1 Corinthians 6:12-13 ESV
“’All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything. ‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’—and God will destroy both one and the other.”
As followers of Jesus Christ we are free, but not free to sin. We are free from slavery to sin and from the power and control of Satan over our lives. And, we are empowered of the Spirit of God to live in holiness and righteousness.
But we aren’t under the Old Covenant ceremonial and purification laws, and laws about certain foods that we can or cannot eat, as were the Jews. But that doesn’t mean we are free to eat whatever we want or that we are free to eat as much as we want. For, not everything is good for us, and we are not to be controlled by anything other than by the Spirit of God.
But food is a subject that is difficult to define Scripturally regarding what we can eat or how much, other than Scripture does say we are not to be gluttonous. And, instructions were given to the Gentile believers that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled (Acts 21:25; Prov 23:21).
What may be regarded as gluttony by one person, though, may not be regarded the same by another. Certainly, eating until you are stuffed or until you are sick should be regarded as gluttony. But as far as what is good or bad to eat, or how much is too much, we need to let the Lord direct us in that, for our bodies are all different. But we should not resist God in this.
1 Corinthians 6:13-16 ESV
“The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 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! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’”
The Scriptures are quite clear, however, regarding sexual immorality of various kinds, that it is sinful. There is no wiggle room in this one. And, Jesus said that to intentionally lust after another is to commit adultery with that person in one’s heart (Matt 5:27-28).
But there are varied thoughts on what constitutes sexual immorality. Certainly, having sex with someone outside of marriage or with someone with whom you are not married is sexual immorality.
Masturbation, too, must fit here, for it is sex with oneself, not with one’s spouse. It is self-gratification, finding sexual pleasure and stimulation in oneself in place of with one’s spouse, or in addition to one’s spouse. So, if you are married, and you practice masturbation, you are still cheating on your spouse. It is still adultery, for you are lusting after yourself.
If you are someone who views pornography, that is looking lustfully at someone else, so that is sexual immorality, and if you are married, it is adultery against your spouse, especially if you use that to masturbate and to satisfy yourself with yourself rather than with your spouse.
For, God intended sex to be between a husband and a wife only. All other avenues for sexual stimulation and gratification are to be regarded as sexual immorality, which would also include sex texting, sexual conversations with others, and the sharing of sexually graphic photographs, etc.
Sex and Love
But let me add this. Sex shouldn’t be just about sex. It shouldn’t be just about you. It should be about intimacy. It should be about love. It should be about meeting one another’s needs rather than just looking to have one’s own needs or wants or desires met, which may not be healthy desires.
It should be an expression of love, not of animal lust. And, if we are followers of Jesus, it should be about our relationship with the Lord, too. For, when we are joined together with our spouse, that union is to be of the Lord, and the two are to be also united with Christ, and therefore what we do with our bodies should also be in agreement with God.
So, if we commit sexual immorality, we are also committing adultery against our Lord, who bought us back for God with his blood so that we might now honor God with our bodies. So, we are not only damaging that pure relationship we are to have with our spouse, but we are also hurting the pure relationship we are to have with our Lord.
Thus, if our lives are committed to Jesus Christ, and if he is truly Lord (owner-master) of our lives, we aren’t going to commit adultery against our Lord or against our spouse. We will love our Lord, and we will follow him in his ways, and therefore we will love our spouse with the love of God, and we will do what is best for our spouse, to show him or her love, and to not do anything intentionally to cause him or her harm.
1 Corinthians 6:17-20 ESV
“But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or 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.”
When we get this idea that our bodies belong to us to do with whatever we want, then we don’t have the right perspective. If we get this idea that our spouse’s body belongs to us and therefore we can do whatever we want with our spouse’s body, we also have the wrong perspective, for both thoughts are against God, they are unloving, and they are harmful.
If we see that both our own body and our spouse’s body belong to the Lord, then we will begin to see with the right perspective. Yes, the Scriptures do teach that our bodies are not ours alone but also our spouse’s, but they are still the Lord’s, and we are to honor God with what we do with both bodies. And, love does no harm to others, too. Selfishness, thus, is not love.
So, to love God and to love spouse is to honor God with how we treat our own body as well as with how we treat the body and the heart of our spouse. So, if you are given to lust and to sexual immorality, you are treating God and your spouse with disdain, and you are trampling on the heart of your spouse, and you are insulting the Spirit of Grace.
So, if this is where you are, I pray that today you would truly repent of your sin, that you would turn away from your sinful practices, and that you would turn to the Lord to follow him in all ways. I pray, too, that you would now love God with all your heart, and that you would love your spouse, and that you would honor him or her, and no longer treat him or her with disdain.
Soldiers of Christ Arise
Lyrics by Charles Wesley, pub. 1741
Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies, through His Eternal Son.
Strong in the Lord of Hosts, and in His mighty power,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror.
Stand then in His great might, with all His strength endued,
But take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God;
That, having all things done, and all your conflicts passed,
Ye may o’ercome through Christ alone and stand entire at last.
Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul;
Take every virtue, every grace, and fortify the whole.
From strength to strength go on; wrestle, and fight, and pray;
Tread all the powers of darkness down and win the well-fought day.
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