The story behind our bodies
When writing to the Corinthian Christians in connection with sexual conduct and activity among the community of believers in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, the apostle Paul establishes 4 cardinal truths about the physical bodies of those who belong to Christ. He puts these across to them in a matter-of-fact way as if to say that this is common knowledge, universal truth that they ought to have known.
These truths are extremely hard hitting and invariably hard to swallow, but truths nonetheless. These are truths that we need to sincerely grapple with for they represent the foundations on which the practices of believers in relation to sexual activity is based upon.
These are truths we need to learn to accept and live by – by the grace of God.
The importance about these truths lies in the fact that they form the foundation of the New Testament’s teaching on Christian sexual conduct .
- Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body? 1 Corinthians 6:15
The first truth is this – our bodies are members of The Lord Jesus Christ himself. That is how much The Lord has honoured us and our bodies that we have become members of the body of Christ. But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, (1 Corinthians 1:30) We have been grafted into Jesus by God Himself on account of our faith in His son. Our bodies represent a portion, an element of the body of the body of the Lord. Our bodies are therefore noble, of sublime and immeasurable value and definitely not to be taken for or treated as trash. Though we may not yet be physically glorified we have been so spiritually (Ephesians 2:6), our position and status has changed and we await the glorification or redemption of our bodies for which we have been marked. (Rom 8:23, Ephesians 1:13-14)
- Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19
The second one is, our bodies are temples or sanctuaries of the Holy Spirit who resides in us. Our bodies are home to the Holy Spirit. Though it may be a physical shell, God has honoured my body by choosing to dwell within it as a result of my inviting Him into my life. I am God’s residence. His address is within me. My body is God’s address. The person I have sharing my body with me and whom I have given consent to do so is none other than the Holy God Himself in the form of His Spirit. Our bodies have become sacred and truly exalted by virtue of this fact . The third and fourth truths about our physical bodies is found in the final verses of this chapter – equally emphatic and hard hitting from which there is no escape.
- …You are not your own, 1 Corinthians 6:19
We are not our own, we effectively belong to another, to someone else. We do not belong to ourselves to do as we please and as we desire but we have another owner now. The final truth the apostle Paul puts across to us elaborates on the reason for this.
- … for you were bought at a price. 1 Corinthians 6:20
We have been purchased! Our not being our own is not fanciful thinking but a direct and inescapable result of us having been purchased at a price. The fourth truth is a direct result of the third, in other words, it is its outcome. We were bought at a price by another. We are not our own. We do not belong to ourselves. Ownership of our bodies has been transferred to Christ who paid the ultimate price of our redemption and who now has the legitimate right of ownership over us. Christ has paid over the odds for us with his own life which he gave away in order to save ours – surely he has the right over our lives and bodies then? We do not have rights over our own bodies as we have been bought at a price and a priceless one at that. It follows then that we do not belong to ourselves to do as we desire and will but now live to honour God with our lives and our bodies.2 Corinthians 5:15….. and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
The key, universal application point of these unshakable truths lies in the apostle’s conclusion of this discourse in the final verse of the chapter …Therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
The pivotal truth that holds all four cardinal truths together is contained in 1 Corinthians 6:13 under the apostle’s declaration – The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
The apostle’s intent in reminding the Corinthian Christians of these cardinal truths was to communicate to them the immeasurable value and sanctity that has been imputed to their bodies. And realising these truths it would not only impact their sexual conduct and activity but their entire outlook towards their bodies: it is to glorify God in their bodies understanding that the body is not meant to be wasted in uncensored, unregulated and ungodly sexual activity.
On the practical side however, in keeping with all the cardinal truths and their implications firmly established, the apostle emphatically instructs, “Flee from sexual immorality!” (1Corinthians 6:18). That is, from sex that’s outside of God’s moral law and prescription – don’t even entertain the thought of it but flee, run from it.
And, as a differentiating factor form all other sins he states that sexual immorality is the only sin which we commit against our own bodies. That is against our bodies:
- which are members of Christ,
- within which the Holy Spirit resides
- which were bought at a price
- which do not belong to us.
It is for the reasons listed above that the apostle instructs us to flee. When it comes to sexual immorality, sex that is illegitimate and outside God’s law, the only reply and effective solution is to flee. It was valid then, it is valid now and it will be valid as long as we dwell in this fallen body of ours. There is no other thing to do than to literally take our marching orders from God’s word and get ourselves out with haste.
It is the first and bottom line defence against sexual immorality. You don’t hang in there and expect nothing to happen but wrench yourself away from it without hesitation or second thoughts. No entertaining, no reasoning, no accommodating – just out, nothing else. The moment you start entertaining even the thought of it, the moment you start to-ing and fro-ing, the moment you hesitate and start to consider it, your feet are already on the slippery slope of compromise.
You simply abandon ship without second thoughts. It is vitally important that you unapologetically take yourself out of the compromising situation that you have either found or put yourself in the first place and then work out whatever needs to be worked out with a clear mind later.