Paul argues that the pursuit of sexual purity is a necessary part of following Christ, because we belong to him in a profound way and God created sexuality with a specific meaning.
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Paul is making the case that the pursuit of sexual purity is a necessary part of following Christ. Since we are in the middle of his argument, please listen to the previous podcast first.
In 1Corinthians 1-4 Paul addressed the worldliness causing divisions in the Corinthian church. In 1Corinthians 5, he begin a new topic and we are continuing that discussion. The string that ties all these passages together is the Corinthian’s refusal to evaluate their circumstances using a Christian worldview and to live out the implications of their faith.
The Corinthians argued that they can do whatever they want with their bodies because all things are lawful for them, and because their bodies were made for sexuality the same way the stomach was made for food.
Paul countered: 1) being justified does not excuse selfish or immoral behavior; and 2) God did not give us bodies to use them for immorality. How we live our lives is crucially important because part of the gift of saving faith is wanting to obey God.
What does it mean to be one flesh?
2:18Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23The man 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.” 24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. – Genesis 2:18-25
For the purposes of Paul’s argument in Corinthian, we learn 2 important facts from Genesis 2:
- Sexuality was created for the purpose of marriage, not vice-versa. Marriage is not a social institution that mankind created to regulate procreation and sexuality. Rather God created marriage to solve this problem of loneliness and He created sexuality for marriage.
- Genesis 2:24 is the definition of biblical marriage.
A biblical marriage involves 3 commitments:
- Leaving: The marriage is now their highest priority in all of creation.
- Cleaving: The marriage is a permanent monogamous commitment.
- One flesh: They are consider themselves as one unit, thinking of “us” instead of “me”, and sharing every aspect of each other’s lives.
Further Study: 01 The 3 Commitments of Marriage (Genesis 2)
5:28In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30because we are members of his body. 31“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:28-31
- In Ephesians 5, Paul says one implication of being “one flesh” is that a husband ought to love his wife as he loves his own body, taking the same sort of care for his spouse that he has for himself.
- Husbands ought to show the same sort of attitude, self-sacrificing love, and respect that Christ showed to the church.
- Sexuality is the language of marriage that expresses these 3 commitments. Sex is not a meaningless recreational act. God created it with a specific meaning.
What does it mean to be members of Christ’s body?
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. – Ephesians 5:23
- Because Christ is my Savior, I belong to Christ in a way that is analogous to the way my body belongs to me.
- Believers belong to Christ because he is our Savior. Husbands and wives belong to each other because of the commitment they have made.
- Being a member of Christ’s body means I am brought under his rule, his Spirit, his Lordship. I am no longer an autonomous independent unit.
6:15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16Or 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.” 17But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. – 1Corithians 6:15-20
- As a follower of Christ, I am not free to follow other philosophies, other worldviews, other religions, other paths.
- If you are a believer, your body is not yours to do with as you please. Your bodies belong to your king, your savior, your teacher, your redeemer and your lord Jesus Christ. Should you take what belongs to Christ and give it to someone else? Of course not.
- The prostitute is engaged in a business that is based on the lie that sex means nothing. When you visit her, you are joining her in that lie. Should you do that? No.
- A relationship with a prostitute mocks the language of sexuality. We are wrenching sexuality out of the context it was created for and using it for our own selfish pleasure. We are not free to do that.
- All sin is “outside the body” in that it brings harm and injustice to others, but sexuality also harms the individual.
- The temple was the physical place where you found God and where God dwelt in a unique way. If you want to see God at work today, you find Him in His people.
- Christ’s blood didn’t buy me a free pass so that I can use my body for evil. His blood rescued me from slavery to that evil, so that I am now free to use my body for good in a way that was not possible before.
- How can you take the attitude that it doesn’t matter what you do with your body? If you are a believer, then you are God’s work in progress.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.