For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. — 1 Corinthians 6:20
A while back, my mother began contemplating the purchase of a new serger to complement the sewing machine she already had. After doing some comparison-shopping to find the make and model that fit her parameters, she noted all the information and filed it away. Some time later, when I asked her when she was going to order the serger, her response was, “When I have the money.”
She bought the serger a couple of months ago and enrolled in a basic serger class so she would feel more comfortable using the machine. During the class, the instructor emphatically pointed out the necessity of keeping the area around the needles and knife free of lint. They even had handy kits for sale to aid in this maintenance. My mom likes to keep her equipment clean and I suspect that she regularly checks to ensure that there are no loose threads or fabric pieces filling up this area. Having waited several months to buy the machine, I am confident that my mom will keep it working at its best.
How many of us have experienced a similar situation? We find that new sewing machine, power tool, or whatever it is that has caught our attention, but lack funds to make the purchase. So, we come up with a financial plan and begin to save up the required funds over a period of time. Finally, the day arrives when we excitedly make the purchase, and then we set about to enjoy this new “toy” for which we have so painstakingly saved. No doubt, the weeks and months following are filled with polishing, cleaning, and other careful maintenance to ensure that our purchase remains looking and performing like new.
Our lives, once they have been redeemed, are far more valuable and essential than a serger, or any other item we might purchase. Yet, if we are not careful to place the proper value on our redemption, we may find that loose attitudes and practices can impact our Christian witness. Paul realized the tremendous price that Christ paid at Calvary to buy back our lives from eternal separation from God. Here, we find him reminding the Corinthian church that the Blood of Christ bought them, and that they should glorify God in their bodies. This included everything from avoiding grievances that could lead to lawsuits to maintaining sexual purity.
We need to ensure that we are doing all we can to “glorify God” in our bodies. Whenever there is a disagreement between us and another believer, we must take every step to resolve the situation so as to maintain unity in the Body of Christ. Paul even tells us to take a loss, if necessary, to keep the unity intact. Likewise, we also need to take every precaution necessary to remain pure in our sexual lives. We are living testimonies to the world of the redemptive power of Christ’s Blood. As we live pure lives, unspotted by the world, we will glorify God and others will be drawn to Christ.
This chapter continues Paul’s warnings to the Corinthian church. Significant in this chapter are his warnings against lawsuits and sexual immorality. The believers’ witness was being damaged and Paul saw the need to address these two issues specifically.
Verses 1-11 of this chapter deal with the issue of brethren suing each other. Paul felt that Christians should be able to settle differences between themselves, rather than taking a problem to the secular courts. The Jews at Corinth had secured permission from Rome to apply their own laws in handling Jewish affairs. As a matter of principle, a practicing Jew would never take a Jewish problem to a Gentile court for a solution. Paul felt that the Corinthian brethren should conduct themselves likewise and settle differences according to precepts established by Christ himself. Unfortunately, the Greek members of the Corinthian church enjoyed public debate and competition. Whether the contest was physical, intellectual, or in this case oratory, the enticement of seeing who was best ultimately led many of the Corinthian brethren away from Christ’s teachings. The skill in presenting an argument and winning a debate became almost a form of entertainment. Paul strongly disagreed with this behavior, saying, “Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren” (1 Corinthians 6:8).
Paul brought out another Christian precept when he questioned, “Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” The non-believers watched the Early Church, much as they do today, to see if Christians lived the message they preached. Paul saw these forays into the secular legal system as detrimental to the Christian message.
The second section of this chapter deals with immorality in the church. Paul reminded the believers that they came from various non-believing backgrounds, and went on to say, “but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” As such, they were to glorify God in their bodies.
The statement in verse 12, “All things are lawful unto me,” could have been touted as the motto of the day. There was a prevailing theology that the soul was considered good, but the body bad. This concept affected behavior in two distinct ways. Some thought that because the body was bad, it should be punished and denied even the most basic needs. The other, and more popular approach to asceticism, was to indulge every appetite and desire of the body, with the notion that what the body did could not affect the soul. Paul used a simple analogy to reinforce his statement, saying, “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them,” indicating that some day, they both will cease to exist. Another practice that was popular among the Grecian population was the use of temple prostitutes. This practice had invaded the church and Paul reminded them that their bodies were meant for the Lord, and the Lord for their bodies. There could be no union between a body that belonged to Christ and that of a harlot.
Paul concluded his admonitions to the Corinthian believers by telling them to “flee fornication.” He knew that temptations would come, and that the people should not underestimate the power of temptation, nor overestimate their abilities to resist.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. Answer to reports
B. The problem of social irregularities
2. Lawsuits (6:1-8)
a. The question (6:1)
b. The answer (6:2-8)
(1) The reasons (6:2-3)
(2) The solution (6:4-8)
3. Misuse of the body (6:9-20)
a. Our bodies have been sanctified (6:9-11)
b. Our bodies are for the Lord (6:12-14)
c. Our bodies are members of Christ (6:15-18)
d. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and are to glorify God (6:19-20)
Realizing the tremendous price Christ paid for our redemption will help us place the appropriate value on our salvation. When situations arise that could cause us to destroy our integrity, we can resist evil by removing ourselves from the situation. In so doing, we witness to a struggling world of the saving and keeping power of Jesus Christ.