“I’m Fully Who I Am”

Paul has addressed sin in the local church, from porneia to pugnaciousness. Now, he explains why sin is so bad. Have you ever wondered, when reading through Scripture, why God has certain rules and considers certain things to be sin? How can that be a sin when it makes me so happy? It doesn’t hurt anyone. I was, after all, born this way. Paul explains why God considers some things to be sin instead of merely making an assertion.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

12 Πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν· ἀλλʼ οὐ πάντα συμφέρει. πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν· ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐγὼ ἐξουσιασθήσομαι ὑπό τινος.  13 τὰ βρώματα τῇ κοιλίᾳ, καὶ ἡ κοιλία τοῖς βρώμασιν· ὁ δὲ θεὸς καὶ ταύτην καὶ ταῦτα καταργήσει. τὸ δὲ σῶμα οὐ τῇ πορνείᾳ ἀλλὰ τῷ κυρίῳ, καὶ ὁ κύριος τῷ σώματι·  14 ὁ δὲ θεὸς καὶ τὸν κύριον ἤγειρεν καὶ ἡμᾶς ἐξεγερεῖ διὰ τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ.  15 οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν μέλη Χριστοῦ ἐστιν; ἄρας οὖν τὰ μέλη τοῦ Χριστοῦ ποιήσω πόρνης μέλη; μὴ γένοιτο.  16 ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ὁ κολλώμενος τῇ πόρνῃ ἓν σῶμά ἐστιν; Ἔσονται γάρ, φησίν, οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν.  17 ὁ δὲ κολλώμενος τῷ κυρίῳ ἓν πνεῦμά ἐστιν.  18 φεύγετε τὴν πορνείαν· πᾶν ἁμάρτημα ὃ ἐὰν ποιήσῃ ἄνθρωπος ἐκτὸς τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν, ὁ δὲ πορνεύων εἰς τὸ ἴδιον σῶμα ἁμαρτάνει.  19 ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι τὸ σῶμα ὑμῶν ναὸς τοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν ἁγίου πνεύματός ἐστιν, οὗ ἔχετε ἀπὸ θεοῦ; καὶ οὐκ ἐστὲ ἑαυτῶν,  20 ἠγοράσθητε γὰρ τιμῆς· δοξάσατε δὴ τὸν θεὸν ἐν τῷ σώματι ὑμῶν.  

Christian liberty (v. 12-13)

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

After claiming that neither fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers, swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (v. 9-10), Paul not claims that all things are lawful for him, but not all things are profitable or beneficial. The reason the aforementioned lifestyles constitute damnable sin is that they all master the person caught up in them. All things are lawful for Paul, but he will not be mastered by anything. There is something about the sinful lifestyles Paul listed that overtakes the person and devours him or her.

  • Fornicators (πόρνοι)—those who live in the sin of porneia, the type of sin directly in view in Chapter 5 regarding church discipline and excommunication.
  • Idolaters (εἰδωλολάτραι)—those who live in worship to graven images or false gods.
  • Adulterers (μοιχοὶ)—those who live in relationships with or lust after otherwise married people.
  • Effeminate (μαλακοὶ)—men who live in femininity and loose themselves of the masculine shrewdness that of biblical manhood or present themselves “softened” as if they were women. This word can be applied to women who “soften” their wills to the world such that they are led by the things of the world or who force men to be effeminate (cf. Genesis 3:16). Selfless gravitas is godly. The shrewdness of manhood is not to be forsaken simply because the world desires to cancel it. There is a meek way for men to exhibit their masculinity (not to be confused with bravado).
  • Homosexuals (ἀρσενοκοῖται)—literally “Sodomites;” those who trade natural sexual relations for unnatural sexual relations and orgies.
  • Thieves (κλέπται)—those who steal what others have been given to steward.
  • Covetous (πλεονέκται)—those who desire what others have, live life to gain for themselves, who self-aggrandize, and trample on others. This includes those addressed directly in the preceding verses who live lifestyles of being offended.
  • Drunkards (μέθυσοι)—those who live in abuse (over-indulgence) to the good gifts God has given. Though the term is with direct reference to the abuse of alcohol, gluttony and addiction to anything (including soda or coffee) fall into this category. We desire to enjoy but not abuse. Things are much more enjoyable when they are not abused.
  • Revilers (λοίδοροι)—those who live resenting, reviling, or abusing (verbal or physical) anyone. Such are the offended parties Paul is addressing particularly.
  • Swindlers (ἅρπαγες)—those who live only to take from others, even through legitimate means of the state (e.g. business, government, religion).

