1st Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 41
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1998|
|We’re picking up in verse 12 where there are things I want you to see about the terrible sin of immorality: first, choosing immoral sin is harmful; second, choosing immorality is demeaning.|
1 Corinthians 6:11-14
The Terrible Sin of Immorality – Part 1
It’s interesting what Paul is doing here. In chapter 5 he began to show the consequences of fleshly living. The Corinthian church just didn’t seem to learn. They refused to attach themselves to Christ, and as a result, they attached themselves to their flesh and people around them, what they could see, touch and feel. As a result, these things began to appear. In chapter 5 we have the sin of incest and also the sin of indifference. The church wouldn’t deal with it. They just acted as if it wasn’t there. It’s amazing how callous you become to sin when you’re not living surrendered to Christ.
In chapter 6 we saw, first of all, the sin of demanding your own rights. The people were suing one another in court. Obviously, if you’re in the human race you’re going to have differences with others. The body of Christ is no exception. They were having differences. Some of them involved a lot of money, and they were taking each other before the pagan court. They couldn’t even solve their own problems. Paul even said, “Can’t you just be the smallest of law courts?” In other words, you have the Holy Spirit living in you. You have the Word to renew your mind. You know how to make the right choices. It takes two to fight. Why doesn’t one of you die and just go ahead and see the solution to the problem? That’s his whole point. What are you doing living this way?
Well, we saw the problem of demanding your own rights. We saw the misunderstanding, the defeat, the question, and the characteristics. It’s taken us a while to work through to this point. Paul simply wants them to realize that once you become a believer you leave the world’s way of doing things and you enter into God’s way of doing them. If you go back to the world’s way of doing it, if you go back to fleshly living, it’s going to cost you. Don’t do that. Do it God’s way and trust Him with the results of your choices.
Turn to Colossians 1. Paul wrote this epistle from prison. Basically, he’s saying the same thing as in 1 Corinthians, but perhaps coming at it from a different angle. You can clearly see why Paul is so upset at the fleshly living of the Corinthian church. You remember there was a term at that time, if you were doing pagan things, if you were living fleshly, they would say, “You’re acting like the Corinthians.” That’s the reputation this city had, and now it’s beginning to bleed itself into the church.
Well, in Colossians 1:13 look what Paul said. He says, “For He [Christ] delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” Now you’ve got to understand what he’s talking about here. I mean, this is glorious. A lot of people don’t seem to understand what happens when they bowed in desperation and cried out to God to save them and they were born from above, what took place. First of all, it says, “For He [Jesus] delivered us from the domain of darkness.” That word “delivered” is a beautiful word. It’s the word rhuomai. Rarely does it mean to be delivered from the presence of something, although that could happen. Most of the time it means to be delivered while still in the presence from the power of something. It’s the picture of someone drawing you to himself in the presence of evil that is around you.
Here’s the picture. You’re wading in a stream. Somebody’s told you not to do that. It’s a dangerous stream. The current is very strong, and you shouldn’t be there. You waded out into the water and thought there was no big deal. You’re in the water and you don’t sense any current. You tend to walk a little further and little further until suddenly you lose your balance and you fall off into the deeper water. The current grabs you and begins to pull you under. You have no life vest on. You have no means of protecting yourself. Suddenly you’re in the midst of a power and a force that you’ve never been in before and it’s sucking you down and you can barely get your nose above water. Finally, when you can just get your mouth into the air, you cry out, “Help! Help!” Somebody hears your cry and reaches down from a rock and grabs you and pulls you to himself and saves you from the raging power of that river. You lie there on the bank in the arms of your deliverer, still in the presence of that river but safe from its power to pull you under. That’s the word rhuomai.
You see, when we’re delivered from the domain of darkness, it doesn’t mean we were taken away from its presence. It roars around us, but we’ve been drawn to our deliverer now, taken out of the power of darkness, the power of sin, the penalty of sin.
Years ago we were out in Texas and I did one of the dumber things I’ve done in my. I didn’t know better. I do know better now—if I go back and do it again, that’s stupid. Then it was just dumb. I just didn’t know any better. We were canoeing the Guadalupe River. I was getting my instructor’s certification in the American Camping Association. One of the things you had to do was you had to take a five day trip. It was survival training. We’d stop on the side of the river and camp out and then get up the next morning and go. You had to know when it was at flood stage and all the different safety measures.
