.  Or he may have in mind whether to eat meat forbidden under the law, or offered to idols; which could be lawfully eaten, since every creature of God is good, and not to be refused and considered common and unclean; yet it was not advisable to use this liberty, if doing so would upset a weak brother, or cause a man to become a slave to his appetite. Notwithstanding that they are all lawful, yet they are not expedient; there is no necessity for them; and some of them are abominable, and forbidden by the law of God and nature, whether forbidden by you or not; while others, such as eating meats offered to idols, will almost necessarily lead to bad moral consequences: and what Christian, would obey his appetite and do these things for the sake of self-gratification? If a man is brought under the power of anything which he cannot give up, he is the slave of that thing, whatsoever it may be, which he cannot give up; then, to him, it is sin. The "power" ought to be in the hands of the believer, not in the things which he uses or else his liberty is forfeited; and he ceases to be his own master—“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Gal 5:13; KJV). One of the character qualities of the believer is self-control—“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23; KJV). “Temperance” is the character trait of self-control.

Section 5.0-B: We Belong To the Lord

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.

Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats:
This was probably a current proverb among the Corinthians with the meaning suggested by Marsh—“As one indulges an appetite for food, that being the function of the stomach, so should the physical urge for sexual indulgence be gratified.” Paul refutes this argument with his, “that stomach and food are physical; but the body is not.” All sorts of food are provided to satisfy the appetite and stomach, to fill the belly, and nourish the body; and the belly, and all the parts through which the food passes, are purposely formed by God for the passage and digestion of food. The meaning here is that the natural appetite belongs to the physical body and physical nature, which is how God created it. Meats, food and digestion are matters that belong to our present state. This body is destined to return to dust, and these things will cease their operation at the death of the body—or when we are changed at the Rapture. Foods and digestion (denoted here by Meats for the belly) have no moral significance within themselves; they acquire moral significance in particular individuals, under certain circumstances.

The Corinthian Christians were probably using this motto—“Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats”—to justify giving their bodies whatever their bodies wanted. "My body wants food, so I eat. My body wants sex, so I hire a prostitute. What's the problem?" But Paul will not let them take that slogan, which applies to irrelevant food restrictions, and apply it to sexual immorality, because the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Because of our lustful sexual appetites, it may seem that God did make our bodies for sexual immorality. But God did not make our bodies that way; sinful Adam did. We see the wisdom in God's design for the body and for sexual purity when we look at the problems of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. These are the price one pays in the body for using the body in a way the Lord never intended—the body is not for sexual immorality. One day God will destroy our stomachs, in the sense of being dependent on food and affected by hunger (though, there will be food and eating in heaven). Yet, our bodies themselves—in their moral character, relevant to our sexual conduct—will be raised up by the Lord at the resurrection. So, what we do with our bodies in regard to food does not affect us in the same way as what we do with our bodies in regard to sex.

But God shall destroy both it and them.
The Greek verb used for “destroy” is katarjao and means “to render inactive.” It is also used in 1 Corinthians 1.28 and 2.6.
• “And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are” (1 Cor 1:28; KJV).
• “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought” (1 Cor 2:6; KJV).

There is a time coming when the human body will no longer need food. Some of the ancients suppose that this means the belly as well as the food will be done away with; and that though the same body will be raised at the great day, yet not with all the same organs, some being utterly unnecessary in a future state, such as the belly for instance, when the man is never to hunger, or thirst, or eat, or drink. This supposition does not stand up to the truth as it is presented in scripture: There it says that on the last day, the body will be raised perfect, consisting of all its parts; yet there will be no appetite, no desire in the stomach for meats, no need for them to fill the belly, and so there will be no need for these parts to function as they do now; because the children of the resurrection will be like the angels, and will not need to eat or drink. But, whether this is true or not, there is a time coming when the need and use of food will be abolished. Note, The expectation we have of being without bodily appetites in a future life is a very good argument against being under their power in the present life. This seems to me the gist of the apostle's argument; and that this passage is plainly to be connected with his caution against fornication, though some make it a part of the former argument against contentious law-suits, especially before heathen magistrates and the enemies of true religion. These suppose that the apostle argues that though it may be lawful to claim our rights yet it is not always expedient, and it is utterly unfit for Christians to put themselves under the power of infidel judges, lawyers, and solicitors, on these accounts. But this connection does not seem to fit the context.

The next great event on God’s timetable is the Rapture, when the natural bodies of believers will be changed into spiritual bodies: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body…In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor 15:44, 52; KJV). The spiritual body will not be subject to the laws and vital functions of our current animal body; but it will still be a body, a better one. It will be sustained, and exercise its powers, without waste, weariness, decay, or the necessity of having its powers maintained by food and sleep; and it will be eternal.

