Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 5-9
Today’s Reflection:1 Corinthians 6:18-20
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. 19) 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, 20) for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
One of the greatest issues the church at Corinth faced was issues regarding sexual immorality. This should come as no surprise, as this has been an issue since before Israel and continues to be one to this day. The instruction concerning sexual immorality is as clear as can be, yet there still is considerable debate about what this should mean in practical terms. There shouldn’t be.
We live in an intensely individualistic culture, an intensely sexualized culture and an intensely advanced culture in terms of communications and media technology—a perfect storm for sexual immorality to run rampant. TV shows and movies depict sexual relations between unmarried people, including extramarital affairs, as not just perfectly normal but as exciting; celebrities (and celebrity wannabes), some of whom are ‘role models’ for our youth, have sex tapes floating around on the internet; teens, particularly teenage girls, are pushed into sexualized roles earlier, with youth oriented clothing retailers offering intimate apparel for girls as young as 10; even a former president of the United States of America tried to redefine what sex was and wasn’t (not to mention debating what ‘is’ is). And the greatest fall out from this isn’t unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases (though these are big issues), but the emotional toll brought upon people by our culture’s casual attitude towards what God made to be a beautiful and special gift only to be shared between a husband and wife.
Genesis 2:24 – Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Paul makes it crystal clear that this oneness that is meant only for a husband and wife is invoked with every person one becomes sexually intimate with.
1 Corinthians 6:15-16 – 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! 16) 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.”
So having sex with multiple partners is equivalent with being married to multiple partners (which is adultery, Biblically speaking). There is nothing casual about sex. It isn’t just physical or emotional, but spiritual. And it’s effects and aftermath are not merely temporary but lifelong. Lastly, sexual sins of all kinds corrupt the picture of man and woman God originally created. It should be clear just why Paul spends so much time speaking against this sin in particular. It has led many people to the edge of destruction (see Samson, David, Solomon, the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, Herod, and more), and from the sexual scandals engulfing leaders of today’s churches it continues to do so.
To be clear, the only sexual activity God does sanction is between a husband and wife. If you’re not married, you shouldn’t be having sex. You also shouldn’t be indulging in substitutes, like strip clubs, erotic literature, or pornography.
Matthew 5:27-29 – 27) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28) But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29) If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.
Jesus makes it clear that deliberate lustful thoughts are no different than the act of sexual immorality itself, so any form of ‘sexual fantasy’ is also an act of adultery.
If you’re single and at all confused about where the line is drawn where sex is concerned, here’s a simple rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t do it in public, you shouldn’t be doing it in private.
Finally, I want to be clear that human sexuality was created by God and like all things God made it is good, wonderful, beautiful and a blessing. But just as sin corrupted many of God’s blessings, it has corrupted sex as well. The only way for us to redeem sex and bring it back to a semblance of what God intended is to follow His instructions concerning when and how to use it, and when to abstain from it. Think of sex like dynamite. Something incredibly powerful that must be handled with extreme care. When used properly it is incredibly useful, accomplishing things only it can. When used carelessly, it’s incredibly and unimaginably destructive.