Our Bodies are Not Made for Fornication

Our Bodies are Not Made for Fornication

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 6:19-20

Our bodies are not meant for fornication.

Our bodies are not meant for fornication.

Contextually, the apostle is in the midst of condemning the sin of fornication, with a prostitute or otherwise (6:13-20).  As Christians, we are members of the body of Christ, his church (Eph. 1:22-23; 1 Cor. 12:12ff).  We are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Rom. 12:1).  While that is commonly and rightly interpreted to mean that our entire lives belong to God and his service, let us not forget that includes our physical bodies and how we use them also.  Earlier, the apostle alluded to food and how it was meant for our bodies and our bodies were meant for food (6:13a), but even then we must practice self-control with regards to what we eat and how much we eat of it so that we do not commit the sin of gluttony (Prov. 23:20-21; Phil. 3:19; Tit. 1:12-13).  But though our physical bodies are meant for food, they are not meant for fornication (v. 13b).  They are meant for the Lord, and the Lord for them (v. 13c; cf. Rom. 12:1).

So shall we take our bodies – which are meant for the Lord and not meant for fornication, which are part of the body of Christ, his church for which he died – and use them to commit fornication with a prostitute and thus become one body, one flesh, with her rather than with our spouse as God intended (6:15-16; cf. Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5; Mark 10:8; Eph. 5:31)?  We were joined to the Lord (6:17) when we were baptized into him (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:13; cf. Eph. 1:22-23).  This unity with God which God desires us to have is violated when he use our bodies sinfully by fornicating, which is why God wants us to flee from this sin (vs. 17-18a).

Not only that, but we sin against our own bodies when we commit the sin of fornication (6:18b).  While talking about the act of fornication which is homosexuality, God talked about how those who committed such acts would be “receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Rom. 1:26-27), an allusion to the venereal diseases that come about primarily as a result of heterosexual and homosexual fornication.  By committing fornication, we sin against our own bodies by opening the door for those diseases.  Even more so, we sin against own bodies by using them in a way that is blatantly against the wishes of the Lord for whom they exist, and the Holy Spirit which dwells within them (6:19a).

It’s easy to forget that we as Christians are not our own (6:19b).  When we obeyed the gospel, we gave our lives to Christ.  More than that, he bought us with his own blood (6:20a; Acts 20:28).  He gave his life for us.  We are HIS slaves, not the slaves of sin (Rom. 6:17-18).  So let us glorify him by using our bodies the way he wants (6:20b).

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Beware of Cotton Candy

Beware of “Cotton Candy”

I remember the very first time I ever saw cotton candy. When I was very young the highlight of every year was the county fair in Huntsville, Alabama. Today when there is Disney World, Universal Studios and “Six Flags Over Everywhere,” it is hard for anyone to imagine just how special those “scary” rides were at the fair and how much I loved cotton candy!

Sin can be like cotton candy...

Sin can be like cotton candy…

I do not remember how old I was, but I vividly remember that stand which sold this new, amazingly sweet treat. I did not know that cotton candy had been introduced to the world at the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis and was called Fairy Floss. (No, I was not at that fair—not that old). At that fair, more than 68,000 boxes were sold for the equivalent of six dollars in today’s money. I do know how much I loved it.

My impressions of it? (1) It was so fascinating and attractive. (2) Everyone was talking about how good it was. (3) At first taste, it was so sweet, but then it disappeared in my mouth. (I did not know it was mostly air mixed with two tablespoons of sugar). (4) It promised so much and gave such instant gratification that I wanted more and more.

Now think of the many parallels between my impression of cotton candy and the nature of sin. Sometimes great lessons come from the simplest sources.

Sin and cotton candy are so fascinating and attractive. Think about the fruit in the first garden. Think of David’s view of Bathsheba from his rooftop. We so often sin when our hearts lust for what we see (Jas. 1:14). However, there is far more to sin when we look at the larger picture.

Sin and cotton candy are enjoyed by so many. That expensive cost of the floss in St. Louis did not keep individuals from buying it. So many thought that if others found it so “rewarding” they just had to try it, regardless of the cost. There are many on that broad way toward destruction (Matt. 7:13-14). There is that Divine instruction about following the multitude (Ex. 23:2).

Sin and cotton candy both promise so much and deliver so little. There is almost no nutritional value to cotton candy—it is nothing but air. Sin properly understood is in reality nothing but “fluff” that brings eternal destruction. When sin is finished it brings death and bondage (Jas. 1:15; 2 Pet. 2:20).

Sin and cotton candy both create a longing to have more and more. Every sin can become an addiction which brings us into bondage and is so addictive. Sin seems to satisfy but only for such a short time. The real choices are instant gratification or eternal reward.

Isn’t it strange how often great spiritual or eternal truths come from such simple sources!

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Do Numbers Matter… To God?

Do Numbers Matter… To God?

We live in a very analytical society that is concerned with the constant association of numbers and success. Businesses mull over sales quotas and production numbers like cows ruminate cud. When our elected officials talk about the budget, we want to know the numbers. Even in matters of opinion we want to know what the polls say. There is even a television show now called “NUMB3RS” in which a mathematician uses equations to solve crimes. Our general philosophy seems to be, “If the numbers are up, life is good. If the numbers are down, then something’s got to change!”

Our general philosophy seems to be, "If the numbers are up, life is good.

Our general philosophy seems to be, “If the numbers are up, life is good.

Numbers also play a role in the scriptures. The number 40, for example, occurs several times. There were 40 days and nights of rain in the flood (Genesis 7:4, 12). Moses was in Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights (Exodus 24:18). Jesus fasted for the same period of time (Matthew 4:2) and there are many other examples.

There were also certain specific times in which God was directly concerned with numbers. One such instance was when the children of Israel were coming out of the land of Egypt. The book of Numbers begins with this statement, “Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.” Exodus 30:12 tells us that at least one reason for this was so each man could pay a ransom for his redemption out of Egypt. God had his reasons.

There was another time, however, when God was displeased with man’s concern for numbers. During David’s reign, he commanded Joab to number the people (2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21). While God never states a specific reason as to why He is displeased, even Joab seems to know; he tells David that God would ensure that Israel was multiplied (2 Samuel 24:3, 1 Chronicles 21:3). From Joab’s counsel as well as from a comment in 1 Chronicles 27:23 it appears that David’s desire was to trust in the numbers instead of trusting in God. After the census was completed, David acknowledged his sin, but the children of Israel were punished with a plague; 70,000 died as a result of David’s lack of faith.

Where do we place our faith? In a recent article in the “Christian Chronicle,” it was stated that the churches of Christ have failed to keep pace with the population growth in the United States. I’m sure that there will be some who will be alarmed. But why should we be? God doesn’t play by the numbers. With Gideon he took a mere 300 men and destroyed an army of thousands. God populated the world by just two people and then repopulated it again with eight. What about Noah’s record? He failed to keep pace with the population gain of the entire world not just for a few short years, but for 100! Yet, when all was said and done, he and his family WERE the population!

The article also asked the question “Why?” Some speculated, but offered no real answers. No doubt part of the answer is that we’ve begun to trust in numbers instead of trusting in God. When we place our trust in the numbers are we not guilty of the same sin as David? If we are, then we need to repent and change our ways. Regardless of what the numbers say, our job is to put our faith in God because after all is said and done, it is God that gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:7, Colossians 2:19). God doesn’t need our numbers to accomplish His will; God doesn’t need us to keep up with the population growth; God doesn’t need us to understand why we haven’t. What God demands is that we stay faithful to Him no matter what (Revelation 2:10).

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