Now the body is not for fornication,
What we have here is a contrast between the belly and the body. The belly is for the body and the body is the Lord’s and it will be eternal in its glorified state; but meats and appetite are not eternal—they will cease at death. Though meats were created for the belly, and the belly for meats, the belly is indifferent about the sort of meats that may or may not be consumed; however, this cannot be said about fornication, which the Corinthians, and other Gentiles, were as indifferent toward as they were to meats; but the apostle shows there is not the same reason for the one as the other. The body was not originally made and approved for fornication; this is quite besides the will of God, who has provided marriage as a remedy for it.

In Luke 24.41-43, we learn that while Jesus was in His glorified body, He visited His disciples, “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” I don’t believe Jesus needed the food; but He ate to show them that He was not a spirit. But I do know it will not be necessary for the glorified saints to eat; whereas, while we are in these flesh and blood bodies it is necessary that we eat to keep our bodies alive.

The body is definitely connected to the human personality, and the body of the believer is to be an instrument for God to use, and through it He will be glorified in all things. In our present verse Paul is pointing out that unchastity is not like food: all meats were lawful for him, but unchastity is never lawful for any believer, regardless of the circumstances. Through this reasonable argument and comparison, Paul deals with the dangerous argument which had been—and was being—used among the carnally minded Corinthians, that if the gratification of one natural desire is lawful, then why not the gratification of another? If meats were lawful, then why not adultery, fornication, drunkenness, etc.? But the argument drawn from the indifference of meats compared to that of fornication does not hold water. Meats without question are indifferent, since both they and the "belly" for which they are created are to be "destroyed" in the future state. But "the body is not (created) for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body" (as its Redeemer, who hath Himself assumed the body): "And God hath raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us" (that is our bodies): therefore the "body" is not, like the "belly," which after having served a temporary use, is to be destroyed: Now "he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body"—“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18; KJV). Therefore fornication is not indifferent, since it is a sin against one's own body. The body, like the Lord for whom it is created, is not to be destroyed, but will be raised to eternal existence. Christ was provided to be a sacrifice for this body as well as for the soul, by taking our nature upon him; so that now, as human beings, we have an intimate relationship to the Lord; and our bodies are made not only for his service, but to be his temples.

but for the Lord;
The believer should always bear in mind the fact that his body ("Body," as used here has reference to the whole person including the physical body) was made for the Lord—the One who died to redeem the soul, spirit, AND body—and therefore the believer should seek the will of God at all times and concerning all things, and allow the divine purposes of God to be done in all the activities of life. The purpose of the body is not the gratification of its appetites; but it is for the Lord, which is a reference to the indwelling of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Cor. 6:19. Sensuality is neither the highest nor the most satisfying use of the body; and the greatest happiness a person can attainment does not come through gratification, such happiness is derived only from the proper union between man and his Creator. Whatever Christians do should be done for God’s glory, and the good of others.

And the Lord for the body.
It seems that we often fail to realize that this body is the house in which the Holy Spirit lives—and He will live there until this body returns to dust or is changed, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” at the Rapture. If a believer dies before the Rapture, his body will be raised in an uncorrupted condition; if he lives until the Rapture, he will never die. But live or die, the body belongs to the Lord, who purchased us with His own precious blood—“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil 3:21; KJV). Our glorified body may bear a similar form to the heavenly body of Jesus. That is: the bodies of true believers will be raised up at the great day, and it will be in the same likeness, immortality, and glory as the glorified humanity of Jesus Christ; and it will be so thoroughly changed that it will not only be capable of immortality, but also of the infinite spiritual enjoyments found only at the right hand of God. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2; KJV).

14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

And God hath both raised up the Lord,
The clear truth set forth here—that God the Father who raised the Lord Jesus, will raise us by the same power—is contrasted with the natural elements which will be destroyed by death (mentioned in the foregoing verse). Our physical appetites will cease when we depart this present life, but our bodies will have a part in the resurrection—because without our bodies we would not be our complete selves, and in the land that is fairer than day, we will know even as we are known: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor 13:12; KJV). Here is something for you to look forward to: in heaven, we will be in the presence of Christ and when the veil is removed from our understanding, we will receive a full revelation of ALL things, and we will know ALL things; know God, eternity and its secrets, even as we are known to God. I firmly believe the fifteenth chapter of this epistle teaches that our glorified bodies will resemble these bodies of flesh that we live in now.

