I notice in myself, especially of late, the bent toward a secular mindset. I have journaled about this a few times over the past few weeks. It is as if God is revealing to me, through His Word, just how shaped I am by the modern world that I currently dwell in. Culture has a way of doing that to us. If a certain sin is looked at as being less sinful by the culture, eventually this shapes the people who were counter-cultural. This can be seen in many areas of life.

It was once thought a most heinous evil to be disobedient to parents. Now the attitude is almost glorified by our culture. Disrespect is glorified by the culture and now parents accept it more and students do it with much more regularity.

It was once thought to be a terrible evil to mistreat elderly people and they were to be given a massive amount of respect. Today, due to cultural pressures, it is thought to be an awful thing to be old. And the culture doesn’t teach a respect of the elderly.

Homosexuality was once thought to be a horrific evil. But, now through cultural pressures, it is thought of as okay. It’s just another way people live in society. In fact, if you are against homosexuality you are now considered evil. What a change!

Pornography is another good example of this. Something that was once thought horrific is now glorified and taken in by a massive part of our population. Within one month’s time 79% of US men ages 18-30 will visit a porn site. (This was taken from fightthenewdrug.com.) And, by many people in our culture, pornography is viewed as a neutral. It is neither good nor bad. This, for God, is a heinous evil that almost 8 out of every 10 men in America participate in.

Divorce was incredibly uncommon in past generations, but today it is not. Our culture has even tainted the union of a husband and wife. Some estimates state that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. The culture has made this seem okay. But when is marriage to end according to God’s Word? Well, the answer is in the traditional vows. “’Til death do us part”.

The world we live in shapes us more than we want to imagine. We like to think of ourselves as being rather independent and free people but we find ourselves being shaped by the culture that we are supposed to live counter to.

We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, United to Christ, and owned by Him, How dare we live like the world.

This message is one that is seen throughout the Scriptures. Repeatedly, it is highly offensive to God that His people attempt to live like the rest of the world. Christians are His people and as such they are to live for Him.

The Christian is Owned By God (Vv. 12-14…but implied throughout)

“All things are lawful for me” and “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” are two phrases that were likely used by the people of Corinth to excuse sinful behavior. It’s like the phrase “boys will be boys” that we oftentimes use today or what you sometimes hear older people say about the sinful actions of younger people, “They will sow their wild oats.” Humans like to think that they are fundamentally different than they were years ago, but they are not. It’s the same idea. “All things are lawful for me” is not much different than saying, “I’m not hurting anybody”. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” is not much different than saying, “If it’s so wrong then why does it feel so right” or “God made me to desire these things”.

Usually the response to the excuses is a nodded affirmation or a chuckle, but that was not Paul’s response. He responded by saying that God would destroy both the desire and the thing being desired. Then He declared what the body was supposed to be doing, serving the Lord. The body is not meant for the sexual immorality that was being excused. It was meant for the service of the Lord.

God brought us out of our former life of sin. The passage of Scripture previous to this discusses that very fact.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-12 ESV

Christians have been pulled out of the depths of the world and its way of thinking. To return to that is a heinous evil for the Christian because we are not our own. Christians are not free to do whatever they want. In fact, Paul will end this passage by saying “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20 ESV).

This should be the Christians number one concern. Pleasing God, or glorifying God with our body…with our lives. The discussion about how we should behave begins here. We oftentimes want to make choices that are much different. If I go this far and no further am I sinning? The question we should be asking is this one: am I glorifying God in this decision? My body is meant for the Lord. He is going to raise me up in the last day, am I living for Him. My body matters and what I do with it matters. Am I using it for Him?

A Christian Is United to Christ—How Dare We Sin So Easily (Vv. 15-18)

How we behave matters. We are united to Christ. Through the work of the Holy Spirit we are united to Him. Here the Corinthians believed it was okay to sin in the body because this old mass of sinful flesh was going away anyway. We’ll just do whatever until then. Paul, however, believes this to be preposterous. The Christian has been joined together with Christ. They are together in one spirit (V. 17), how then could they join in a one flesh union with a prostitute (V. 17)? The whole thought process makes no sense.

Paul is essentially scolding the Corinthian believers for their unrighteous behavior. How dare they, who are united to Christ, unite themselves to someone via sexual promiscuity? What we do with our bodies matter. We are united to Christ and are His people. We cannot just do whatever we want.

Paul is specifically discussing sexual sin here. He makes a point of saying that other sins are outside the body but this one is specifically bad because it is a sin against our own body. Sexual sin is a joining in union with someone else. But the thought process works in other areas as well. It matters what we do with our bodies. We are a people who have been united with Christ. Let us make decisions that glorify Him.

A Christian Is Indwelt By God’s Spirit (Vv. 19-20)

Paul has a reason for discussing sexual sin being a sin against our own bodies. Our bodies, he says, are “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (V. 19). Christian, you are indwelt by the Spirit of God. Your body is a temple.

There is no physical temple anymore. Christian, you are that temple. What happens in temples? God is honored, glorified, worshipped, lifted up. What happens in your temple? Paul ends the text by saying that “you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

Let the choices that you make glorify and honor God. You are His. You are united to Him. And you are indwelt by His Spirit. This is who you are. So, let your behavior be honoring to God.

R. Dwain Minor