God's Sacred Purpose for Our Bodies.

Every person was created by God in a body. Those who have been born again are indwelt by the Holy Spirit; their bodies are sacred and owned by Jesus Christ. In a culture that declares themselves free to do whatever they want with their bodies, we are able to do with our bodies what is pleasing to the Lord.

We have already looked at foundational and forward-looking truths in 1 Corinthians 6:12-14. In verses 15-18, Paul explains the fervor of maintaining moral purity. He gives practical guidelines within a spiritual context.


Immoral intimacy was central to religious worship in the Corinthian culture. The believers in the church to which Paul wrote were familiar with this and many had participated in it. Some were falling back into their old ways, convinced by philosophy that said what was done in the body did not affect the soul. Paul corrects this thinking and reminds the Corinthian believers that they have been united with Christ. Not only that, but they were part of the body of Christ (Romans 12:5). This church worships in a distinctly different way and, as a result, teaches another way to live.

Moral purity is never popular. The god of this world "has blinded the minds of the unbelieving" to truth (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Our culture views sexual immorality as a rite of passage, and even Christians can fall into this lie. Intimacy is sacred because God is its author. God's design for intimacy in marriage is set out in Genesis 2:24. Especially in the Corinthian context, anything else is demonic at its root. We are commanded not to be united with a person who is not our spouse because this is outside God's intention. This sin affects the whole person, because our material selves are not separated from our spiritual selves.

Paul's simple command in verse 18 is to flee immorality and keep fleeing until all danger is past. (See Genesis 39:10 and Romans 13:14.) This is so urgent because sexual sin has a devastating result. One author said, "I believe what [Paul] is saying is that sexual sin is not necessarily the worst sin; it is the most unique in its lack of character." Be encouraged: the same power of God that was enough to save you is also the power that keeps you pure.

Final Thoughts

Paul makes a positive conclusion in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Two deep truths can help believers prevent falling into immorality. First, we are indwelt by the Spirit of God and designed for holy purposes. In the Old Testament, only the high priest who was spiritually prepared was allowed entrance into the Most Holy Place, on penalty of death. Now our bodies are the new Temple, God's dwelling place. This is both a warning and a comfort to us.

Secondly, we have been bought by God. We are redeemed with Christ's blood. This is how one author put it: "The right of ownership goes with the cost of redemption." Jesus paid for all our sin and redeemed the whole of our person; He now owns all of us, and we must obey Him in our use of every part. Another author said, "Once owned by sin, now we are owned by a different master." Sin is a dark master. Now we are servants of our infinite Creator, who gives us all the grace we need to do His bidding. As we seek to represent Christ in our culture, especially in the area of moral purity, God has given us the power to obey and honor Him.

Application Points

  • How do you use your body? You are the Holy of Holies in this dispensation. Do you act like what you do affects your soul?
  • Jesus Christ gave all for us; we give all for Him. Do not take what is God's and join it with any form of immoral darkness.
  • Sexual immorality is likened to idolatry. What heart attitudes and values could lead down that path? Are you treasuring any of those thoughts in your heart?
  • If you have slipped into immoral living, you can know God's forgiveness. Confess your sin to God. Then you can walk again guided by the Spirit and enjoy the joy of your salvation.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • John 2:19-21 – Jesus was the unique dwelling of God on earth.
  • 1 Peter 1:18-19, 5:8 – We are bought by Christ's blood and no longer slaves to sin.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Jesus Paid It All"

I hear the Savior say,
"Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all."

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow'r and Thine alone,
Can change the leper's spots
And melt the heart of stone.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I'll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv'ry's Lamb.

And when, before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
"Jesus died my soul to save,"
My lips shall still repeat.