Though all things are lawful, sex included, the Christian doesn’t use his or her liberty as an excuse to abuse God’s good gifts and so be consumed by that which God has given as good. Not all things are profitable. I will not be mastered by them. Liberty is not license.

Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.

Paul appeals to nature in order to explain a truth about God. Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food. We were designed a certain way—being created for certain things and certain things created for us. God will do away with both the food and the stomach; our bodies will die and return to dust. Paul explains why sin is a detriment to the human body. The body is not created for immorality, porneia (sexual sinfulness). Instead, it is created for the Lord. The Lord is for the body.

Here, we learn something about the nature of creation. God created the human body for himself, to compliment Him. In Genesis 1:26-27, we read that God created people in His image. He gave people creative power in sex, so that people would multiply and fill the earth with God’s image; He gave people the responsibility to steward the earth as His representatives within creation (Genesis 1:28). He created people for His own enjoyment as His own compliment.

In Genesis 3, we see humanity fall into sin. In Genesis 6, we read that people are only wicked all the time. They were mastered by the good gifts God gave. They did not live life as a compliment to God. It is true that from the moment of Adam’s sin, all people are born in sin (cf. v. 11; Psalm 58:3; Jeremiah 17:9; Ephesians 2:3). All people are not, however, born for sin. This is the first tier of Paul’s explanation:

  1. All people are created for the Lord, not immorality.

Spiritual marriage (v. 14-17)

Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Paul gives two options. Either we are spiritually married to Christ or to porneia, which he now personifies as a prostitute. Those who are married to Christ will have their bodies raised up because their bodies were created for the Lord. Those who are married to their sin are one with their win and apart from Christ. No one can be married to both his sin and to the Lord. We are either one with our sin or one with the Lord. This is the second tier of Paul’s explanation:

  1. All people are created for the Lord, not immorality.
  2. Those who are in Christ are one with Him, not their immorailty.

Matter of glory (v. 18-20)

Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Those who are in Christ, then, flee immorality (which is an imperative here) because they are married to Christ—not a “prostitute.” There is something about this particular immorality, porneia, that distinguishes it from every other sin. Porneia is committed against a man’s own body. Every other sin, presumably every other sin in Paul’s list (cf. v. 9-10) is committed outside the body. Sexual sin, though, is a sin one commits against his own body—which was created for the Lord. The body was not created to have sex as its master—it is lawful but not always profitable. Sexuality is the most abused gift God has given. Porneia is a sin against one’s own body because by it we maximize our selfishness above all other sins. It is no surprise that great apostasy is nearly always preceded by sexual sin.

Those who are married to Christ are sanctified by Christ as holy—temples of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the seal of God. He is from God. If we have the Holy Spirit, we do not belong to ourselves because God bought us with the atoning and redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. If we do not belong to ourselves, we have no rights over our own bodies. God has every right. This is the third tier of Paul’s explanation:

  1. All people are created for the Lord, not immorality.
  2. Those who are in Christ are one with Him, not their immorailty.
  3. Those who are in Christ belong to God, not themselves.

So, I can say, “I was born this way,” and so prove I do not have life. I can be concerned about being “…fully who I am,” and be forever separated from Christ. Immorality is immoral because it honors self rather than God, seeks glory for self rather than God. We do not have the right over our own bodies. God created us for Himself. Once we claim rights over our own bodies, we rebel against God. Those who are in Christ, however, die to themselves and willingly live as God’s holy possession. We cannot, therefore, be pro-choice or concern ourselves with our own liberation in this world. For, we belong to God and try to retain no rights over our own bodies like worldly, rebellious people do.

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