Christianity is about Christ. Messianic Judaism is about Messiah; having a close, personal relationship with the Messiah. It’s about having the Spirit of the Father and the Son living in us, teaching us, guiding us, transforming us into the likeness of Yeshua. The emphasis of the New Covenant is faith, not law. It’s about walking by the Spirit, not a list of dos and don’ts.
Because of this we have tremendous freedom. However, liberty can be taken too far, and some of Messiah’s followers in Corinth, or at least those who claimed to be Messiah’s followers, were tempted to take their liberty too far – especially with sex. The Rabbi understands the errors in their thinking and addresses them. “I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.”
Here’s what some were thinking: Since I am not under the authority of the Sinai Covenant; since I am under grace, not law, I have the right to do anything. So, if my body has desires, there’s nothing wrong with fulfilling those desires.
Eating is a function of the body, and there’s nothing wrong with eating. Sex is a function of the body, and there’s nothing wrong with sex. Just as food is designed to be digested in the stomach, so our bodies are designed to have sex. Therefore there’s nothing wrong with consensual sex or engaging the services of a prostitute. It’s perfectly legal in Corinth. And, since sex is a natural function of the body, it only affects the body. It doesn’t affect the soul. It doesn’t affect my relationship with God.
Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both. It’s true that food and the stomach will not last in their current forms. Our bodies will be resurrected. They will be different. We will not have stomachs like we have now, which digest food like we eat now. However, that doesn’t mean that our bodies are unimportant. They are important, and what we do with them is important.
When it comes to what we do with our bodies, it’s good to know the Law, but we also need to ask ourselves some questions. “I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but I will not be mastered by anything.
I have the right to do this, but is this beneficial? To me? To others? I have the right to do this, but will this lead to me being mastered by it?
I have the right to drink ten cans of soda, and eat potato chips and twinkies all day, and smoke two packs of cigarettes, not never exercise, but is it beneficial?
I have the right to drink alcoholic beverages, but if I do, will I be mastered by it? Will I become an alcoholic?
It’s legal to gamble in the state of Michigan, but is it beneficial? Will I be mastered by it?
When it comes to what we do with our bodies, we should ask ourselves another question: does this honor the One we have given our highest allegiance to? The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
Our bodies are only to be used to honor God because our bodies are for the Lord and the Lord is for our bodies. That means that the Lord wants to use our bodies to serve Him and His purposes, and our bodies are only to be used to serve Him and His purposes.
Our feet are to be used to go where He wants us to go and bring the Good News to a dying world. Our mouths are to be used to praise the Lord. Our eyes are to be used to see a world in need. Our ears are to be used to hear the cries of the suffering. Our hands are to be used to do what is right. Our minds are to be used to think godly thoughts. Since our bodies are for the Lord to use, and the Lord wants to use our bodies for His purposes, our bodies should only be used for things that serve Him. The body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord.
Our bodies are important and are only to be used to honor the Lord because our they will be resurrected. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Just as the body of the Lord Yeshua was raised from death, these bodies will be raised from death. These bodies, although in a different form, will have an on-going existence. Don’t you want your body, which will have an on-going existence, to only be used for things that honor the Lord? Do you want your body, this body, which will be resurrected, to be used to dishonor Him?
Our bodies are only to be used to honor God because they are members of Messiah. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Messiah himself? When we have faith; when we believe that Yeshua is the resurrected Messiah, we are united to Him. Messiah lives in us by means of His Spirit living in us. We are part of Him and He is part of us. That means that our bodies are part of Him. Our bodies are members of Messiah Himself.
That raises another question. Shall I then take the members of Messiah and unite them with a prostitute? Even if it is legal in Corinth? The Rabbi answers his question: Never! We should never unite our bodies, which are members of Messiah, to someone who is unholy.
Paul asks, and answers, another question that gives further explanation; and as he does so often, reinforces his teaching with a quote from the Word of God. Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” That’s a quote from Genesis 2. Paul understood that there is no such thing as casual sex. When a man and woman have sex, they become one flesh. However, becoming one flesh is more than a joining of bodies; it’s a joining of souls. When our bodies are joined, our souls are joined.
But, the soul of a follower of Messiah has been united to the Lord. But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. When we come to faith, the Spirit of the Lord lives in us. At a very deep level, we are united to the Lord by a sharing of spirit. So, when we have sex with someone who is not our marriage partner, we create a spiritual bond with that person. We are joining our soul to that person who is doing something wrong – but at the same time our soul has already been joined to the Lord.
