Christian Behavior

Hope for Today (English)
Hope for Today (English)
Christian Behavior
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1 Corinthians 6:12-20

We are in an era of great trauma, particularly in the ethical field. Definitions of ethics are critical, especially today. The history of our country has a different record, however. A couple of centuries ago the great New England theologian Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” He had definite boundaries. He knew where the absolutes were.

But today situation ethics has no absolutes. Nothing is right or wrong except as it may affect someone else. But the Christian life is different. It is controlled by standards derived from the Bible. The Christian life is far more satisfying than the life out there in what we call the world, with no holds barred.

Discipline is a part of reality in the Christian life. All conduct is a matter of the will whether you are thinking in terms of Christian concepts or not. And the will is the distinctive characteristic imparted unto us by the act of the divine Creator. The will is united to reason. We are a threefold being body, soul, and spirit. Yes, the Bible refers to us that way. Paul prayed that the Lord might preserve the Thessalonians in body, mind, and spirit until the day of Jesus Christ (see I Thessalonians 5:23). So with this threefold being, we have certain relationships with the outside world.

In I Corinthians 6:12-20, Paul wrote words that laid the truth on the line:

12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make [them] the members of an harlot? God forbid.

16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Now, my friend, I propose that CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR is inseparably united to three basic FACTS related to the body that the apostle Paul teaches here.

First, for the Christian:

THE BODY IS FOR THE LORD

BY CREATION

12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

When you go back to Genesis, you learn that God fashioned the human body as it pleased Him. Marvelous. I would remind you that Adam was not a baby. He was created as a full-grown man. God made Adam in His own likeness. So the body is for the Lord by creation.

The body is our environmental awareness. It has five senses sight, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling. Through these five senses, we are aware of our environment, where we are and what is going on around us.

Now the apostle says that “all things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient.” So the lawful things are not necessarily the expedient things. How you conduct yourself is based on the lawfulness.

There are several considerations to take into account. Is it profitable? Worthwhile? Does it help? Expediency can be a detriment. Christian behavior takes careful account that the body is the Lord’s by His creation.

Now I want you to hear someone else’s comments:

Many a man has noble qualities both of mind of heart quick intelligence, wise judgment, and warm enthusiasm but lacks the steadfast will that would bind them all together, giving unity and strength to his character and effective force to his endeavor. According, however, to the greatness and strength of this faculty, so is the danger of its being misdirected like the forces of nature, water, steam, electricity, etc. Self-will is blind, lawless, immoral, and therefore not really free. Moral freedom lies in the mastery of a will that determines for the right, and chooses to move in harmony with the Divine Will, the “will that is holy and just and good.”

Yes, The Body Is For the Lord By Creation. He has the right to it. My question to you is, Have you given your body to Him?

The second fact is:

THE BODY IS THE MEMBER OF CHRIST BY REDEMPTION

15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make [them] the members of an harlot? God forbid.

16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

Look at verse 15: “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?” What right then do I have to take a member of Christ and make it a member of a harlot. When Paul made that suggestion, the Lord inspired him to use very strong words next. He said, “God forbid.” That means may it never be so!

The restriction is very clear. You are no longer master of your body. You are now the servant. Christ is the Master. He is the One who has right over your body if you are a Christian. To take control of your body is to deny Christ’s ownership. The secular feminist movement could learn a great deal from this verse. The feminist insists on her own right over her body. Well, she doesn’t have a right over her body. Now, of course, the secular woman doesn’t have Christ’s ownership in the sense that we Christians do, and yet she does not have the right over her own body in the measure and dimension she speaks of it. She has rights, yes, and she can make choices, but she doesn’t realize that the outcome of that choice has been determined by the Lord, and it will work out inscrutably.

However, on the other hand, the preborn child is not her body; she can’t make it her body, or abortion doctors wouldn’t take it out of her body the way they do in abortion. Now the Christian behavior recognizes that the body is a member of Christ by redemption.

The sex revolution today is a curse upon America. I believe many of the sexually transmitted diseases are God’s judgment on loose living. Surely the monogamous society is God’s will. In verse 18 the apostle says two very important words: “Flee fornication.” Don’t stay around it; don’t meditate on it. Listen to Barnes again:

Man should escape from it; he should not stay to reason about it; to debate the matter, or even to contend with his propensities, and to try the strength of his virtue. There are some sins which a man can resist; some about which he can reason without danger of pollution. But this is a sin where a man is safe only when he flies; free from pollution only when he refuses to entertain a thought of it; secure when he seeks victory by flight and conquest by retreat. Let a man turn away from it without reflection on it and he is safe. Let him think, and reason, and he may be ruined.

And Barnes continues:

How many men and women are known to be impure in their lives! In all communities how much does this sin abound! and how many shall be revealed at the great day as impure, who are now unsuspected! how many disclosed to the universe as all covered with pollution, who now boast even of purity, and who are received into the society of the virtuous and the lovely! Verily, the broad road to hell is thronged! And verily, the earth is pouring into hell a most dense and wretched population, and rolling down a tide of sin and misery that shall fill it with groans and gnashing of teeth forever.

So The Body Is a Member of Christ by Redemption plays into our whole concept of Christian behavior.

The third fact is:

THE BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BY POSSESSION

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Conversion changes the resident in the heart. The apostle Paul later in this book teaches us that no one can call Jesus Lord except by the Spirit of God. I know there is much disagreement today about what it means to receive the Holy Spirit. Some say, well I am born again, but I haven’t received the Holy Spirit. I would like to inform you that if you are born again, you have received the Holy Spirit, because that is exactly what the apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 12:3:

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.

So if you have confessed Jesus as Lord, you have the Holy Spirit. And that Holy Spirit is a gift from God, “which you have of God, and ye are not your own.” That’s verse 19.

Furthermore, Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit when He spoke to the disciples. He said the Spirit would be with them and in them. So now, “ye are not your own,” the apostle said. By the way, this is not absentee ownership. The Holy Spirit comes in and dwells in your heart if you are a born-again Christian, and He has your body in possession. You are bought with a price. The price is the blood of Jesus. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. He has a divine right in your body.

If it were not for the blood of Jesus Christ shed on Calvary’s cross, you and I would be lost forever. Forever! No hope, absolutely no hope. He shed his blood and died on the cross so we could have peace with God.

Let me share a great truth from II Corinthians 5:21: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Think of that. For He who knew no sin was made a sin offering for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. What we cannot achieve, what we cannot ascertain in our own spirits, in our own efforts, we can attain by the precious sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Again I must refer you to Barnes’s commentary:

There was no price which the sinner could pay, no atonement which he could make; and consequently, if Christ had not died, the sinner would have been the slave of sin, and the servant of the devil forever. As the Christian is thus purchased, ransomed, redeemed, he is bound to devote himself to God only, and to keep his commands, and to flee from a licentious life.

Christian behavior takes into account and rests upon these three facts and is on an entirely different level than non-Christian behavior. We have a relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as Paul instructs on a practical approach.

THE BODY IS THE LORD’S

By creation

THE BODY IS A MEMBER OF CHRIST

By redemption

THE BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

By possession

With these facts in place, Christian behavior will be different from the world.

I trust, my friend, that you have come to understand the reality of these facts in your own life.