God the Father has raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, although it was not without the participation of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was equally concerned in the resurrection of himself, because it demonstrated he was the Son of God, and truthfully and properly God. He has raised up the human nature of Christ from the grave, as a pledge of our resurrection; and will also raise us up by his own power, that we may live with him in glory forever.

And will also raise up us by his own power.
Paul assures us here that the power of God, which raised up the Lord Jesus as promised, will just as surely raise us. We know that if this earthly tabernacle be dissolved, “…we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor 5:1; KJV). Tom Lowe and ______________ (I hope you can place your name beside mine) will one day put on immortality, and when we see Jesus, we will be like Him. We have this assurance because we are in Christ and He is in us. We possess the divine nature, because the body is the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. We are dead—and our lives are hid in Christ in God. We set together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and we know that the God who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also raise us up by the same power (the first resurrection—“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection” (Rev 20:5; KJV). Therefore as we sojourn here we should live in this body in such a way that whatever we do it will glorify God. The present use of this body should be directed in every detail to bring honor and glory to the Lord God Almighty, who gave Jesus to die for us and who will raise us up on that glorious morning. It is an act of power, of God's own power, even of his almighty power, and is something that the power of a mere creature could never accomplish. Now as Christ, our head, is raised, so shall all his members be raised by the same power; their bodies will be raised powerful, glorious, incorruptible; and spiritual; an argument that could never be made for fornication, or bodies defiled with such uncleanness.

The resurrection of Christians is promised here, the proof of it already having been demonstrated in the resurrection of Christ. Just as the resurrection of Christ was bodily, so will the resurrection of Christians be bodily; and, in this light, an eternal purpose with reference to the body itself is indicated; which is that the resurrection is a telling argument against wasting the physical body through lust and sensuality. Here the apostle speaks of the possibility of him being found in the grave when Christ comes; elsewhere, of him being possibly found alive: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17; KJV). In either event, the Lord's coming rather than death is the great object of the Christian's expectation: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19; KJV). Paul’s argument runs something like this. It was an uncommon honor that God should raise up the body of Jesus Christ. It will be an undue and unwarranted honor that our bodies will also be raised by His power. Therefore, let us not abuse those bodies through fleshly lusts. Note, The hopes of a resurrection to glory should restrain Christians from dishonoring their bodies by fleshly lusts.

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.

Know ye not that your bodies are the members, of Christ?
This verse adds additional truth to that found in verse 13. The body of the believer not only belongs to God and is for His use, but the body of the believer is united to Him. This part of the personality of the individual believer is a member of the body of which Christ is the head, because he has taken your nature upon him, and as a result, believers are in him, you are the members of Christ. If the soul is united to Christ by faith, the whole man has become a member of His mystical body. The body is in union with Christ as well as the soul. How wonderful is this for the Christian! His very flesh is a part of the mystical body of Christ. Note, it is good to know in what honorable relationships we stand, so that we may endeavor to “live up” to them.

In Romans 12.1 Paul begs us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. Ephesians 5.30 declares in unmistakable language, “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” He has partaken of our nature, as we have partaken of the nature of Adam. And as he is the head of the Church and the Savior of this body; so we, being members of the Church, are members of his mystical body. That is, we are united to him by one Spirit in the closest intimacy, even similar to that which the members of the body have. The relationship of the individual believer with Christ involves the divine fact that the body of the believer is the instrument through which the Lord works in the ministry and activities committed to that person. All the persons of God's elect were chosen in Christ, and given to him, and made one with him, their bodies as well as their souls; and both are redeemed by him, and, in union with him, are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. The believer’s body as a member of the body of Christ is a living organism, fitted and fashioned for God’s purpose of carrying out God’s will and purpose through grace. Since this is true,  how can a born again believer take away that which is divinely united to Christ, rightfully His, and unite it with that which is unlawful and unholy, thereby robbing God of the instrument through which He is to be made manifest and glorified in the world.

“Know ye not” is still being used sarcastically in this passage, not in the sense of denying that Christians' bodies are members of Christ, but by protesting the absurdity of degrading such members in immorality. Paul's use of "body" in this passage makes it certain that the physical body is meant. The real thrust of Paul’s concern is now taken into account. In the first place, your bodies are the members of Christ. The body is not only for the Lord (vs. 13), but it belongs to Him by virtue of His redemptive work, and because they are united with Him. This union pertains not only to the soul, but also to the body: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6-7; KJV). It is this fact; above all else, that makes fornication such a wicked and malicious sin. It takes what belongs to Christ and makes them the members of a harlot. To this Paul recoils with God forbid.

shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
These bodies of ours are instruments through which Jesus shows Himself to an unbelieving world. It has pleased God to dwell within individuals in the person of the Holy Spirit; and a life controlled by the Holy Spirit bears fruit that glorifies God, with no desire to be joined with a harlot or to be a party to adultery, fornication, drunkenness and other such practices. “God Forbid” that such practices are allowed to bring disgrace and criticism upon the Church, and upon Christ—and upon the individual who is guilty of such things. It is absurd, indecent, abominable, and detestable for the bodies of the saints, which are the members of Christ, to be joined in carnal copulation with a harlot.

