1 Cor. 6:12-18 – God's Spiritual Sexual Design for your Body

Translation and Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS, 04 Jan 2008


9. Or have y’all not known that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?

Do not be deceived:

Neither the immoral nor idol-worshippers, nor adulterers, nor gays nor homosexuals, 10. nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards nor abusers nor graspers will inherit the kingdom of God.

11. And such were some of y’all,

but you washed yourselves,

but you were made holy,

but you were made righteous

in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ

and in the Spirit of our God.


12. “All things are permissible to me,”

but not all things bear together.

“All things are permissible to me,”

but it’s not going to be me [who] is put under the authority of something.

13. Foods to the stomach and the stomach to foods,

but God will abolish both it and them,

and the body is not to sexual immorality,

but rather to the Lord – and the Lord to the body.

14. And God both raised up the Lord, and will raise up us through His power.

15. Haven’t y’all known that your bodies are members of Christ?

Taking up the members of Christ, shall I therefore make members of a prostitute?

Let it never be!

16. Or have y’all not known that the one who is stuck to the prostitute continues to be one flesh,

for “they will be,” it says, “the two into one flesh.”

17. But the one who is stuck to the Lord, he continues to be one spirit.

18. Be fleeing from sexual immorality;

every sin which a man might do is outside his body,

but the who is sexually immoral continues to sin into his own body.

19. Or have y’all not known that

your body is the inner sanctum of the Holy Spirit in y’all,

who y’all continue to have from God,

and y’all are not of yourselves?

20. For y’all were shopped for with value.

Glorify God in your body already!

Introduction: Copyrights

This week I had a run-in with copyrights. I was working on setting up some of the Bible commentaries I had written onto a demand-based publisher over the Internet and re-creating some of the Hebrew text for one of them when I noticed that the Hebrew Bible I used for all my Isaiah sermons was copyrighted. This means basically that I don’t have the right to make copies of it. I did not work to research and type up that Hebrew text, so it is not mine to use as I see fit. However, I still wanted to use that Hebrew text because I had already done all my work using their text, and I already had their entire Hebrew text of the book of Isaiah copied up on my website. I figured if I could get their permission to keep their text up there on my website, I could save myself a heap of time and effort. So I emailed the publisher and got back the following note:


…First, please read copyright notices on texts and respect them before you use them, as they are real limitations on our freedom to publish…


But how did this escape your attention till today? It is written on the site and at the head of each file on our site!


…The short answer is no. Sorry, but please remove your offending files from your site immediately… we would not [give you permission to print our text with your commentary] at any price…


Shalom from Jerusalem, Israel,


Solomon, The Webmaster


p.s. ha`almah [in Isaiah 7:14] is NOT a virgin or unmarried woman, but simply "the young woman"… To say "virgin" here is simply a coverup of the misquote in Matthew 1 based on the inept Septuagint, as the NT author was ignorant of the Hebrew...


The point is that Solomon has the right to restrict how I use his printed work, and he also asked a good question: How did it escape my attention?


In I Cor. 5-6, Paul asks a similar question seven times: “Do you not know?/Haven’t you known?”

1.      5:6 “Haven’t you known that a little leaven leavens the whole recipe?” i.e. Didn’t you know that if you tolerate a little sin, it will grow to destructive proportions? Get rid of sin in your midst, and excommunicate that man that has tried to make his mom into his wife!

2.      6:2 “Have y’all not known that the saints will judge the world?” and…

3.      6:3Have you not known that we will judge angels?”
i.e. You’ve got what it takes to keep the peace among yourselves – don’t go dragging your dirty laundry in front of non-Christians in civil courts!

4.      6:9 “Have y’all not known that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” i.e. You will burn for eternity in the lake of fire, outside the gates of heaven, if you do not look in faith to Jesus Christ to save you from your sin by His death and resurrection.

But that faith will be lived out practically in doing what Jesus wants you to do in every-day life. This leads us to the passage before us, where Paul asks the question again:

5.      6:15 “Haven’t y’all known that your bodies are members of Christ?”

6.      6:16 “Have y’all not known that the one who is stuck to the prostitute continues to be one flesh…?”

