Second Sunday after the Epiphany (January 14, 2018)
- First reading
- Second reading
1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (NLT)
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead.
Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Sometimes we really wonder if the Bible – if God’s Word is really relevant for today. As we look at today’s scripture, I think we can say, “yes, it is.” The church at Corinth was a messed up church. It was a messy church. It had its problems. In chapter 5, Paul mentions a situation that was happening in the church. Even by today’s easy-going sexual standards, it sounds a little weird and yet the people of the church didn’t say anything.
In the second part of chapter six, Paul gives us instructions on how we should conduct ourselves when it comes to sexual matters. It doesn’t sound like Paul’s situation was much different from the situation that we find ourselves in today. Paul’s culture was hedonistic. I think our culture shares the same characteristics. So many times we feel we need to give in to what our body and mind craves. I don’t blame us for feeling that way. We are told by the media and others to give in. Paul reminds us that we are not slaves to food or sex or sexual immorality, because our bodies were made to honor the Lord.
Paul reminds us that God created our bodies and that he cares what we do to our bodies. I know that we could make this specifically about sex, but what about the other things. I know that I have been guilty – even lately with food. I don’t treat my body the way it deserves to be treated when it comes to food. I haven’t been exercising the way I should and I have paid the price.
Our bodies belong to Christ. in many ways you could say as those who have surrendered to Christ is that we are married to Christ. As one who is joined with Christ, we should avoid the things that the Lord tells us to avoid. We are told to run from sexual sin, whatever that may be.
We are reminded that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. In the Wesleyan Church and its predecessors, we often talked about temperance and tobacco and the sexual sins, but we never really talked about what I call the food factor. It is the one vice that we (for many years) were allowed to have. I don’t know that I have heard many sermons on gluttony in my time. I know that I try, these days, to live like my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I try to eat right and I try to exercise regularly.
Why? Paul tells us our bodies do not belong to us, but to God, because of the high price paid by Christ on the cross. We must honor God with our bodies!