The Body is Not For Fornication 1 Cor. 6:13-20 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Fornication was prohibited for Gentiles in Acts 15:20. Yet the Corinthians had been committing fornication and Paul had to give them spiritual reasons why they could not do that anymore. Obviously, their attitude was that the belly was for meat and the body was for fornication. So, Paul dealt thoroughly with the sin of fornication in this passage. Otherwise he would have just said flee fornication or what he said in 1 Cor 10:8.
A key word in this discourse is the word Body – the body is distinguished from the flesh. The body is the dwelling place of the man’s spirit and soul [our incarnation]. So, when the body is dead, the spirit and the soul depart. The body is also the dwelling place of the Holy Ghost and the Lord after we get saved. The flesh, on the other hand, is the natural material of which the body is made. In eternity we will still have our bodies but they will be made of spiritual material; our flesh currently is alive by virtue of the blood that’s in it (Gen 9:4). Flesh is also, as in Rom 7, human nature in its physical manifestation. Thus, we have the lust of the flesh; not the lust of the body. Here are some references on the body: in the Old Testament you frequently find references to a dead body or the fruit of the body. In the New Testament we find references like Rom 6:12, “let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.” Rom 8:23, “the redemption of our body.” Rom 12:5, “so we being many are one body in Christ.” There’s something different going on in the New Testament.
1 Cor 6:13 meats for the belly and the belly for meats – that’s what each was made for. God will destroy the meats and the belly. At death our natural bodies are sown in corruption. In the same way that meats for the belly and the belly for meats, the body is for Jesus and Jesus for the body. 1 Cor 6:14 as he raised up Jesus so he will raise up the body [1 Cor 15:42-55]. At the resurrection we are raised a spiritual body in incorruption. So, the Lord destroys the meats and the belly but he doesn’t destroy the body; rather, he will raise it an incorruptible spiritual body. It is sown a natural body and it is raised a spiritual body. Therefore, the body is for Jesus and will be raised up. Hence, the body is not for fornication in the same casual way that meat is for the belly.
1 Cor 6:15 Paul first shows us that our bodies are the members of Christ [Rom 12:4-5, 1 Cor 12:12-27]. Then Paul asks, “Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of an harlot?” He could do that by condoning, allowing or even advising fornication. In fornication the members of Christ become the members of a harlot. They two become one body. 1 Cor 6:16 he that is joined to a harlot is one BODY so that the body in which his spirit and soul dwells and which has become a member of Christ now includes this harlot. Christ doesn’t want to dwell in THAT body made up of the saved man and the harlot, particularly if that harlot doesn’t dwell in Christ. Note: in marriage, Jesus dwells in the body of the married couple [Heb 13:4] because each dwells in him. While Christians are not to marry unsaved people [2 Cor 6:14-18], in the case where one spouse gets saved and the other doesn’t the Lord sanctifies the marriage [1 Cor 7:13-14] so that the saved person doesn’t leave the unsaved spouse just because he or she is not a member of Christ.
1 Cor 6:17 he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit – so we are joined to Christ in our bodies and in our spirits. We have a spiritual union with Christ.
1 Cor 6:18 Now Paul gives the exhortation “flee fornication” – in other words, he didn’t just say, “Do not fornicate,” he said, “Flee fornication.”
1 Cor 6:18 Paul explains that every sin that a man doeth is without the body – without means “not derived from or connected with: external to”; the phrase means, “does not pertain to the body.” There are four reasons that sin in the saved man does not pertain to his body:
- First, when we get saved, our bodies are “buried with him” in spiritual baptism [Rom 6:3-4]. Thus, the “body is dead because of sin,” [Rom 8:10; Rom 6:6]. Therefore, Paul said about sin in his life, “it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” [Rom 7:17]. That sin dwells in his flesh, v.18. Remember that the body and the flesh are two different things. The body is where our spirit and soul dwell and where Christ and the Holy Spirit dwell. The flesh is the natural material of which the body is currently made.
- Second, spiritual circumcision [Col 2:11-13] puts the body of the sins of the flesh off and separates it from the spirit and soul.
- Third, our baptism with Christ raises us with Christ in a quickened body [Rom 8:10-11; Col 2:12-13]. This is not our glorified body [Phil 3:21; Rom 8:23]. This is our new man [Eph 4:22-24, Col 3:9-11]. It is still a mortal body [Rom 6:12] waiting on its immortality [1 Cor 15:53].
- Fourth, the quickened body of a saved person is now a member of Christ [1 Cor 6:15] and Christ doesn’t sin. Thus, every sin is without the body.
1 Cor 6:18 goes on to say, “But he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” Here the word “against” means “with respect to: relating to: TOWARD.” Fornication is the only sin that affects the BODY of a saved person. Many of the sins affect the FLESH. Alcohol, drugs, gluttony, suicide all affect the flesh. But only one sin affects the BODY. Fornication takes a body that has been quickened and joined to Christ and joins it to a harlot. God forbid.
1 Cor 6:19 your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you – you are not your own. 1 Cor 6:20 you are bought with a price. God owns your body and spirit now. The spirit is born again and the body is quickened. Therefore glorify God in your body AND in your spirit [v.17] which are God’s. He didn’t say glorify God “in your flesh.” You cannot glorify God in your flesh [Rom 8:7-8].
Conclusion: fornication is a sin that ran rampant through the Corinthian church and it is a sin that is running rampant through the church today. Hopefully, this explanation that Paul gave is enough to convince you to “Flee fornication.”