1 Corinthians 6:15


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

 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 harlot? Certainly not! 1 Corinthians 6:15

“Do you not know” is Paul’s rhetorical way of saying, “You should certainly know…” It is an obvious truth that anyone who has called on Christ should know what he will now state. It shouldn’t take any additional reflection or consideration. He is relaying now a thought based on his previous statement of verse 14 which said, “And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.”

If God will raise us up by His power because of the work of Christ, then we must be “members of Christ.” It should be a self-evident fact to the believer. And because it is, he asks another rhetorical question, “Shall I then take the members of Christ (meaning “my” members because I am united to Christ) and make them members of a harlot?” The question begs a negative response!

Harlotry has no place within Christianity and is used by Paul as an all-encompassing term for any sexual immorality. The Bible allows one type of sex and that is between a man and a woman within the bonds of marriage. Anything else is a perversion of this. A harlot not only engages in sex with many partners, but she does so for pay. And this was commonly connected to religious rites. Because of this, Paul uses harlotry as the premier example of sexual immorality.

By engaging in sex with a harlot, we are uniting that which is sacred and set apart to God with that which is profane and opposed to God! As Ellicott notes, “The double act of taking them away from their glorious union with Christ, and joining them to a base body, is implied in the Greek.” It is a double-slap in the face of that which is upright and acceptable for the Christian.

Life application: Although Paul is speaking of sexual immorality, we should consider every action we take in life in conjunction with our spiritual connection to Christ. David, in the Psalms says, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes…” Isn’t this the right, noble, and honorable path to follow in all things. Let us “fix our eyes on Jesus” and not on that which is base and inglorious.

Heavenly Father, I know that where my eyes rest my thoughts will follow. Be they my physical or my spiritual eyes, when I look at something profane, my thoughts will turn to the profane. When I fix my eyes on Jesus, my thoughts will be directed to Him. Help me to follow the advice of the psalms and “set nothing wicked before my eyes.” Give me the hunger and desire to know You, to seek You, and to focus my eyes upon You. With this, I will be an acceptable jar, ready for Your filling. Amen.



1 Corinthians 6:14


30 June 2014

And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. 1 Corinthians 6:14

In complete and absolute support that sexual immorality is not to be condoned, Paul now ties his discussion in with the resurrection of Christ. It is Paul’s way of saying, “Think!” In the last verse, he said, “Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” To make this so obvious that anyone should see the importance of the matter, he next says, “And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.”

He has tied our lives in with the perfect, sinless, Son of God. Because He was found without sin, He was raised to life; death has no power over Him. It was “not possible that He should be held by it” (Acts 2:24). This is the basis on which He was raised. If sin were found in Him, He would not have been qualified for the resurrection. And it too is the only basis for our resurrection. It is not because we are sinless in and of ourselves, but because we are sinless “in” Christ. That means “right now.” That means we are “right now” connected to Him.

As this is true, then engaging in sexual immorality among believers is to abuse our granted position and to hold in contempt that which is sacred – the only tie that we have for our granting of eternal life. Paul will continue with this thought in the coming verses, but 1 Corinthians 6:14 should be enough to wake up any sleeper and open their eyes to the truth that sexual immorality is not to be engaged in or tolerated.

Life application: We are “in” Christ. We are united to Him and sealed with the Holy Spirit. Is it a light thing that we would so misuse our position in Him that we would excuse voluntary sin? Let it never be so!

Heavenly Father, when I received Christ, I received a new position and a new standing with You. And yet, at times I fall and act as if I’m in my old self. What a tarnishing of the honor I have been bestowed and that I bear! Forgive me for returning to my old self and help me to continue to live in and for Christ in a manner worthy of that high and exalted state. This I pray… help me in my weakness. Amen.

1 Corinthians 6:13


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.


1 Corinthians 6:12


Saturday, 28 June 2014

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 1 Corinthians 6:12

In what seems a dramatic shift to another subject, Paul begins today with, “All things are lawful for me…” He will go on to speak about foods in another verse, and so it seems that he is referring to something newly introduced. But then he will return to the subject of sexual immorality, demonstrating that he hasn’t really changed course at all. He has been speaking about this issue already and is merely taking another approach to help the issue sink in.

Therefore, when he says “All things are lawful for me..,” it is speaking in a general sense, not literally that “all” things are lawful. In other words, “sex” is lawful, but “sexual immorality” is not. He will introduce “foods” in order to get us to think on a different level concerning this. From his previous comments in this epistle, it is completely inescapable that committing acts of a perverse sexual nature are forbidden. He has already shown that to be true. And so he continues. Yes, “all things are lawful, but all things are not helpful.”

In this, Paul is speaking of “license.” What are we free to do in Christ, and how can we misuse that freedom which actually turns into bondage? And so again, he states, “All things are lawful…” He is emphasizing the matter to capture our full attention and to ensure that we understand what he is desperately trying to tell the Corinthians (and thus us as well who are reading his words).

Yes, “all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” God created sex (which we are using as an example of a general principle) and therefore it must be “good.” But we can abuse what God has given to the point where it is no longer “good.” This takes us down several paths. Sex is normally lawful, but inappropriate sex is not helpful. If it is not helpful, then it is harmful. There is a self destructive nature to inappropriate sex.