Young people today think that they can live together without being married. One such couple went to their pastor wanting to talk about getting into Christian service. They weren’t married, but they were living together! He told them, “You get married.” They asked, “Why?” He said, “Because God commands it. That is the way God wants it to be. Until you are willing to do that, you cannot serve Him.” If they would have asked Paul the same thing, he might have replied, “Do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” Apparently, many of the Corinthian Christians did not know, and thought their sexual conduct with prostitutes was not connected with their relationship with Jesus. But the truth is, “Your bodies are members of Christ: When an individual Christian commits sexual immorality, it disgraces the entire body of Christ, linking the body of Christ to immorality. He who is joined to a harlot is one body with her . . . one flesh: In their sexual relationship, a husband and wife become "one flesh" in a way that is under God's blessing. In sex outside of marriage, the partners become "one flesh" in a way that is under God's curse. A person desiring a casual sexual encounter may not want to become one flesh with their partner; but in some spiritual sense, they do. Part of their being is given to that person, and it means there is less to give to the Lord and to the partner God intends for them. In the Biblical understanding of sex, there is no such thing as "casual sex." Since we belong to Jesus – body, soul, and spirit – we have no right to give any part of ourselves away to an "unauthorized" person! "By being joined to her [a prostitute] in immoral sex the believer establishes someone else, outside of Christ, as the unlawful lord over one's own body."

"Sex outside of marriage is like a man robbing a bank: he gets something, but it is not his and he will one day pay for it. Sex within marriage can be like a person putting money into a bank: there is safety, security, and he will collect dividends." (Wiersbe)

16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

I pointed out earlier that Paul asks and answers many questions in his epistles. This is true in this verse, the last part of which is quoted from Genesis 2.24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” With this quotation Paul points directly at the decree made by God concerning husband and wife. Genesis 2:23, 24 contains the very words of the marriage ceremony: “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. This is flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bone, therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” How happy such a person must be where God's institution is properly regarded, where the parties are married, as the apostle expresses it, in the Lord; where each lives only to contribute in every possible way to the comfort and happiness of the other! Marriage might still be what it was in its original institution, pure, affectionate and happy; but how few such marriages are really like that!

What the apostle is saying here is "With all of your conceited knowledge, has it never occurred to you that participation with a harlot makes the participant and the harlot one flesh?" Paul proved it by the reference to Gen. 2:24. However, the words spoken by God (in the reference cited) were spoken about marriage, but here they are applied to an unholy union. Paul does not place the two on the same plane but only points out that in this one respect they are similar.

What has been said about marriage can also be said about fornication—what has been done lives morally in both, whether in the case of husband and wife or in unlawful union. It is true that marriage in its moral value for born again believers involves the most intimate association between husband and wife—for the joint service of God and for the specific purpose of bringing up children to the glory of Him who is the author of all life. The mere gratification of lust is the complete distortion of this and is detrimental to spirituality and will hinder spiritual growth.

There is nothing more beautiful than marriage when two persons are truly joined in holy matrimony. They are no longer two; they become one flesh, and the desires of their lives should be one. That desire should be to glorify their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The scripture teaches that if two people carry on an illicit sexual practice they become one body, one flesh; and that which God intended to be high, noble, and beautiful becomes low, ugly, and degrading. There is nothing that will destroy an individual as quickly as promiscuous sexual practices, whether it is fornication or adultery. Here the Holy Spirit warns not only the believers in Corinth, but all believers even unto this present hour and until we are caught up into Paradise to be with Jesus—Nothing can stand in greater opposition to the honorable relations and alliances of a Christian man than this sin. Knowing this, how can one in so close a union with Christ as to be one spirit with him, become so united to a harlot that he becomes one flesh with her? And can a greater indignity be done to Christ or us? When fornication is committed, the parties involved share a common life. In the same sense, one cannot serve God and mammon, or share in the life of Christ and in the life of Belial. It is inconceivable that one can be simultaneously joined to Christ and to the body of a harlot.

