1 Corinthians 6:12-20 ESV
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Paul really emphasizes how sinful and destructive sexual immorality is. He is saying sex is not the problem with the Corinthians, rather sexual immorality. It is true that all sin leads to death but it seems there has always been more talk about sexual sin which seems to make sexual sin a worse sin. This is where Paul shows why that is. He says all other sins are outside the body but sexual sin is against the body. So when I sin outside the body it affects my soul the same as when I sin against my own body or commit sexual sin. But what makes sexual sin so bad is that our bodies, as Christians, become God's temple or where His spirit dwells. We are to glorify God in our bodies which is impossible to do when there is sexual immorality going on.
Paul says all things are lawful but not all things are helpful. Eating nothing but sugars will destroy the body. In the same way while sex is lawful as long as it remains between a married couple, outside of marriage it becomes immoral which is deadly to the body.
It is easy to think that the only thing necessary to avoid this sin is to not have sex outside of marriage but Paul talks about sexual immorality which includes much more than that. Jesus said that even if you look on another woman with lust in your heart you are guilty of adultery. It's the same as becoming one with another woman other than your spouse which is defiling God's temple. Today we see how wrong the Corinthian Christians were for believing it was ok the be with prostitutes but we can be just as wrong when we have lust in our heart. I can look at someone and think they are attractive but if I look long enough and often enough I can't help but run into problems. I think it's safe to say this is a common struggle for everyone, but especially men. I know these issues come from the enemy who is always lurking, waiting for the moment when he can catch us off guard or at a weak moment.
There are ways which I believe keep me from being caught off guard. One is to be blessed with a good friend that understands common struggles. We, at least once a week, meet and talk about what we are hearing from the Spirit and about how we are doing when it comes to our walk. I can be completely honest with him about my struggles and about when I've failed and he is honest with me about his struggles and failures and by keeping each other in prayer, I believe there is real power. Another thing that has really helped is to be blessed with a wife whom I'm crazy in love with. When there is that temptation I have often gone back to thinking about our first days together and how I couldn't even call her without hanging up the phone several times out of fear of what I was going to say. Went through a lot of dimes in those days. I couldn't eat, sleep or concentrate on anything since my thoughts were always on her. Today I know she is still that same beautiful person whom I've gotten used to being with but never want to take for granted or lose.
There's a third way that works. The Bible says we are to be in constant communication with God. I have been practicing doing that. Doesn't need to be long wordy talk but like when you are constantly with a friend, continually talking about things. When I come across a struggle I can know He is right there with me and I can ask, knowing He will give me strength to resist temptation and I can honestly say, that approach has and does work, it's just a matter of being in constant communication and always on guard. My desire is to glorify God in my body knowing it is a temple where His Spirit dwells.
by Ken Edgerly
Photo: model of what the Temple may have looked like in Jesus' Time.