Why should we avoid sexual immorality? In 1 Corinthians 6: 15-19 Paul gives us two truths to help us resist sexual immorality and then two action steps. He expands on this idea of how our physical selves (bodies) are connected to our spiritual selves. He points out two truths about our bodies the Corinthians had forgotten. These are the same two truths that many of us have forgotten today, remember:
- Sex is not only a physical union but also a spiritual union.
Paul writes,15 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!
(vs. 15) Notice the sentence begins with the phrase, “do you not know?” He asks that again in vs. 16 and in vs. 19. Paul is saying, “You know this, I’ve taught you this, but you’re not living by this, so let me remind you about it.” This is how we are many times. We know better, but we choose not to live by what we know. How many of us didn’t know immorality is wrong? Of course we do. God’s Spirit reminds us when we are about to sin. But many people ignore that still, small voice. They don’t live by what they know. This is one reason God inspired Paul to write this letter. It’s not just for the Corinthians. It’s to remind us to live by what we know.
We may know but need to be reminded of is that our bodies are parts of Christ’s body. They’re intimately connected with Christ, so we’re obligated to serve Him and do as He pleases. Think of it like this. My hands are part of my body. They do what I tell them to do. I give the orders for my hands. They’re connected to me. How would it be if my hands rebelled and started slapping my face? It’s the same way when we use our bodies in ways we know Christ our Head would not want us to.
Paul is warning us about compartmentalizing our lives. We think we can be involved in immorality with our bodies and somehow have it not affect our relationship with God. We think we can isolate this one area of our lives, our sexuality, from our relationship with Christ. We pray, we go to church, we read the Bible, we do all those things, but in this one area of our lives, we think we can do what we want; it won’t infringe on our relationship with God.
But that’s impossible because our bodies are part of Jesus’ body. Ours is the flesh He uses to do His will in this world. He’s our head.
This leads to a second truth people forget when it comes to sex.
- The physical union of sex creates a lasting spiritual and emotional bond.
Look at verses 16–17. “Do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’ ” This is part of the joy of marriage this physical union but it’s more than physical. Sex is an act that unites two people in a one-flesh relationship. The idea here is a strong spiritual bond is created. The Greek word “joins” in vs. 16 was used to refer to glue. It reminds us that when two people come together that way they’re glued together. I can’t help but think of Crazy Glue. If you apply that glue properly, the bond that’s created is actually stronger and harder to break than the thing itself. If you try to break that bond you can’t do so without doing great damage to whatever it is you’re gluing together like your fingers.
Paul is saying the sexual union is like that. It unites us, not just in body, but in soul as well. Sex, whether we realize it or not, acts like glue in a relationship. C.S. Lewis once said: “Each time a man and a woman enter into a sexual relationship, a spiritual bond is established between them that must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.”
We talk about safe sex, but we can’t put a condom on our heart. Sex is far more than just a physical act. It’s an act that involves the whole person body and soul. There is no such thing as casual sex. Don’t ever buy that lie. Something mysterious and deep takes place in this union. This is why the Word of God absolutely insists that sex be practiced within the covenant of marriage. Sex is a life-uniting act and to do it justice sex has to be experienced in the context of a lifelong union, and that always means marriage. Within that context sex is a beautiful expression of intimacy and vulnerability that should be celebrated.
So even though sex with no commitment can be enjoyed on a certain level, the end result of immorality is a sense of hollowness, frustration, and aloneness. In this way it is not beneficial.
But Paul says that for those who are believers it even has a greater impact. Look at vs. 17, “But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with him.” Just as two people joined in sex are one flesh, so those who come into a relationship with the Lord are joined with Him. Our spirit has been glued with the Lord’s Spirit. So, when you engage in immorality, you’re actually dragging the Lord along with you. After all, as a Christian You’re united with Him. You’re one spirit with Him. You can’t separate your spirit from your body, and so you are involving the Lord Himself in this act.
As Christians we are united with Jesus so when we sin He feels the pain of that sin. As Paul says, our bodies, “are temples of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God. We are not our own; we were bought at a price…so we must honor God with our bodies.” Jesus lives IN us He paid the penalty for our sins so these bodies are not our own. This is not our real estate. Jesus lives here now.
I like what John MacArthur says about this verse: “Could you imagine committing sexual immorality in your church sanctuary?” No way. But that’s no worse than what happens every time a believer is involved in sexual immorality because our bodies are the sanctuary of God. God dwells in here. In a very real sense when we disobey God’s loving laws regarding sex we kick Jesus off the throne of our lives. We commit idolatry. With all this in mind what should we do when faced with today’s distorted view of sex? Here are two action steps to avoid sexual immorality.
In verse 18 Paul literally says, “Flee immorality. Flee and keep on fleeing.” He doesn’t just say stop immorality. He uses much stronger words flee from it, run from it. I like what Wayne Wright says: “The best weapon against immorality is geography.” In other words, get as far away as possible. Our sexual urges are so great and so powerful that we can’t afford to hang in there and duke it out with temptation because if we do, we’re going to lose. Sooner or later you’re going to lose that battle if you don’t flee from it, if you don’t run as far away as you can.
Essentially, we must get out of the situation, whatever it is, that might lead us into immorality. This includes being very careful with the kind of things that we allow ourselves to be exposed to. I’m speaking of the kinds of books we read, the kinds of movies we watch, and the kinds of websites we visit. Many times we justify reading or watching trash because it has a good story or interesting characters. But it impacts us it changes our views. So steer clear of it.
- The second action step to avoid sexual immorality is to decide daily to HONOR GOD in our body.
Now why should we honor God in our bodies? Our bodies have been purchased by God with the precious blood of his Son. Our bodies aren’t our own. Think of it, would you take your new I-Phone 6 and use it as a ping pong paddle? Sure it’s big enough but you’d never do that because it cost too much. Plus, if you’re in the same plan I am until I pay it off the phone company owns it. Would you take a rental car and spray paint silly patterns on the hood? No. In the same way, we have been bought at tremendous cost.
Our body is under new management. Lets’ see our bodies and treat our bodies a way that honors the One who owns it.
Sources: Mark Mitchell’s message on this text on Preaching Today has been very helpful to me along with Mark Adams and John Mac Arthur Commentary.