For four days on the San Marcus River I had been in the back of the canoe. That’s where I belonged. In a canoe I need to be in the back. The heavier person gets in the back. There was nobody there that came close to being heavier than me, so I needed to be in the back. All week long I learned how to work that canoe in the back in heavy white water, in the rapids. You had to learn this. And, of course, when you’re going into those rapids, there’s a big v there and you always point the canoe right into the center of that v. You can get through those rapids the right way. You don’t want to go sideways in any way.
Well, on the fifth day, the last day, we were about ready to finish up that exam for the week. The last part was to canoe the Guadalupe River. Now, the Guadalupe River is a racing canoe river. It is much stronger and faster than the San Marcus River. Much more dangerous. As a matter of fact, we didn’t know how dangerous. It was at flood stage. That’s something you don’t want to do in a dangerous river if you’ve not been on one before. About 1500 cubic feet per second was rushing down that river, and that’s just not a good time to be on that river. We didn’t know that. I think the instructor knew. I think he just decided to see how we were going to handle it. He decided to change us around. He said, “Wayne, you’ve been in the back of the canoe all week. To finish this you must learn how to go in the front of the canoe.” Bad mistake! You don’t put the heavier person in the front of the canoe. But he did.
We started off and it wasn’t bad, but it was pretty swift. I noticed to be idle water it was a pretty strong current. We hadn’t gone but maybe a mile or mile and one half and you could hear the rapids ahead. If you’ve ever done this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You can hear the roar ahead of you and you begin to sweat. If you’ve never done it, you say, “Oh great.” If you have, you say, “Oh, no!” You know what’s coming. The land’s dropping. The water’s increasing. It’s incredible.
Well, we saw the mist coming up and we’re thinking, “Oh my goodness! Is this a waterfall or what?” It was that steep. Suddenly we were in it. Well, the problem was we didn’t go into the v as you’re supposed to. You’re supposed to go straight into that v, we went in sideways. I’m in the front of the canoe. The heavier person in the front of the canoe throws the balance of the whole canoe off. We went in the wrong way and I’m talking about white water that’s huge. We were both thrown out of the canoe. The last time I saw my friend he was hanging to a rock. I saw the canoe bouncing off a couple of rocks. But I noticed I never touched bottom. It was such swift water, such white water. But it was so deep. I had never been in that awesome a situation before in my life. I had a life jacket on which was made for somebody about five six, weighing 110 pounds. I had this thing on and it was barely holding my nose above the water. It was in April and the water was frigid.
Suddenly I realized I was helpless. The water had numbed me just within seconds of having been thrown into the water. I could hardly lift my arms. I couldn’t move my legs and I was caught in that current which was just sucking me down that river. I want you to know that’s the most helpless feeling you can have in this world. The instructors had gone through first and they had these big round things they would throw to you if you fell in the water. They were going to try and throw it to us, but the river was so wide there that they couldn’t get it to me. So it just carried me for probably one and one half to two miles. I couldn’t move. I was at the mercy and the current of the water.
As I was going down there was a big limb that I saw hanging out over the river. I was able to get my arms up enough just to grab that limb and the current swung me over to the side. Then I was able to roll over where it was shallow enough so that I could get up on the bank. I laid there for over an hour before the rest of the group found me. We had to beat all the dents out of the canoe. Can you imagine getting back into it and going another twenty miles? That wasn’t really exciting. That’s why when we heard the roar from then on it was like, “On, no!” Your prayer life increased.
But there I was laying on the side of that stream in the presence of that which had sucked me under but thank God delivered from its power. That’s what Paul wants us to understand. We’ve been delivered from the domain of darkness.
Now the word “domain” is exousia, that which has the right and the might, the authority, the power. You see, we’ve been delivered from that, from the domain of darkness. We still live in a dark world. Darkness is all around us, but, thank God, we’re in the arms of the One who has drawn us to Himself. We’re not under the power of sin anymore, not under the penalty of being in sin anymore.
It goes on. He says, “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” Paul is talking about when He transferred us. The word “transferred” means taking from one place to another. Again, the illustration that we just looked at here. He moved us over here. We’re no longer where we used to be. He says, “He transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” The word “kingdom” has the idea of a territory where He rules and He reigns. He’s taken me out of the power of sin, even though its presence rages and roars around me, and He put me under His rule and His authority in my life. That’s what salvation is. He took me out of the way I used to live and put me into a new way to live in Him and His power enables me by His grace.