If a follower of Messiah has sex with a prostitute, his soul is united to her, and at the same time his soul is united to the Lord, and so he is uniting the Lord to a prostitute. And the Lord does not want to be united to a prostitute. If we have sex with anyone outside of a God-ordained marriage, we are joining the Lord to someone who is in a state of unholiness, and the Lord, who is holy, does not want to be joined to someone who is in a state of unholiness.
Because the joining of the bodies of a man and a woman creates a bond between their souls, sex should only take place in marriage. Sex outside of the marriage relationship is wrong and is exceptionally destructive to us. Knowing this, if we are wise, we will put safeguards in place so that doesn’t happen. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. If we are married, the joining of our body and soul to the body and soul of our partner is a good thing. It creates a bond. It brings us closer together. It helps keep us together. Sex outside of marriage also creates a bond between souls. So, when the relationship ends, the bond doesn’t end. A sexually immoral relationship has a lasting impact on the souls of the people involved.
Other sins that involve the body, like eating too much or drinking too much, can often be fixed. The damage can be undone. But the damage to the soul caused by sexual immorality can’t be undone. That connection is always there. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.
Our culture lies to us by telling us that there is nothing wrong with sex outside of marriage. Sex is a natural desire, and it’s right to act on that desire. It’s good to act on that desire. It’s unnatural not to act on that desire. The Creator tells us that sex inside of marriage is good but sex outside of marriage is wrong and harms us. Our culture encourages sexual immorality but the Word of the Lord tells us to flee from sexual immorality, to run from it like Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife who was trying to seduce him.
Another reason why our bodies must be used to honor God is because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? The Creator wants to be very close to us. He wants to live in us.
Before the arrival of the Son of God, God lived with His people to a limited degree by manifesting His Shechinah, His dwelling presence, in the temple. But with the arrival of the Son of God, and His death to atone for sin, and His resurrection to overcome death, God is able to live with human beings to a much greater degree. The Spirit of God is able to live in human beings who become loyal to the Father and to the Son. They become the temple, the place where the Holy Spirit lives on Earth.
Just as the temple was the epitome of holiness – a holy house with a holy place and a most holy place, in the holy city of the holy land of the holy people, served by a holy priesthood offering holy sacrifices – so Christians and Messianic Jews are to be holy. Just as the temple needed to be kept holy, our bodies, which are temples of the Holy Spirit, need to be kept holy. They need to used for holy purposes.
Our bodies must only be used to honor God because they no longer belong to us. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. The price to redeem us from the satanic slave market of sin and death was the incarnation, suffering and death of the Son of God. We have been bought with a price – a very high price, and therefore we don’t belong to ourselves. We belong to God. If I buy a car, I have the right to drive that car where I want to. If I buy a dog, I have the right to train the dog to do what I want that dog to do. God, who owns us, has the right to tell us how to live. He has the right to tell us how we can and can’t use our bodies. And He tells us to use our bodies to honor Him, not dishonor Him. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Some final thoughts:
Sexual immorality was a huge problem in Corinth, just as it is a huge problem in our society today.
Sexual immorality is a problem in Messiah’s Community today – as it seems to have been in parts of the church in Corinth.
Our attitudes about sex need to reflect the Word of God, not today’s sexually immoral culture.
God is the creator of sex. By creating us male and female, men and women are able to come together in marriage and become one flesh. They are able to bond with each other physically and soulfully. This meets their needs for companionship. This helps them cleave to one. This helps them have stable families in which the next generation can be raised. This is God’s design; God’s will, God’s purpose. This honors God and helps people.
The misuse of sex, sexual immorality, dishonors God and hurts people.
It harms us at a very deep level, a soul/spirit level.
It can create emotional scares.
It can create feelings of guilt that may be hard to overcome.
It can result in a loss of self-respect.
It can cause others to lose respect for us.
It can creates memories that can interfere with intimacy with our spouse.
It can produce a hardened heart, so that we look at people, not as full human beings, but as mere as objects of our sexual gratification. It can desensitize us.
It facilitates shallow relationships with the opposite sex.
It can result in a deadened conscience that may affect our ability to know “right from wrong” in other important areas.
It furthers our tendency to be rebellious toward God.
It can produce children who are raised without the benefits of a two-parent home.
It can result in physical consequences like a sexually transmitted disease.
Flee sexual immorality. Honor God with your bodies.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Messiah’s New Covenant isn’t a list of do and don’ts. It’s about walking by Your Spirit. This gives us liberty. Help us be wise. Help us not misuse our liberty.
Father, we acknowledge that You created us male and female, and there is a proper, God-honoring way to express our sexuality. Help us do that.
Sexual immorality is wrong. It dishonors You and harms us. Help us flee all sexual immorality.