Passion, Purity, & Purpose (Sanctity of Marriage, #5)We hear a lot of talk today about purity. From reading about celebrities (like the Jonas Brothers or Jordin Sparks) who wear purity rings, to True Love Waits campaigns, to Jessica Valenti’s new book The Purity Myth, there are messages everywhere about this subject. But purity is more than just wearing a ring or being a virgin. In my 5th post in a series on Biblical marriage, we’ll take a look at what 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 teaches us about sexual purity. Feel free to go back to the first post to see what the Bible says about marriage before we come to 1 Corinthians 6, or just join in now with our discussion about sexual purity.
I Corinthians 6:15-20:
“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 harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord in one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (NKJV)
Directly from these verses, we see that:
20. Because our bodies are members of Christ, we are called to sexual purity. “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 harlot? Certainly not!” “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Today many people discuss ‘rules’ such as “Save sex for marriage” in light of the concept of ‘legalism.’ But it isn’t about rules, or legalism. When we enter into relationship with Christ; When we repent to walk in ‘newness of life’ with Him, we become “members of Christ”, and “The temple of the Holy Spirit”. It is this relationship that transforms our entire identity. We are no longer defined as sinners in need of a Savior. We are no longer defined by our jobs, or families, or hobbies. We are defined as “members of Christ”. And if that defines me, then it will also affect my life. My purpose. My choices. My function. If I am to “be who I am”, then I am to BE a “member of Christ”, and “the temple of the Holy Spirit”. That will affect my life, and the Bible says that affects my sexual life. I am to glorify God with my body, not because of a rule, but because I am bought by His blood, and my very purpose is to bring glory to Him.
21. With any sexual intercourse, a one-flesh union is created. “Do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh.’” Some speak of a “one-flesh union” in light of a new baby being born, or simply in terms of marriage. But a married couple without children is still one-flesh, and it isn’t the marriage license that creates that union. Adam and Eve were declared to be one-flesh well before the birth of Cain & Able, and before the fall itself. So we know it wasn’t a baby that created that union, though a child is a visible sign of that union. It is the coming together in flesh that creates that union. Even secular articles about sex discuss the intimacy that comes with that physical union. The fact that 2 people, regardless of how long they’ve known each other or any commitment made, can come together and in that brief time–they are ONE. They are no longer alone in this huge world. They have a bond with that person. And a marriage certificate wasn’t necessary for that bond. A commitment didn’t need to be made, and a child didn’t have to be born. The Bible says that a man becomes “one body” with a prostitute when he has sexual relations with her. He’s never seen her before and will likely never see her again, but still–they are now “one body”. Sex is not just sex. It’s not a leisure activity or a product to sell. Regardless of your ‘moral view’ on sex, it is still a physical act that creates an intimate bond.
22. The one-flesh union between a man and woman parallels a One-Spirit union with Christ. “For ‘the two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” We are ONE SPIRIT with the Lord? This concept brings so many things to mind that I’m not quite sure where to start. It’s encouraging to think that my relationship with Christ brings me to a place where I am ONE with Him. I have a deep and intimate bond with Him that can’t be broken. That’s encouraging, and maybe even empowering. The idea that my spirit is one with His! It gives me strength. Boldness. Courage. But it also brings conviction. Deep, gut-wrenching, painful, conviction. I look at my heart–my dirty, ugly, inner self–and I think, “God is ONE with that?” And then it dawns on me that maybe I’m part of the reason the world has a poor view of God. Maybe they look at me, and see a selfish God. One who doesn’t give a flip about others, but is too consumed with His own things. That’s not who God is, but if He’s one with me–then He takes on my sin too. Suddenly I see transformation in a whole new light. We’re ONE-SPIRIT with the Lord, and that bond changes us. It takes time, but it happens. Slowly but surely, God takes our hearts and molds them into something more like His.
