Preparation for Worship
What does it mean for us to live out the cruciform identity in our physical bodies? This is the question we are looking at this week.
The church at Corinth had adopted a dangerous view of the relationship between the body and the spirit. They emphasized the spiritual as more important than the material or physical. As a result, they believed sins committed in the body did not really matter. This eventually led to the Corinthians theologically justifying the rampant indulgence of bodily pleasure whether it be greed, lust or drunkenness.
In East of Eden, John Steinbeck wrote “What freedom men and women could have, were they not constantly tricked and trapped and enslaved and tortured by their sexuality! The only drawback in that freedom is that without it one would not be a human. One would be a monster.” The Apostle Paul would agree with Steinbeck. One of the chief challenges to living rightly in our bodies, is how do we honor God as sexual beings? None of us can escape this most human of realities - from the time we are born, to the time we die - we are sexual beings. That is why in this week’s passage, and in following chapters, as Paul fleshes out how to honor God with our bodies, he focuses primarily on the question of sexual immorality.
Paul argues for something pretty radical in these verses. First, he reminds us that the cruciform identity precedes the cruciform ethic. We are not those who are defined by enslavement to bodily desire. We are those who were washed, justified and sanctified in Jesus Christ. We are those who will inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Second, he argues that the material existence is just as important as the spiritual existence. What we do with in our bodies as sexual beings has tremendous impact on our whole selves. Third, he calls us to the fundamental truth that our physical bodies belong first to God. For these reasons, as followers of Christ, we have a cruciform calling to honor God with our bodies as sexual beings.
Our weekly worship guide can be found here.
1 Corinthians 6:9-20
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
12 “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. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 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.” 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.