“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.” (1 Corinthians 6:16-20)
“Some of the Corinthian Christians were using prostitutes, theorizing that bodily appetites were matters of indifference for Christians just as they apparently were for everyone else. Paul reminds them that the bodies of Christians are one with the resurrected Christ and, in risen form, the Christian’s body will be eternal…The Corinthians have adopted from the culture around them the idea that the body is permitted to have everything that it craves.” *
Sexual immorality is sinful because it is personal, intimate, against the one committing the sin, and a violation of God’s holy temple—believer’s bodies. The fact that God sanctifies and purifies our bodies to house the Holy Spirit is profound—and has weighty implications. God chooses believers, transforms our stony hearts into hearts of flesh, convicts us of our sin, brings us to repentance through the work of the Holy Spirit, and gives us the faith to live for Jesus Christ. All of this happens without our contribution, but with our full participation, when God irresistible grace seizes our souls; even if we had wanted to resist him before, that desire is wholly taken over by the Holy Spirit’s love. As a result, we no longer want to live for ourselves, but live for God, seeking to please him. The more we meditate on these great, foundational truths, the more wisdom and desire we have to live as new creatures. Some Christians have never studied these doctrines; or they may be naive about the holiness that emanates from the indwelling Spirit, as I was when I first came to Christ. I remember being shocked to learn that there were commands I had violated, without even recognizing the danger or the insult to my jealous God. But unbelievers share none of God’s indwelling holiness and, as a result, do not have the same motivation for sexual purity.
If we realize the importance of sexual relations only within heterosexual marriage, according to these truths, to please God, then yielding to the characteristics of a biblical marriage will be more easily accomplished. Do you know a growing Christian who needs to read this today?
* RSV Study Bible Notes on 1 Corinthians 6:16-20.