Sunday, 29 June 2014
Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 1 Corinthians 6:13
In his usual way of making exceptionally complex matters easier to understand, Paul now introduces “food” as a way of grasping the immensely more important issue of sexual immorality. However, in what is always the case, Paul’s words are often twisted (see 2 Peter 32:14-16) to mean something entirely different than what he intends.
By introducing foods, as an understandable baseline, he is showing that they are an indifferent matter which we participate in, even the eating of food sacrificed to idols. This is a matter he will speak about in detail in 1 Corinthians 8 and elsewhere. Foods affect the physical man and have no lasting value other than to sustain a person until the next meal. The eating of foods is a morally neutral matter.
God made foods and foods are “for the stomach.” Likewise, God created man, including his stomach and the stomach is intended “for foods.” In the end, both are material, non-moral, and perishing. And so, “God will destroy both it and them” meaning “the stomach and the foods.” On the other hand, there is sexual immorality. It is an entirely different category and one which cannot, despite our greatest desires and our greatest efforts to twist what He intends, be treated as we treat foods.
Sexual immorality is a moral issue. It cannot be separated from this state. We cannot rationalize it away, we cannot makes excuses, we cannot compare it to any other issues of a non-moral or wrongly imposed moral issue. It is wrong in and of itself. Further, though different types of sexual immorality are mentioned by Paul and others, they all fall into one over-arching category and must be considered in that way.
Engaging in sexual immorality affects not a merely perishing organ, but it affects the man as a whole – body and soul. Man is not granted the authority to engage in this type of act because the moral nature and effect of sexual immorality doesn’t cease to affect the man at his death like eating various foods does. Instead, it is carried with him to his judgment, be it before Christ at the Bema Seat, or before the Lord at the Great White Throne. It is an offense against God, eating foods is not.
Further, eating foods will not lead others to commit sin, sexual immorality will. Eating foods will not turn a church from the Lord, sexual immorality will. Foods are neutral, sexual immorality is morally wrong.
Life application: Concerning sexual immorality, what we treat in a flippant manner, or what we try to hide through twisting of a precept or in the diminishing of the highly moral nature of such an act, doesn’t change the force of the offense in God’s sight. Just because we attempt to rationalize away our moral offenses by comparing them with other non-moral or inappropriately-mandated moral offenses, it in no way changes the severity of our actions. God is, in fact, God. We are His and we will stand judged by Him, not excused by our attempts to undermine what He has ordained.
Heavenly Father, there are times when I attempt to “justify” the wrong things I do by comparing them with the “bigger” sins of others or reading “just one more commentary” to find someone I agree with, whether I know he is wrong or not. How wicked is the heart within me that I would try to validate my own wrong actions when You have spoken that they are, in fact, wrong. Grant me a clean and pure heart to be obedient to You and to turn from the evil that so easily ensnares me. Strengthen me through Your word and by Your Spirit. Amen.