7.      6:19 “Have y’all not known that your body is the inner sanctum of the Holy Spirit…”


Just as I should have known better with that copyrighted text, the Corinthians should have known better than to be involved in sexual sin, but our hearts are so deceitful and wicked that we need to be reminded regarding this.


One reason we need to be reminded is that sexual sin is so common around us that we easily forget what is sinful, and we easily overlook sin in our own hearts because so many other people around us are sinning so much more boldly in this area.


In this passage, Paul uses the broadest term for sexual sin in the Greek language, so whatever your particular sexual temptation, it is included in this term. (Ratliffe)


In Corinth, they had a big temple to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love. In order to worship her, people would go to the temple and hire one of the thousands of prostitutes milling around at the temple. Everybody in town did it. It was no big deal. They thought, “‘Food for the stomach, and the stomach for food.’ We have bodies that can perform these acts, so we should do these acts. If it feels good, do it!” They believed it made the gods happy and brought good luck to their businesses and families. And oh how wrong they were!


Things are not much different today: According to a May 2008 survey by the Barna Research Group, over one third of Americans between the ages of 18 & 25 had been involved in sexual immorality with another person within the last week. That number would be far higher if the survey had included more than just the last week. (Source: www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=315)


This is a natural outflow of people’s beliefs about God and mankind:

·         In Paul’s day, there were Greek philosophers who taught that physical things - including our physical bodies - were not important. Only spiritual ideals were important, so, they reasoned, it doesn’t matter what we do to our bodies; all that matters is that our minds think about great things.

·         Today in our context, many people don’t even believe that a spiritual world exists. They figure that if energy and matter have always existed and if our bodies are nothing more than a random association of materials, there is nothing special about the human body.

o       ILLUSTRATION: I went to a meeting last week to discuss public policy on health care, and I sat next to a K-State biology professor who had been teaching naturalistic evolution for decades. He argued that euthanasia should be accepted. Well, why not if he believes there’s nothing sacred or holy about human life?

·         If we are no different from animals, why live according to any kind of limitation on our sexual lives?

·         In 1 Cor. 6, Paul tells us that God has instituted laws to limit our behavior, and God does care about our physical bodies - very much.

v. 12 – “All things are lawful/permissible”

·         Legalists (like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day) are always asking, “Is this lawful?”
Libertarians will do things just because they want the freedom to do anything.
But Christians must live according to what James called “the law of liberty” (1:25, 2:12)
     which sets us free from bondage to sin, but is oriented around doing the will of God.

·         All kinds of physical activity are permitted, but they are limited by context:

o       The same action which is prohibited as evil with a prostitute is commanded and commended with your spouse.

o       Bending your index finger is harmless, but it is evil if you bend your index finger when you have a loaded gun in your hand that is pointed at your mom. (Clark)

o       There is nothing morally wrong in things that God has created: Coffee, Cokes, Chocolate, Alcohol, Video games, Social networking, Shopping, Music, Football, Hunting, Building things – all have an appropriate place, yet all can abused, all can be used in such a way that it hurts us, all can become a controlling factor in our lives. If not kept under limitations, anything can threaten the lordship of Christ alone over our body.

o       “Unlawful things ruin thousands; lawful things (unlawfully used), ten thousands.” ~ Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary

·         Is there anything in your life that is out of control - that you do compulsively and that doesn’t submit to Christ?

v.13 “The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body”

·         Consider the design of a guitar. What is it made for?

o       Body amplifies vibrations of strings – Made to make music.

o       Fits human arms and fits the design of human fingers – Made for humans to play.

o       Plays the Western 13-note chromatic scale – Made for Western folk music.

·         Consider the design of the human body:

o       Combination of Mind, Spirit, and Body – Brings information, ideals, and action together

o       Ears and eyes to receive information from outside of us – from God!

o       Legs and an insatiable desire to move – to do God’s will!

o       Arms/hands with ability to make things and do things – like God.

o       Mouth that works together with mind to express thoughts with words – like God!

o       Differences in gender and abilities together with a Drive for social interaction – intended for fellowship with God and church.

o       Ability to reproduce children like ourselves – Jesus is begotten of the Father and begets us as His children.

o       Our Body is not a random collection of matter. It is a vessel carefully designed by God to correspond to His nature and to fit together with Him.

o       The body exists to be “in the Lord” and the Lord exists to be in the body.

o       We as humans will find our greatest fulfillment when we are in relationship with the Lord Jesus, and what satisfies Him is to draw humans into Himself.