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

But he that is joined unto the Lord
The spiritual union expressed here is the same as that spoken of by the Lord Jesus when addressing His disciples: “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:20; KJV). “That day” began on Pentecost. There was no more doubting after the Holy Spirit was sent. “That day” still comes to every soul that completely surrenders to the will of Christ. In John 15.4 and 5 Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” There is a similar declaration found in John 17.21-23: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” When the believer fully realizes the existence of this union with Christ and allows the Holy Spirit to keep this fact utmost in his thoughts, then that believer will conform to the mind of Christ and to the will of God for his life; and this can happen only when the individual knows and recognizes this clear fact and surrenders to it. When we are saved by God’s grace, we become part of Christ and He becomes part of us. We are then members of His body and He abides in our body. Here the apostle introduces a concept that “suggests to us the highest possible unity between the believer and the Lord. Many other forms are used to express this identification, but none approach this in the concept of inseparable oneness. The sheep may wander from the shepherd, the branch may be cut off from the vine, the member may be severed from the body, the child alienated from the father, and even the wife from the husband, but when two spirits blend in one, what can possibly part them? No outward connection of unity, even of wedlock, is so emphatically expressive of the perfect merging of two lives in one.” The true Christian, having been joined to the Lord through his conversion from sin, is one in spirit with the Lord, seeking in all things to conform his thoughts, words and deeds to such actions as are approved by the Lord and in harmony with the Holy Spirit. This imposes the highest conceivable obligation to refrain from fornication. God help us to realize this solemn fact and to conduct ourselves accordingly.

is one spirit.
This union between God and men is a spiritual one; it is complete and perfect; close and unbreakable; as a consequence of it, God's chosen ones come to have and enjoy the same spirit in a lesser measure, which Christ their head and Mediator has without measure: for this reason they have the Spirit of God, as a spirit of illumination and conversion, of faith and holiness, of adoption, and as the earnest, pledge, and seal of their future glory. It is paramount then that fornication, which makes them one flesh with a harlot, be abstained from. He who is united to God, by faith in Jesus, receives his Spirit, and becomes a partaker of the Divine nature. Who would ever want to change such a relationship for communion with a harlot; or for any kind of sensual gratification? Anyone who can, must be very deeply fallen into sin and far from God!

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

Flee fornication.
It has been pointed out previously in our study that fornication was one of the predominant sins in the city of Corinth. Paul knew that the members of the Corinthian church were in grave danger of succumbing to the immoral influences that were all around them; therefore he gave a clear command that they were to FLEE FORNICATION. Paul doesn't tell us to be brave and resist the lustful passion of sexual immorality, but to flee from its very presence. Many have fallen because they underestimated the power of lustful passion, or thought they would "test" themselves and see how much they could "take." Instead, we should follow the example of Joseph, who fled from sexual immorality—even when it cost him something to do so (For his story see Genesis 39:7-21).

Paul does not say that Christians should flee sex, only sexual immorality. God gave sex as a precious gift to mankind, and uses it powerfully to bond husband and wife together in a true one-flesh relationship. So as Hebrews 13:4 says, the marriage bed is undefiled—the sexual relationship between husband and wife is pure, holy, and good before God. “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb 13:4; KJV). But sexual immorality works against God's good purpose for sex, working against a true, godly one-flesh relationship. Sex outside of marriage can be exciting, but it can't be enriching. We are reminded that Paul uses the Greek word porneia, which refers to a broad range of sexual sin. To flee sexual immorality means more than just to not have sexual intercourse with someone we are not married to: It means to flee sexual gratification or thrills one might find from pornographic videos, movies, magazines, books, or Internet materials.

Whatever else it may be, if it is hurtful, scandalous, and unbecoming Christians; avoid it, and anything that may lead to it or be an incentive to do it. Some sins, or temptations to sin, may be reasoned with, but in the cases of fornication and adultery, if you try to parley you are finished; do NOT reason, but FLEE! Hate, detest, and escape from every kind of uncleanness. Make it your habit to flee.

The lust of the flesh is a horrible, deadly master. It is extremely dangerous to be exposed to such things or to be part of a conversation discussing these types of things. The sin of fornication is against:
(a) God: There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? (Gen 39:9; KJV).
(b)  One’s body (as here).
(c) The church.
(d) The institution of marriage.
(e) The life of the nation.
(f) The very soul itself: But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. (Prov 6:32; KJV).

The only way to deal with the sins of fornication and adultery is to FLEE from them in the same way you would flee from a poisonous snake, a deadly plague, or a viscous dog.