It says that He’s transferred me “to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” The word “kingdom” also has the idea of all the privileges afforded of being up under Christ’s rule and authority, both now and forever. Now, that’s the whole idea he wants the Corinthians to understand. Why would you roll back into the stream? Why would you wade back into that which has pulled you under? Why not stay in the arms of the One who’s delivered you? Because when you move away from Him, and you detach yourself from Him, you’re walking right back into the raging torrent of what sin can do in your life. I get the idea Paul is saying, “What in the world are you doing?”
I was teaching Romans 6 in a college class one time and one of the college young people said to me, “Well, you know if all this is true and I believe it is, why do we sin?” I stopped for a second because the question was so simple, yet so profound. I said, “Good question. We’re kind of stupid, aren’t we, to go right back into the very thing we’ve been saved out of?”
That’s exactly what Corinth had done. I want to tell you when you do that or I do that, we’re going to start reaping devastating results. This is where we begin to get in now in 1 Corinthians 6. Go back to 1 Corinthians 6 and let’s show you the current they’d come out of. Let’s show you what had sucked them under for so long in their lives because of Adam’s sin. That current is Adam’s sin that runs through the human race. But we’ve been saved out of Adam and put into Christ. What’s the difference?
First Corinthians 6:9 says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” Then he explains, and this is where people live. This is the current that sucks them under. He says, “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
He moves on in verse 11 and shows our rescue. You used to be in that current. This used to suck you under. This used to control you and you were paralyzed. You couldn’t do a thing to help yourself. But now look. He says, “And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” You’ve got to see this.
There are three verbs there. There are three aorist tenses in those three things. You were washed; you were sanctified; you were justified. But there’s a difference. In the first one, you were washed, aorist middle. In the last two it is aorist passive. Aorist middle means you washed yourself. He’s not talking about internal cleansing. This is the word that has to do with external cleansing. As a matter of fact, some people even try to associate it with water baptism. That’s not what he’s talking about. What he’s talking about is you were willing to walk away from that current. That’s what repentance is all about. And when you’re willing to turn to Him and walk away from that lifestyle, that’s when He takes over and sanctifies you. Part of sanctification is inward cleansing, and only the blood of Jesus can cleanse you. Only the blood of Jesus can forgive you of your sins. This is where you’re cleansed. Sanctification has the idea of something taken out of the mud and cleansed and usable now for a brand new purpose.
That’s what sanctification is. It’s in the passive voice: when you were willing to wash yourself. This is what it says. I believe in James it says, “Cleanse your own selves. Wash your own selves.” In other words, walk away from the current. Be willing to turn to the help. Be willing to cry out to the One who can rescue you. Then He takes over and cleanses you and takes you out of its power and its penalty and sanctifies you by putting His Spirit within you.
Then he says that you were justified. The word “justified” is dikaioo. Not only did He declare you righteous, but he took you away and acquitted you. You’re no longer guilty of that sin that you were in. No, Jesus came and paid the penalty of that guilt and now it’s been taken out of you. You’ve been acquitted. You’ve been justified, declared righteous in Him, not only sanctified, but justified and all that came as a result of your willingness to turn away from that kind of life and turn in to Him and let Him take over and be your life. That’s salvation.
What Paul’s saying is, “What in the world are you doing going back to that which God so expensively paid for getting you out of?” You don’t go back and live that way anymore. That’s not what we are. He says, “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified.” And every bit of this is in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. It’s the Holy Spirit of God who causes it to take place. It’s all according to Jesus and what He’s done for you and me.
Now, since we’ve been rescued from the current of sin, since we’ve been taken out of its penalty and its power, its presence around us still roars. The Corinthians believers heard the roar of Corinth around them all the time. But some of them had stepped into that water. They had gone back into that current and now it’s sucked them down again. He’s trying to show them this is not the way you live. You live in the arms of the One who rules and reigns over you. He’s delivered you from this power. This is where you’re going to find the joy you’re looking for. This is where you’re going to find the freedom that He says is yours, only as you’re willing to turn to Him, to wash yourselves, to separate yourselves from the things that are pulling you under.
