This is the second of three posts about Sex in the Kingdom of God from 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.
Many people who claim to be devoted to Jesus Christ live no differently than the people of the world around them. This is not a new problem but it is a contemporary trend that each disciple must resist. The saints in the ancient Greco-Roman city of Corinth had great difficulty living with a new perspective and lifestyle after coming to Christ. They were formed more like the world than they were like the Lord who saved them. One of the most glaring ways they conformed to the culture around them was in their views on sexuality. Obviously, disciples in 21st-century western culture are bombarded with temptations and tests regarding sex, both philosophically and practically. All too often, we fail miserably, just like the Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Paul presents at least six key concepts that can help us reshape our views regarding sexuality, so that we will not be conformed to the destructive ideals and practices of the world but rather be transformed to live in alignment with God’s good purposes for human sexuality.
Christian sexuality is guided by our future reality and present identity in Christ.
At first it may seem strange that, in the midst of a discussion about sexuality and sexual sin, the text addresses the Resurrection: “By His power God raised the Lord up from the dead, and will raise us also” (6:14). The Spirit here is teaching us that we should live now with a view toward the life we will have when Christ returns. You must make moral choices that are preparing you for life in the Resurrection. Even your sexuality is affected by the coming Resurrection. Will people be sexually promiscuous in the new heavens and new earth? If not, then how does it make any sense to be engaging in those sins now? (See 2 Peter 3:10-14.) Christ was raised to give you hope in the future, and that demands holiness now.
But the new future Christ has initiated isn’t the only motive we have to purify our lives from sexual sin. Christ has also changed our present identity, a fact that has radical implications for sexuality. In this text, Paul reminds us that in Christ we are: (1) “Members of Christ” (6:15), (2) “A Temple of the Holy Spirit” (6:19), and (3) “Bought with a Price” (6:20). Embracing each of these aspects of your new identity completely transforms how you view your sexuality and provides energy for resisting sexual temptation. You are not an independent person anymore – you are a member, a part, a unit within Christ’s Body. Would Jesus watch that pornography? Then you shouldn’t either – you are part of His Body! Your physical body is not just a home for biological needs and urges – you are a Temple of God. Would God be pleased to have someone engaging in sexual activity with their boyfriend or girlfriend in His Temple? Then you should not be doing that – you are His Temple! You were bought with Christ’s blood – you do not possess yourself anymore. He possesses you. Are homosexual relationships the will of your Lord and Master? Then no matter what your body or the world is screaming to you, you cannot listen. You have been bought with the love-fueled blood of God’s one and only Son who wants the best for you and has commanded you how to live sexually. Listen to Him.
When you are tempted to sin sexually, look to the future hope you have in the Resurrection and remember your present identity in Christ.
“Flee sexual immorality”
Stop getting as close to the line as possible. Stop trying to see ‘how far’ you can go with your dating partner without ‘technically’ having sex. Stop filling your mind and heart with videos, messages, and pictures that ‘aren’t exactly pornography’. Stop diminishing the seriousness of divorce or same-sex relations. Stop allowing sexual immorality to creep into your heart. Run away as far and as fast as you can. Avoid sexual sin like the plague that it is. “Flee immorality” (6:18).