Every sin that a man doth is without the body;
Every other sin (lying, robbery, murder, etc) is “without the body.” Fornication is singular in the catalog of sin; it is against the body in that it makes the body itself (and as a consequence the whole being) the very motive for as well as the instrument of sin. The practice of fornication will eventually bring about the complete destruction of the personality of the individual, and render the living organisms of the body helpless in the fulfillment of the Lord’s design of the human body which He created to be devoted to His service. There is no other sin that will destroy personality, character, and vigor so quickly and completely as the sin of fornication. It is not that other sins are NOT committed by the body, and by the members of it as instruments; but they are generally committed by the abuse of other things that are outside (or not connected to the body), and do not belong to the body; and so do not bring that hurt unto and rebuke upon the body, that fornication does.

Every sin—"Every sin whatsoever that a man doeth." Every other sin; even gluttony, drunkenness, and suicide are "without," that is, comparatively external to the body: “And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him” (Mark 7:18; KJV). AND, “Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul” (Prov 6:30-32; KJV). He certainly injures, but he does not destroy the body itself; the sin is not terminated in the body; rather he sins against the soul more than against the body, which has been designed "for the Lord." "But" the fornicator alienates that body which is the Lord's, and makes it one with a harlot's body, and so he "sinneth against his own body," that is, against the integrity and nature of his body.

Without the body—The body is not the instrument, but the subject. But when man commits fornication, then he sinneth against his own body. Here the body becomes the instrument of the sin.

but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
No doubt Paul had specifically in mind the impact of sin against the physical body; his words are true in the widest possible application. No matter how "body" is understood, whether the physical body, the body of the family, the body of the Lord, the body of the social order, or even any corporate body—fornication is "against" any and all of these—many corporations have been wrecked through fornication.

Paul isn't saying sexual immorality is worse than any other sin; but he does teach that sexual sin has a unique effect on the body; not only in a physical way, but also in a moral and spiritual way. Augustine was a Christian who had a lot of trouble with keeping sexually pure. For a long time, it kept him from really following God. He used to pray: "God, make me pure—but not just yet." But there came a point where he really turned everything over to God. He stopped hanging around with his companions in sexual immorality, and stopped going to the neighborhood where he used to meet them. But once, he had to go there on business, and on the street he met an old flame. She was glad to see him, and started running to him with arms outstretched, saying "Augustine! Where have you been for so long? We have missed you so!" Augustine did the only thing he could do: he started running the other way. She called out to him: "Augustine, why are you running? It’s only me!" He looked back, while still running, and said "I'm running because I'm not me!" He was a different man because of Jesus, and he was living a different way. If we have had our lives changed by Jesus, it will show in the desire to flee sexual immorality.

Because God saw the loneliness of man, He created woman and gave her to him to make his life more complete; but neither man nor woman has the right to abuse those bodies to satisfy the lust of the flesh. Our bodies were created for the Lord, and if we as believers refuse to surrender our bodies to the Lord, holy and acceptable and yield our members as instruments of righteousness, we will reap a harvest of corruption in our bodies. That does not mean that the soul will be damned; it simply means that the body will be destroyed because of “the sin unto death.” Some of the Corinthians had already committed the sin unto death and others were on the verge of it.

In this verse the apostle has given to us a fourth argument against fornication; it is a sin against our own bodies. Every sin that a man does is without the body; he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Every sin, that is, every other sin except fornication, is an external act of sin. It is not so much an abuse of the body as it is of something else, such as of wine by the drunkard, food by the glutton, etc. Nor do the other sins give the power of the body to another person. Nor do they tend to bring reproach to the body and cause it to be vile. This sin is designated as uncleanness and pollution, because no sin has so much external vileness in it, especially in a Christian. He sins against his own body; he defiles it, he degrades it, making it one with the body of that vile creature with whom he sins. He casts vile reproach on what the Redeemer has dignified to the last degree by taking it into union with himself. Note, we should not make our present vile bodies viler by sinning against them.

My friend, you cannot live in immorality and serve Christ. Unfortunately, we find that public opinion generally accepts immoral persons; but God does not accept them.

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?

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost
WHAT AN ASTONISHING SAYING IS THIS! What Paul had said earlier with reference to the Church being the “temple of the Holy Spirit” is declared here to be true of individual members of the Church. God's temple belongs to God, and therefore the individual who becomes a living stone of the temple does not belong to himself, but to God—for you were bought with a price.

