By Steve Wyatt
Our Creator has never succumbed to cultural pressure, not even when lonely Adam was checking out birds, elephants, and orangutans looking for relationship. Adam’s task was to name the animals, but evidently he was also screening for a potential mate. We know that because “no suitable helper was found” (Genesis 2:20).
Instead, God provided a masterful solution to Adam’s loneliness in the person of Eve. His plan was simple: Eve would perfectly conform to Adam and Adam would find perfect completion in Eve.
And that is still God’s plan. God’s plan for sex was (and still is) an obvious and purposeful design, based on both nature and revelation.
Sex is a marvelous gift from God—a wonderful thing when expressed within the parameters of God’s perfect plan. The problem is, our culture has taken God’s gift and prostituted it by expressing sexuality in ways and through relationships God never intended and refuses to bless.
Many who depart from God’s plan are searching for intimacy, but what they find at the end of their journey is a hopeless chasm filled with emptiness. All because sex apart from God’s plan may promise big, but it delivers little. Not because it’s not smart, or you might get pregnant, but because sexual sin has a greater capacity to destroy you than most any other sin.
Several years ago I took a closer look at 1 Corinthians 6 and found several compelling reasons why sexual purity still makes sense.
The Spiritual Impact
“‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food’—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (6:13, 14, NIV, 1984).
Many Greeks in Paul’s day had a low opinion of the body. To them, it was just a shell. The important part of humanness was the mind. Thus their slogan, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food.” They believed, “Your belly was made for food; so if you’re hungry, dig in!”
But they took it even farther to mean, “As food is to the stomach, so sex is to the body.” They reasoned that since sex is a biological function, if you’re sexually hungry, you should feel free to have your fill. After all, it’s just your body.
But Paul argued there is a big difference between satisfying a physical appetite and satisfying a sexual appetite. Besides, eventually both food and stomach will be destroyed. A time will come when the need for physical nourishment will cease. When Christ returns we will be raised and given resurrection bodies.
So how we use our bodies now has an impact for all eternity. Paul says, “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord” (v. 13).
Our culture says, “Sex is just biological. No different than eating or sleeping.”
But God says, “If you indulge in sexual sin, it will take a toll. Psychologically, you will be impaired. Spiritually, you will be stunted. What you do sexually really does matter!”
The Presence of Jesus
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?” (v. 15a).
When we hear the word member, we think about clubs and teams. But the word actually means, “being part of a body”—as an appendage. When you come to know Christ as Savior, you become an extension of him, a physical expression of Jesus. That’s why Paul says, “Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!” (6:15b).
Prostitution was a big deal back then, but Paul could easily have said, “Shall I take the members of Christ and unite them with my trainer?” Or, “a neighbor?” Or, “that cute thing in the adjoining cubicle?”
Paul says, “No! The sex act isn’t just biological, it’s a union!”
“Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh’” (v. 16).
When two bodies come together, there is union. C. S. Lewis taught that the union established was, from that point forward, an eternal bond—one that was either “eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.”
And since it’s true that “he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit” (v. 17), the one who unites with another sexually brings Christ himself into the situation.
Make no mistake. Your sin is not just hurting you. You are wounding Jesus.
Harming the Body
Paul says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body” (v. 18).
Most other sin is prompted from outside our bodies, but the sexual appetite rises up from within. For that reason, no other sin poses more potential peril, or possesses a more destructive power, than sexual sin.
Physically, sexual sin can result in venereal disease, unplanned pregnancy, abortion, and more. A person engaged in sexual promiscuity is playing Russian Roulette with his own health—and all six chambers are loaded.
Emotionally, sexual sin shakes us at our very foundation. Because sexual activity arouses our deepest passions, sexual sin exposes us to crippling guilt and agonizing regret.
Isn’t it amazing that something that initially seems so inviting, exciting, and stimulating can rapidly degenerate into bewilderment, frustration, and shame?
Few would say they can’t forgive themselves for eating a second slice of pie or shake the guilt of spending money on some new tech toy. But I’ve heard many who, though forgiven for their sexual sin, still battle a relentless self-condemnation that refuses to go away.
When we sin sexually, we sin against ourselves, damaging our souls to the core.
Defiling God’s Temple
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (v. 19a).
There was a time when God’s glory dwelt in a building. But that changed forever the moment Christ died. The temple veil was torn and God’s holy place was transferred from buildings to people. We are God’s house today. From the moment of salvation, Jesus takes up residence inside us.
Would you consider using a church building, perhaps a classroom or even the baptistery as a point of sexual rendezvous? “No way! How disgusting!” you might say.
But those scenarios are no worse than committing the same sin anywhere else. Because you and I take God’s temple everywhere we go.
Our bodies are not only a part of Christ, and the residence of Christ, they belong to Christ. Therefore, “you are not your own” (v. 19b).
When we received the grace of God through Jesus Christ, God bought us. And it’s not a partnership. He’s the owner; we’re his possession. To sin sexually robs God of something he rightfully deserves.
How should we respond to this? Paul mentions two ways.
Verse 18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality!” This sentence is written in the present imperative, so the thought is, “Keep fleeing!” Why? Because you can’t negotiate with lust or reason with sensuality. Besides, sexual sin should never be a spiritual challenge to meet, but a spiritual trap to escape. The wisest, most logical response when lust threatens to get the upper hand is to get out!
The word honor in verse 20 means, “to elevate, to exalt.” That’s what you do when you honor someone. You exalt him. You glorify him.
God’s plan for sex might seem repressive and downright regressive. To speak in favor of his plan might scare you and offend others. But here’s the thing. It’s still God’s plan.
Sexual sin is wrong. Not just because of what it will do to you, but because of what it takes from God. So whenever you’re confronted with any sin, but especially sexual sin, ask yourself this question: “Will this activity bring glory to God?”
If the answer is yes, then go for it. But if the answer is no, run away.
It’s that simple.
Steve Wyatt is a minister and freelance writer in Anthem, Arizona.
Resources for Teens and Parents
I Want to Talk with My Teen About Love, Sex and Dating
by Dr. Karl Wendt and Shannon Wendt (Standard Publishing, 2006) Item 24308
I Want to Teach My Child About Sex
by Dr. Karl Wendt and Shannon Wendt (Standard Publishing, 2005) Item 42086
The Bare Facts: 39 Questions Your Parents Hope You Never Ask About Sex
by Josh McDowell (Moody Publishers, 2011)
The Purity Code: God’s Plan for Sex and Your Body
by Jim Burns (Bethany House, 2008)
Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality: A Biblical Approach to Prepare Them for Life
by Jim Burns (Bethany House, 2008)
What Do I Do When? Answering Your Toughest Questions About Sex, Love & Dating
by Kevin Moore (Reach, 2009)
Seduced by Sex, Saved by Love
by Jan Kern (Standard Publishing, 2008) Item 23964
Wait for Me: Rediscovering the Joy of Purity in Romance
by Rebecca St. James (Thomas Nelson, 2008)