The body is the Lord’s

by Mike Ratliff

13 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. 1 Corinthians 6:13 (NASB)

Liberal Christianity is, as J. Gresham Machen told us in his masterpiece Christianity & Liberalism:

It is no wonder, then, that liberalism is totally different from Christianity, for the foundation is different. Christianity is founded upon the Bible. It bases upon the Bible both its thinking and its life. Liberalism on the other hand is founded upon the shifting emotions of sinful men. – J. Gresham Machen

In our time here in the early 21st Century we have men calling themselves pastors or Christian leaders telling all who will listen to them that the Bible is not authoritative. They say that even though it condemns certain behaviors as sin, we can ignore all that because people who preach or teach directly from the Bible are not obeying God, but are “cheating.” They contend that those of us who are strictly bound to God’s Word as His absolute truth are not meeting the needs of the people in our time. We are not being inclusive. We are attempting to shut or narrow the door of salvation that our Lord has opened wide so EVERYONE who desires to come can do so and remain in their sins. However, I am bound to the Word of God as His truth and know that all of the spiritual gifts I have are to be used only according to His will and that includes never straying from the whole truth from His Word. In light of this let us look at one passage that liberal Christians attempt to use to justify their all-inclusive ministries.

12 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. 13 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. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. 15 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! 16 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.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 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? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (NASB)

The liberal Christians have abandoned the biblical view of sexuality. They say that those of us who hold to it are old-fashioned and unloving. These revisionists seek to undo and redefine biblical ethics, however, their views are ascendant. For instance, statistics point to the increasing prevalence of premarital cohabitation among professing Christians. But Christians do not have absolute liberty in areas where God has decisively revealed a verdict, such as the realm of sexual immorality. Often, this behavior is defended under the guise of Christian liberty. In 1 Corinthians 6:12–20 (above), Paul offers six reasons why Christians are forbidden to engage in immoral sexual activity.

1. Original design (v. 13). The stomach was created for food and food for the stomach; similarly, the body was created for sexual activity and sexual activity for the body. Right? Paul says no. The body was never designed to engage in fornication or sexual immorality. Having a stomach indeed points to the need to consume food, but having a body does not point to the need for sexual gratification.

2. Bodily resurrection (v. 14). The relationship between the stomach and food is temporary, but the relationship between the resurrected Christ and the bodies of His people is eternal. In the throes of sexual temptation, ponder the eternal destination of your body. If our bodies will be raised as Christ’s body was raised, ought we not to keep our bodies pure as Christ’s body is pure?

3. Union with Christ (vv. 15–17). The union we Christians have with Christ is a full union—one that includes, mysteriously, the physical body. It is totally inconceivable that he who is a member of Christ’s body would then take his body and join it with that of a person who is not his spouse.

4. Unique destructiveness (v. 18). Sexual sin is unique with regard to its consequences. Sexual sins are not easily wiped away from our memories; nor are they easily dealt with in subsequent relationships. They leave a deeper scar than other sins. How many families have been broken up as a result of sexual immorality?

5. Holy temples (v. 19). The most important element of old covenant temple worship was purity. The dwelling place of God cannot be profaned with impurity. In the new covenant, each Christian is a residential abode of the Holy Spirit, rendering sexual immorality an abomination that profanes God’s temple.

6. Purchased property (v. 20). A high ransom price has been paid for our redemption that constitutes us as property of the Redeemer. We belong to someone else, and therefore our bodies can’t be used in whatever way we want. The decisive question that should determine our sexual conduct is not, How far is too far? but, To whom do I belong?

As I put this post together I mentally pictured at least 6 very well-known “Christian leaders” who have compromised their ministries by not adhering to what Paul was teaching in this passage. Their motive is that they don’t want to offend people and they want to be seen as loving and/or caring. The enemy has deceived them causing them to be blind to the consequences of what they are doing. I have offended many Christians in my post and in discussion groups by calling out certain well-known Christian leaders or someone in their ministries who have said or written things in an attempt to appear all-inclusive with the Gospel while ignoring all those hard sayings in Sacred Scripture about sin, confession, and repentance necessary for the Christian (1 John 1-10).

The Word of God, the Bible, is God’s Word for us to use to become knowledgeable of Him and His ways. It shows us how to become a believer and how to grow and mature into a believer who can stand firm no matter how hot the fiery trials become. We learn all this in the Word of God and our job is to apply it as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2) so that we can become the believers God wants us all to be. Now, as for those liberal Christians, we cannot be joined to them in any way. We must tell them truth and allow the Holy Spirit to break through the darkness that has engulfed them. That is not our job.

Soli Deo Gloria!

2 thoughts on “The body is the Lord’s

  1. When my Redeemer began drawing me out many years of the easy-believism-churchianity into His revelations of the Truth within the Scripture, this book by J. Gresham Machen which I ‘just happened to stumble across’ was used by God to open my eyes to the futility of so much of what is commonly called Christianity. Not even futile so much as downright deceptively evil. Which is exactly what you stated so well here.
    I highly recommend this book. Thanks Mike for this post.

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