When I think about it, I’m so humbled and grateful, and just down-right blown away by it. Christ enters into this “one-spirit” union with us when we are at our worst. We are sinful and depraved, and He joins with us anyway. He takes that sin on Himself, and becomes one with us. And then He works with us and inside of us to transform us into something glorious. I love that the “one-flesh union” with our spouse is compared to this “one-spirit” union with God. It’s not entered into because our partner is perfect, but the union itself transforms us together. I’ve definitely seen that happen in my marriage already! (If you don’t believe me–read my post on the stomach bug I had a few weeks ago, and you’ll see that marriage transforms us too!) I’m so grateful that my husband accepts me, flaws and all. He claims me when anyone else would be embarrassed to be around me. Even when I’m at my worst, he’d look at me with love, and maybe even with pride, and say “She’s mine.” But that doesn’t mean he ignores my flaws. He walks with me, gently leads me in God’s way, and watches patiently as God changes the ugly things inside my heart.
23. We are called to FLEE sexual immorality. “Flee sexual immorality.“ Not much elaboration is really needed here. The Bible doesn’t call us to simply avoid sexual immorality, or to be careful with temptation. It says “FLEE sexual immorality.” Flee! The word you might think of when something terrifying is in front of you! If you’re out camping and a bear is charging you, you don’t analyze the bear wondering if you can ‘take it’. No way! You flee! You don’t gather your camping supplies first; you just get out of there as fast as you can. This same urgency is called for when it comes to keeping yourself out of sexual immorality. Let’s not try to estimate how close we can get to sin, and still be strong enough to withstand it. Instead, we’re called to flee. We’re called to get as far away from this sin as possible.
24. Sexual sin IS classified differently than other sins. “Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.“ I hesitated to say much about this, but I too often hear people say things such as “All sins are the same in God’s eyes”, or “If you’ve told a little white lie, you’re just as much of a sinner as someone who’s committed murder.” To an extent, I get the point of these statements. Regardless of what the sin is, it’s still sin. It’s still enough to condemn us. One little white lie really IS enough to separate us from the presence of God, and therefore condemn us to an eternity in Hell. But just because that’s true doesn’t mean that all sins are the same. Even rationally, that doesn’t make sense. That’s why we don’t see a child sentenced to the death penalty for telling Mom that he brushed his teeth already, when really he just ate a breath mint. Because even in our human wisdom, we know that some sins are worse than others. We’d all agree that different sins deserve different levels of punishment. But somehow people get defensive about the more common sins. Someone who’s living with a boyfriend or girlfriend may say to another church-goer, “Well it’s not like you’re perfect either.” And they’d be right, but that still doesn’t justify their sin. I’ve even read articles (even written by Christians) that accuse the church of such things as making a woman feel like her “moral compass lies somewhere between her legs“. While it’s a crude way to put it, I can see where they’re coming from. Sometimes we focus on sexual sins to the exclusion of all other sin out there. And while that shouldn’t be the case, the truth is that the Bible really does separate sexual sins from all other sin. What did it say again? “Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.“ So all other sins are external, but sexual sin is against your very own body. It runs much deeper than other sins. Maybe that’s because of the one-flesh union that could then be created with several different partners? Or maybe it’s because sex is so addictive in nature? We don’t really see an exact reason, but we do see that it is classified differently.
I’m sure it hurts to hear this message if you’re someone who’s fallen into that kind of sin. Maybe because you know it’s true, but are having a hard time pulling yourself out of it. Maybe because you just love sex and aren’t willing to give it up. Or maybe you’ve been taught that sex is a normal part of life. That it’s just an expression of love, and that it’s really NOT sinful at all. To hear that sexual sin is classified differently than all other sins is definitely going to hurt. I understand that, and I’m sorry that it’s painful. But it doesn’t change God’s Word. It hurts because it’s true. And because you’re in bondage to your sin, whether you realize it or not. You’ve sinned against your very own body, and you’ve trapped yourself in that sin. It hurts, and I’m not here to condemn you. Your sin (and my sin) has already condemned us both. But Christ brings reconciliation, and with that reconciliation comes freedom from that bondage. If the truth hurts, it’s a sign of your bondage to sin. Don’t feel defeated by it. Repent, run to Christ, and allow Him to transform you.
Be watching for Part 6, where we’ll continue looking at Marriage in I Corinthians, and Romans too. But in the meantime, check out my other posts on marriage here, and as usual–don’t forget to leave your feedback!