Any honest person will take better care of something that doesn't belong to them. The bodies of believers belong to God. They are His purchased possession. We don't have the right to pollute and abuse God's property! This principle applies to more than our sexual conduct. If our bodies belong to Jesus, we also have no right to be idle, or wasteful of what belongs to Him. Our bodies should be put to use glorifying God! (Therefore glorify God in your body). "Your body was a willing horse when it was in the service of the devil; let it not be a listless nag now that it draws the chariot of Christ." And it follows that he is not free to indulge his lusts and appetites but is obligated to conform his activities to those things which will honor and glorify the Lord whose property the Christian is.

As truly as the living God dwelt in the Mosaic tabernacle, and in the temple of Solomon, so truly does the Holy Ghost dwell in the souls of genuine Christians; and as the temple and all its utensils were holy, separated from all common and profane uses, and dedicated to the service of God, so the bodies of genuine Christians are holy, and all their members should be employed in the service of God. What is said in 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17 of the saints in general, is said here of their bodies in particular: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you... If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor 3:16-17; KJV). A temple is a place sacred to God, and pure from immorality. If it is true we are filled with the Spirit, it must influence our sexual behavior. And if we commit sexual immorality as Christians, we are polluting God's temple. Because our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, we have God Himself living within us. This means we have strength, and power, living within us to give us power over the sins of the flesh. We should expect sexual purity from Christians more than from those who are not, because they do not have God living within them as we do.

 The Holy Spirit, when he begins that good work of grace on a man by regeneration and sanctification, takes possession of his whole person, soul and body, and dwells there as if he was His temple. Therefore the Jews call the body of a righteous man, the "habitation" of the Holy Spirit. Now it is a revoltingly scandalous, and shameful, that that body, which is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, which is as sacred to Him as a temple, would be defiled by the sin of fornication. In sinning against the body, the fornicator sins against "your (ideal) body," that of "Christ," which according to 1 Corinthians 6.15, “your bodies are the members of Christ.” This is the sin of fornication; it is a sacrilegious desecration of God's temple by putting it to profane uses. The unseen, but much more efficient, Spirit of God in the spiritual temple has taken the place of the visible Shekinah in the old material temple. The whole man is the temple; the soul is the innermost shrine; the understanding and heart, the holy place; and the body, the porch and exterior part of the edifice. Chastity is the guardian of the temple to prevent anything unclean entering which might provoke the indwelling God to abandon it as defiled. No one but God can claim a temple; here the Holy Ghost is assigned one; therefore the Holy Ghost is God.

which is in you, which ye have of God,
This stresses the fact that every born again believer possesses the Holy Spirit. The body is Holy because the inner man is justified by the blood and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It is absurd to believe that a person can be a child of God and not possess the Holy Spirit! Thanks to scripture there many facts known about the Holy Spirit:
1. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin, and draws us to God: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44; KJV). Also: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you…And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…Of sin, because they believe not on me” (John 16:7-9; KJV).
2. Every believer possesses the Holy Spirit: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9; KJV).
3. Every believer is lead by the Holy Spirit: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14; KJV).
4. The Holy Spirit assures us that we are the children of God: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16; KJV).
5. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30; KJV).
6. We are told to be filled with the Spirit: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18; KJV).

It is not possible to be without the Holy Spirit, and at the same time be a child of God; because He is the One who draws us to Christ. He comes to live in our hearts the moment we believe. He teaches us, guides us, and directs us into spiritual pathways and into the will of God. It is true that all believers are NOT entirely surrendered to the Spirit, but all believers do possess the Spirit—and we will learn in Chapter 12 that we are all baptized into the body of Christ by and through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus died on the Cross to save us from sin. The moment we believe, we are saved, the soul is redeemed, and the body will be redeemed at the first resurrection. It was pointed out earlier that we have the assurance that the God who raised up Jesus will raise US up—there is no doubt about it. Those of us who are redeemed are sure that we will be raised, because the purchase of this body was included in redemption. It will be sown in dishonor, and raised in glory, to be like His glorious body. What a wonderful instance of His grace and love for us; that He would be bestowed upon them, to regenerate, renew, and sanctify them, to implant every grace, to make them a fit habitation for God, and for the inheritance of the saints. Notice, Paul is not telling them that they can become more spiritual by receiving the Holy Spirit. The fact is they already received the Holy Spirit. He dwells within them. This fact, instead, introduces the essential truth of verse 20.

and ye are not your own?
The fifth argument against this sin of fornication is that the bodies of Christians are the temples of the Holy Ghost which is in them. Soul, spirit, and body, we belong to the Lord who purchased us: “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” (Romans 14:8-9; KJV). Here we have the reason for Christ’s death: The apostle does not say that this was the only reason, but that it was a main purpose, or an object which he definitely had in view. This declaration is introduced in order to confirm what he had said in the previous verse, that in all circumstances we are the Lord's. This he shows by the fact that Jesus died in order that we might be his. And if we are His, we are not our own masters, and we are not free to live to satisfy our own lusts; men do not have power over their bodies to abuse them by fornication, or other acts of uncleanness; you are bound to God, and you are accountable to him. The fornicator treats his body as if it were "his own," to give to a harlot if he pleases. But we have no right to alienate our body which is the Lord's. In ancient servitude the person of the servant was in every respect the property of the master, not his own. Purchase was one of the ways of acquiring a slave. Man has sold himself to sin: “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin” (Romans 7:14; KJV). But Christ buys him Himself, to serve Him (See Ro 6:16-22).