Well, we move now from that sin of demanding your own rights to the sin, the terrible sin, of immorality. It’s incredible. I changed my outline. Back in chapter 5 I said that it was immorality and indifference. I’m going to have to change that. It’s incest which is a specific kind of immorality and indifference. In chapter 6 it’s demanding your own rights and then it comes into the general overall place of immorality. He’s going to deal with immorality right here. He didn’t really deal with it that much back there. It was one specific sin. He dealt more with the indifference of the church towards it. Now he’s going to nail it head on, the sin of immorality.
Choosing immoral sin is harmful
We’re picking up in verse 12 where there are three things I want you to see about the sin, the terrible sin of immorality. First of all is this, choosing immoral sin is harmful. You’ve got to understand this. The moment you choose it you know there’s going to be harm to it. You must understand this.
He says in verse 12, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” Now, when he says lawful he’s speaking of somebody who’s in freedom. The apostle Paul was the champion of the message of grace. He knew what it was to be in bondage. Friend, when he was saved, he was put up under the freeing message of God’s grace. He’s the champion of grace in the New Testament. In Galatians 5:1 he says, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Paul says, “Man, you’re out from under the law. You’re now up under grace.” He says in Romans 6:14, “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.” The apostle Paul, wherever he went, whether it was the church at Ephesus, whether it was Colossae, wherever he went, he preached the message of grace. He preached the fact that we are no longer under the condemning, controlling power of any law. We’re up under only one law and that’s the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We’re free now. We’re free in Him. But that freedom never meant license, not one time. Paul preached that we’re free but he never meant by that freedom that we have a license to do what we want to do.
Listen to his words again to the Galatians 5:13. He says, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.” Now listen. Freedom is not the right to do as you please. Freedom is the power to do as you should. That’s what real grace teaches. Real grace never teaches you that even though your sins are forgiven, any sin you could ever commit is already up under the blood of Jesus. It never teaches you that you have a license to go back and sin again. He’s come to realize that the Corinthian church has taken the message of being free in Christ and translated it perversely that they now can be free to sin. That’s what they’ve done.
In fact, when he says, “All things are lawful to me” that was a statement that they were going around saying to one another, “Hot dog! We’re under grace. All things are lawful to me. Party hearty! Let’s just do what we want to do. Isn’t it fun to be free?” That’s the way they were living. The apostle Paul is horrified just like he was with the Romans, just like he was with the Galatians. So instead of by-passing it or dodging it or changing that statement, no sir, he puts it right up and puts integrity right in the middle of it. He says, “All things are lawful to me.” He takes their statement that they’re using and says for himself all things are lawful to me.
Now, the word there for “lawful” is the word that means permissible. They are permissible. It actually means it is possible, but in the context here it means they are permissible. All things are permissible to me. Paul is again quoting their quote, but he’s saying it of himself. Paul says, “Hey, I know that no sin that I could ever commit is not under the blood of Jesus Christ, has not already been forgiven for all of eternity.” Now there are consequences to sin he’s going to bring up, but he knows he’s free to make whatever choice. He wants to be free up under Christ. But the fact that he is forgiven never gives him the right to do it. That’s what he’s going to show them. Even though all things are lawful to him, you see. I’m free to make my choices. But he understands that sin is never lawful, and it’s always painful.
Folks, I’m telling you. It hurts you. It’s going to hurt you if you go back to that current that had once pulled you under. Sin is never profitable. Look at what he says, “All things are lawful for me.” I can make whatever choice I want to make because the law does not have any claim on me anymore. I’m under grace. But, now, wait a minute. Verse 12 continues, “but not all things are profitable.” This is important to understand. He drops off the “to me” right there. He says, “All things are lawful for me,” then he says, “but not all things are profitable.” He drops “for me” at the end of that. Why? Because he understands something that these Corinthians didn’t seem to understand. That when I choose to go back to that which God has set me free from, God has delivered me from, it not only hurts me but it’s going to hurt somebody around me. I’m not the only one involved now.
“All things are lawful to me.” But look out when I make a choice that’s wrong. It not only affects me but it’s going to affect others. He wants them to understand it’s a grave mistake to go back to what God has delivered you from. He’s putting balance and integrity to the message of what grace is all about. The word for “profitable” there has the idea of advantageous and beneficial. It’s a personal thing. Paul is saying, “Hey, it’s not always advantageous to me, but it’s not always advantageous to others.”
