“The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body… Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sina person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:13-20 ESV).
I recently read a book by Dr. Ben Lerner titled, Body By God. It’s a good read. It comes from the premise that our bodies were made by God; therefore, we should take care of our bodies according to “God’s magnificent design.” The book offers great advice on diet, exercise and even stress management.
Lerner gets it right when he says that our bodies are made “by” God. The Bible agrees with this, but it goes one step further and says not only are our bodies made “by” God, they are also made “for” Him.
This is the case that the apostle Paul makes to the Christians living in the city of Corinth. The Christians there were greatly affected by the culture of their day. Corinth was known for its temple to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and fertility. It was said that the marble-pillared temple stood 1800 feet above sea level overlooking the sea harbor below and that 1000 temple prostitutes beckoned sailors from their ships up the marble steps to “worship.”
Paul speaks into this Corinthian culture saturated with an Aphrodite worldview and he says, “Flee from sexuality immorality!”
Paul teaches us to run from sexual sin, not just because it’s against God’s intent, not just because it’s bad for our bodies (“sins against his own body”), but mostly because our bodies are not our own! Our bodies are made “for” God. They are to be like a “temple” for the Holy Spirit to dwell. Our bodies are to bring glory to the living God.
God made sex. He made it so that humanity might fulfill His purpose. He made us male and female and then He ordained that these two different, yet complementary beings would together show forth the image of God. As Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). Sex was God’s idea and marriage was God’s plan for its celebration of oneness (“the two shall become one flesh”).
God made us for Himself. He cares about what we do with our bodies. That’s the best reason for keeping ourselves pure, so that we may “offer our bodies as living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1) of worship to Him.