You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. And God will raise us from the dead by His power, just as He raised our Lord from the dead.1 Corinthians 6:12-14
Looking at the big picture. Did you look far enough? The more you read; the more it becomes clear. Don’t forget the order of contact between Paul and the Corinthians. To truly understand the letters to the Corinthians you must understand the contact between them. Paul spends time with them and plants the church then hears some things about what is going on and writes a warning letter to them. The Corinthians send a letter to Paul following which Paul writes 1 Corinthians. It is clear that the Corinthians have been struggling with issues of sin, especially sins of a sexual nature (understandable given where they live). Paul has clearly given them teaching about this before. They then write and ask questions about sexuality and the marriage relationship (1 Cor 7) and food sacrificed to idols (1 Cor 8,10).
It is clear from Paul’s response in 1 Corinthians that they have combined the advice related to sex and marriage and food sacrificed to idols together. In fact in the temple of Aphrodite they did just that. The sexual act was seen akin to eating and drinking. The act of fornication was defended as “lawful,” by many Greeks, and was practiced at Corinth. Paul gives his advice related to the foods and says you are free to eat as you please, we have a freedom in Christ but be careful how you use it. Don’t act in such a way as to bring another believer down or cause them to stumble.
Paul is saying here effectively – don’t mix my counsel between the two topics. It is one thing to say the body is made for eating, therefore you can eat with impunity. It is not right to say our bodies were made for sex so we can sin sexually with impunity. Paul has said to the Corinthians before “All things are lawful unto me” and in fact qualified its application. But now he is correcting the excess to which they had taken the comment. Paul’s earlier remark related only to food sacrificed to idols. They wished to treat fornication in the same way, on the grounds that the existence of bodily appetites proved the lawfulness of their gratification. Paul wants to show them that the practice cannot possibly be defended in any way. So Paul admits that all things were lawful but there were many things which ought not to be indulged. A man ought not to be under the power of any improper indulgence. Fornication was positively wrong, and against the very nature and essence of Christianity. His comments about God raising us from the dead just as he raised Christ is being used and an argument that they were not made for sexual immorality nor to be defiled with such uncleanness.
“lawful … brought under the power” — These two Greek words are from the same root, and so there is a play on words here: All things are in my power, but I will not be brought under the power of any of them. He who commits “fornication,” steps aside from his own legitimate power or liberty, and is “brought under the power” of another. His liberty is forfeited; he ceases to be his own master. – – “Unlawful things ruin thousands; “lawful” things (unlawfully used), ten thousands.” Jamieson, Fausset and Brown
Another thing Paul is doing here is connecting the thought of three subsequent sections:
- The relation between the sexes.
- The question of meats offered to idols.
- The resurrection of the body.
and bringing them together in one segment. He is giving a glimpse of what is to come. This is very much the way Paul’s mind works. Get used to it. The more you do, the more you will understand him.
Never insult God with small dreams and safe living!Craig Groeshel
The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.Jerry Snider