 “v.14 God has both raised up the Lord and He will also raise up us”

·         Your body was created good and it is special. It is different from food and stomachs. (v.13)

·         If you have placed your faith in Jesus, you are connected to Him in such a way that whatever happens to Him will happen to you, too.

·         He has been raised from the dead, so you too will be raised to eternal life after you die (unless you’re still alive when He returns).

·         This connection with Christ is one reason why Christians can’t use this special vessel of their bodies for acts of sexual immorality:

v.15 “Your bodies are members of Christ.”

·         “The Lord Jesus and immorality fight for the bodies of Christians… loyal to Him, they must renounce immorality, yielding to that, they renounce Him.” (Findlay)

·         “Since Christ has risen… it is impossible for me to draw Him into fellowship with pollution.” (Calvin)

·         It requires a disconnect from Christ in order to connect with an immoral person.

·         We saw in v. 9 that people who practice any kind of immorality will not inherit the kingdom of God.

·         Sexual sin of any kind is mutually exclusive of union with Christ.

·         Our body is like an extension cord that is too short.

o       It is not possible to use a human body to connect God to rebellion against God.

o       You can’t have both God and immorality; you can only get one or the other.

o       If immorality continues to be a part of your life, you are not plugged in to God. You need to unplug from sin (repent), and plug in to God (trust and obey Jesus).

·         There are more reasons why immorality is so serious:

v.16 “The one who is stuck to the prostitute continues to be one flesh, for, “They will be,” it says, “the two into one flesh.”

·         This is talking about a relational sin with another person, not an impersonal act like eating food.

·         In God’s eyes, the covenantal obligations of marriage come into force when you give your body to another person - whether or not you intended to get married.

·         One of my favorite rock performers is a Christian man by the name of Michael Roe. In the mid-80’s he released a song called “Something’s Holding On” that describes the lie that humans can use and leave each other casually:

Your body's got a hold on me.

It's hard to understand how your flesh can take control of me –

when I don't care that much for you.

You're good for only nights when I'm lonely with no place to go –

Long as you leave before light.

And I want to know why something's holding on

(when I'd really rather be alone)

Something's holding on

(I don't want you for my very own)

Something’s holding on...

·         Proverbs 6:25-33 says, “Lust not after her beauty in your heart; neither let her take you with her eyelids. For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread; And the adulteress hunts for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk upon hot coals, and his feet not be scorched? So is he that goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her will not go unpunished… He that commits adultery with a woman is void of understanding: He destroys his own soul… Wounds and dishonor is what he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away.”

·         v. 18 further elaborates that “every sin which a man might do is outside his body, but the who is sexually immoral continues to sin against [lit. into] his own body”

o       Every time you sin, it warps your thinking – often in ways you don’t even notice and makes righteousness and holiness even more difficult to grasp.

o       Of all the 10 commandments, committing adultery is the only one that is a violation of your own body and immediately defiles the body.

o       Children born of an illicit relationship carry the results of your sin into the next generation.

o       Sexual immorality has its own set of unique damages, but there are also positive reasons to keep from this sin:

v. 17. But the one who is stuck to the Lord, he continues to be one spirit… 19. Your body is the temple/inner sanctum of the Holy Spirit, and you are not your own, 20 you were bought/shopped for at a price/with value…”

·         1 Peter 1:18ff explains what that price was: that we were bought from bondage to sin with the “precious blood of Jesus Christ” which He shed when He was crucified to pay for the sins we have done.

·         Jesus wanted you – all of you, including every part of your body. He died to buy you. You are now free, but now you are exclusively His.

o       You no longer have a say in how your body is to be used. It is now to be used for His purposes, not yours.

o       Your body becomes like that copyrighted text that I had no right to use because I didn’t own the copyright.