I want to show you how that “advantageous” is used. Look over in 1 Corinthians 7:35. He uses the same word but this gives us an understanding here of what he’s talking about. Just so you can hear the word in another context and you can pick it up right off. Verse 35 reads, “And this I say for your own benefit [that’s that same word right there]; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly, and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.”
Look in 1 Corinthians 10:33. First and 2 Corinthians has this quite often. It says in verse 33 of 1 Corinthians 10, “just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.” “Not seeking my own profit.” That’s the word right there. Something that profits you, something that benefits you. In 1 Corinthians 12:7 it’s used again. By the way, when we get to the gifts in chapter 12, it’s important to remember the bottom line rule for all spiritual gifts is that they profit the whole body of Christ, not one individual, not two individuals, but everybody. And if it doesn’t profit everybody then don’t call it a gift in the context of what Paul is speaking of.
He says in 1 Corinthians 12:7, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit.” Why? It’s translated for the common good, but the word is this same word and it’s left open-ended in the Greek. “Toward the profiting” is the proper translation, toward the advantage of everybody, toward the benefit of everyone, again the word. In 2 Corinthians 8:10 he uses this same word. It’s important to get a feel of what he means here. It’s not profitable. Second Corinthians 8:10 reads, “And I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage [there’s your word], who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it.”
Look in 2 Corinthians 12:1. “Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable.” There’s your word again. So when he says, “All things are lawful for me. I can choose under grace to do whatever I want to do. But, now, wait a minute. If I choose wrongly, not all things that I choose are going to be profitable to me or to others, advantageous to me or to others, beneficial to me or to others.” In other words, I can make certain choices that are going to bring destruction and devastation in my life and in others lives. I’ve got to be careful never to take the message of freedom under grace and make it a license to do what I want to do. Paul says that even though we’re free, sin is a devastating choice we can make. He continues to show what the devastating effect is.
In 1 Corinthians 6:12 he says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” Now, Paul knows something here. He knows that if he would foolishly use the truth that he’s free in Christ to make the wrong choice, then whatever he chooses to do that wouldn’t be what God wanted him to do, he becomes a slave to his own choice. He knows that. The Corinthians, evidently, had forgotten it or walked away from it. They forgot there’s a consequence to every choice.
We used to have a sign out in front of our church that said, “You’re free to make your choices, but you’re not free to choose their consequences.” Don’t ever forget that. There’s a consequence to every choice.
Paul says, even though we’re under grace and we’re free to make these choices, look out. If you make a choice to sin and you go back up under that which you’ve been rescued from, it’s going to master you and you’re going to become its servant.
Look over in Romans 6:16. Paul brought this out in the book of Romans and was trying to show the Romans how you walk in victory. To do that you’ve got to stay under the One who’s delivered you, because the victory is Him. The power is in Him. It’s not outside of Him. It’s in Him. Until I walk up under His rule and reign I’m not going to experience the victory I’m looking for. In Romans 6:16 he says, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”
Paul says, “I will not be mastered by anything. I’m not going to attach myself to anything that I could become its slave other than God and His Word and His Will in my life.” That’s the way you make the choice. The text he’s using here is immorality and the apostle Paul says to choose to sin immorally is to choose to put yourself as a slave up under that sin and to bring devastation and harm in your life.
There was a little boy out in the country. There was only one little store there where people would stop and get gasoline if they were lost. It was a little place there. It only had houses about every two miles apart. His britches were too big for him because they were given to him by his brother. He wasn’t as big as his brother so he had to wear suspenders to hold them up. He was on a bicycle that had been passed down by about five in the family.
One day he was down at the little filling station. Everybody knew everybody in the county. Here comes a guy pulling up in a brand new beautiful car, probably a Lexus or something like that. The little boy had never seen anything like that. It sure didn’t look like his daddy’s 25-year-old pick-up. He rolled over on his bicycle to look at that car and at the tires, the spoke wheels. The fellow came out and saw him looking at his car. He said, “Son, would you like to get in it?” “Oh, would I!” He let him get inside and feel the leather seat, that soft leather. He pushed a button and that seat went back. That little boy was just so thrilled. He showed him the radio and the stereo and how that worked and all around the car. He opened up the hood and showed him the big computerized engine. He opened up the trunk and showed him all the space back there and the big spare time.
The little boy was just overwhelmed. He was trying to look down at the license plate because it had little lights all the way around it. He was kind of looking at that. The fellow said, “Well, I’ve got to go.” He jumped in the car and took off. The fellow went down the dirt road, got on the gravel road, got on the paved road and set the cruise at about seventy miles an hour. He was just enjoying the music in his car.
He just happened to look up in his rearview mirror and right behind him was that little boy on the bicycle keeping right up with him. The man said, “I’m not believing this. I’m doing 70 miles an hour and he’s right behind me, keeping up with me. What’s going on?” He couldn’t believe it. The little kid was just getting it. I mean he had never seen a kid pedal a bicycle that fast.
Finally he said, “I’ve got to stop and see this.” He pulled over and stopped and when he did the little boy went flying by him. He said, “There’s no way humanly possible a person can pedal a bicycle that fast.” Well, all of a sudden he came back going backwards. He went flying back that way. He waited for a minute and here he came again. Finally it threw him off his bicycle. Man, he just looked awful. He walked over and said, “Son, are you alright? I’m so sorry.” He said, “I’m sorry, sir. It’s my fault. If you would just take my suspenders off your back bumper I think everything would be alright.”
Again, that points out be careful what you’re attached to. That’s what Paul is saying. You want to choose sin, buddy? You don’t realize what you just hooked yourself on to. It’s the very thing God set you free from. Don’t do that. So it’s harmful to choose immorality.
Choosing immorality is demeaning
But the second thing I want you to see, choosing immoral sin is also demeaning. What I mean by that is it demeans the very purpose God has for the body, not only presently but for the future. It’s very demeaning for what God has done. Let me show you.
Look at verse 13. “Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food; but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body.” Verse 14 goes on, “Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.” Now there’s nothing any more demeaning to the eternal purpose that God has for this body than for us to choose the sin of immorality. We’ve got to understand this.
Paul starts with an illustration. He says, “Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food; but God will do away with both of them.” That’s pretty understandable. If you didn’t have a stomach, why would you need the food? But since you have the stomach, you need the food. The two are meant for one another.
What is he saying here? There’s a biological relationship between the stomach and food but it is temporary at best. In fact, you get sick down here. You can be alive and still not want the food. But, biologically, there’s a functional part of the body that’s necessary only for a temporary period of time. There’s an association between the stomach and the food. It’s interesting. Why in the world does he do that? Well, evidently, this is the analogy they were using to justify sexual immorality. The stomach has to eat. The body’s made for sex. So, therefore, we can just do what we want to do because all things are lawful unto me. This was their thinking.
I had a young person come to me one time and say, “I have lustful thoughts in my mind all the time. It can’t be sin. God made me this way.” I said, “God didn’t make you that way. Sin made you that way.” Sex, in the beautiful sense inside the bonds of marriage, is a functional part that the body will have, but it’s only temporary. It’s not what the body’s made for. When you step outside the bound of being up under the rule and reign of Christ in your life, then any kind of sexual activity becomes immorality and for sure that’s not what the body was made for.
What Paul’s saying is, you’re talking about a biological function. Do you think your bodies were made for biological functions? No, no. There’s an eternal purpose for the body. This is where they didn’t seem to understand this. They just thought, “Hey, you live for today.” You just do whatever you want to do. I used to live a day at a time just for the things that pleased me. That’s the way some people think. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may die, as if the body has no more significance than that.
Paul goes on to explain to them what the body is for. “Food is for stomach, and the stomach is for food; but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body.” Now there’s a present and a future sense here of the body in the plan of redemption. How many people don’t understand that? How many young people who claim to be a Christian and are promiscuous don’t understand this? The Corinthians didn’t. Don’t use that kind of stupid logic.
I was watching television the other day, and somebody was talking about some of the sexual sins in America, particularly one. He said, “Now, everybody does this one and it’s okay. It’s normal. It doesn’t hurt you.” I wanted to jump inside the tube and say, “Says who? God doesn’t say that. God said that it’s devastating and it will harm you because the body is not made just for biological functions.”