Some Christians think that the devil cannot possess a Christian's spirit or soul, but that a Christian's body can be filled with demons, so that the Christian must have those demons cast out by another person. But Paul makes it clear that our bodies belong to Jesus just as much as our spirits. He is the owner of my body, and He is not sub-letting to demons! Ironside was right when he said, "Glorify God in your body and the spiritual side will take care of itself."

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

For ye are bought with a price:
Paul declared, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2; KJV). Paul did not enter into philosophical discussions that create strife. He simply stayed right with the preaching of the Cross of Christ. He preached a crucified Savior, One who had died for the sins of the world. That is the type of ministry which is so desperately needed today. Paul also said, “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness” (1 Cor 1.23; KJV); and “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor 5.7). The purchase price paid by the Lord Jesus was not gold and silver, but his own shed blood, and it brought about a change of ownership. Jesus said to His disciples, “I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. I came not to be served, but to serve. I came to give my life a ransom for many.” And he did just that. He paid the ransom, paid the sin debt, and made freedom and liberty possible for all who will have faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He purchased us completely; and when we stand face to face with him on the glorious day of the first resurrection, we will be like Him.

Since it is a divine fact that we are “bought with a price,” then it is only reasonable that we should glorify God in our bodies. We have a divine command to keep our bodies from unchastity—not only out of obligation, but we should abstain from fleshly lusts for the purpose of glorifying God in our bodies, thus bringing glory to Him; and at the end of life’s journey we will be rewarded. As the slave who is purchased by his master for a sum of money is the sole property of that master, so you, being bought with the price of the blood of Christ, are not your own, you are his property. As the slave is bound to use all his skill and diligence for the compensation of his master, so you should employ body, soul, and spirit in the service of your Lord; promoting, by every means in your power, the honor and glory of your God, whom you must also consider as your Lord and Master.

Since God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die on the Cross, and since Jesus loved us so much that He willingly laid down His life for us and paid our ransom with His own precious blood, we should be thankful to such an extent that we would allow Him to have preeminence in our life and in all things. The glorious privilege of being a Christian carries with it an equally grave responsibility. We should glorify God simply because of what He has done for us.

therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
By “God” is meant more specifically the Lord Jesus Christ, who purchased us, body and soul, with His own blood. We are saved by the grace of God; but we should never take advantage of this liberty just to satisfy selfish desires—whether small and seemingly innocent or gross sin such as fornication. We should walk in the fear of God—not in the sense that we are afraid of something terrible happening to us, but like little children fear and respect their parents. We are not to fear God from the standpoint of dreading the day we shall meet Him, but rather to the extent that the desire of our hearts should be to glorify Him in all that we do or say, since he has done so much to make it possible for us to escape the lake of fire.

I do not believe that believers should have to sign a pledge card concerning rules and regulations before they can become members of the local assembly, because such a procedure is definitely unscriptural. If a person is saved by the grace of God, and led by the Spirit of God, that person will live like he should. I realize that we will fall short of the glory of God, but spiritually-minded believers will not practice open sin, and anyone who has a desire to embrace some sinful practice will not abstain from it just because he has signed a pledge card not to indulge! Such pledge signing in unscriptural. When we are saved we are set free from the law of sin and death, and we have liberty in Jesus. We overcome the world because we are believers. By contrast, one who is not a believer finds it impossible to live a clean life regardless of how many pledges he may sign. He cannot overcome simply because he is not a believer, saved by grace.

Christians should have a deep desire to have a clean mind, a clean soul, and a clean life—spiritually clean, and free from adultery, fornication, drunkenness, or any other lust of the flesh; and they should use their bodies in a way that other men will see that they belong to God. Have you presented your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service? Have you yielded your members unto God as instruments of righteousness? If not, do it not!

Here is a remarkable truth which many believers have not received. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because our bodies belong to God, we are not to share our bodies in fornication. This leads to a discussion of marriage, which will be the subject of the next chapter.


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