1 Corinthians 6:12-20: Sexual Immorality
April 8, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
What is the right Christian attitude to sexual immorality? To understand Paul’s teaching here, we need to have the backstory of the Bible’s approach to sexual ethics. From a biblical standpoint, marriage tells the story—it is as Paul calls it elsewhere a “mystery”—of the gospel love and trust that is at the heart of the grace of God and the drama of the biblical narrative. God wins his people, he woos them back to himself, they are in a trusting covenant relationship with him, and the story ends with a celestial marriage. Our human marriages, then, as Christians, are intended to reflect that story of God’s love for his people. In biblical terms, anything outside of that covenant marriage is “sexual immorality.”
That background in place, we can approach Paul’s teaching here. Basically he is giving five motivating reasons to pursue sexual fidelity to the God of the Bible and his teaching:
#1 While there is freedom in the gospel, such freedom does not mean that we should willingly allow ourselves to become slaves to habitual sin. We should be careful not to give ourselves to actions that lead to immoral habits.
#2 The body, as well as the soul, is also meant to be offered to God as an act of worship. The body is therefore also to be holy, and holy in terms of sexuality. In fact, God will not just raise our souls from the dead, but also our bodies. So what we do with our bodies matters. As members of Christ, therefore we are joined with Christ—and so we are not to take our bodies and unite them sexually with prostitutes.
#3 Flee from sexual immorality, therefore. The best advice is to run in the opposite direction. Don’t think about it. Don’t consider. Don’t argue about it. Follow the example of Joseph when approached by Potiphar’s wife: run!
#4 Your bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Consider then that your bodies are meant to be places where God’s presence is honored and celebrated.
#5 You were bought with a price. Consider the cross. Such a great price. Therefore, in light of the price that was paid to rescue you, honor God with your body—and yes, flee sexual immorality.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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