·         When you trust in Jesus, you make a spiritual connection. You become a special, holy place for the Spirit of God Himself to live in and operate in. This connection captures your spirit as well as your physical body. You then enjoy the awesome privilege of the presence of God!

·         This union with Christ demands that you keep your body pure.

o       ILLUSTRATION: If President Bush were to knock on your door and ask to rent a bedroom in your house, offering to pay you $10K per month for it, how would you keep the house? You’d keep the floors swept and the yard mowed, and you certainly wouldn’t invite drug dealers to come in and do business in your home, otherwise President Bush might just decide to call it all off. Likewise, if we are going to host the Lord of Glory, we must keep a clean house and never invite impurity in.

APPLICATION: Flee Immorality & Glorify God

1.      v.18 – first Imperative= “FLEE immorality…”

a.       ILLUSTRATION: What do you do if the building is on fire?
Do you say, “I kind-of like it – it’s finally getting warm in here”?
Do you say, “Just a minute, let me finish this round of solitaire”?
No! You get out of that building as fast as you can – any old way you can!
In the next chapter, immorality is likened to a fire. When it comes to this sin, flee as fast as you can – any old way you can!

b.      Be like Joseph who took off running when Potiphar’s wife started trying to seduce him.

c.       Present tense in Greek indicates continuous action – make a habit of fleeing from sexual sin.

d.      Practical thoughts on fleeing immorality:

                                                  i.      Confess your sin to those who have authority in your life and ask for their help.

                                                ii.      Avoid the people, places, and situations where you know you will face temptation. Be willing to limit your liberty in order to preserve your freedom!

                                              iii.      Dress and carry yourself modestly so as not to invite immoral attention.

                                              iv.      Take a buddy with you when you travel.

                                                v.      Buy an Internet filter or a Covenant Eyes accountability program for your computer.

                                              vi.      Don’t be caught dead alone in a house with a member of the opposite sex that isn’t your spouse.

                                            vii.      Don’t define your holiness negatively in terms of what you don’t do; replace unrighteous behavior with the following positive righteous action:

2.      v.20 – 2nd Imperative = “GLORIFY GOD in your body.”

a.       Note that this command was not given to people who had a good record of sexual purity; this was given to people in a notoriously immoral town who had been, according to vs. 9-11, fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, drunkards, and greedy - “such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were made holy, but you were made righteous in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

                                                  i.      If you ask Jesus to forgive you of these sins, He will wash you clean - He will make you holy and righteous all over again. You can start anew in Christ as a new creation and begin to glorify God with your body instead of using it for immorality.

b.      We glorify God by worshipping Him

                                                  i.      Rom. 12:1 “I urge you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

                                                ii.      Worship involves demonstrating the greatness at which you value God. It includes: Praying to Him, Singing His praises, Meditating on His word, Doing things He wants, and Telling others how great He is.

c.       We also glorify God by obeying Him

                                                  i.      Rom 6:13 “do not present the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

                                                ii.      You have been bought with a price. Jesus owns the rights to your body, so He gets to make the rules and set the agenda.

                                              iii.      When He does, you will find this mind-boggling truth to be true in your experience: your body was meant for the Lord and the Lord for your body!






Psa 130:3-5 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?  (4)  But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.  (5)  I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope.


Isa 43:1-23 excerpts from NASB: But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior… Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you… Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made… You are My witnesses," declares the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me… The people whom I formed for Myself Will declare My praise. Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob; But you have become weary of Me, O Israel. You have not brought to Me the sheep of your burnt offerings, Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, Nor wearied you with incense.

NT Text

Lector: J.T.

1Thess 4:1-18 NASB  Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.  (2)  For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.  (3)  For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;  (4)  that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,  (5)  not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;  (6)  and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.  (7)  For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.  (8)  So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.  (9)  Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;  (10)  for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,  (11)  and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,  (12)  so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.  (13)  But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.  (14)  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.  (15)  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  (16)  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  (17)  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.  (18)  Therefore comfort one another with these words.


Luk 22:15-20 NASB  And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;  (16)  for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."  (17)  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves;  (18)  for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes."  (19)  And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."  (20)  And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.


Lord, Prepare me to be a sanctuary


Gen 28:3-4 NASB  "May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples.  (4)  "May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham."