The Body Is Not For Fornication 1 Cor. 6: 13-20 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In 1 Cor 6:13-20 Paul is dealing exclusively with the problem of fornication. It was obviously a problem among the Corinthians, as it was among other Gentiles. The council at Jerusalem pointed this one sin out, among the four “necessary things” from which Gentiles should abstain [Acts 15:20, 29]. When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he had to deal with this sin, as well. He told them, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication,” [1 Thes 4:3].
It is helpful to remember as we go through this passage, particularly verse 18, that Paul has singled out fornication. In dealing with this sin, he gave us some excellent doctrine that the Lord revealed to him concerning our bodies. He uses these doctrines as the main argument against fornication. We are to abstain from fornication because:
Your body is for the Lord – 1 Cor 6:13-14 – Paul gave the Corinthians an illustration that’s easy to understand. Meats for the belly and the belly for meat. They’re made for each other. That we easily understand. And he adds that the Lord is going to destroy it [the belly] and them [the meats]. So, you can eat what you want. That is, there’s no clean and unclean meat, for instance [1 Tim 4:4-5]. Jesus taught on this in Mk 7:15-19.
Using this illustration of the belly and meats that are made for each other, Paul then said that the body is for the Lord and the Lord for the body. Since the body is for the Lord, then THE BODY IS NOT FOR FORNICATION. The Corinthians wouldn’t naturally know this. After all, by copulation we procreate. And in many places, like Corinth, there was evidently no moral restraint. From here Paul further explains why the body is not for fornication.
Your body will live forever – 1 Cor 6:14 – God is not going to destroy the body like he is going to destroy the meats and belly. There is an eternal redemption for the body [Rom 8:23]. He will change our vile body and fashion it like his glorious body [Phil 3:21]. He will raise us up by his power. In the meantime, our bodies are continually being sanctified and conformed to the image of Jesus Christ [Rom 8:29]. In 1 Thes 4:3, Paul says that the will of God is our sanctification, to abstain from fornication. There is nothing like this for the belly.
Your body is a member of Christ – 1 Cor 6:15 – Paul asks three questions in this passage that we are studying. The first of these three questions is, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I take the members of Christ and make them the members of an harlot?” When you are saved, you are joined unto the Lord as one spirit [1 Cor 6:17]. But your body also becomes a member of Christ [Eph 5:30-32; 1 Cor 12:12-27].
- In fornication, your body becomes one with the harlot – 1 Cor:16-17 – here Paul raises the second question. “Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.” It’s important to understand that “harlot” in the Bible is not only a prostitute for hire. A harlot is a woman who fornicates with a man. She’s a harlot in the sense that a woman in the Old Testament, who is not a virgin before she’s married, is considered a “whore,” [Deut 22:20-21]. The joining of the flesh physically joins the bodies as one, as in marriage. While in marriage, the bed is undefiled [Heb 13:4], in fornication, a man, who is a member of Christ’s body, joins himself to a harlot’s body. Being joined to a harlot adulterates his relationship to Christ. While eating meat won’t defile his body [Mk 7:15-19], fornication will [Mk 7:20-23]. In fornication, the child of God is one physically with the harlot, while he is one spiritually with the Lord [1 Cor 6:17]. He’s supposed to be one with Christ spiritually and physically [1 Cor 6:15].
- In fornication, your body sins against itself – 1 Cor 6:18 – Paul starts this verse with the simple and clear admonition, “Flee fornication.” When someone tries to murder you, you flee. When someone tries to kidnap you, you flee. When someone tries to rob you, you flee. When you are tempted to fornicate, you are supposed to flee. Fornication is a sin against your own body, where you are the perpetrator and the victim.
- Fornication cometh from within, out of the heart of men. Paul said, “Every sin that a man doeth is without the body.” That is [Mk 7:20-23], sin is something that starts within him and comes out of him. You find more on this in Jas 1:14-15. Lust is in us, but lust is not the sin. When we are drawn away, lust conceives and brings forth sin and sin brings forth death. Sin starts within in us and comes out. When it comes out, sin is either against God or it is against someone else [Eph 4:25-32; Rom 1:29-31]. That’s why Jesus said, in Matt 22:37-40, that all the law and the prophets hang on just two things: loving God and loving others.
- Fornication is a sin against your own body. He that committeth fornication, Paul said, sinneth against his own body. In other words, you are the target of that sin. You would think fornication is a sin against the person with whom the fornication is committed. In fact, just like drunkenness, gluttony, drug abuse, etc., fornication is a sin against your own body, as well. However, unlike these other sins, which are obviously against the body (drunkenness results in a hangover and lost motor skills, gluttony results in obesity, smoking results in a cough and cancer, etc.), the effects of fornication are not always so apparent (unless there are STD’s).
- Fornication dishonors your body [Rom 1:24] and affects your affections and your mind [Rom 1:24-28]. There is no natural instinct to warn you against it. Yet, it is a sin against your body because your body was not created for fornication. Fornication is like Prov 1:10-18. The sinners going after the lives and money of others are, in fact, lurking privily for their own lives [Prov 1:18] and don’t know it. Fornication will destroy you [Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:32; Rom 6:23].
- Fornication is unique in that it affects your body’s union with Christ. At once, you are both a member of Christ and a member of a harlot. Fornication affects your relationship to Christ like no other sin, because you are a member of Christ and a harlot at the same time. That’s why Paul said, “Flee fornication.” Don’t fornicate.
Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost – 1 Cor 6:19-20 – here Paul raises the third question. “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?” You are bought with a price, therefore, you don’t get to call the shots. You are someone else’s property now, owned by God and inhabited by the Holy Spirit. Compare this to marriage [1 Cor 7:4], where the man gives up the power of his body to his wife and she gives up the power of her body to her husband. The Holy Ghost, who is now the owner and inhabiter of your body, would never lead you into fornication.
Your body is for the glory of God – 1 Cor 6:20 – You are to glorify God in your body, since your body was created for the Lord [1 Cor 6:13-15], and in your spirit, since you are one spirit with the Lord [1 Cor 6:17]. Your body and your spirit are both God’s. And fornication does not glorify God.
Conclusion: be diligent to flee from this sin. And be diligent to explain to your children these same truths that Paul taught here so that they, too, will flee this sin. Your body is for the Lord; fornication is not for the Lord. Your body is a member of Christ; fornication is not for a member of Christ. Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost; fornication is not for the temple of the Holy Ghost. Your body is for the glory of God; fornication is not for the glory of God. Flee fornication. It’s a sin against your own body.