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Paul J. Bucknell
Outline of 1 Corinthians
Writing about immoralities | Dangers of immorality
View #1: Subjectivism | View #2: Fixed Standards (1 Cor 6:12-20)
Flee Immorality | Only Two Choices
Bible Study Questions for 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Introduction of 1 Corinthians 15 | Defending Resurrection (15:12-34)
The apostle continues to address difficult situations that have risen in the church. This time is all sorts of sexual immoralities.
Today we are looking at 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.This section follows reports about immorality among Christians. It is bad but things are always worse than you see or here. God knows how we as a people are doing today. He sees right into our hearts. Today God Himself is bringing truth into our minds so that we can be set free and be protected from these mass invasions of sensual dangers. God wants to reshape how we think about these issues. Unless you change how you think about sexual immorality, then you are going to go under and not come up.
There are two basic viewpoints out there. Relativism and Fixed which I call the authoritative viewpoint. The second one, fixed standards, is discussed here.
Before we start out, I want you to know that God's laws are all built on love. We might think that we might find more love in an immoral relationship, but this is simply not so. In fact, all immoral relationships whether they are fornicators, adulterers or homosexuals, are built not on love but on selfish desires. This is the reason a Christian simply must not be immoral. If he pursues immorality and does not repent, it simply shows his true colors, that is, he is not a Christian at heart. He will be judged with the world.
"Love does no wrong to a neighbor;
The argument that says immoral things are okay has an obvious hole in it. We often hear people say, "Just so it doesn't hurt anyone." Whenever I hear this from someone, I take them up on it. In the case with immorality, we see that God has certainly brought many hard consequences to immorality that never make it profitable.
We don't have to do much schooling to see that immorality never pays.
Do not desire her beauty in your heart, Nor let her catch you with her eyelids. For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, And an adulteress hunts for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? Can a man walk on hot coals, And his feet not be scorched? So is the one who goes in to his neighbor's wife; Whoever touches her will not go unpunished. Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house. The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it." (Proverbs 6:25-32)
On the positive side, keeping your virginity makes great sense. There is much profit. You will see this on your wedding night and treasure your devotion to your partner all your life. Staying faithful makes you a better person with self-control and love.
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Those that say that immorality is okay for reasons such as love cannot stand up to this test either. When you hear love is mostly lust or passion. These are our desires. Christ has set us free to use our bodies to do good. Before they were enslaved by their desires. Now you might call it love or 'frumb' or 'ply' but when you seek out a sexual relationship outside of your own marriage, it is lust-oriented. You think you are in control but then shortly you discover that you are ensnared. You are led to do things that are risky, dangerous, absurd and downright manipulative.
On the positive side, God has set us free to love. This means we can care for others without any intent on satisfying our own desires, whether they be sexual or otherwise.
"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."
We need to realize that God has made our sexual parts as well as our whole bodies including our stomachs. The stomach has a design and that design has to do with its function. We need to realize after life has come and gone, that as much as we live by God's design that we will be rewarded. If we live apart from this design, we will suffer consequences including judgment.
Food for stomach; stomach for food
What happens if you start eating things that you are not meant to eat? Some people have eaten coins. Our stomachs are not the best piggy bank. The coins are rather irretrievable! Some eat chemicals; they cause all sorts of problems. If we don't eat what is good for us, our bodies will suffer consequences. If we eat what is good for us, though, not only will we enjoy the food but energize our bodies. The more we study the chemistry of the body, the more we are fascinated by the way God keeps us going.
Our bodies were not made for immorality. This is what this verse clearly tells us. Never is immorality right. Never is it right to keep a boy close to you by sexual favors. Never is it right to spice up your life by looking at pornography. Never is it right to follow up sexual desires for those of your own sex or not. We should never express our sexual desires outside of marriage. We first become a good potential and godly spouse, then get married and follow this up with intimate relations. In such cases, we are working with the Lord.
Body for Lord; Lord for body
On the positive side, we can be sure our bodies were designed to work just right when we are busy doing what God wants. There is nothing like marital love. We all should do everything to maintain, protect and preserve ourselves for the great things God has planned.
"Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power."
Our bodies are dignified creations of God with a higher purpose than just indulging in sensual pleasures. We can see this in the coming resurrection. Those that believe in relativism live for the day. They are not thinking of eternity. They do not know that the body is so precious and must be wisely cared for.
The Christian knows that one day God will raise our bodies just as He did Christ. This flesh will put on immortality. We will never die. We will never sin and never even want to sin. If God has put so much value on them at making them anew in the new creation, should we not treat holy what God is not getting ready?
Immortality not Immorality!
Look at each battle with lust, one that tries to take your treasures in heaven away.
"Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her? For He says, "THE TWO WILL BECOME ONE FLESH."
When a person has become a Christian, he has given up his right to live by his desires. We must remember that those desires are no good to follow anyway. They enslave us to do evil. The non-Christian is captured by his self-oriented desires. It is not always sexual desires, but he is always captured by them. When we come to know the Lord, set aside all that. We die to it. We now live for Christ. We belong to Christ. If we would take our bodies and do something evil with them, it is like taking something that belongs to Christ and giving it to a harlot. Even worse, it is intimidating, it is like Christ being part with a harlot. You can see why God would radically judge such Christians. Judgment would come quickly.
There is some who say that sexual sins are no worse than others. The scriptures here in 6:16-18 deny this. There is a special grieving that goes on when we take our bodies, the temple of God, and made them a place to serve our own fleshly needs. It is like taking Christ and forcing Him to a harlot's house and going to bed with her. Other sins are not direct compromise with our bodies. I suppose it for this reason, that extra guilt and reactions come about from those Christians who fall into sexual sins. Clearly we are to flee immorality, whether in thought or in deed.
Proper sexual relations is sanctified in marriage. God has no problem being part of that temple. Those things outside of marriage use their lusts to satisfy themselves. God's love is holy, and it must be other-focused.
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988