1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – “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.”
The implications of Paul’s words (ultimately God’s) are far-reaching. The context of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6 is obviously related to sexual immorality. He said in v. 13 that “the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” He said in v. 15, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!”
While Scripture describes all sin as being that which causes us to fall short of the glory of God, there are times when sin is described as more serious than others. Paul says in v. 18, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” He isn’t saying that the sexual immoral is sent further into the depths of hell for their sin; he is saying though that there is a seriousness to that sin that causes it to be against his own body.
In a day and age when it is probably wise to assume all boys from early teen through college have viewed pornography, the issue of sexual immorality is everywhere. Unfortunately, the culture causes the issue of sexual immorality to be a debate. It is hard to see Scripture as being wishy-washy on this issue of sexual immorality, especially as you consider 1 Corinthians 6.
But let’s consider the implications of Paul’s words here as it speaks to issues other than sexual immorality. Paul says that our bodies are a gift from God, but as a gift, they are not our own. Like Jesus rented the grave for three days, so we are renting our bodies for our lifetime. If you rent a car, you can’t take the rental through mud pits and a demolition derby and expect the rental company to take the car back without any extra payment. While this illustration is imperfect, there are truths that we should apply to the “renting” of our bodies in this life.
As I write this, I am drinking my coffee and eating a nice, greasy donut from Krueger’s. Sure, I can find plenty of articles arguing the health benefits of drinking coffee. But is it wise, and is it God-honoring for my diet to include lots of junk food, lots of soda that rots my teeth, and lots of fast food? The answer of course is no! In the same way, is it wise to drink lots of alcohol (assuming it is in moderation in ways that doesn’t cause drunkenness), to smoke cigarettes, or to deprive your body of the sleep it needs. Honoring God with our bodies means being very cautious about what we are putting into our bodies and how we are keeping our physical bodies in good shape.
At the same time, we need to be careful about how we are obsessing over our physical bodies. Does our life revolve around the health supplements and exercise that we are getting, or does it revolve around Christ? To glorify God in our bodies means to be actively disciplined to keep the focus on the first part of that statement: “glorify God.”
God, give us wisdom and discernment, and show us how to be better stewards of the physical bodies you have given us!