The present sense of the fact here is when he says, “Yet the body… for the Lord.” What does he mean by that? What does he mean the body is for the Lord? Look at verse 19. Just drop down, and you’ll see the context of it just develop as we go along. Verse 19 reads, “Or 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?” Verse 20 goes on, “For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” The word “glorify” means do everything you do with your body to give recognition to the One who lives in us. We talk about the temple on earth, God tabernacling with men. It started off with a tabernacle. Then it moved to a temple, a much more stationary place. Then it was torn down. Then Jesus came and became the living tabernacle of God on this earth, God dwelling in a man. He left, and now we are the temple of God on this earth.
So, in a present sense, my body is the very temple of God Himself. The body is for the Lord. It’s almost as if he’s saying, “What in the world are you doing taking your body, which God lives in, and committing immorality with it? Don’t you understand anything? The body is for the Lord.”
Now you think about that. The next time the temptation comes, the roaring pressure and presence of sin in your life comes and it’s in the sense of immorality, just remember the eternal purpose God has for your body. The present sense of that is He lives in this body here on this earth. Give Him the proper estimation. Give Him the proper estimation of His Word by presenting your body as a living sacrifice, as Paul says in Romans 12:1. That’s the present sense.
There’s a future sense that God has something in store for the body. Now, listen. It’s part of our redemption. And when we take this body that God has an eternal purpose for and use it in immoral ways, we don’t understand how devastating this is. He says in verse 13, “and the Lord is for the body.” God has plans for this body. I look at my body in the mirror and I’m grateful He’s got plans for it. He’s going to glorify this body. Isn’t that incredible? He’s going to glorify these bodies.
“How do you know he’s talking about that, Wayne?” Look at verse 14. “Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.” By the way, in chapter 15 we’re going to find out, if you don’t believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus, there’s question of whether or not you even believe the Gospel, and you may not be saved. Do you understand what I’m saying? If you don’t believe that Jesus bodily rose from the dead, not just spiritually rose from the dead which is a great teaching these days. They say it’s great. He bodily rose from the dead. He became the first fruits. Just as the Lord raised His body, He’s going to raise up our body one day.
Look over in 1 Corinthians 15:20. Oh, we’ve got this to look forward to. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” First fruits means he sets the pattern. What happened to Him now is going to happen to everyone who’s in Him. Verse 21 continues, “For since by a man [Adam] came death, by a man [Jesus] also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.” That “all,” by the way, only refers to those who put their faith in Him. Don’t make this a universal salvation. We already know that. Verse 23 reads, “But each in his own order: [there is an order to this] Christ the first fruits [He went first], after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.” So we see, then, that Christ has been raised up just like he mentions here in the verse in chapter 6.
Look in verse 50 of chapter 15. Not only was He raised up, we’re going to be raised up. Verse 50 tells us, “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery.” When he talks about perishable, he talks about our corruptible body. Do you realize that you’re dying every day. The moment you take you first breath on earth you begin to corrupt. So we’re born dying and we’ll die some day, corruptible, perishable. That’s what the word means. He says, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, by we shall all be changed.”
The word “sleep” always refers to physical death of the body. That’s all it refers to when it’s talked about in these terms. There’s no soul sleep. Second Corinthians 5 says, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Our spirit’s going to be with Him. We’re talking about the body here, not the spiritual part of us. It’s already with Christ. We’re talking about the body.
By the way, when you get tired what do you do? You go to sleep. What do you do after you’ve slept for a while? You get up. That’s exactly the picture of what’s going to happen with our body.
I was with a pastor one time, and I asked him where he was going. He said, “I’m going to plant a body.” I thought that was kind of crude. But then I started studying 1 Corinthians 15, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. When you plant something in the ground, what are you expecting it to do? Come up. We shall all be changed.
Verse 52 reads, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable [this mortal, corruptible body] must put on the imperishable [I’ve got to be changed to enter into the kingdom, into the world God has for us. We’re all going to have to have an imperishable body to live there forever with Him], and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’”
Then he speaks to death as if death were standing out there, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” Then he answers it. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What he’s saying is if you commit the sin of immorality with someone else, what you have just done is you have demeaned the very purpose that God has for your body, not only presently but in the future. It’s like spitting in the face of God Himself and the purpose of His redemption and what all He’s done for us on the cross. It’s harmful but it’s also demeaning.
I want to tell you something, folks. If you’ve taken your suspenders and hooked them over on the sin of immorality, you better get it off quick, because those suspenders that were meant to hold you up may drag you under. You make sure you’re attached to the right person. Yes, you’re free but not to do as you please. You’re free to do as you should, enabled by His grace.