Likewise, sex is normally lawful, but we can be brought under the power of inappropriate sex and become enslaved by it. If we are enslaved by it, we are no longer serving the Master who bought us and “sanctified” and “justified” us as was noted in the previous verse. We are working contrary to what God has intended. The penalty for this has already been noted – to be expelled from the fellowship. This concept will be built on by Paul in the verses ahead. To understand what he is saying in this verse, the words of C.J. Ellicott will provide clarity –

“There is a verbal contrast in the Greek here which can scarcely be rendered fully in English. The Greek words for “unlawful” and “be brought under the power of” are cognate words. What the Apostle says is, ‘All things are lawful for me, but I am not the one to allow them therefore to become a law over me.’ There is such a thing as becoming the very slave of liberty itself. If we sacrifice the power of choice which is implied in the thought of liberty, we cease to be free; we are brought under the power of that which should be in our power.”

Understanding this, we see that being brought under the power of something other than Christ is a return to bondage and therefore teaching, practicing, or allowing sinful license is contrary to the gospel. If it is contrary to the gospel, then it is not “of” the gospel and must be condemned. This is why Paul was so strict in his judgment against the sexually immoral sinner in the previous chapter. and it is why the church must continue to be strict in such judgments. There is but one gospel and it must not be polluted or corrupted.

Life application: Paul wrote his letters under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. What he says are, therefore, God’s words, not just his. To reject what he has written is to reject what God expects. Stand fast on the truth of the gospel and the need for purity and holiness within the church.

Lord, help me to honor you with every breath I take. I tend to get distracted by the momentary things which pop up and suddenly I find myself walking once again in the flesh. Remind me to be filled with Your Spirit, walking in obedience to You, and ever mindful of the great and honorable title of “Christian” which I bear. This I pray to and for Your glory. Amen.




1 Corinthians 6:11


Friday, 27 June 2014

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 and by the Spirit of our God.1 Corinthians 6:11

Referring to his list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God, Paul now shows the immensity of the work of Christ, even for people who have committed such acts against Him as were mentioned in the previous two verses. He begins with, “And such were some of you.” Pick from the wicked things on this list and it may have indeed applied to any of those in Corinth. And thus, the same thought gives hope to such offenders today.

But without understanding the nature of sin, its hard to contemplate exactly what this means for each and every person in Christ. James says that “…whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). Paul is taking the most notorious offenses and highlighting them, but James shows that any infraction of God’s law breaks the entire law, and thus we are all condemned before God. Because of this, looking down on another for whatever their sin was must be excluded.

Next Paul says, “But you were washed.” Jamieson-Fausset-Brown states, “The Greek middle voice expresses, ‘Ye have had yourselves washed.'” The tense here varies from the next two points that Paul will make, and this is not by accident. It is showing that receiving the Holy Spirit is something that must be accomplished by us through an act of faith.

We are not “regenerated in order to believe” as reformed theologians claim. The Bible, time and again, shows that we must receive Christ voluntarily; this verse shows that to be true. The Pulpit Commentary notes that, “The very object of Christ’s death had been that he might cleanse his Church “by the washing of water by the Word.” Therefore, receiving Jesus is not “a work” that merits something, but rather it is the necessary action that we must take in order to receive the gift.

In the receiving of His work, we wash ourselves by the Spirit. This then leads to Paul’s next two points which say, “but you were sanctified, but you were justified.” The normal order of these two points is reversed. According to Paul in Romans we are “justified” and then we go through the process of “sanctification.” However, this is not speaking about the progressive sanctification that occurs in a believer’s life. Instead, it is the “setting apart” or “consecrating” of the individual to God. It is a done deal.

Despite the state of maturity (all new believers are immature) and despite the lack of knowledge about Godly things (in which most new believers are deficient), they have been set apart by God as sanctified. This is a clear indication of the doctrine of eternal salvation. What God has sanctified is forever so.

A point of note in Paul’s words is that the word “alla” or “but” is repeated for each of these points. In this, it indicates a special emphasis on each part of the process; the words can be taken as emphatic. You “have washed yourselves;” you “are sanctified;” and you “are justified.” And, it was done “in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Salvation is accomplished “in the name of the Lord Jesus” and by no other. Only He came in the flesh to redeem us from our sins and to purify us with His shed blood. Nobody, outside of His bestowed grace, can be saved. And the action is accomplished “by the Spirit of our God.” The Holy Spirit is the one who performs the actions when a believer calls out to the Lord. The moment they do, they are sealed with the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, 14), and are given the guarantee of eternal life. They are sanctified in Christ, and they are justified in Christ.

Albert Barnes notes that, “This verse brings in the whole subject of redemption, and states in a most emphatic manner the various stages by which a sinner is saved, and by this single passage, a man may obtain all the essential knowledge of the plan of salvation.” When one bears the weight of sin committed after coming to Christ and feels that they may have lost what they once received, all they need to do is return to this verse and contemplate it. It contains that wonderful assurance that we are saved despite ourselves.

Life application: This verse asks us to look back on who we once were and to conduct our futures with humility, gratitude, and to carry in our hearts deep thankfulness for the grace and mercy of God who took what was ignoble and purified it for Himself.

Lord Jesus, you took the clay jar that was broken and dirty and set it apart for yourself. You made it right and cleaned it up so that it could be used for something noble and good. And even today, the jar is changing as You bring it to an appearance never even imagined. You have done the marvelous! Thank You, O God for repairing me and placing me in Your heavenly home. Amen.